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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Blender Guru and The Habits of Effective Artists

I've painted lots of portraits in the past sometimes coming up with some decent pieces (sometimes by luck!) but it hasn't been a priority and those have been sporadic..so then I find when I do start one I struggle with it.  One goal I have this year is to become more proficient at portraiture which consists of painting a lot from life.  While the portrait of my niece (see below) is from a digital photo, it's practice.  After the first of the year..or sooner if possible, I will be hiring a model weekly.  

I've been listening to a guy on YouTube...on the Blender Guru channel.  Blender is an animated art site.  Lots of animation and how to do it (which I'm not interested in) but this particular guy talks about really concrete things you can do to improve your skill in anything... If you are interested, the title of the Youtube video (30 minutes) is The Habits of Effective Artists.   I highly recommend it.  

This video has encouraged me that I am on the right track by taking a step back.  If you watch it and are trying to achieve something or go in a different direction, I hope it will inspire you as well.

So because of this guy in the video I have signed up for an online course..something I've never done before but I figure it's cheaper, I can stay at home and study this portrait painting process and have the materials for a really long time so that I can go back to it as I can or need to...I figure it's part of that concentrated learning he talks about in the video.  It's not easy to get that in a a workshop..a workshop is so limited.  I figure this way I can learn at my own pace and relearn it if I have to.

I'm hoping this year will cement these skills into my head so that portrait painting will become as second nature as my still life paintings have become.

Each day, whatever happens, I am so thankful to be able to do this.  

BTW. Here's my progress on the portrait.  It's not there yet...drawing issues I think but I'm hoping Bethanne likes it when I am finished.  The first pic is yesterday and the second is today.  Upward and Onward.

Cheers and have a wonderful Weekend...

Yesterday


A Little Progress today

Monday, October 28, 2019

My Portrait Start

Bethanne
This is my lovely niece, Bethanne.  She was married last year and I asked her if I could do a portrait of her as a gift.  Because she lives in California, it took a while for us to get together but a couple of months ago, she came to visit my sister who now lives near me.  We did a photo shoot and I did a very short life study..and now I am finally getting started on her portrait.  I thought I might post my progress.  I have been studying portraiture more and this is part of my journey-to get more proficient at portraiture and perhaps explore better figurative paintings in the future.  I have some ideas that I want to pursue and so this year, while I'm taking this break from shows and the stress related to that, I hope to explore some of those ideas...so I'm just getting started in these respects...

I'll be working more on the drawing tomorrow and until I get the drawing correct and then start with the shapes of color...I am somewhat happy with this start but the drawing I can see needs some work...thanks for reading.

The Beginning Drawing 16x12

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Some Days Are Just Wipers

I love what I do but sometimes things don't turn out..when I'm painting in oils, I can just wipe out the painting and start over...but today I discovered as I was practicing with Gouache that you can't do that...so the painting I started this afternoon went straight into the trash.  

Peace Be Still, oil 9x12
If you've read one of my former posts, you know that I'm taking a year off from painting for shows.  I've discovered that when you do that, (paint for shows) you lose some of yourself.  Painting for shows is stressful and I feel like I've almost gone backwards a little in my skill set.  So, this is why I'm taking a break and tying to just concentrate on learning and practicing and figuring out where I need to be going from here.  The gouache medium is part of that learning experience...because I have been wanting to try something new.  I admire my daughter who is always stepping outside the box and teaching herself new things.  She's been an inspriration...

I don't know yet where this year will take me.  I hope to post regularly...kind of a diary and journal of where this year leads. I'm trying to set some concrete goals for 2020.   If you are following along, thanks for doing so....

Perhaps you are on your own journey of some sort. If so, I'd love to hear about it....

Because today's work is in the trash, here's one previously painted...

This painting is called Peace Be Still.  I named it that because of the quiet of the day when I was out painting it.  This one was done this past May outside New Braunsfels where I was participating in a plein air event there.  

Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Chickens can be weird and Roosters are Bossy

Today was beautiful here in the top of the hill country and some artist friends from Dallas decided to head out to paint here with me.  I enjoy that because being an artist is such a solitary job...it can get lonely at times and it's easy to get discouraged when you are working alone so much.  It is very easy to get into a rut or to wonder if you are on the right track.  Are you in a solitary career?  Or maybe you work from home remotely.  If you do, there are some real advantages but also some major disadvantages...but that's another blog post for another day.  Today, I did not paint alone and it was a gorgeous day.

These painters wanted to go over to First Earth Farms where the owner had pumpkins growing out in the field and attractive displays of the fruit of their labors out and about the various spots on the farm.  So this was what I decided to paint...and as I said, a beautiful day..there was only one drawback, actually two but the one that was most funny (or annoying to a couple of the other artists) was the chickens.  They would NOT leave anyone alone.  Forget the fact that the rooster constantly warned us that those chickens were  HIS....(no offense guys)....the chickens themselves thought we were definitely there to entertain them..they jumped up on our easels and pecked at all our equipment and were generally pretty annoying...but it was all in good fun and we got a kick out of them in the end.  Oh the joys of painting outside.
"First Earth Farms....with pumkins" 6x8 oil 

Just one of the attention seekers
Mr Big Shot Rooster


Friends painting near the farm house



Saturday, October 19, 2019

Today's Work

I got up this morning and headed out...as soon as the dog and cat were fed of course...first thing that happened is I stopped at Valero for a water bottle and went back to my car...turned the key and click.click.click...nothing...UGH.  Well a guardian angel tapped on my window and said hey your battery's dead.  Duh...well he was kind enough to get it going for me.  I've needed a new battery for a while and so that's on the list for next week.  Even so, I did two little Gouaches, again from the safety of my car, sitting in the front seat with my little pochade box leaning on the steering wheel (after making sure everything in the car was off).  It was a great day, warmed up a bit but still was fun.  The couple below were watching their son play football  and you could tell they were really getting into the game...as I happened across the Morgan Mill school having their Saturday morning football game...
The house (#2 painting for the day) was abandoned but had a nice pull in.  I thought it looked interesting and couldn't help day dreaming about the family that once lived here.  An abandoned farmhouse always makes me feel a little bit sad...
thanks for reading my ramblings.


Saturday morning Football
Gouache study in my Moleskin  sketch book Approximately 4x6
Alice Doesn't live here anymore 6x8 gouache on crescent board
 Thankfully the car started when the last painting was finished...Yay.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Gwash or Goosh or what is that?

Gwash or Goosh or What is that?

I had no idea what gouache (pronounced gwash)was a few months ago...I mean I had heard of it but never gave it any serious thought.  I knew illustrators used it..  I had a hard time even spelling it correctly..I was an oil painter and that was that.  Well, I'm beginning to doubt that...the two paintings below are of a little English Blue Willow pitcher I own.  For practice I decided to do one in Gouache and the other in oil.  What do you think?  

I won a small award last year at a show I was in and one of the prizes was a gift certificate from an art supply store online.  I really wasn't interested in their paint selections that much but they did offer a line of casein and gouache.  So I decided to try it.  Basically gouache is an opaque watercolor.  I began reading a little about it and seeing some other artist's gouache work and started thinking I might actually like it.  I'm not a fan of watercolor...acrylics are ok but dry dull to me (darker than when you apply them).  Well, I've been using these gouache paints now for a few weeks and they are fairly close to oils except for a few things, they thin with water, they are much more portable than oil and the paintings dry almost immediately.  For someone that loves to paint outdoors, plein air, it just might be a great fit and easier to use outdoors.  I'm still experimenting but this is one thing I'm doing to change things up and to try to excited about the process again.  Not sure yet where it will go.  

Thanks for reading my ramblings.  I'll be posting some of my new gouache paintings over the next few weeks. 


Blue Willow in Oil

Blue Willow in Gouache



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Changing Times and Changing Journey

Dear Friends,

Have you ever reached a point in your life or career when you feel like you have to make some major changes in something...and you aren't sure what?  Well, I have lately-actually it's been going on for a while now....
Because of this I have decided to do some things differently..   I'm not sure yet where I'm going with this and it may just end up being a time to reflect.  I just don't know yet.  I know that as far as my artistic journey goes, I've felt a little stagnant for a while and so I've decided to take a break...mostly from worrying about getting work done for galleries or shows, etc. I'm taking a break-a year long break.
I just want to get back to the basics.  I just want to paint.  I'll be posting some things I'll be doing, some little studies and why I'm doing them.  Really, I want to enjoy the process again and I'm not sure where I'm going...

If you have ever felt this way, let me and others know.  I'd like to hear what you did to move forward.

Today I feel anxious but I know that I am an artist, a painter.  I want to paint and paint well...that's about all I know at this point.  I have signed up for a couple of online courses which I've never done before.  We will see what happens.  Taking a sabbatical from shows and gallery commitments ...so far feels great.

Take care....



In an effort to do something a little different, I've been playing around with Gouache.  If you haven't heard of it or know what it is (people ask me "what's that?)..it's an opaque watercolor.  Here is one of the gouache's I've done recently.  This is Greenwood's Saloon.  It's in the small community where I live.  A few years ago, a young couple bought the building and reopened it...and it's very crowded every Friday and Saturday night.  The building is over 100 years old...I had fun painting it.

"Greenwood Saloon"