Friday, July 26, 2013

Creative Louisiana - It's Who We Are and What We Can Do With That.

Alex V. Cook at Magpie Cafe
Creative Louisiana Monthly Lecture Series

Today is the day I finally got myself to one of these monthly lectures put on by Creative Louisiana which was started by Wendy Overton (with input from other people, as I found out this morning).  I have been hearing about Creative Louisiana for awhile now and have wanted to go to one of these meetings.  I attempted to do so last month but showed up on the wrong Friday and then the right Friday, I had something else on my calendar.  

So, this morning, I got up and went. The location of these lectures changes from month to month.  Today it was held at Magpie Cafe which is a great little cafe on Perkins Road. I've passed by it many times but have never gone inside.  It has a great vibe and atmosphere.  It was also crowded this morning.  Standing room only.  All for Creative Louisiana and their guest lecturer, Alex V. Cook.  

I brought my little drawing book with me to take notes while I was there because I was hoping for something inspiring to move my soul.  I usually have that hope and at times I have been left to wish for something more.  Today wasn't that day.   I went in with an open mind, a big step on my part, and I was entertained.  And inspired.

Alex V. Cook started out playing his guitar and singing a song.  And then he started talking and moving and waving his hands, telling funny stories - true stories - about his journey to a creative life.  (I took notes so I could remember what he said).  Each door for him seems to open another, some adventures hoped for and some unknown until they happened to him.  I found a connection with that.
I hope he doesn't mind but here's what I wrote down from this morning.  I wanted to share it with you and I'm hoping I got it just right.

  • Make what you want to have happen, happen.
  • Quit thinking about it and just do it.
  • If you have the question "why doesn't anyone do this one thing I want done?" then do it.  Make it happen.
  • The value of something you do is measured by the next door that "thing" opens up for you.
  • And what is the energy you create when you do something?
I think I've done a bit of that in the past year. I started a weekly figure painting group (that doesn't cost me anything). I started with a new blog. I started my own FB Fan page. I joined a women's painting association. I entered many art shows and joined in the mid city art hop for the first time.  I contacted galleries and people associated with galleries that I never had the nerve to contact before this year. I just finished securing a panel of guest speakers for AWA for next year and met several new, interesting, and creative people along the way.

It has created the opportunity for me to paint with other painters I didn't know a year ago, to teach others how to paint, and hopefully, to set up my first painting retreat and workshop in another state.  And, of course, inspired me to paint more of what I want to paint and how I want to paint.

In case you are interested, I pasted information below about Creative Louisiana and Baton Rouge Startup Weekend.  I've just gotten my first taste of Creative Louisiana and I love it.  Baton Rouge Startup Weekend looks like it could be amazing, too.  

Who knows what could happen next?


About Creative Louisiana

Creative Louisiana is a monthly lecture series for creative types. Each event is free of charge, and includes a 20 minute talk, plus coffee!. It is based on the popular lecture series Creative Mornings, founded by Tina Roth Eisenberg, a New York designer. We love Tina--she encouraged us to make it happen!
Creative Louisiana was founded in June 2011 and is based on the popular morning lecture series, Creative Mornings. Creative Louisiana’s mission is to support and accelerate Louisiana creativity and innovation. For more information about Creative Louisiana, visit Follow Creative Louisiana on Twitter @WeAreCreativeLA and on Facebook. Creative Louisiana is supported by LSU Continuing Education.

Alex V. Cook writes about music, travel and food. He teaches journalism at LSU's Manship School of Mass Communications and his latest book is Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky Tonks and Dance Halls for LSU Press. His next one will be about hole-in-the-wall restaurants. He blogs furiously at

How to live the creative life - Living the creative life is a pursuit of something that isn't already there. It's a mindset and a practice that yields something bigger and deeper than money or popularity or acceptance. It is where everything can be new, electric, meaningful and poetic. It can also be pretty fun if you do it right. Alex will give his experiences and some suggestions on what to do and what not to do, how to get at the things that don't exist.


Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.
The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.
Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Turn me loose and Set Me Free, Somewhere in the middle of Montana...

Well, that's the song that kept ringing in my ears last week.  It felt like I was far away and in another world although it was only a plane ride away from home.

 We spent last week in Montana doing all sorts of adventurous things. We rode horses and hiked several "strenuous" trails. "Strenuous" is the rating the National Park Service gave these trails.  It essentially means that it should take you approximately 1 hour to hike 1 mile, up. We hiked through the snow and surrounded by mountain goats and marmots and chipmunks. We rafted - not too strenuous.  Nantahala's gives a better ride for your money but the views in Montana are worth it. We dipped our bodies into glacier fed lakes and streams. We rock climbed. We drove up mountainsides that made me want to cry a little from the sheer fear of looking back down on God's great gorgeous beauty. We met great people. And I painted.

Setup to paint without an easel or pochade box.

If you have been following my blog, you know that I am still in the market for a traveling easel, tripod, pochade box. I could have used it on this trip. Even though I didn't have one, I brought all my materials so that I could paint. I managed three paintings during the week and I was happy about that. What I wasn't happy about is that I didn't have the portable easel to go places like Glacier National Park or down to the waters' edge or to the top of a rocky cliff above a waterfall. To be there and to experience the gorgeous natural beauty of Montana was amazing.  I want to go back and paint it.  I am sure that nothing I put on a canvas will do it justice, but I do believe I will enjoy it just the same.

"Montana Mountains" is the first painting I did early in the week.  Trying to adjust to painting in that climate was a challenge.  Later in the week when I did a second painting, it was even harder to paint because all my oil paints were drying out very quickly.  Just using turpenoid with my oil paints wasn't working.  The liquin worked so much better in that very dry climate.  I was glad, however, for the challenge.  

Montana Mountains
8" x 10", Oil on Panel, Unframed

Since I didn't have an easel, I used the picnic tables that surrounded the ranch where I was staying. We were lucky enough to end up at Gaynor Ranch Resort in Whitefish, Montana. If you go to their website you can see how beautiful the place is. Below is the "Montana Tipi" painting I painted one evening. The light was shining through the canvas of the tipi and made for perfect lighting. Painting this one reminded me how much I prefer that afternoon light. And out in northwest Montana, the days seem to last forever.  You can go out and paint all evening and not realize how late in the day it is.  I actually talked to Nancy Gaynor about having a painting workshop and/or painting retreat up there on the properties.  She and I thought about it at the same time and we can't wait to make that happy.  If you are interested, please let me know.  The property sits beside the Stillwater River and is near Glacier National Park.

Montana Tipi, 7" x 7"
Side View of Tipi
So, now that I'm back, the search continues but is almost over for my new pochade box and tripod.  I am certain now that I will no longer procrastinate in purchasing a box and adjust it to my liking.  Because, now, I know that I don't want to show up in a beautiful place like Montana and not be prepared.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It takes a couple of sketches to warm up.

Laurie, Model

"Laurie - Summer Reading Requirement"
(Photo on Easel in Shade)
Nanci Charpentier (c) 2013
"Laurie - Summer Reading Requirement"
(Photo taken in shade)
Nanci Charpentier (c) 2013

"Laurie - Summer Reading Requirement"
(Photo taken in sunlight)
Nanci Charpentier (c) 2013
Today we were lucky to have three models available to us to paint.  They are a few weeks away from the start of school and had to do some of their summer reading requirements.  As a momma, I am proud that they were doing this.

This is one of the models I choose to paint.  I had done an earlier sketch of her and then another of one of the other girls.  This was the final sitting the girls did.  I decided to paint this on a primed and colored 7" x 7" board and see if I could work that small and still have it turn out.  I mentally focused on painting her and seeing the colors.  I have found that it takes some warming up to get your mind clear of the clutter and your vision to focus on the here and now and what's in front of you.  These girls made it easy.  They are teenagers, after all, and it is summertime.  No worries! For them, at least.  Plus, there was a pool for dipping into between sittings.  That helps.

Also, I went ahead and posted these three different photos taken of the exact same painting to show you how different lighting will affect how a painting looks.  Please note that the one in sunlight has glare because the paint is wet.  I have said before that it is so important for us to stand in front of a painting to determine it's worth and whether it moves you emotionally.

There was talk amount us painters about using a limited palette of colors and simplifying things, but I choose to use the 10 or so colors on my palette.  I like the variety of colors and I don't want to start trying something new with paint colors at this time.  I do like the idea of a limited palette but I like more colors more right now.

Here is one example of the use of a limited palette.  It's by Jovann Armstrong.  I really love her work and her approach.

Jovann Armstrong (c) 2013
(stage 2)
Jovann Armstrong (c) 2013
(stage 1)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pochade, Easel, Painter's Box - Whatever you call it. I need one.

Painting at the lake house with the portable french easel.

French easel - Painting in progress.

Oil on Panel, 8" x 10"
I have borrowed a friend's French easel.  It is portable and relatively easy to use.  It is compact but not compact enough to bring on a plane.  It's not heavy when it is empty. But it is too heavy to carry long distances, and on a plane.  I like using it in town and when I can travel to places by car.


Can you tell I'm going some where with this?  I want an easel that is small, compact, easy to carry, easy to store, easy to use, and easy to transport on planes, trains, and automobiles.

The only problem is I don't know which one to buy.  One painter told me she has 5 different easels / pochade boxes and even the one she is using now regularly, she has had difficulty with that one, too.

I need help.  I need advice.  I need artists out there to tell me what they are using and whether they like it or not.  What are the pros and cons of your easel, your pochade box, your tripod if you have one and are using that, too?  I don't want to spend an outrageous amount of money either.

Also, are there resources for a used easel?  Where might that be?  Can you tell I need help!?!

Thanks in advance!
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