Today’s Painting

“Tomatoes”
Oil on linen on panel, 5 1/2″ x 8″

This daily painting idea is terrific! I have always done something in the studio nearly daily. This just confirms my belief in compressed experience. This was a fun one!!

The Value of Blogging

A few weeks ago I dug through the archives of Jeff Hayes’ blog (link in the list). Jeff had photos of a shadow box he built for the purpose of painting still life.

This was a revelation to me!! I could not believe I had never heard of one of these tools before. I looked very carefully at his photo and tried to find out more about the tool . . .but, alas, all he had was one post. Another artist also picked up on it and set up a temporary arrangement with foam core boards ‘n stuff. I was fascinated.

After looking carefully at Jeff’s set up, I made an emulation from a cardboard box painted flat black. Here’s a photo.

Mind you, this is not intended to look like the Taj Mahal. Its purpose is to regulate light . . . . . . . . . ..especially reflected light and light coming from other sources. My studio has can lights in the ceiling and track lighting . . . .thus providing MANY shadows and no discernable pattern of light. As you can see here, the flood light shining into the slots above the subject and the ceiling of the box (and walls) make for one source of light and shadow. The recessive darkness into the back of the box gives the subject more depth and interest. Above is a photo of how the subject looks from my easel.

You can see that the subject receeds nicely into the dim light and the portion of the subject that I wish to emphasize is lit up like a Christmas Tree. Wow! No guessing here.

All I need to do is move the flood light (you can see the lip of it in the upper left corner of the shadow box photo) to the side, or the rear or forward to gain the kind of light I want.

I have spoken here of making the mundane extraordinary . . .and this tool does it! Thanks, Jeff, for being so generous with your information. Apparently, other artists have used similar arrangements if they paint still life paintings, but I sure had no clue!! There is a ton of vital information about almost any subject in the blogshpere. . .art in particular. Aren’t we lucky to be granted this privilege of these accesible resources on the internet?!

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!