I enjoy accepting commissions and have just finished the two paintings in this post for friends. Some artists do not like accepting commissions because they feel that it puts constraints on their creativity. Sometimes the client will dictate what and how the painting should be done. I have been very fortunate in my experiences because my clients have an understanding of what and how I paint. I have hundreds of personal reference photographs and often will have the client search through the photographs for the subject they are interested in. After that we discuss colors, composition, and size and I have a clear understanding of what is expected. Another reason I like commissions is the challenge of a client requesting a subject that I may not have considered before. I am happy to give it a try. It may be a challenge but a good one to tackle.
Alyson Stanfield posted a blog in 2016 that I have gone back to many times and think that it is still pertinent today and especially now with some extra stay-at-home time. Her post was entitled "21 Mindless Tasks for When Genius Takes a Hike". She states that this is not downtime, like reading a book or walking on the beach or meditating. This is different. This is time for "mindless" tasks when your "genius has taken a hike", you are frustrated, can't think creatively, etc.
I have combined and shortened her list to 5 things. I chose things that I can and need to do. Things that I keep on a running "to-do" list.
1. Google search collectors, gallerists, and curators. Find out their life stories.
2. Organize your computer by making folders and putting information when you can find it.
3. Consolidate and organize your computer photos and delete images that are duplicates or are no longer relevant. This is especially true for your art images.
4. Check out Instagram. Like photos and add photos of your work. Make comments on others people's work. Do the same for Pinterest. Reply to comments.
5. Declutter paper. Go through files and organize and eliminate old and obsolete paper(s).
That should keep me busy for a while.
Attached to this post is a 11" x 14" oil painting of marbles entitled Marble Shot. It seemed to fit the blog post with most of the marbles organized and collected in the glass with only a few left scattered about.
Another first for me....a dark background. It is almost black but not quite. I love the contrast that the dark background creates against the pink peonies. I have wanted to paint peonies for a long time. They are one of my favorite flowers, as is true for many people. But, they are very hard to paint because of the many petals. I included two buds as well, and think that the buds are just as pretty as the flower. "Midnight" in the title, of course, relates to the dark background and "Awakening" pertains to the bud and the anticipation of the coming flower. The painting is now in a juried exhibit at The Artists Gallery in Virginia Beach and won the Award of Excellence.
Unlike the above painting, I am looking forward to a very colorful and busy year. This black and white painting was completed in 2018 with a desire to complete a painting not dissimilar from my underpainting. I love the outcome, but I am back to color in 2019.
This year, I decided to write "Intentions" instead of "Goals" for the new year. Just seemed more relaxed and doable rather than rigid and demanding.
My intentions were formulated after reading an article in a small newspaper/magazine published and distributed in my area entitled Tidewater Women. My intentions are first to do one activity at a time....no more multi-tasking. That is a hard one for me. An even harder task for me is to complete one thing before starting another. (Notice that I am writing this at the end of January instead of at the beginning....so, not doing so well!??) I have a bad habit of jumping from one thing to another and then back and forth...you get the picture.
So, there you have it and now I have it in writing!! It may not seem like a lot, but it is two important intentions for me.
Jason Horejs of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ recently wrote a blog post about Decorative Art vs Fine Art. There was an interesting discussion of how they differ. Check out his blog and read how he defines the two.
I began thinking about my own paintings because I know that a buyer may purchase one of my paintings to decorate a specific room or spot in their home. And, I understand and appreciate that. But, I also hope that is not the only reason they chose the painting.
Recently a buyer brought an amazing and beautiful artwork that they had purchased back to the gallery because it did not fit in their space. I say if you love the work.....find a space.
Don't choose a painting just because it matches your duvet, or it goes with the colors in your bathroom, or it looks great over your couch. Choose it because you have fallen in love with it and can't live without it. Choose it because it helps you to see, understand and appreciate the world in which we live in a new and profound way. Choose it because the artist has taken a mundane subject and elevated it to a thing of beauty and wonder. Choose it because it brings back a memory of a special person, place, or event in your life. Choose it because you appreciate the artist's insight and amazing skill. And it can also look great over your couch!
Any of those reasons would make me feel as though I had accomplish my goal. As Jason says, "art is in the eye of the beholder". Choose what you love.
For my Fabulous Forgeries entry in this year's exhibition at The Artists Gallery in Virginia Beach, I chose Audrey Flack's Strawberry Tart Supreme. When I was teaching high school, this painting was one of my students' favorites. I like to choose a woman artist for my entry and since Audrey Flack works from photographed still life objects on a large format, she was perfect for me to copy. My painting is only 18" x 18", but the original by Audrey Flack is 54" x 60 1/4".....huge!
Audrey Flack is an American painter and sculptor, born May 30, 1931. She is a Photo-realist painter and was one of the first painters to use the projection of a photograph as an aid to painting. Her paintings, although realistic, also carry a sociopolitical message. Other paintings of hers that my students' loved to talk about and interpret are Royal Flush and Marilyn.
Strawberry Tart Supreme is monumental in size and when we behold the original, we are overwhelmed by the luscious desserts. The viewer salivates over the gleaming surfaces of sugary glazes and fluffy icings. And then, the after effect of so much sugar can make us quesy and a little sick........seductive and repulsive at the same time.
If you want to see the orginial, it is located in Oberlin, OH at The Allan Memorial Art Museum on the campus of Oberlin College.
The exhibition at The Artists Gallery runs the month of January and the Opening Reception is Friday, January 12th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Hope to see you there.
I have written before about painting wedding bouquets for friends, friends of family, and sometimes as a commissioned work. I love doing it and I always hope that the paintings will be a wonderful, lasting memory for the bride and groom. I have a dear friend who remarried after the sudden and unexpected loss of her husband. It was a heartbreaking event that will take years to mend. Happily, she found someone to share her abundant life with and remarried. Her new husband is an avid and experienced gardener who grows many beautiful flowers and plants. Their wedding reception was decorated with these beautiful amaryllises from their garden. My gift to them was this painting. It can not compare to the real thing, but hopefulllly these painted ones will be a lasting and year round memory of their happy day and new life together.
This is Nolin. It is a painting of my precious grandson, Nolin Thomas Hofler, created for the exhibit, "Seeing Red", at my co-op gallery in Virginia Beach. Nolin is two years old and has beautiful red curly hair that is not really red, but orange, or some may call him a ginger, or carrot top. According to Wikipedia, only 1- 2 % of the population has red hair, so he is pretty special. Red hair is also associated with light skin color, light eyes, and sensitivity to the sun. A common belief is that redheads have fiery tempers. Now, I won't say that Nolin has a fiery temper, but he does have his moments when things just don't go as he had planned. After all, he is two years old.
The Opening for the exhibit, "Seeing Red", is this Friday at The Artists Gallery, 608 Norfolk Avenue, in Virginia Beach, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Hope to see you there.
I so enjoyed painting the ornamental cabbage. I have had the photograph that I worked from for many years and for some reason it just became what I had to paint. I love the three dimensional effect and the movement in the leaves, the contrast of light and dark, and the variation of colors in the finished painting.
As I was finishing the painting, I happened to glance at a Van Gogh calendar that was in my studio and hanging beside my work table. It had been there for several months, as I was a little behind on flipping to the current month. I was surprised by the similarity of color, as well as, Van Gogh's use of movement created by the undulating lines and brushstrokes. I know that without realizing it at the time, that painting had seeped into my sub-conscious and I believe influenced by painting.
Above is my painting of the cabbage and below is the painting, entitled The Olive Trees, Saint Remy, painted by Van Gogh 1889. This was one year before Van Gogh's death. He was hospitalized at Saint Remy and only allowed short supervised walks around the grounds. These walks led to paintings of the olive trees and cypresses.
Influences come from many places and at different times in our lives. What are you influenced by in your creation of art?
I thought that when I retired, I would have so much time to devote to painting. Instead, I have found that my time gets taken up by many other things.......grandchildren, gallery business, church activities, and house and garden duties. So, I have ended up painting at night, just like when I was working full time. The day's chores and activities are complete and I can concentrate on just painting.
This is my set-up. I have several lights including a pole lamp with daylight bulbs on the right side of my canvas, a professional artist''s daylight easel lamp, and a small desk lamp that I use on the left side of my painting area. My studio is not very large, so that amount of light mimics daylight as best I can. So, if you have a small space and only the nighttime to paint, it can be done. It is important to have a designated area for painting and to have it set up all the time so that you can just walk in and paint for a few minutes or for hours.
I am a retired art teacher and now a full time professional artist who loves to paint and share my paintings with family, friends art lovers and patrons.