Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sometimes We Just Don't Think... Epic Crash

Cormorant Rock  10x10 O/L  available
Cormorant Rock 10x10 O/L available
No worries really ... things have been going very well for me lately -artwise.   I'm working on many paintings for two major shows with my PAC6 friends.  My work has been juried in to quite a few shows all over the area and I've even gotten a nice big award.  

On the small side of problems, I was delivering this painting called "Cormorant Rock" and two other paintings to a show up north when a lady backed in to my car.  She wasn't thinking....  She didn't look.  It wasn't a horrible crash although both of our cars will end up costing quite a bit to repair.   But each of us could still drive away.  We exchanged information and I went on my way.  It has now been almost 6 weeks and she FINALLY called her insurance agent back.  I had left a message on her phone but she didn't call me back, so I contacted her insurance.  Then she didn't call them back so they sent me a letter saying that they couldn't do anything without hearing from her.  WOW....   I guess I should have waited there for the police or something.  Who knew that you could just not call back and basically put your head in the sand.    Anyway all is well... she has finally called them so I guess we will both move forward with getting our repairs.

Really all of that seemed so trivial in light of the major health problems some of my friends have been having.  Their journeys sap my heart.  However these beautiful people have dug in and are fighting back.  It renews my belief that each of us needs to do whatever we can to live well and do the things we want to do NOW... not wait.  

My latest epic "head up my >>>>>" move relates to technology which I am totally addicted to (sad, but true).  I got a new computer early this year because I was afraid my old one was on it way out.   I was proud of myself for not waiting until it was gone.  Unfortunately I have been backing all of my photos (family, events, trips, paintings ... ALL OF IT) onto an external hard drive -- all the while thinking I was being smart.  NOT!!!!      Stupidly, I never considered backing up that drive which I had been considering my back up.  It really wasn't a back up since I deleted the photos off the computer once I stored them on my external drive.

Well you guessed it....  It crashed.  I was even willing to pay the big bucks to recover the data but the company just wrote back that it is unrecoverable.  

REALLY?

It is all gone.  All the photos since Tyler was 4.  All my reference photos.  All of my finished artwork photos.  My photos of my adventures to the Channel Islands, the Colorado River trip through the Grand Canyon, my trip to Canyon de Chelly with the PAC6 and our latest adventure packing in to the Sierras.      GONE.....

Unrecoverable.....

So...  compared to what my friends are going through this is really unimportant.   I should have been more clear with myself about what I was actually doing.  I shouldn't have assumed that that hard drive was invincible.  It wasn't.  Nothing is.

It is yet another reminder to live well.  Let's keep making memories.  Don't rely on your photos.  Your memories are yours and they may be all you have.


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accepted into the exhibit
"Make Hay While The Sun Shines"

Palm Loft Gallery
Carpenteria
June-July, 2016 


"Cormorant Rock"
was selected by juror Kevin Adkins, Creative Director at the Washington Post
for inclusion in the national show
WATER WORKS
at the Annapolis Maritime Museum
Annapolis, MD
September 16-November 1, 2015

This painting was awarded a FIRST PLACE by juror Jason Dowd in the California Art League Holiday Small Works Show at the Modest Fly Gallery.

I've been going to Leo Carrillo State Beach to paint often lately.  It is almost always nicer there than in the very hot Valley where I live.  It seems, however, that each time I go, it is a bit different and I find another beautiful scene to try to capture.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Surf's Up -- Revisiting Your Work


Surf's Up  12 x 16  O/C   Available

Sometimes cleaning out the room where you store all of your studies and older work is a great cathartic.  I get to enjoy paintings I forgot about and toss out those that are hopeless.  I can compare my old work with what I am doing now and see the growth I've made.  AND I can see paintings that might benefit from a bit of reworking.

An on-the-spot 9'x12" piece painted while I was at Surf Rider Beach in Malibu served as the model for the original larger painting I did a year or so ago.  The original was in a show about water.  I liked the concept of it, but there were things about it that have bothered me for a while now.

I decided to pull it out of the stack and really analyse it.  When I did, I realized that the foreground wave was the main problem, so today I worked on it and I like it a lot more right now.  I'd show you the original but the external hard drive I use to save all of my photos and painting images has crashed so I am in kind of a tight spot.

I changed the foreground wave, and added some foam patterns.  I reworked the surfer riding the wave and I tried to change shapes that seemed to repetitive.  I may do more, but for now, I think I like it much better.

It felt good today to work on this piece.  For the last several weeks I've been worried and depressed about several friends who are extremely ill.  In the past, out of fear I think, I avoided visiting friends who are terribly ill.  But I have lost so many other friends recently that it has made me recognize that while visiting may not heal them, it helps me heal the hurt I feel knowing I am unable to help them.  I haven't really felt much like painting.  

While painting does take one's mind off troubles, it also requires a certain emotional expenditure.  I'd rather paint "happy" than paint depressed.  So this little "revisit" has helped me get back into the mindset needed to tackle the mental and emotional challenges of creating.

I'm hoping that "Surf's Up" and "Suiting Up - Boys at the Beach" and a new one I am working on will be accepted and shown at the upcoming SCAPE show in Santa Barbara which benefits the Surfrider Foundation.  Wish me luck.

UPDATE:    All three paintings were juried in to the SCAPE show and "Surf's Up" was awarded a first place prize by juror Michael Drury.

Proceeds from sales go to the Surfrider Foundation. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sunflowers For Mom

Sunflowers For Mom 10x10 O/L

My mother would have been 100 on Mother's Day.  She was 92 when she passed away - having lived a long and mostly-lovely life with my Dad.  They were a great couple and enjoyed life and one another.  During the last several years Mom suffered from Alzheimer's disease, so we lost her slowly over the years rather than all at once.  Dad was a constant and caring caregiver.  He passed 5 years after Mom when he was 93. (She was a cradle robber, I guess.)

Just before Mother's Day I received news that the last of their large and fun-loving group of friends had passed at 97.  Somehow -- even though this friend had lived a great and long life, I found that her passing brought back all of the sadness of losing my parents.

I usually avoid going to the cemetery.  I prefer to remember my parents as they lived, but since it was both Mother's Day and Mom's birthday, I decided to visit them both.  I'm glad I went, really, but WOW... I had no idea how many people visit graves on days like Mother's Day.  The place was absolutely packed.  I had to wait in line just to enter the cemetery.  Happily it was a pretty day.  People were all around, picnicking and visiting.  The "neighbors" helped me dig out the little vase at the head of the plot so I could leave my sunflowers for Mom.  When I bought the flowers before going to visit, I decided to buy some for myself to paint also -- thus this little painting you see above.

I don't usually paint still lifes.  I enjoy landscapes.  But I wanted to practice and flowers were calling.  Of course I tried to create a good design - not worry too much about my drawing -- be free with my paint -- vary my edges and to use lots of secondary playful color in the shadow areas.  It was kind of fun!  I should paint like that more often.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Weathered and Enduring

Weathered and Enduring 24x24
I was deeply honored and THRILLED that this new piece was juried in to
California Statewide Land & Sea Exhibit," at the Santa Cruz Art League

EXHIBITION DATES:
June 3 - July 3, 2016
Lecture: “Art of the Deep” by Juror: David C. Gallup.   June 10, Friday, 7pm.
Reception: Saturday, June 11, 3:00 - 5:00pm

LOCATION:
Santa Cruz Art League
526 Broadway
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 
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It was a beautiful day on the cliffs of Dinosaur Caves Park in Shell Beach when I painted a small 8x8 plein air piece here.
The plein air piece was called "Dinosaur Caves at Shell Beach" after the park.

I think the area is beautiful and was inspired to paint this larger studio piece.  I hope you will enjoy it.
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Since I saw no dinosaurs wandering through the park (except cement ones for children to enjoy) I wondered why it was called Dinosaur Caves Park.  Here is what I found:

Dinosaur Caves Park is a family-friendly park in the Shell Beach area of Pismo Beach, CA. The park has open grass areas, picnic tables, walking paths, ocean overlooks, and an abundance of kids play toys with animal and dinosaur themes. The park also has an interesting history. In the 1940’s a large concrete dinosaur was constructed at this location. Visitors could enter the dinosaur and descend a tunnel in the tail that lead into an underground sea cavern. The cavern has since collapsed and all evidence of the dinosaur have been removed. Unfortunately, all other access routes to the shoreline have eroded away so there is no beach access from the park anymore.   

I also found a great drone video of the park and the shoreline done by "RoadTripFPV"
Here it is for you to enjoy:


Monday, April 11, 2016

Blacktail - When Something Bothers You - Fix It!!

Blacktail 18x14 Oil/Canvas Panel

I had a wonderful adventure painting with a group and rafting down 140 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.  While we had time onshore, we often hiked to interesting areas such as
this beautiful slot canyon called Blacktail Canyon around mile 121.
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Blacktail
was juried in to the Summer 2013 Exhibition at the Burbank Creative Arts Center.
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Blacktail
was selected as part of the American West Show at
La Galeria Gitana
San Fernando, CA
May-July, 2016




Is a painting ever REALLY "done"?
Recently I answered a call for entries to a show about the American West.  I submitted paintings and several were selected for inclusion.  They are all quite different but each represents a wonderful place and a wonderful adventure.

There is one from my recent backpacking/mule riding/camping/painting trip to the Easter Sierras.   Two are from my painting trip to Canyon de Chelly and the one featured in this blog post is a studio version of a painting I did while rafting through the Grand Canyon.

(I have to say that painting has really improved my ability to see the world in ways previously unimaginable to me.  -- Perhaps for that alone, I LOVE having learned to paint!)

I've always loved the painting, Blacktail, even when my good painting buddy told me that no one would ever buy it because it was too weird.  I have enjoyed it on my own walls -- each time smiling at the memory of a fabulously beautiful and unique place created through time, wind, water and surely a higher power.

It's Only Paint
When I painted it I struggled with the foreground rocks.  I could have left them out completely but decided not to.  However, all the time I've looked at this painting, the stark white rocks had bothered me.  When the painting was juried in to the upcoming show at La Galeria Gitana in San Fernando, CA, I decided to revisit those rocks.  -After all, it's only paint.  In my Master Class with my mentor, David Gallup, David has been discussing the importance of losing focus in the foreground of our paintings.  To quote David, "Okay, Master Class. The idea for our Month of Foreground is that rather than trap the eye at the bottom of the canvas by increasing detail and focus as objects draw nearer, we can look past an out-of-focus foreground to the subject, nearer the desired target from a 2-D design perspective. Using in and out of focus areas to create depth and move the eye in addition to all of our other tools. Dig? "

David has a "David Gallup Master Class" Facebook group page and we've all be searching the web for examples of out-of-focus foregrounds.  Check it out if you're interested in participating with the discussions.  (We also post all sorts of interesting artwork and bits of nature - especially those that relate to David's interest in underwater things.)

Anyhow, the point is that my foreground rocks were too imposing and prominent.   They trapped the eye more than was necessary.  (See the original on the left.) They were whiter and had fairly hard edges which contrasted with the dark waters of the pool.  Rather than to eliminate them, I darkened them and tried to soften the edges a bit.  It wasn't a huge change, but I think that now the painting works better.

Thanks for stopping by.  Perhaps I will see you at the show opening at La Galeria Gitana on May 14th from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  It's always an interesting show.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

HOW Do They Find You?

Walking The Dog 11 x 14 O/C




ABOUT THIS PAINTING
I saw on the internet that the flowers were beginning to come up in a spot I enjoy painting up near Santa Barbara.  Happily, we have had a few spring rain   showers and I was hopeful that the Carpenteria Bluffs would be glorious.
In recent years, they have been brown and sad due to our long California drought.

I decided to drive up the coast to enjoy the Bluffs.  The 90 minute drive was lovely and the day was glorious.  There weren't as many flowers as I had hoped.  I think I jumped the gun a bit.  Unless we get a really hot dry spell, the flowers haven't reached their peak.  However I totally enjoyed my hike and the entire morning. 

I really liked the way the fog was obscuring the far hills, but shining through the eucalyptus which was shading the man who was walking his dog.  I tried to capture that tranquil moment.  I couldn't quite get the figure right and had to let the painting dry a bit before I went in and fixed up the man and his dog.   Hope you enjoy it!

(Walking The Dog is a new painting -- not the one that my new British collector purchased.)


HOW DO THEY FIND YOU?
I recently sold a painting to a new collector in the United Kingdom.  It was a small plein air piece that I had painted several years back while I was on the last of my painting adventures aboard an 80 foot dive boat that helped a great group of artists explore our local treasure, The Channel Islands National Park.

Happily at that time I was blogging more frequently so when this collector asked for details about where the painting was created, I was able to refer back to my blog post and give him lots of details.  HIS Channel Islands, of course, are quite different than ours, but I was proud to be able to share several links with information about this uniquely beautiful National Park.

His question:  "Do you remember which of the islands this painting is of?  It's always nice to have as much information as one can about a landscape painting.  I collect -- I am passionate about early English watercolours and it is very frustrating (and truth be told, detracts from the value) when one has a landscape of a place which can't be identified.  If you are buying a 200 year old watercolour one can't easily ask the artist, of course."

Hmmm...   How, I asked, did you find me?  (Especially since I don't paint in watercolors nor am I living in the 18th or 19th century.)
His answer wasn't quite what I had hoped:
"I'm not quite sure.  I have been browsing the internet for a couple of weeks looking for contemporary oils and one website leads to another.  Actually, it's quite addictive.  There is a website called "1stDibs" which may have lead me to you.  I think that was a US website.  But I may have been looking at a US art dealer's website who sells your work.  Not sure."
Still, I was very happy that he DID find me and that he took the time to go through so many paintings on my website!

GETTING FROM HERE TO THERE
Well, thank goodness for my wonderful FASO website!!  Also thank goodness for PayPal which protects both the buyer and the seller and which can deal with exchange rates, etc.  The real trial was getting the painting to him.  I checked out the rates for our US Postal Service and with FedEx and they were almost the same.  I decided to go with the USPS which may have been a mistake.  I had it insured and registered and because it went to another country had to fill out customs forms.  All went well until it got to London.  It took 4 days to get to London from my post office near Los Angeles, CA.  However, tracking from there was odd.  I heard nothing for almost a week and began to think it had gotten lost when suddenly it said it had left London.  Well, it finally arrived, but then the UK post office charged the collector additional postal fees and there was a VAT (value added tax) that was almost as much as the original postage.  Shocking!

At least it arrived and the collector thinks the painting is "lovely".   All's well that ends well.

Do you have any stories about how strangers have found your work?
How about shipping internationally?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Not With A Brush -- With A Mind And A Heart

Sunshine and Reflections - Goleta Slough 16x20 O/C

Near where my daughter lives is the most beautiful place to paint -- the Goleta Slough.
Just south of the UCSB campus this lovely beach is constantly changing with the tides.
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Before Christmas I signed up for a Mentor Monday session through the California Art Club.  The artist who was to critique our work was Marcia Burtt - a wonderful acrylic artist with a very loose style, excellent creative designs and amazing color sense.  I have long admired her work, but never met her.  She was delightful and I thoroughly enjoyed my morning.  She spent time with all of us in the session discussing what might make our work stronger.  Before the session was over she mentioned that she would be hosting a workshop with Ray Roberts in early February at her studio/gallery in Santa Barbara.  As you may remember, I love Ray Roberts' work and have studied with him previously.  Since my daughter lives in Santa Barbara, I wouldn't have to pay hotel bills so I decided to sign up.

From Marcia Burtt's Studio/Gallery
I really enjoyed the excuse to spend more time with my daughter and grandkids while I was up there.  That was the bonus.  The workshop was the excuse.

I had a great time in the workshop and learned a lot from both Marcia and from Ray.  Marcia had a large canvas which she quickly covered with her beautiful acrylic colors.  She is more interested in on-the-spot gestural work.  Ray emphasized the importance of creating many small studies in the field and using them in addition to photographs and videos of the scene to create larger studio work.  We spent two days in the field during absolutely gorgeous weather, as we watched demonstrations and created our own small studies.  I did little 7 studies -- none worth sharing except to tell you of the enjoyment of being outside and painting in a beautiful spot. 
From Marcia Burtt's Studio/Gallery

While in the studio part of the session, Ray discussed how he uses captures from videos (he had flown a drone around the slough and had some amazing video) as well as photos which he manipulates in Photoshop to use as a basis for his studio pieces.  He showed us how he can enhance the "sparkles" of the sun shining on the water or manipulate the colors.  It was all very interesting and we each practiced with our own computers to see if we could do it as well.  (I'm going to have to practice the "sparkle" bit...  Didn't quite "get" it yet.)

During that last day in Marcia's studio/gallery I started the painting above.   Everyone in the class spread out.   Some were behind Ray to better see how he was handling his computer manipulation and his own painting and others, like me were off to the side.  Ray wasn't happy with his start -- almost wiping it down.  He realized the next morning that he had made the value of the water too light so he set about fixing it.  (Nice to know even the greats can get off to a bad start.)   It was interesting to see what all of the other artists created also.  Each of us had a unique take on the workshop and place where we were painting.   Basically, while there, I worked on the scene using Photoshop Elements and blocked in the painting.

At home over the last few weeks I've completed the block in and spent a lot of time refining it.  Sometimes I wonder if the time it takes to finish a painting is spent more with a brush in hand or through hours of thought, dreams and feelings of the heart.  I'm beginning to feel it's the latter.

I think it's very true that as artists, we are the sum of all those from whom we have learned.  We will always be our own selves but we take a bit of knowledge or a whisper of beauty from every painting and artist we admire.

I thought I was finished several times, but as the painting sat on my TV ledge in "time out", I would see something that I didn't like or that could be done better.   My mentor, David Gallup, is always asking us WHY we are painting something.  He tells us not to paint THINGS....  we should express feelings or what the scene says to us rather than just a place. 

That may be the most difficult task of all.

Many thanks to Marcia, Ray and David.... and to all of the other artists who have served as models and teachers along my painting journey. 

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