There Are A Few Of Us . .

“Sourdough”
Oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

I am one of those guys who has had multiple jobs and careers in my life. Most recently, teaching art / painting and being a realtor. Before that it was business owner, hi tech manager, salesman, marketing guy . . .all kinds of stuff . . .most of which had nothing to do with art. At a late age, the bug bit me. Age 46. And now, 18 years later, the bug still chomps down on me. Art is the only thing that has ever held my interest for any length of time beyond 2 or 3 years. Or, should I say that art is my compulsion.

A while ago, I had my studio on the same floor as my office and bedrooms are. . . .near the bathroom. If the door to the studio was open, it was a rare thing to pass that door without entering the studio to fiddle for a minute or two. Time stood still in that room. And often to the detriment of everything else in my life. That sort of access fed my compulsion and taught me much. What I learned over time is this: There are only a few of us who can even tell the difference in two colors of red . . .there are only a few who study value patterns, or shape design, or who feel that it really DOES matter to be concerned about what is going on in the world of art. There are only a few who really ‘get’ why people paint or make art. There are even fewer who will give painting a place in life that has priority.

And when someone else recognizes the compulsion . . .and sees it as honorable (ahem!) . . . .it seems that someone becomes a lifelong friend. That someone knows our heart . . and knows how much art really does matter.

I celebrate those who paw a keyboard daily in search of good art . . .or make it their business to find artists and see their work in some other way. They may not be the reason we do this, but they certainly provide validation. They, along with the few of us, really do understand that bread alone does not nourish us!

What Would I Do If I Hadn’t Made It?

“Red Onion”
Oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

Today’s post is a painting of a red onion and shed skin. Nice.

My wife, incapable of much movement sits watching TV. I paint when I am not taking care of her. Usually in the late evening. I wonder: What would I be doing if I had not commited to doing a painting a day. It seems rather simple now that I am in the habit. Beforehand it seemed like a monumental decision. Paintings actually go a little faster now. Familiarity and being in the zone help tremendously.

Can’t write much today, since I have to be ‘on call’ shortly.

My next project is to begin offering these paintings on EBay.

Till tomorrow . . . .

Mike

Coping With Confinement

“Papaya”
Oil on linen on panel, 6″ x 8″

Sometimes we have to do what’s best for others. And right now, it seems that is what is called for. My wonderful wife injured her achilles tendon and is due for surgery in a day or two. Obviously, she can’t move around, so I am the one to maintain life as we know it . . .cooking, cleaning and taking care of her.

In spite of the the confinement to the house, my studio is right downstairs. So, when she is resting and not in need (and the chores are done), I am in the studio fooling around. Well . . . . . . . .fooling around might not be the word for it . . . .would studying and experimenting be better? . . . . .I suppose that is what any artist would call it. Cuz, that is precisely what every movement in the studio is all about: trial and error and learning.

Thanks to Jeff Hayes and his archives, he developed a shadow box in which to control light in still life set ups. I cut up a cardboard box, painted it black and proceeded to paint little stills. What an amazing tool that is! Thanks to Jeff!! The light comes alive!

So, unless I can get out of the house for a few hours and Diana is cared for, I will be in the studio making these little wonders.

Please excuse the glare on the canvas. I haven’t yet figured out how to avoid that while photographing a wet painting.

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?