Showing posts from February, 2010

Donating Artworks

"Fishing 3" Oil on copper
Artists are the darlings of fundraisers.
When it's time to raise money for the school, animal shelter, wildlife preserve or cancer research, many fundraisers email a request to local artists.  What they want is the donation of an original work of art so that they can auction or, worse- raffle it for money for their cause.  I get a 8 or 10 such requests each year.
Somehow, while the cliche of the "starving artist" still persists, people in charge of fundraising have come to see us creative types as easy money.  And, as a rule, we are.  Without exception, every artist that I know (myself included) has donated a painting for a cause at some point in his or her career.  We've watched our works auctioned- often for less than we could sell them for in galleries or other exhibitions- and the money pocketed by others.  And often it's a lot of money.
It's rather bizarre:  we create a one-of-a-kind work that will last for generations…

Think Before You Paint

Dancer 10 x 14" I've been reading the very informative Oil Painting Secrets from a Master  by Linda Cateura about the  artist, David A. Leffel.  It's my kind of book: lots of short, thoughtful truths and pieces of advice organized in such a way that you can dip in here and there and find something useful no matter where you read.  The reproductions are terrible though: out of focus and dim.
Leffel teaches that every painting should have a concept to be successful.  It doesn't matter what that concept is and it can be very simple, but he stresses that you must think of one before you start the painting.  Without this clear idea of what you want to express, all sorts of extraneous detail creeps in.   He says that "the concept is the structure and framework on which your assembled subject matter (composition, value, and color) is suspended, all working to maintain the shape of the original idea of the painting.  As you work, you must keep your concept foremost in you…

Teaching Yourself to Paint

"Interstices"  24 x 24" I'm a self-taught painter in a young, North American city.  Our galleries are largely contemporary or landscape and there is a lot of Western art.  There is no place to go and see the historical European masters of painting and enrolling in a BFA program is not in my cards.  In this situation, becoming a unique painter used to be tough.  It's not anymore.
Most of what I learned came from the library.  Not just those "How to Paint a Tree in Oils" books which are, briefly, a great tool, but also the massive, coffee-table books full of high quality reproductions of the greats.  I've borrowed the series of books about John Singer Sargent written by Richard Ormond so many times that they seem like my own.  Rembrandt, Manet, Degas, Morisot: all are available for me to examine and think about.  The best of them have detailed, crisp close ups of a small section of the painting.  In the book: Women Impressionists, there is a detail of…