Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another day at the swim meet...

Magnolia 5
7" x 7", Oil on Panel, Unframed

Well, the swim meet I told you about a couple of days ago lent itself to the start of a second painting that weekend.  The only problem was that my kid happened to break a state record on this day and win a couple of events.  With that excitement, there was more hustle and bustle about the hotel.  I was able to start a second painting, however, a little more detailed than the previous one.  I also tried to take a little more time with it.  I finished this painting when I got back home, lightening things up a bit on the canvas.  In the end, I believe we both had a successful weekend.

Monday, March 25, 2013

What you can create between prelims and finals...

Magnolia 4
7" x 7", Oil  on Panel, Unframed

Buy Now through Daily Paintworks

About a week or so ago I was at a swim meet.  It was out of town and so I brought with me my daily painting supplies.  I was lucky I had room in the car for my art supplies because of the number of towels and amount of food we bring with us when we go to these swim meets. 

Anyway, I decided that I would be prepared as possible to paint in between the morning session and the evening session rather than take my usual hotel nap.  As it turns out, I wouldn't have been able to take my nap regardless because there was the in and out of our room of other swimmers doing homework in the hallway, visiting with each other, and eating everyone else's food and watching swim videos.

Lucky for me, I was able to paint this painting.  I surely wasn't in my quiet, happy place for painting but  the atmosphere of that day lent itself to the tempo of this painting.  This painting has a little bit more going on and I can feel the quiet busyness of that afternoon in this painting.

Looking at this I will be reminded of the fantastic meet they had that weekend.  It was unbelievable and I am proud of what their hard work accomplished.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What I didn't learn from CC Lockwood...

About a year ago I took a two day workshop with CC Lockwood out at the Rural Life Museum.  I was supposed to take the class with my husband but because of work obligations, he was not able to go with me.  So, instead, I took my friend Tina with me.  She is much better at this photography stuff than I am and I knew that if she could, she'd like the class.  The best information I got out of the workshop was the hour long lecture Mr. Lockwood gave the evening before we went out to take photographs.  However, I didn't have the time to learn it all that night before we went out to Rural Life.  The following morning I arrived late because I had kids to drop off at school.  But lucky for me I was still there as the sun was rising up into the sky.  I never had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Lockwood that day until the very end of the workshop as he was also taking many photographs and talking with other people throughout the day.  When I was finally able to ask him my one question, which was at the very end of the workshop and concerned my camera, he couldn't answer it.  So, any photos I took that day were because of the help I received from Tina and just sheer luck.
And with those two things combined, I was able to take a ton of photos - always a goal for me - many which included the way the sun hit the numerous palmetto plants near a pond.  Below is one of my paintings I did from one the many photos I took.  

As a side note, my friend, Tina, actually submitted one of her photos into the photo contest associated with the photography workshop and won an honorable mention.  I wish I had a copy of that photo because it was a close up of an insect that even LSU was surprised to see.  It was fantastic.

I am submitting this painting to the Beauregard Gallery and Bistro for a Associated Women in the Arts Exhibiting Member Show to be held at Beauregard starting April 6th until May 18th.  All are welcome to come and see the show.  It is a wonderful bistro where the food is delicious and the owners are wonderful.  On April 12th, if you come for lunch and mention our show, you will receive a discount.  That's a good deal.

Palms II
14" x 18", Oil on Panel, Framed

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Second Magnolia Painting

Magnolia 2
7" x 7" Oil on Panel

I have started painting all of these beautiful japanese magnolia flowers from the numerous photos I have taken over the past two weeks.  I love the boldness of this image with the strong shadows on the petals. I also bought some new table easels to display these paintings.  I have a show coming up in April through May and for those paintings that I put in the show, these easels will be included in the sale.

Monday, March 18, 2013

How do Art and the Internet Go Together?

Magnolia 1
7" x 7" Oil on Panel, Unframed

Well, I've been finding out a lot about how those two things go hand and hand. I know I mentioned before how I've been listening to Artists Helping Artists with Leslie Saeta. I have gotten so engrossed in to listening to it each week. I went further, once I started listening regularly, and discovered her website and her blog. But before she came along, I had started following a painter by the name of Karin Jurick. She also has her own blog. Well, actually, blogs. And another by the name of Carol Marine.  She also has a website and her own blog. Carol and her husband actually started an online daily painting website called Daily Paintworks wherein you can join, create your own gallery, and sell artwork. It's amazing.  

Of course, what this does and has done is force me - well, not force exactly - but coerces me in to looking up more artists and more artists and their websites and their blogs. If any of you blog or follow blogs, you know that most people include a list of other blogs that they follow. Well, artists that blog are no different. I have my own beginner list, too, to the right. There are many more artists that I am keeping track of but haven't yet included them on my blog list. It's kind of like "one thing leads to another".  And if that's not enough for you, check out Twitter.  I have my own account @NanciTheArtist and have begun following other artists there, too.

But the thing that is so great about all these artists and the art and the Internet, is that I am able to learn from them via the Internet. I am taking a four (4) week class with Leslie Saeta called webinArts Marketing 101. I am learning so much about how to mesh my work with the Internet.  So much information. I was doing most of this on my own already but she has managed to put it together so succinctly that my work in updating the technical aspects of painting, although still crazy busy, is a little more organized. Thank you, Leslie.

Since starting this class two weeks ago I have started this blog and updated, in a big way, my website.

There are other ways of connecting the art world through the Internet. I know well-established artists offer mentorship programs online. There is one I recently learned of being offered by Abby Ryan, an artist out of Philadelphia. She just started working with an artist right here in Baton Rouge. It's, I believe, a two month process. I can't wait to hear how it works out for my friend.

Not only are they providing good and helpful information, they are inspirational to me and other artists. Seeing trends in their work, for example daily painting, I have been able to start something new and push myself to try something new.  I'm enjoying it.  In fact, I have not painted a painting in the last three days and am having withdrawals because I have enjoyed the test of the daily painting.

The Magnolia painting posted here today was painted a few days ago.  The trees have just been blooming so beautifully around here I couldn't resist takings tons and tons of photos of them.  Just from when I took the first photos a couple of weeks ago to today, the trees have changed and the blooms have changed.  More inspiration for more paintings.

All these things are connected and I am happy to be a part of it.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So this one is SOLD already.

Iris 5
7" x 7", Oil on Panel

Yes, this one is sold before I could even post it here. I like when things like that happen. I was having lunch with a friend of mine so that we could trade ideas and share art stuff to kind of keep our heads clear and keep us moving forward and motivated. I brought my stack of small daily paintings to her to get her opinion of them. When I got to this one she said she wanted it. I was surprised. And happy.  

I do love this painting. Just the act of painting it seemed less difficult. Perhaps it's because I've painted the same subject for five (about five) days in a row. I was more focused on the shapes of the flower and the background. I had the patience to wait and go back to it a few hours later to take a fresh look at it and make some adjustments where they were needed. Confidence. Perhaps that was what happened. Or, the stars lined up just right. I don't really know. I do know that it worked and someone else thinks so, too.

This is the way I want my art to sell. I want someone to walk up to one of my paintings and say, "Ooh, I want that!" I want you to be excited about it, and I want to be surprised every time I hear that. It's important to see a piece of art, any artistic creation, in person in order to appreciate the true beauty in it. For example, I know I have seen Van Gogh's artwork in books and, now, on the internet. My Grandmother actually had a copy of his "Sunflowers" framed and on the wall of her living room as long as I can remember. But to see his paintings in person, standing 2 feet away from it or 2 inches away, is to truly appreciate it's beauty and his beauty as a visionary. As artists I believe this is what most of us strive for. But, sometimes, you have to be standing right in front of it to believe in it. I wish it wasn't that way. I wish the images on a computer or an iPad or a book could translate to you what we see everyday on our easels, but it can't.  

And, by the way, "The Starry Night" was crazy gorgeous at MOMA in New York.  I was sad that they wouldn't let me touch the canvas to feel the thick, yummy paint.  It looked as if he had just painted it last week. It was amazing.

Go and take the time to walk into a gallery.  We have several here in town.  Some are stand alone galleries and others are combination frame shops and galleries. There are many more in New Orleans.  Go see the diversity of the creative minds at work.  You will probably find a lot you don't like or understand. But, I guarantee you, you will find so much that intrigues you and beckons you and wants you to reach out and touch it.  You may be moved emotionally by a piece of work. I have had that happen to me several times. You will find humor and wit and intelligence in art. But, first, you need to slow down, then stop and look.  And I mean really look.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Plan Was To Not Paint Another

Iris 4
7" x 7", Oil on Panel

The day I painted this I woke up thinking, I'm not doing this again today.  It's just not happening.  But it did.  And I was so sure that I wasn't going to do another. The only thing I worked on in the morning was the daylillies painting.  It wasn't until I got home and abandoned my child so he could do his math homework that I moved into the studio to paint.  
I think I painted this iris for an hour and a half and felt like I was finished with it.

When I stopped painting, I felt that I should leave it as it was because this project is really just an exercise to see what I can do on a daily basis.  I was feeling like, once I do the painting the painting is done.  It's supposed to be a learning process anyway.  

However, the next day I decided that I could spend a little more time on this painting and make it better than when I left it the day before and not spend a lot of time doing it.

I knew what I wanted to do.  I changed the background and worked on some of the lights and darks, enhancing them.  It resulted in a much happier me.  I'm not so stressed and I'm thinking that tomorrow will have a new small painting.

I even had time on this day to spend two hours working on my daylillies painting and listened to Leslie Saeta tell me how to self-publish a book of my artwork. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Day 3 - I choose to go on with this.

Iris 3
7" x 7" Oil on Panel

First thing this morning, I checked out the painting from yesterday.  I hadn't seen it in it's true light.  Kind of the "day after" thing.  I like it considering I was stressed working on it and being in the moment for two and a half hours. 

I started my third painting.  I went ahead and choose the photos for the next three paintings at the same time to save time later.  The source photo for this one had some really good light and I was really happy about it.  You can see from top down into the center of the iris.  Cool perspective.  It took about 2 1/2 hours to complete and I was able to get out of the house in time for carpool.  Happy me.  I think I am actually enjoying this challenge.  I'm looking forward to the next one.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 2 - An Explanation

Iris 2
7" x 7" oil on panel


Okay, so I've been listening to Leslie Saeta on blog talk radio as a result of being sent the link via email from Debbie Denstorff.

I started listening on the 14th of February and now I'm hooked. I've been going back to past audio blogs since the first of the year and back to 2012. Since then I have had an epiphany of sorts but not really. I suppose Leslie had it all along. Well, Leslie and numerous other artists like me.  There seems to be a pattern of second career women painters with children and families who are now out there finding any way to connect with other artists, improve their skills, expand their networks, make new artist friends, and, of course, make better art and sell it. I fall into that category. What's weird is that most of what is discussed on this audio blog is what I've been interested in and wanted to figure out how to do it. Mostly, just the push was what I needed.

One of the blogs concerned a challenge for the month of January in which Leslie was going to paint 30 paintings in 30 days. (ArtistsHelpingArtists)

Apparently, this is not a novel concept but one that seems to be popular and going around. The intent, for Leslie at least, was for her too push herself to make something everyday and develop her skills as a painter, hopefully coming out better on the other end of things.  She solicited her listeners to do the same and lots of them did.  They would actually post their daily paintings on her website for everyone else to view.  I suppose this also gave them support to know they weren't alone in their endeavor and made them accountable for the work as they went along on the challenge.

Being intrigued by her follow up show after the challenge was completed, I decided, why not.  

Starting a challenge like this isn't just picking up a brush and going at it. No, you have to make sure all your ducks are in a row first.  Well, I just grabbed some of my birch wood and started cutting. The sizes used in the challenge were mainly 6 inches by 6 inches.  I cut mine into 7 x 7 inches. I had to sand, gesso (prime), sand again, paint the ground (under layer of paint on board) - in this instance I chose yellow ochre acrylic paint which is quick drying and easy to apply - and finally decide what to paint. Fortunately for me my photographer husband, who just happens to also be a lawyer, had gone out Sunday morning with his camera and new lens and took tons of photos of two eagles nearby in their nest with their baby chicks. Prior to him leaving the house I was able to get him to photograph the first iris that has bloomed in our front garden for this year. Subject found.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 1 - Painting a Day - Or Almost Every day

Iris 1
7" x 7", Oil on Birch Panel

I just started a new challenge for myself.  It's called 30 paintings in 30 days.  I will explain how this all came about in a later post.  But since I've started and I wanted to share the first steps, I am posting my first painting in the series.  I can't paint everyday.  It's not possible with my schedule.  I can paint often enough that if I can't do 30 in 30, I can maybe do 20 or 25 in 30 days, or 15.  We'll see.  I'm also working on integrating my website and my blog so that you can go seamlessly from one to the other. I've added a new feature here which is a "Buy Now" button which connects to PayPal for purchasing my paintings.  I hope to add that component to my website, too.  If you have ANY problems with the purchase process, please email me at OR leave me a comment below and I will work to resolve it.  

Here is my blog entry for this painting and how it came about.

After the kids left for school this morning, I was able to go running.  I ran four miles and was feeling great.  I then went up to my studio to paint this first painting of my 30 paintings in 30 days.  I took one of the photos I had selected and put it in the plastic file sleeve marked with my grid.  I then marked a grid on my prepared panel.  I painted a yellow ochre ground on to the gessoed board, marked the grid, and then made the drawing with brush and burnt sienna.  This was a new approach for me since I typically draw my image directly onto my boards with pencil.  I figured using just paint and brush would be part of the challenge.  Two and a half hours later this is what I had.  It's titled "Iris 1".  Day 1 complete.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What you think is good art isn't necessarily what other people think is good art.

That's what my daughter told me yesterday afternoon as we were walking around the Brush with Burden art show.  I was dragging her along with me to see all the art work right when we got there.  Of course, you know, you must check your own painting out first to see if you won an award - any award. There was a best in show and two other ribboned places and, I believe 6 or 9 merit awards given out.  So, at the least there were 9 awards and at most 12.  Oh, and there was one more award which was the People's Choice Award. Did I receive one of those?  No, I did not.  Was I upset? Yes, I was.  I'm not quite sure why the these artists won.  I'm not sure why most of us didn't win.  I can't say that we "lost" because I don't think that's how you characterize not getting picked for an award in an art show.

I did go around the room a couple of times looking over the winning pieces and time and time again I kept thinking that there were better pieces that should have won over those that did. I don't mean to imply that the winning pieces were not good.  They were.  I just think some were better technically, visually, etc. I kept being drawn back to the same pieces over and over again.  As I did, I kept commenting to my daughter about this or that being good or not so good or interesting.  She finally had enough of me and said, "What you think is good art isn't necessarily what others think is good art."  Bam! Smack me in the face! How could that be? It doesn't make sense. I know I have a very good sense of what is good art. I can separate good quality work from the lesser art. I just know these things. I've been reading about art, learning about art, seeing a lot of art, talking and learning from a lot of talented artists, doing my art, and, so, I know about art. I can make this judgment call.

Or can I?

After going around the room several times and then being persuaded by a friend and artist who was also showing a piece, I asked the jurist what "checklist" did he use to judge these paintings.  He proceeded to set forth an extensive list: overall painting on it's own without matting and framing, composition, lighting, how the painting draws you in, the handling of the medium by the artist, and on and on. He went on to comment that the painting next to the winning painting which was of resting Canadian geese was of a subject matter that you see all the time whereas the winning piece was not.  Well, being in south Louisiana, my friend and I absolutely disagreed.  We see more of the old houses in the woods type of paintings often (that was the subject of the winning piece).  But, since he's not from south Louisiana, I had to defer to him that perhaps in his "neck of the woods" this is a more common sight for him.  The winning piece was a good painting.  It's just not something I would have chosen.

And having heard all of this from him, we asked if he would critique our paintings.  He said, I've already told you everything you need to know.  Well, in my opinion, he hadn't.  And then he was promptly rescued by his wife to go get a bite to eat.

I was disappointed. I thought as a jurist his job was to be there to judge our paintings. But when we asked him to critique our paintings as individuals, he wouldn't.  Why is that?

To backtrack, and along those same lines, in January there was another local art show which was fabulous and had a lot of beautiful, interesting, fabulous pieces of art.  I submitted two pieces for the show however neither were accepted.  So, in order to work on my self-improvement, I emailed the jurist with images of the two pieces I had submitted.  I received this wonderful lengthy response about how he went back and checked out my work and looked at my other work and that based of these images he would suggest that I focus on strengthening the darks and lights, etc.  He also mentioned that there were a great number of submissions and a lot of great art work.  I thought, "great" "something for me to focus on". The only problem with this is that another artist requested a critique of her work, too, and a reason for her pieces not getting in.  She received the same standard response.  Did he really look at my work again? I suppose I'll never know.

Problem.  Red flag. What's going on? Two jurist. Two requests for critiques. Two non-answers. Why is that? I haven't got a clue.

In an art world where 99% of the people that see your work and connect you with that work tell you how wonderful your art work is -whether it is or isn't -, we need more people to be honest with what they think of our work. Tell us it doesn't speak to you.  Tell us you think the composition is off and maybe it can be adjusted one way or the other.  Tell us you don't like the way I applied the paint.  But tell us WHY.  Be honest. Be straightforward.  On the flip side of this, tell us WHY you DO like it.  Tell us what you like about the colors, composition, paint, size, story, etc. of my painting.  I paint because I love it.  But I want to continue to improve my work.  I don't want to be stagnant. I want my paintings to reach out to people and grab them and pull them in. I learn how to do that when people give me feedback, both positive and negative.  You the viewers and the buyers are a part of the art world, too.  Not just the artists and the gallery owners.  Once you've viewed the work, you are now a part of the art world.

I wish the jurors knew this.  Don't put yourself in this position if you don't intend to follow through and help artists like me and my friends when we ask for your help.  Perhaps, these two people are the exceptions to the whole.  Perhaps the next juror will be better.  That's what I hope for.

And, so, I may or may not know what good art is, but I do know this, that at the end of the day or at the end of the art show, the juror's opinion is only one person's opinion.  And, in order for me to continue to paint, I need to remember that I don't paint or not paint based solely on their opinion, whether it be good or bad.

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