Art Blog

Staying True To The Reason We Paint

“Still Life #63″
Watercolor on Arches Cold Press 15″ x 22”

Last weekend I had a chance to do a demo for a good sized art group about watercolor painting. My philosophy is simply this: Have fun doing this! That was the reason we all started doing this to begin with, right? So, I have fun in the demo . . .and get everyone laughing and teach techniques and design ideas at the same time. This piece took 90 minutes with a 15 minute break half way through.

The painting is (I think!) number 63 of a series I have been working on of the same still life set up. There will be more about that in future posts. In short, series work is designed to open creative doors that the artist would not otherwise access if just painting one painting. Working in series allows us to take chances to find out what will happen if . . . .

The mood of the piece came out fun . . .eh?

Chasing the light

“Sunny Cove”
Oil on linen on panel 8″ x 10″
SOLD

Last post I spoke of painting “Late Shadows” . . .the painting is just below this post.

I have chosen to work the hard way. That is to go out in the late afternoon around 5PM when the sun is low and moving quickly toward the horizon. There are lot of hills around the area I live, Santa Cruz, California. So, while shadows get nice and long and the light becomes golden toward the hour of 7 PM, the sun finds a place behind a hill shortly before or after 7. That means I have two hours of painting time and am chasing the light as I paint. There is no time for getting stuck or sitting back to ponder for very long. This is immediate and urgent work.

I am amazed at how quickly it all falls into place. Mind you, I have done my share of studying, so I usually have a pretty firm plan before beginning. Believe me, it helps to have a plan!

The urgency of this approach makes for non-fussy work. And . . .you either get it or you don’t. This is a good thing because I don’t have any room to carp or complain if it doesn’t come out well. It comes out like it comes out. Period. (Fortunately, most of them make it to “acceptable”)

The nice thing about doing this daily is that EVERY PAINTING COUNTS! What that means is that each painting, failure or success, is contributing to all the successes. In other words, experience matters in painting. The more one paints, the better one becomes.

The piece for today was done two weeks ago right after work. I ran to the car, drove to a nearby beach cove and set up shop. This is an impression of the place just before dusk. Again, I get excited by the results and the process!

The First Plein Air Oil . . .

“Late Shadows”
Oil on linen on panel 12″ x 16″

Here it is . . .Not especially the best technique, but a two hour effort to capture the light through the trees. I had an absolute BALL painting this!!! 12 x 16 inches, oil on linen on wood panel.

The Time Has Come . . .

“Taking a Stab At It”
Watercolor on paper, 15″ x 22″

The time has arrived after much deliberation, consideration and excitement . . . .to make the commitment. Yup! I have decided to commit to making a painting a day . . . .every day except Sunday.

This may not seem like much if you aren’t an artist, but I can assure you that the commitment requires putting just about everything else aside in order to meet the promise.

Why, you ask? Simple! To compress a lot of experience into a short time. To force the learning process. To create new art. To GROW . . .and grow quickly.

You may know me as a watercolorist. In fact, that I am. But let me be very clear about something; I am an ARTIST before all else. Yes, I paint watercolors . . .and darned good ones. Some might say that they push the edges of the medium to an extreme. I agree.

Something has been eating at me over the last several years: The oil paints I have in my taboret drawer. I recently came across Kevin MacPherson and a few of his delightful plein air pieces. As well, I had ordered a new set up for plein air painting with watercolor. The one I purchased happened to be almost the same set up that he uses. I took it out and tried oil painting with it one time. I was bitten!! And I was bitten hard!!

Then, while exploring the internet for plein air painters, I came across a website featuring painters who had made a commitment to a painting a day . . . .and then my bite got much, much worse. I could quickly see how much growth these people had mustered in a short period of time. So, here I was. . . .madly going out to paint almost daily in the late afternoon and getting up early to paint in the studio.

Meanwhile, I was still going to class, teaching “Watercolor Beyond the Obvious” and doing my level best to continue in my still life series (another post for later) and creating some interesting abstracts for the more serious genre of studio born watercolors. I will use the one above as the piece to kick off this blog.

I fully expect to remain loyal as a watercolorist, you can see the work on the website by clicking here. But you can also expect to see me pushing into the next world of oil.

I’ll be posting oil paintings daily here. Watch for them!

Welcome to M.E. Bailey Art Blog

Here you will find adventures in painting. . . . Victories, absolute defeats, frustrations, highs, lows, lessons learned, commentary and thoughts from me and other artists.

As an art instructor, I don’t wish to hide the fact that I crash and burn often. I will always be learning. So, it all gets shown here . . .good and bad. Every painting we do counts in the learning and experience process. The failures actually are much better teachers than successes. Every piece made is a teacher. That’s the fun of it: the challenge to learn!

Search for a word in the box to the left: Color, Value, Perspective, Ideas, Muse, Plein Air. . .etc . . . .you’ll find plenty of paintings and ideas here. Have fun!

Join in and comment or email me, if you would like.