Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mountain Home - Day 5

This is Day 5 on the mountain painting. It seems time to befinished. I have spent the day adding more intensity to the sky and obsessing on little things; the shapes of the horses, the shadow lines and colors and values of atmosphere in the hillside background. This is the hardest part of the process for me. How to know when you're done.

If I have a common thread to my good paintings, it is painting atmosphere. Nothing seems to subsitute for the layering to get that effect. I tell students when I have taught workshops, there is no substitute for the extra work -at least for me. But I guess this is the part where you state there are no real rules. You have to do it the way you think it works best for you.

Tomorrow I will send an image to the gallery handling the commission and see what comes back.

Finish in Sight

Yesterday was spent in the studio, mainly working on the commission painting I have posted the last few days. The first day or so of painting on a piece like this seems very productive as great areas of canvas are blocked in and colors are established. As the painting winds down the pace slows. Details and fine tuning consume more time and thought. Right now the painting stands 85 to 90% finished.

Towards the end of the day, I took the painting out of the studio into direct sunlight and then to shade to see what it looked like. Colors that look right in the studio sometimes jump off the canvas outside, so it is good to check them in different light.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Measuring Intangibles

This morning I dropped in on an Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting which was addressing funding for the arts in the county. In light of the commission recently revoking an awarded art project at the new Orange County medical examiners building, I was interested in hearing the board's opinion of general arts funding for the next fiscal year.

Our county designates a percentage of a tourist bed tax for arts organizations. In the midst of the recession the tax is returning 20% less than two years ago. The recommended dispersal of the funds was already worked out by an advisory committee, and the budget was approved by a commission voice vote. The commissioner who led the charge for deleting art from the medical examiners building questioned the general funding by asking, "how can we measure the return on investment in the cultural arts?"

Good question. Though studies are done on cultural tourism and the economic effect from it,
I also wonder how we measure the effect in quality of life for the citizenry. Not everything a government does should directly return money. While Orange County doesn't donate money to build churches, they also don't get any return on property taxes for the land a church occupies. Can we admit there are intangibles that can't be measured in dollars and cents?

What's new: Here is an updated image on my current painting commission.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day Two, Measurable Progress

I spent today working on the commission piece that I posted last Friday, Working Through the Doldrums. Most of the hard work is done since I got in a full day without many distractions. With luck I will finish in the next couple of days and let it begin to dry before shipping. My instructions were not to paint too much green or blue. Thats a challenge when painting the Blue Ridge Mountains. This piece is for a specific space in a home. It measures 20" x 50".

A Second Try

I occasionally stumble on a place that I think is very paintable. The light, the composition, the colors - something just turns on a switch in my brain and I have to paint it.
This piece was inspired by a trip to Western NC last Thanksgiving week. It was cold and rainy and cabin fever set in. We decided to take a ride on some back roads. I took some photos and thought this scene looked like a good atmospheric painting. I did one a few weeks later but it was muddy in color and not very interesting. The photos I used for reference sat around for until recently when I took another try. I feel like I got what I was after with this one. For me this scene just says wet.

What's new: Third Day of Rain, 12 x 12, oil on canvas

Friday, October 23, 2009

Working Through the Doldrums

I've been misssing any strong focus to finish up paintings this week. I have several underway I need to finish soon. It seems occasionally the inspiration is just not there. I can go through the motions but good stuff just doesn't come out.
But pictured here is a commission that needs to finish up soon and today was a good start. I am going to post each days results so the process can be seen.

I spent two or three hours coming up with a design to fit this horizonal format, measuring 20 x 50 inches. Another hour or so was spent laying in the first bit of paint.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's Cool, Finally

Today was the first day of fall temperatures for us here in Central Florida. For me the best day of the year is the one you open the door, and the air is cool with no humidity. Your house air conditioner stops for the first time in seven months and you can open windows. Sweet.
I celebrated by meeting up with some friends at a car show in Lakeland FL. Five good friends, perfect weather, good barbecue and a nice walk through downtown Lakeland taking in the cars and the crowds. Days like this are almost worth the months of miserable heat.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Autumn Disguised as Summer

Tomorrow me and my wife Susan will be setting up for another art festival here in the Orlando area.

This Saturday morning the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival begins. For an artist, it's a little easier to do when compared to its older and larger sibling, the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in March.

We are hoping for a good show this weekend. The weather however, is not going to be very Fall-like. A high pressure system has been parked over the state and isn't allowing any cool weather to push close. Forecasters are calling for highs in the mid 90's for tomorrow and Saturday, then around 90 Sunday. By this time of year Florida becomes a tiresome place. We can't wait to feel low humidity and a cool morning again. Meanwhile, I'm trying to remember the pleasure of shivering in Chicago in June.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Show Time

This weekend is my first outdoor fall show. Time to dig out the tent, lights, display panels and the thousand other bits that have to travel with the paintings.
The Maitland Art Festival is one of the older established art fairs in the area set around a small in-town lake and happily less than a mile from my studio. Last year the organizers hoped to bring a little excitement to the show by adding evening hours on Friday and Saturday. They wired the whole park with electricity so the artists can now light their booths. Last year the crowds were small in the evening. We're hoping there is more awareness and energy this year.