Saturday, September 5, 2015

Pyrex Pitcher

This was an assignment from my last still life class in college. I love vintage Pyrex pitchers, and have a collection of them. I also love painting the illusion of glass and metal. I am thinking about expanding from this one painting into a series of Pyrex pitchers. What do you think?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Art Business: I Don't Have Enough Time

One of the biggest excuses we all have for not doing something is this: I don't have time.

We all have 24 hours in a day, we just choose to use them in different ways. The objective is to use those 24 hours on those things which are most important. How much time is spent watching tv, or surfing the internet? How much time do you actually spend on your art, or on marketing your art? According to Constance Smith, author of Art Marketing 101, of the time that an artist sets aside for art, half that time should be spent on marketing. If you think that's a lot, then work up to it, but do work on marketing your art on a regular basis.

If you don't have a schedule or a daily routine which includes creating your art, begin to adjust that now. Set aside a definite amount of time each week for art and marketing. If you don't, you may be shocked to realize how little time you actually spend on art each week. Make time one or two days a week for marketing, and not on the same days that you are creating your art. When you are creating, totally focus on your art without any other distractions.

Once you start showing in a gallery or art festival, you may realize that you aren't producing enough art to keep the show fresh. This is a good sign that you need to spend more time focusing on your art. Just do it! I can finish up to three paintings a week, depending on the time I put into it, whereas before I began disciplining myself, it would take 3 to 6 months to finish one painting.

What keeps you from getting to your art? Too much housework? A job? Kids? Too tired to focus? Start fine tuning your schedule. Figure out what your time-eaters are. These often include computers, tv, phone, and even reading books. I was reading up to 85 books a year, but complained that I had no time for art. I still read, but reading is now a reward for AFTER I have painted.

Housework will always need to be done. Find a stopping point, such as on art day, do a load of laundry, a load of dishes, and vacuum the floor, and then you can start painting. If you have a job, you really have to discipline yourself in your nonworking hours to devote your time to art. But if you are going to get anywhere with an art business, you have to put in the time and energy. If you are too tired, make sure you are getting to sleep at a decent hour. Turn off the TV, computer, or phone. Take a walk earlier in the day, and it can help you sleep. Make sure you are eating properly so you have enough energy. Sometimes it takes just working through the tiredness and just getting in there and doing it, and all of a sudden you have more energy. Setting a timer also helps. Sometimes I will set a timer for an hour of painting, then take a break and do a little housecleaning, then head back to painting again.

I have a hard time getting into my studio to paint. I need  a block of at least two to three hours of solid painting, without interruptions, to feel like I have really accomplished something. I have kids and a husband. I homeschool one of my kids. I get interrupted. I have a house that needs constant attention. Working from my studio at home is somewhat sporadic, but right now I have scheduled to get in two 8 hour days a month painting at a gallery outside my home, and I try to get a few hours painting each week at home. I also spend a few hours each Saturday on marketing, which includes updating my blog, website, and listing art for sale, and tax preparation. I also look for online competitions, regional shows and festivals, and apply for them. How can I make better use of my time?

Some ideas for myself include getting up earlier to get to the gym, set a time and date where I have to go into my studio and create, put a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door and teach the family to respect that, avoid the computer and phone, delegate housecleaning responsibilities to other family members, and make lists of what needs to be done and when. I am a list person, lists help me think and proceed in a timely manner.

What it boils down to is that you are the only one who knows the chaos in your life, and it's up to you to reign it in to make time for art. No more excuses. Make a monthly goal, a to-do list, schedule, use a timer, find what works best for you and go do it.

There are many books and websites on time management and organization, including:
Time Management for the Creative Person by Lee Silber
Breaking Through the Clutter by Judith Luther Wilder
Working Smart: How to Accomplish More in Half the Time by Michael LeBoeuf

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Many years ago, there was a man named Judah, and he had three sons. The eldest, named Er, married a woman named Tamar. Er was a wicked man, and the God of Israel struck him dead because of his evil ways.
This left Tamar childless, which meant two things: her late husband would have no heir, and Tamar might be left to survive on her own, which was very difficult, if not close to impossible, for single women and widows in those days.
Judah told his second son, Onan, to take Tamar as his wife. If she conceived, that firstborn son would become Er's heir. Onan agreed to marry her, but used means to keep her from becoming pregnant. God saw this, that he was undermining the plan Judah had for Tamar and Er's heritage, and so God struck him down dead.
Judah had one son left, Shelah. He was but a child. It would be many years before he would be old enough to have a wife, so Judah took in Tamar as part of his household, to wait for that day. Tamar, however, had doubts. This son might die after marrying her, too. Was she bad luck? Would he still be able to bear children by the time he was old enough? Would he even want her, or was she wasting her life waiting for this child to grow up? Over time, Shelah, grew into a man, but Tamar becoming his wife was always sidestepped....avoided....
During this waiting period, Judah's wife died. He grieved her death, because he loved her. However, in time, his heart began to heal, and he desired the warmth of a woman's body. Tamar found out that Judah was going to shear his sheep, and when the shepherds did this, often they visited the temple of the local gods, where there were harlots waiting to give them a good time.
Tamar took off her widow's clothes, and dressed herself as a harlot, and presented herself to Judah at a shrine along the way that she set up. Although her face remained veiled, they spent a night of passion together. She asked for payment, and he said he would send her a goat from his flock. She asked for collateral until it was sent. So, he left his seal and its cord, and his staff.
Soon, it was discovered that Tamar was with child. This enraged Judah, and he sentenced her to death for prostitution. (Double standard, there!)
Tamar said, "I am pregnant by the man who owns these," and she brought out the things that Judah gave her. Judah recognized his folly, calling her better than himself. She found a way to give Er an heir, since Judah would not give her in marriage to Shelah. Her life had been spared.
She gave birth to two twins, Perez, and Zerah. Judah took care of her and their sons, for the rest of her life, but he did not sleep with her again.

From Tamar's line came King David, and later on, Jesus Christ.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Biography: Lorenzo Ghiberti

I  first learned about Lorenzo Ghiberti in an art history class I took in college, and I wrote a paper about the doors he created, The Gates of Paradise, and how they compared to Bernward's Bronze Doors of St. Michael's.

Lorenzo Ghiberti was a shining star of the Early Italian Renaissance, best known for the aforementioned bronze doors of the Florence Baptistery. He was trained as a goldsmith and sculptor, and wrote Commentari, what may be the earliest autobiography of an artist.

Ghiberi was born in 1378 In Pelago, near Florence. His father was Bartoluccio Ghiberti, a goldsmith, who taught his son the trade. Later, he worked for Bartoluccio de Michele, where the famous artist Brunelleschi also trained.

In 1400, the Black Plague struck Florence, and to escape, Ghiberti moved to Rimini, where he helped complete frescoes in the castle of Carlo I Malatesta.
The Sacrifice of Isaac

Most of Ghiberti's career was spent working on commissions for the Florence Baptistery. As a 23 year old, Ghiberti won a competition for the first set of bronze doors, intended to depict scenes from the Old Testament. Many artists competed for this commission, and a jury selected seven semifinalists, including Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Jacopo della Quercia. At the time of judging, only Ghiberti and Brunelleschi were finalists; the judges could not decide on one or the other, so they were assigned to work together on the doors. Brunelleschi's pride got in the way, and he went to Rome to study architecture, leaving Ghiberti to work on the doors by himself. Ghiberti's autobiography, however, claimed that he had won, "without a single dissenting voice."

 The original designs of The Sacrifice of Isaac by Ghiberti and Brunelleschi are on display in the museum of the Bargello in Florence. Ghiberti's winning piece depicted the sacrifice of Isaac, but after he received the commission, the plan changed to show scenes from the New Testament instead.

To carry out this commission, Ghiberti set up a large workshop in which many famous artist both trained and worked. When his first set of twenty-eight panels was complete, the church commissioned Ghiberti to create a second set for another doorway in the church, this time with scenes from the Old Testament, as originally intended for his first set. This set of doors displayed ten rectangular scenes in a completely different style. They were more naturalistic, with perspective and  greater idealization. These doors Michelangelo called  the "Gates of Paradise."

Ghiberti finally finished these doors after 21 years of work. These gilded bronze doors consist of twenty-eight panels, with twenty panels depicting the life of Christ. The eight lower panels show the four evangelists and the Church Fathers: Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Gregory and Saint Augustine. The panels are surrounded by a framework of foliage in the door case and gilded busts of prophets and sibyls at the intersections of the panels. Originally they were installed on the east side, but later, they were moved to the north side.

These doors skyrocketed Ghiberti to fame, and he received many commissions. In 1425, he received a second commission for the east doors. He and his assistants worked 27 years on these doors. These had ten panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament. Ghiberti employed the recently discovered principles of perspective to give depth to his compositions. Each panel depicts more than one episode.  The panels are included in a richly decorated gilt framework of foliage and fruit, many statuettes of prophets and 24 busts. The two central busts are portraits of the artist and of his father, Bartolomeo Ghiberti.

Ghiberti was also commissioned to create  gilded bronze statues to be placed within select niches of the Orsanmichele in Florence.

Besides his perseverance in sculpting and casting epic works, Ghiberti made time to collect classical artifacts, and was a historian and a humanist. His "Commentarii" discusses art development from the time of Cimabue through his own art, and gives us thoughts on his own art and times, from his own perspective.

Ghiberti died in Florence on December 1, 1455, at the age of 77. He left us masterpieces that still speak to us today.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Small Delights

A still life study dealing with using a large amount of negative space in a way that still brings balance to the eye, "Small Delights" is intended to make us appreciate the little pleasures in life--a cup of coffee, a piece of chocolate, or just a few minutes of peace and quiet.

Painted in oil on canvas board, the props for this piece, as with many of my props, are vintage finds, with some wonderful chocolate truffles added, just because I like painting shiny things. I hope you enjoy this, and remember to look for the little moments in life---and therein find a little joy.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Art History: Stonehenge

Although not necessarily created as a piece of art, Stonehenge could be considered early architecture, which is a branch of art. I have not been to the real Stonehenge, but there is a replica of a complete Stonehenge that I have been to in Maryhill,Washington, near the Columbia River. It's very interesting.

What exactly is Stonehenge, you ask? There are a few theories, including being a perpetual calendar, a site for rituals, or perhaps worship of the sun or astrology. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that it was created by Merlin the Magician, or was created by giants.

Stonehenge is believed to have been built about 4,500 years ago, in the Neolithic age, which means new stone age. It can be found in Wiltshire, England, and is open to the public to visit. It is a masterpiece of engineering, and using simple tools, and must have taken much time and effort, unless they had some giants or large animals handy to help with the work.

Stonehenge is a group of stones placed in a circle known as a cromlech. It is surrounded by a stone bank or mound, almost a mile in diameter. The stones that make up Stonehenge are rough cut sarsen ( a hard rock created from sand and silica cement) stones and smaller bluestones (many varieties of igneous rock). On the outside was a ring of large monoliths of sarsen stones capped by lintels (horizontal block). These lintels were not just carefully set on top with the hope that they wouldn't fall off, but were cleverly secured with mortices. A mortice is part of a joint used to connect pieces at a 90 degree angle. The tops of the upright sarsen stones have one or two round knobs which fit into mortice holes on the underside of the lintels. So you could say that Stonehenge is made from the very first prehistoric Legos.

 Then inside the outermost ring, was another ring of bluestones, and inside this ring, was a horseshoe of trilithons (three stones---two upright capped with a lintel). Each of these trilithons in the horseshoe weighs about 45 to 50 tons! Apart and to the east is what is referred to as the heelstone, which, for someone in the center of the ring, would have marked the point where the sun rose at summer solstice.It may have always stood alone, or may have been one of a pair, we don't really know.

We may never know for sure what the original intent was for Stonehenge, but we do know that it can serve as a very accurate calendar, and it stands as a monument to the skill and intellect of the past.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Vashti, Queen of Persia, wife of the mighty Xerxes. Some believed that she was the most beautiful woman in the world. King Xerxes certainly did. Once, during a great feast, he ordered his queen to reveal her beauty to all the men in attendance. This did not mean just unveiling her face, but unveiling everything. He wanted her to dance before them, so they could receive pleasure at her sight.

It was unheard of for anyone to say no to a king's order and live. Perhaps Vashti hated being treated like a piece of meat. Perhaps, being the queen and mother of Xerxes' heir, she felt that she should receive more honor and respect. For whatever reason, she stood up to her husband, the king, and said NO.

Vashti, charcoal, 2014, SOLD

Xerxes consulted with the wise men on what to do with her. He must have loved her somewhat, because she would not be put to death for this crime. But he had to do something. If he just let it pass, then the other women of the kingdom might rise up against men instead of being obedient in everything. Vashti's action could have started a women's liberation movement! Xerxes decided to banish her from the kingdom, and take her title as queen, and give it to another.

We don't know for sure what happened to Vashti after her banishment. Was she discreetly executed? Did she live out the rest of her life in comfort, with family, or in shame? I like to think that perhaps she found happiness somewhere, where she could be valued as a human being, instead of as a plaything. I believe this would be a fitting reward for her refusal to compromise her dignity.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

In the Spotlight: Sherri Kay Linnemeyer

I first met Sherri in the weeks before opening my gallery. Opening my own gallery was a big, scary, yet thrilling step for me, and I didn't even know if any artists would support my endeavor, but Sherri was one of the first artists to bring her work, at the encouragement of artist Becky Litke. Throughout the next two years, Sherri and her beautiful watercolors and etchings helped make The Dancing Elephant Gallery successful. I have come to know and appreciate Sherri and her beautiful artwork, and now you can get a little glimpse into her life and art, too.

AV: Please tell us a little about yourself, and what kind of art you create.
SL: My name is Sherri Kay Linnemeyer, I am 55 years old, and live in Baker City, Oregon. I have fallen in love with watercolors and can see myself continuing to grow and learn with this media. I am inspired by wild flowers, animals, birds and other wildlife. I have experimented with acrylics, print making with etchings, lithographs, silk screening, colored pencils, photo collages, paper mache, and wood carving.

AV: What is your favorite piece of work that you have created? 
SL:“A Mother’s Love,” a watercolor of a buffalo calf and cow in front of Bear Butte. It is based on experiences I have had in the Black Hills of South Dakota where I was born.
A Mother's Love

AV: What are you working on at the moment?
SL: Several commissions of owls and another of a white buffalo. I am also going to paint 2 more chickens or roosters to finish a 8 image collection for multi-packs of greeting cards. Also a series of wildflowers from hikes in Hells Canyon.

AV: What are your goals for the future, both artistically, and with life in general?
SL: There are many new surfaces that are being developed for watercolors. I plan to experiment with a watercolor canvas which would eliminate framing. I plan to start having shows in galleries outside of Baker City. I have a joint show with Becky Litke at Crossroads Art Center September 2016. I plan to climb Eagle Cap mountain this summer.

AV: What do you do when you are not creating?
SL: I am a dental hygienist. It is a career that I really enjoy. When I am not working, I love hiking, photography, gardening, alpine and cross country skiing, reading, and listening to audio books.
Sing Your Heart Out

AV: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
SL: That I was a performing belly dancer for 11 years.

AV:  Do you have any favorite blogs, facebook pages, etc?
SL: I like that I am Facebook friends with many local artists and get inspired by the creations they share. Judy Knox (Facebook) is a wonderful photographer who lets me use her photos for inspiration.

AV: Name three pieces of art, not your own, which speak to you, and why:
Vincent van Gogh’s: “Irises” I like the colors and textures.
Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” Beautiful and lonely at the same time.
Georgia O’Keeffe”s “Rust Red Hills” The soft lines and the rich colors.
Summer's Pair

AV: Where do you sell your work?
SL: Cabin Cowboy Design, Crossroads, Short Term Gallery, on the walls of my operatory at Mountain Valley Dental and off my Facebook page.

AV: Where else can we find you? (blog, social media, website, etc)
SL: I post my artwork on the Public setting on my Facebook page under “Sherri Kay Linnemeyer”. I was going to maintain a separate website, but Facebook is keeping me busy enough.
King of All He Surveys

AV: What should we know about you and your work?
SL: I need to keep my life in balance, so that my artwork does not become a source of stress to avoid getting burnt out. I am willing to do commissions, but will turn down the request or refer them to another artist if I think I would not be happy making the piece.

AV: Do you have any tips or advice for other artists?
SL: If you want other people to see your art, you have to get over being shy and start entering contests, selling at art shows, and trying to get into galleries. You can learn a lot on your own through experimentation, watching You Tube videos, and from art books. But taking classes and getting critiqued on a regular basis will help you grow even faster. Other people may love a piece even if you hate it (just don’t let them know it.) Also, keep your temper and your promises.
Bath Time

AV:Who are your favorite artists?
SL: Claude Monet, Winslow Hormer, Georgia O’Keeffe, George Keister, Vincent Van Gogh, Nancy Coffelt, Ruth Foudray, Becky Litke, and Amy VanGaasbeck. This list is not complete.

AV: What are some of your non-art favorite things?
SL: The turquoise blue of glacier ice. Mountain goats. The changes of all 4 seasons. High quality dark chocolate. The movie “The Jerk” with Steve Martin. Books by Robin Hobb and other fantasy writers, and music by Loreena McKennitt..

AV: Do you have any formal education, college, classes from an artist, or are you self taught?
SL: Two years at a South Dakota State University, classes at Crossroads with Becky Litke, and talking with other artists.

AV: Do you have any obstacles you have overcome in your journey?
SL: I was a self-employed artist from 1984 to 1995. I got very burnt out and went back to school for a different career. I didn’t make art until I moved to Baker City in 2003. This community has been so supportive, it doesn’t feel like work.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Approaching the Space Time Vortex

This is my second space painting, "Approaching the Space Time Vortex". I am a sci-fi fan, and what came to me as I painted this spiral galaxy, was that maybe it needed The Doctor's TARDIS somewhere in the picture. I didn't add it in, but it did inspire me to try something Doctor Who inspired. I painted a line of pendants with a TARDIS in them. Here are some examples, all of which are sold out. I will be making more soon, if you are interested, but they do seem to sell quickly. Please contact me if interested.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Art Business: Starting Out

 Do you have a passion for creating art, and you want to make a career out of it, but don't know where to start? It can be scary starting down a career path without knowing what to do. I am on that path myself. Although at this point I am no multi-million dollar success story, perhaps you can learn from my experience. If you think you can learn from me, please read on.

The first thing you should do is really take a long, hard look at your art. Are you at a professional level in your skills yet? Be honest with yourself. When I first determined I was going to become a professional artist, I knew I had talent, but my skills needed some polish. I chose to enroll in art school, The Academy of Art University (their online program); but if that seems too big of a step, find an artist who gives classes or private tutoring. Be teachable. Ask high quality artists to honestly critique your work and show you areas that need improvement, and then make those changes. To become a great artist, you have to be able to take criticism. Criticism here is not mean, hurtful digs, but honest evaluation of your work. It's more valuable than compliments. If your skills are there, then wonderful! Keep improving your skills, keep pushing yourself. It will show in your work.

Make sure your art is high quality. Use quality materials, and make sure your framing is high quality and complements your piece. You can have a beautiful piece of art in an cheap or low quality frame, and it will be passed by unnoticed. Poor framing lowers the value of your art.  Put it in the right frame, and it could mean a sale. Avoid the use of sawtooth hangers on the back. Galleries often have guidelines to follow and will not accept certain things like sawtooth hangers. Use eye screws and hanging wire on the back, and wrap the ends of the wire with masking tape for safety. You can find tutorials for this online if you are unsure of what to do.

Price your work reasonably. If you are just starting out, your work won't likely command high prices. Start low (but not cheap!) and raise the price as you gain popularity and sales. Determine your worth. There are a few ways to do this. Compare your art to something similar in the region where it will be on display, and price it similarly. Having it priced much higher or lower than a similar artist's work will make people wonder what is wrong with it, why it is so low, or why the other piece is so low. This will allow the viewer to focus on the art, rather than be distracted by the extreme pricing. Or you can keep track of your hours and cost of supplies. Double the cost of supplies, then add an hourly wage to it, for your price. A third idea is to charge by the square inch. Start out with a small number, and as you grow, you can raise that number. This keeps consistency among similar size pieces. There is no universal formula that all artists use, you have to decide what works best for you. I use a combination of these ideas, depending on the piece, the detail, and the time spent on them.

DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB! There are a lot of high quality artists out there who struggle to make a living with art. If you expect a gallery to give you a steady paycheck, think again! You may go months, maybe years, before a gallery sells a piece of your work. Keep your job, and don't put all your eggs in one basket. There are other artsy jobs out there that you can supplement with, too. Face painting or drawing caricatures, graphic design, art lessons for kids, selling your art and prints online, setting up booths at art festivals, advertising commissions. You have to be creative. The income doesn't just happen, unfortunately.

Develop an artist's statement, resume, and biography. Keep your statement to one or two paragraphs at the most. Describe why you create, what your goals are as an artist, and what inspires you. For your resume, keep it professional and to the point, like you would any other resume. Keep it to one page, and make sure you include what media you use, what art education and experience you have, any awards, and shows. We will revisit this again in another post, in more detail. Also make sure you have nice business cards. You can go onto a site like Zazzle and create your own design. Try to come up with something clean and attractive but not distracting. You are an artist, so don't be boring! Be creative! Use an image of your own art so people can see right away what you do.

It's a good idea to have a portfolio handy. Take high quality images of your art to a copy shop or a printer, and have color copies made. Put them in plastic sleeves and place in a binder. Go for 10-12 of your best images. You can also put them on CD. Both a hard copy and a CD are good to have handy. Now you can approach galleries with your art.

Submit your work to a local gallery. This has to be the scariest step of all, to submit to a gallery for the first time. It's like sacrificing your baby on an altar, or standing naked in front of a crowd---at least it feels that way. I remember the first gallery I submitted my art to. I did it right before starting art college. I had never shown my work in a gallery before. I had a few awards from competitions, but this was different. I put it out there, and I was rejected. But you know what? The rejection wasn't as scary as the fear of rejection. I asked for tips on what I could do to improve, and then tried another gallery. The second gallery accepted my work, and it was in that gallery that I began to grow and improve my skills. A year later, I resubmitted to the first gallery, and they accepted me and my art. The worst they can do is tell you no, and honestly, you can let it be a stumbling block, or you can let it be your starting point. I made it my starting point. 5 years later, that gallery called me and asked me to be a featured artist. Looking at my art then and now, I can see the progress I have made.

When looking for a gallery, go look at what they have. Will your art fit there? If you paint traditional landscapes and it's a modern art gallery, most likely they won't accept your work. Find one that fits your style. Also consider a co-op. You pay a monthly fee, and may have to volunteer at the gallery each month, but the experience is worth it. We will get into types of galleries in a later post.

When a gallery accepts your work, be courteous, and follow their guidelines. Pay attention to deadlines and find out how long your pieces will be displayed before you need to replace them. When I had a gallery, it was amazing how many artists just used my space as storage, never rotating art or picking up their work unless I tried contacting them multiple times. Galleries need to remain fresh, and have new things to see all the time. Keeping the same art up for months and months will keep viewers from coming in. It becomes stagnant and boring, because they have seen it all before. Being courteous will grow the relationship between you and the gallery director, and you definitely want to have good rapport with them. You want to be the one they refer buyers and other galleries to, instead of remembering you as unprofessional in your dealings. Get a monthly planner, and write down which months you need to rotate art at which galleries, and keep that schedule.

If you have your art in more than one gallery in the same city, although it isn't required, it's a good idea to have something special for each gallery. Don't pick up your art from one gallery and the same month, take it to the next. People will become bored---it's like watching a rerun. Show a piece, remove it from the gallery, then put it away a couple of months before showing it in another gallery. Or show horses exclusively at the Cowboy Gallery, still lifes at the Fruit Gallery, nudes at the Women's Gallery. That will increase your value as an artist, and your exclusivity. People will know that if they want a specific piece of yours, they have to go to a particular gallery to find it. It's a win-win for you and the gallery.

Support your galleries! Promote them. People won't know where your work is if you don't show them where to look! Start a Facebook page for your fine art. Show your art, and link to the galleries and their art walks and events. And don't forget to ATTEND the events! So many artists don't go, even if they live in town. If you can make it, go, and visit with the people who are viewing your work. People love to meet the artists, and you can often hear feedback from the viewers. You are more likely to sell a piece if the buyer develops a connection with you, the artist.

So one last thing: now you are an established artist represented in a gallery, you have to discipline yourself to produce art on a regular basis. You don't just create when inspiration strikes. That could mean producing one painting a year. Plan it out, and schedule a regular time to draw, paint, sculpt. Think of painting as a job. You have to do it every week, if not daily. You have deadlines now, and you need to keep in the public's eye in order to build your reputation. Trust me, it can be done, and you can do it. A professional artist differs from the hobbyist in many ways, and one of those ways is self discipline. Treat it like a job, and eventually, it will pay off.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

First Annual Christmas in July Sale

As I am constantly creating more art, I am running out of room to put everything! I am letting these pieces go at clearance prices. Do your Christmas shopping early and get some awesome art at great prices! My loss is your gain! Shipping is based on package weight, free delivery or pickup in Baker City, Oregon. Please click here if you are interested in purchasing.
Historic home 1  pen and ink, $30 unframed

Geisha, oil, 12x16", $75 unframed
Starlight House, pen and ink, $30 unframed

South African Man, pen and ink, $20 framed

Rainforest, oil, 12x16", $75 unframed

The Brothel, pen and ink, $30 unframed

Baker Towers Flowers, oil, $75 unframed

African Child charcoal, $75 framed

The Guardian, charcoal, $75 framed

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Portraits in Oil

Self Portrait

An area that I specialize in is accurately drawn and painted portraits. If you are interested in commissioning a portrait in either oil or charcoal, please contact me. Here are a few examples of what I can do with oil paint.

Abraham's Prayer



Grampy with Rosie and Lily

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Biography: Maxfield Parrish

When I was newly married to Andy, I noticed some old framed prints in my inlaws' house. They were fantasy scenes with still-vivid blues, and neo-classical maidens in flowing white gowns. These belonged to my brother in law, Brad, and from him I discovered the art of Maxfield Parrish, and I have been a devoted follower of this artist-illustrator ever since.

Maxfield Parrish was born in 1870 as Frederick Parrish, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but later adopted his mother's maiden name and used it as his first name. His father was a painter and etcher. He discovered his passion for creating art early in life, and trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Drexel Institute of Art. At the age of 27, his career was launched with the illustration of a book by Kenneth Grahame, The Walls Were As of Jasper. From there, he went on to illustrate many books, advertisements, and magazine covers, including Hearst's, Collier's, and Life, as well as to paint murals and beautiful paintings. He became the highest paid commercial artist in the United States by the 1920s. Parrish's artistic career lasted more than half a century, and helped shape the Golden Age of illustration, and the future of American art.

In the 1920's he began to turn away from illustrations, and he focused on paintings instead. He lived comfortably off of royalties from his earlier advertising illustrations, which allowed him time to paint what he wanted. Parrish mainly painted fantasy scenes, often including androgynous figures and pretty maidens. He often used Kitty Owen, himself, and his mistress, Sue Lewin, as models.

His paintings had vivid, detailed backdrops of craggy mountains with high contrast between sunlight and shadow, and intense blue sky, castles, pillars, and trees. It is said that his method for painting included a blue and white monochromatic underpainting, and glazing, which involves many layers of thin color, which produces a depth and brilliance not often seen in other methods of painting. One method he used to build depth was by photographing and tracing objects or figures. He would then cut out the image on his canvas, and cover them with thick, clear layers of glaze, and then would paint over them.

In 1931, he told the Associated Press, :I'm done with girls on rocks”, and turned his focus to landscapes. Although never as popular as his fantasy paintings, he profited from them. Parrish was the most popular illustrator until the 1940's, when Norman Rockwell came on the scene. Rockwell studies Parrish's art and admired him in art school. Although their styles are not similar, Rockwell was influenced by Parrish, and he influenced the quality of his art and composition.

He painted until in his 90's.  He died in Plainfield, New Hampshire, at the age of 96, in 1966. His art has been studied by many art students, and he has had major influence on many successful artists and illustrators. His style preceded the photo-realistic and hyper-realistic styles of today. His original works sell at a hefty price. Daybreak sold in 2006 for $7.6 million. If you look hard enough, sometimes you can still find vintage prints or tins with his illustrations at a reasonable price. For an art lover, these are treasures, indeed.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Night at the Baker Heritage Museum

A few months ago, I received an invitation from Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, to come tour the Baker Heritage Museum. I, along with many other artists, went, and found inspiration for art in the artifacts, exhibits, stories, and people dressed and in character, at the museum. Upon entering the museum, one of the first people I met was a woman wrapped in a red feather boa, with a feather fan in her hand. Her real name is Elaine Logsdon, but her character's name was Diamond Lil. I imagined she had been a burlesque dancer in her youth, and now perhaps ran her own saloon and theater. I am sure she could tell some very interesting stories! I knew I had to paint her, and knew her personality would shine through on the canvas.

I decided with the other paintings I made for the museum, to go less literal in a way, I guess, or be more creative in the composition. Instead of painting the entire object, I chose to crop it in a way that would be visually pleasing. This wheel is from a very large wagon---I can't remember, but it might have been a fire wagon? When I go back to the museum I will be sure to write it down, and correct this blog. It had very large wheels, which dwarfed the seat. I saw a great composition with the center of one wagon wheel, with the spokes radiating outward. I didn't think about how complicated all those spokes would be, but I was pleased with the result after all the blood, sweat, and tears. I call it Well-Spoken.

The last painting is a simple Dazey butter churn. I discovered this on the upper level of the museum, where they have many exhibits showing different eras and rooms, full of interesting artifacts. Even though the butter churn was outdated when I was a child, my mother and my sister (when she was married) had one, and I can remember making butter on them a time or two. I love painting the illusion of glass and metal, and this one had some interesting reflections in it caused from the lighting in the room.

These paintings were displayed in a collective show for the museum at Crossroads in the month of April. I was fortunate enough to sell Diamond Lil, but the other two, as of writing this blog, are still available. They will be on display in the month of July, at the Baker Heritage Museum, where you can view all the artwork from this show, and then discover the pieces that served as inspiration, and perhaps learn a little local history as well.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Art History: The Lascaux Cave Paintings

The Caves at Lascaux in southwestern France, are famous the world over for the paintings on their walls. These are some of the earliest paintings found, and are dated around 15,000-17,000 BC, and were discovered by a group of teenagers in 1940. Like the Chauvet Cave Paintings, the Caves at Lascaux were protected for thousands of years by a landslide which sealed off all access.
The caves were open to the public in 1948.By 1955, some of the cave's art began to deteriorate due to all the visitors and the change in the cave's climate. Lichens and crystals and fungus appeared, which were not present before. As a result, the caves were closed in 1963, with access granted only to a few scientists. Still today, only a few scientists are permitted, and the scientific community is working to preserve and restore the paintings.

In 1983, an exact replica of the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery, created under Monique Peytral, was opened a short distance from the original cave, for visitors to see. This is known as “Lascaux II”.
The caves contain around 2,000 figures of animals, humans, and abstract signs. They are simply drawn, and depict humans and animals that were native to the area, including horses, stags, cattle, buffalo, cats, bears, and more, as well as abstract geometric shapes, and hand stencils. These were painted onto the walls with mineral pigments, and some were etched into the stone. This is one of the earliest examples of color painting that has been discovered.

The prehistoric artists used broad, rhythmic outlines around areas of color. The animals are depicted in a slightly twisted perspective, with heads in profile, and horns painted from the front, similarly to the perspective used in Egyptian art.
Do not think that just because these paintings are primitive, that the artists were not intelligent. On the contrary, these paintings required much preparation and forethought. The artists had to create their tools and gather resources: they had to create their painting and engraving tools and collect their painting pigments, which included charcoal and specific minerals, and grind them into powder. Preparation of the painting surfaces was necessary, so they would need to scrape and clean the cave walls and roof, as well as do the preparatory sketch. Scaffolding had to be built to reach high areas.
What is the meaning behind this art? There are a few different ideas on this. One idea is that hunters would paint the animal that they were about to hunt and kill. This painting would place the animal under a spell, and dominate it. This is called “sympathetic magic”. It was a type of visualization exercise---if they could visualize it, they they could achieve it.

Something important to note, is that each animal species painted, represents a specific period on the calendar, according to their mating habits, such as horses represent the end of winter and beginning of spring, stags represent fall, etc. The abstract signs can also be divided into twelve different groups; perhaps this cave was a type of calendar or hunting guide.
The most accepted explanation for the Lascaux Cave Paintings is that they were part of a spiritual ritual. Some type of ritualistic ceremony was performed there, whether for hunting, coming of age, or some kind of sacrifice.

Regardless of the original meaning, which we can only guess at, this remains: early man was intelligent, resourceful, and artistic. He was able to classify animals according to type as well as separate them into mating seasons. Also, he left us a pictorial record of the animals native to that area of France, as well as a simplistic beauty in the art itself.