Saturday, January 23, 2016

Painting Doubles


"Southern" Sunrise - Sequit Point

Painting at Sequit Point on Leo Carrillo State Beach is one of my favorite things to do.

My PAC6 painters group was asked to created "doubles" for an upcoming show. (CALLED DOUBLE TAKE) -- Two paintings of the same place at different times of the day or different weather conditions or different seasons.  I painted a set of doubles - which I wrote about in my last two blog posts- ( "Sequit" and "Sunset At Sequit Point" ) for the show and really enjoyed doing it.





 





I decided that I would do series of doubles.  This painting above is one of two I've done recently looking what seems like south but which apparently is really east from Sequit Point.  Since I'm standing on the west coast and looking toward Mexico, I think of that direction as south... but since the sun is rising over there it is obviously east....  California can be confusing....  "North" on the 101 Freeway is actually west... but nobody calls it west on the 101.  Ya gotta live here to understand. 

I will share the second one I did (also looking "south" ) in my next post.  They are very different as you will see.

As I saw the work which will be in the show from my painting buddies, I realized that MY doubles are a bit different than those of my painting pals.  Rather than do more like what Monet did in his haystack or cathedral series, I had moved a bit from the viewpoint of the first to do the second or I used different ways of applying paint, so my differences between the doubles are much vaster.  We'll see how that plays out.

Please come by to see the show while it is hanging.  If you can make it to the reception, I would love to talk with you.  Please come!
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I was pretty far along on each of this new set of "doubles" when I took them in for my mentor, David Gallup, to critique.  It was pretty discouraging.   David always gives a fair critique designed to move me and other artists in the class along from where we are, but on that day I was dejected.  I left the day feeling like perhaps I should trash them both. 

However, after "licking my wounds" and letting the paintings sit for several days while I worked on other paintings, I decided that I liked both of them enough to finish them up.  Actually this one kept calling to me... letting me know that it was really quite worthy.   So I continued working on them trying to improve the issues I saw after a few days... (shapes which were too regular or the same, not enough movement in the water, "flat", cut-out looking rocks, too many hard edges, etc.)

 I pulled out my Plein Air Magazine with Ray Roberts' seascape painting on the cover and flipped through his website for even more inspiration.  I love his work and would love to create work which has the appeal of his work... (not to mention his ability to use composition, color and brushwork to inspire the angels.)

Neither of these doubles are perfect, but I like them both and am happy to be moving in what I think is the "right" direction.... west, east....who knows....   but "right".

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Many Moods of Sequit Point -- How At Least One "Series" Is Begun

Sequit 12"x12" O/L

A Favorite Place
Sequit Point at Leo Carrillo is the place that speaks to my soul.  No matter when I visit it is always beautiful and always different.  This visit was in October.

It's the same place but it's not.  On other days or at other times of the year or times of day, the sands change, the rocks move, the water is high, the atmosphere and light is different. 
It's always a delightful surprise.

How At Least One Series Is Conceived
I've learned about many artists who do series (Monet's haystacks and cathedrals come to mind) and often I've often wondered what made them do it.  Were they just trying to get it "right"?  Were they studying?  Was it a place of wonder for them?  Why did they paint the same thing over and over?

I know this place as Sequit Point in Leo Carrillo State Beach.  Although I paint all over this area, I mostly paint around Lifeguard Tower 3.  There is a metal marker drilled or hammered into the craggy cliff near Tower 3 which identifies it as Sequit Point.  When I tried looking up the word "sequit" in the dictionary, the closest I came to finding it was a third person singular Latin word meaning "it follows".  The closest English word is sequitur which has synonyms like consequence, deduction, determination, inference, and conclusion.  -- Hmmmmmm  -- Perhaps the place presents itself in such a pleasing array of shapes, colors, sounds and smells so it follows that my paintings will be a satisfying assortment -- the same - but different. 

Anyway after painting "Sunset At Sequit Point" and this one, "Sequit", I decided I liked the idea -- not just to do my plein air sketches there, but to do a series of studio paintings of Sequit Point.  The same view -- just a different season, time of day or weather condition.  It will fill my painting soul and perhaps a few viewers will enjoy it too. -- I'm working on two scenes looking south from Sequit point right now.  (The views you see in this and the last post are looking north.)  It does make me think about how important light is and how it changes the color of the water and the rocks...  So very interesting and compelling.




I chose this location for two of my paintings for the PAC6 show called "Double Take" at Hillside Fine Art Gallery in Claremont, CA. 
The PAC6 - me and 5 of my painting buddies, will all present "doubles" of our chosen scenes.

The show will run from January 17 through the end of February, 2016.
The reception will be Saturday, February 6, from 5-7 pm.
Hillside Fine Art
445 W. Foothill Blvd. Ste. 101
Claremont, CA  91711

I sure hope you can make it.

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

What Supports You? (or your artwork)


Sunset At Sequit Point 11"x14" Oil on Hardboard

 Finding Something Different
A weekend art sale of work by California Art Club artist members at La Casita Del Arroyo in Pasadena led me to experiment again with a different type support.  Seeing all of the great work, chatting with friends and meeting artists I hadn't met before was fun.  Being with friends and fellow painters is inspirational, and supports my creative needs.  While I was there what caught my eye was the intriguing look of some of the work.

While browsing the work in the show, I noticed that quite a few of the artists I knew were painting on gessoed board -- no canvas or linen.  I liked it.  It created a different look than the more textured surfaces I had been trying to achieve using linen panels or stretched canvases.  I decided to try using hardboard panels.  Jack Richeson Co. has a nice "Toned Premium Gessoed Hardboard" which comes in a mid-tone grey and an umber wash.  I took one to our PAC6 pack trip to Ediza Lake and the Eastern Sierra and found it incredibly easy to paint on.  The pre-toned surface accepts paint well and the toning makes it easy to lay out a nice 3-value design.

Since it worked well on my trip, I've used the hardboard panels a few more times including this painting and it's "double" for an upcoming show with my PAC6 buddies at Hillside Fine Art in Claremont, CA.  The show will hang from January 17 through February 28 and will feature two sets of doubles from each of the six of us.

Double Take
My first two "doubles" are done on canvas and linen and have a totally different feel than these two.  One of them is covered with quite thickly textured paint -- the other was done en plein air from the same place only during an entirely different time of day, year and season.  It's almost hard to tell it's the same scene since in that "double" there is a slough which changes drastically over the years because of changes in the tides and water table of the slough and surrounding land.  It will be interesting to see how they look with all of the other doubles in the upcoming show.

The premise of "Double Take" is to paint the same place differently -- two different times of day -- two different seasons -- two different types of weather.  It's a fabulous idea and there are so very many ways to address it.  After much thought I finally decided to focus on the place I most love to paint: Sequit Point at Leo Carrillo State Beach.  I have painted there many, many times over the years.   Each time I go there, it's different.   The sands change, some of the rocks move, the wave size changes and of course the weather changes.   I know that when I paint what I love I can convey the magical feelings and moods of the place.  I hope you agree.

This painting was of a late summer day just before sunset.  I was with my friend.  It was glorious.


 

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Twilight At Echo Mountain Trailhead


Twilight At Echo Mountain Trailhead O/L 12"x12"

The trailhead which leads up to Echo Mountain begins at what is left of the Cobb Estate in Altadena, CA.
One evening I was with a group at the Cobb Estate waiting to paint nocturnes.
As the sun began falling Echo Mountain lit up and brilliant paths of sunshine
kindled the dry grasses pointing the way up the mountains.
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Taking Advantage Of An Upcoming Opportunity
The California Art Club has always been one of the art groups that I most identify with.  The club is a huge organization attracting artists from across the country -- not just California -- but for me, it retains the "just small enough" status.  Too big and I feel lost and too small and I feel constricted.
So although I haven't attempted to enter any shows in a while, I decided it was time to try again.

There is a show coming up in Altadena and all levels of the CAC are eligible to submit work for the juror to select from.  Normally the theme, which is fairly location specific - "Scenic Vistas Of The San Gabriels" would be off-putting for me.  I don't live in the San Gabriel Valley and while I often go to CAC events in that area, I rarely go there to paint because the traffic in that direction during the week is ugly.  However, a year or so ago, I took a nocturne class from CAC Artist Member, Eric Merrell, which was near his home in the San Gabriel Valley.  Before night set, we drove around and then we set up in a grassy area near the Cobb Estate in Altadena.  As Eric talked to us, the sun was setting and I quickly dashed off the "bones" of an 8"x8" sunset study which I finished later that week.  Although I enjoyed the workshop and learned some great things, my nocturne sketches really  sucked stunk, but I have always liked that little sunset sketch.

I decided to use the sunset sketch as the basis for a slightly larger painting which you see above.  I tried to play with color and make it interesting -- thinking that if the juror got hundreds of paintings of mountains, it would be a pretty boring show.  At least the colors and shapes and design of this painting will be interesting and hopefully pleasing to the viewers.

I also painted a more traditional view of the San Gabriel Mountains, but I tried to put the emphasis on the light hitting the tall palms as it was fading toward twilight. 
The title is a bit of a play on words.  The street in this painting is right in front of the Mountain View Cemetery.   (I decided to leave that part out of the title, though.  LOL) 

It would be lovely if one or both were accepted into the show which is in Altadena...   Very location specific and hopefully pleasing to those who might view it in that venue.

Are Buyers Always "Location Specific"?
A friend who will be in an upcoming group show with me early next year told me recently that, "Nobody buys seascapes from that gallery"  [where we will be showing our work]  Actually I've heard many similar things from a wide variety of artists.  Most recently I heard it from a gallery owner/ artist in the Santa Barbara area who said that people from the area didn't seem to want to buy paintings of the Oregon coast.   I found that rather sad after having looked at the particular Oregon artist's work and finding it absolutely amazing and beautiful.  However, I suspect that it's probably true.  People who live in the desert don't buy ocean scenes, people who live on the coast don't buy desert scenes, etc. 

It sure would be nice if people bought paintings because of the paint and the design and the brushwork and color...  but it is understandable that there needs to be a bigger connection....  -- a favorite vacation spot, a home, a familiar landmark or event.

So.. what should I do if I actually want to sell my artwork?
Hmmmm...   I'd love to know what any of you think.  Please take a minute to leave a comment about your own thoughts and experiences.  For me, I will probably continue to paint those places I love (like the coast) and hope that perhaps someone else loves them too -- enough to want to live with them on their walls.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How Do I Get Them To Stay?


Let's Play! 6"x6" Oil on board
There's a dog beach up in Santa Barbara called Hendry's.  It's also called Arroyo Burro Beach.
Somehow watching the joy of the many dogs as they play on the beach and splash through the waves puts a smile on everyone's face.
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Let's Play!was one of two of my paintings selected to be part of the 6" Squared Show
Randy Higbee Gallery
December, 2015
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How Do I Get Them To Stay?
Better yet, how do I get them to return and contact me or purchase a piece of artwork?
It's a question I imagine most of us who are artists have asked ourselves if we have a web presence.  Statistically I know that people are visiting my website.  My website design company, Fine Art Studio Online or FASO, comes with many perks including stats about who any visits and how any pages they visit.  Each time I post a new painting, it also sends it out to all FASO subscribers in what is called the Daily Mail.  Each time that happens my statistics jump.
I usually have 20-30 visits each day when I don't do anything special.  On days when I upload a new image it jumps to well over 30 -- sometimes WAY over 30.  The trouble is more often than not, the visitors don't stay.  Most visit one page and move on to someone else's image.

I need to figure out a way to get them to stay.  In the early years before the advent of "secure searches" I could see more of what people were looking for who actually landed on my website using a search engine.  Now because of secure searches the visits are less easy to track from key words or search topics so I can't tell why they visited my website in the first place.

Examining My Own Visits
I decided to think about why I visit several pages of other artists websites.  Here are some that I came up with:
  1. I have seen their work (and liked it) in a magazine and I want to see more or look to see if I can afford a piece.
  2. I heard about them from friends and want to find out more.
  3. I've seen their work through social media and want to learn more about them.
  4. I have met the artist either on a trip or at an opening or in a workshop and I wanted to know more about their work and them.
  5. Their work is in a show with my work and I want to compare -- prices, subject matter, style, etc.
  6. I subscribe to their blog or newsletter and there is a piece mentioned that I like and I want to know more.
  7. I want to find out about where the artist lives or whether they do workshops.
I'm sure you could add several other reasons to visit more than one page of an artist's website.  I sure would appreciate it if you would take the time to comment below and add your own reasons.

But wait...  There's More!
  1. I also wonder how often those of you who have your own artist website sell your work from the website. 
  2. Do most of your collectors contact you through email or by phone? 
  3. Do you list your prices?  I've seen both....and although I always hesitate to contact those where there are no prices listed, I know some artists feel it's better not to list prices. 
  4. Do you have a PayPal button on your image pages?

Basically I'm wondering what I've always wondered.....  "How do I get them to stay?"
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Friday, November 6, 2015

Ethereal Light - Santa Cruz Sea Cave

Ethereal Light - Santa Cruz Sea Cave 16x12 O/L

I missed the boat
I wasn't able to go to the islands this year.  The annual painting trip to the Channel Islands off the coast of California, inaugurated by my mentor and friend, David Gallup, ended after four years.  Last year the "boat people" didn't go out together to paint.  This year, however, one of my friends, Dorene White, -- an original "boat person" decided to organize the trip again.  I would have joined the group happily, but I had already planned to go with my PAC6 buddies to pack in on horses and mules to camp in the Eastern Sierras near Ediza Lake.  I love to travel.  I love to paint.  I love my painting buddies, but I just can't go out all of the time -- I love my family too.

SCAPE benefit for the UCSB Natural Reserves
When I heard about this SCAPE (Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment) benefit for UCSB's Natural Reserves I decided it was a perfect opportunity to sort of reminisce in paint.  UCSB is my Alma Mater.  One of the 7 natural reserves that it supports is on Santa Cruz Island - the largest of the Channel Islands.  (Did you know that the Channel Islands are part of our amazing National Parks?)  I pulled out my photos from the four years that we visited Santa Cruz and began to plan my painting.  Santa Cruz Island has so many beautiful sea caves and arches, it seemed like a perfect idea.

I looked for an interesting scene with great shapes which could be made into a well-designed painting.  While painting I tried to keep all of David's advice about design, value and color in mind.  In the end I was pretty happy with my painting.

At the show the painting had many admirers and I made some great new friends.  I'm hoping that the lady who took this photo and sent me an e-mail about it will end up treasuring it on her own wall. 

I love it.   She said she does too.     


Topics: Art Shows - Art Business | David Gallup workshop | Landscape | Making the most of retirement | Traveling 

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sea Foam and Shadow -- Who Or What Inspires You?


Sea Foam and Shadow 12x9 O/L

Every visit to Leo Carrillo is a delightful surprise.
It's a never-ending change of scene.

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Why Paint?I think one of the main reasons I keep painting is because it gives me an "excuse"... an opportunity.. whatever you want to call it to get outside and be one with places that fill me with a sense of well-being.   Even on days when the weather isn't cooperating or when the insects seem to have been called to a convention on MY palette, I love being outdoors.  This painting journey of mine happened rather late in the scheme of things.  Until I started painting, I had never done much hiking... I hadn't spent days and nights on a dive boat or climbed the cliff on our nearby Channel Islands.  I'd never camped or rafted down the Colorado River.  I'd never ridden a horse up into the Sierra Nevadas.  I hadn't spent a day sitting on a rock by the sea staring out to sea.  These things came because of painting.  These experiences have changed me -- they've made me more appreciative and joyful.  For that I am grateful.
Another reason I keep painting... those times I spend in my studio... are when I can study the design, or the color or the brushwork of my favorite artists.... -- trying to see those passages that make my heart sing and trying to see if I can make some of that music happen in my own work.

Fun With Friends

Recently I went to my favorite painting spot, Leo Carrillo State Beach, with my friend, Diane Nelson-Gold.  We usually end up at Tower 3 -- Sequit Point.  I've been going for years now and each time I go I see a new spot which inspires me.  On this day I arrived before Diane and after scouting around found a spot on the edge of the cliff.  The tide was very high and the waves were huge.  I was careful -- I've been totally drenched even from the top of the cliff before, but I set up on a spot where I could see the crashing waves and the vapor left behind.

Diane arrived and sat next to me.  We love to chat and the morning passed quickly.  Diane totally nailed a wave study and I had only blocked in the majority of the rock cliff and some of the water by the time we were asked to move by the Film Makers who had leased the beach for a TV shoot. 

Idols and Inspirations
I finished it at home as I looked at examples of Ray Roberts' work for inspiration.   I had been going through my magazines and came across the Plein Air Magazine that featured the painting for which he won the CAC Gold Medal.  --- Really a beautiful piece!!  That man knows how to create elegant shapes, beautiful color transitions and a wonderful sense of light.  Although I imagine all of you are familiar with his work, here are a few of his paintings as examples:

Ray Roberts Crashing Waves At Pt. Lobos

Ray Roberts Laguna Glow


Ray Roberts Twin Harbors
Although I know my painting isn't anything like Ray's, I'd like to think that just looking at his work inspired my own work to be a bit better.  I've taken classes from him twice now and am hoping I can find a 2016 workshop that will fit into my schedule.  He is not just a fabulous artist, but he's a very good teacher.  Every time you take a class you are in a different place on your journey so there are new things to hear and learn.

I was very happy with my painting,

What or who inspires YOU?
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