Be a boss and do something techie today!!
It's been a few years since I got my first initiation into internet website management. I started with what has proved to be the easiest website to construct and maintain: this one- Weebly. It is truly a "drag and drop" website builder, with only a few complicated steps involved to link it to Facebook and MailChimp. Even so, it took me a 40 hour week and lots of YouTube video views to put it together.
Fast forward a couple years...I get a phone call from my local art group leader asking if I would be willing to help out with their website. I'm pretty sure I wrote a blog about this. Whenever I attempt something new I enter the world of humility and humiliation. Most of mine in this case were in the privacy of my own office space as I became familiar with the Wix website platform. It always feels like I am going to blow up the internet, when I'm learning this stuff, but I quickly realized that until I push that little "Publish" button, nothing at all changes on the viewer side. Wix building is so much more complicated than Weebly, but also offers so many more options to make interesting pages. I was able to animate images, add fun little boxes and lines in different colors and styles, use all kinds of fonts of multiple sizes, etc. Once I got the hang of it, it was fun to work on.
Another fast forward to now: I've been invited/recruited to work on The Chestnut Group website and, guess what? A completely different platform: WordPress. And to top that off, it was built for this artist group by actual professionals. Holy moly, there are pages within pages, secret dropdown menus and so many boxes to check, uncheck, ignore, pray over! My introductory experience involved having to decide what to do with boxes that had words like "delete user" "expire member" "block password". Yikes! But, fortunately, I have teachers that have walked me through the various things I'm expected to do. And, since it is so easy to forget things, I've been creating recipe cards for each of the procedures with step by step instructions.
So....all that to say, along with all the learning that comes with being a professional artist, I am also learning to be an amateur webperson. (Just can't bring myself to say WebMaster) I think it's been really good for me to stretch my brain muscles and gain confidence; but also it's helped me understand and be compassionate for my friends who don't feel comfortable in this computer age. Everything is changing and it is easy to be left behind, left out, if you don't keep up with technology. Hey, if I can learn, you can learn! If I can do it, so can you!
Be a boss and do something techie today!!
Here are a few more oil painting terms to add to my last blog post:
Scumbling: applying an uneven layer of paint over a thin, dry underpainting so that the first color shows through, creating an attractive effect of complex color. (you might see this used in a cloudy sky or the side of an otherwise drab building)
Tonking: named after Professor Tonks (no, I'm not kidding), it is a method to remove excess paint by laying absorbent paper directly onto the painted canvas, pressing gently and evenly, and then carefully peeling off.
Sgraffito: the Italian word for 'scratch', this technique involves using an implement to score into the paint, creating lines or scoring into the layers of paint. (example: creating wood grain effects on a table)
Some artists use this method to sign their paintings, which is especially helpful if the paint is very thick.
Crazing: (sounds like something you'd get while spending an evening tonking, honky-style...but, no.) This is the term for those fine lines and surface cracks you see on old paintings, due to the underpaint drying more slowly than the surface varnish, causing it to separate and crack. One of the challenges of creating a lasting painting is to understand and practice professional painting techniques.
Fugitive Pigment: colors that fade or change under the influence of sunlight, heat, or other environmental conditions. Again, avoiding the sad fading or yellowing depends on the artist's knowledge and use of quality materials.
Sfumato: Italian for 'smoke', this is painting in thin glazes to get a cloudy, hazy effect. You would see this mostly when the artist is trying to make things look far off in the distance.
and, finally, Mahl Stick: is not the club you use when "crazed" after "tonking"! This is a wooden stick used by the artist to steady her arm while painting a more detailed area of the work. It's usually held on one end and propped against the easel, while the painting arm is rested on it, leaving that hand free and steady for detail work.
Here's a fun challenge: can anyone make a sentence using all seven of these vocabulary words??!
Thanks for reading my blog!!!
Occasionally I throw around words in my blog that may be as unfamiliar to you as they were to me when I first encountered them in my art studies. I thought I might highlight a few with their definitions and give you a leg up on your word power. It could come in handy someday...like at Trivia Night or working a crossword puzzle. Here goes...
Chroma: the intensity and purity of a specific hue (the absence of adding white or gray to a pure hue)
Alla Prima: beginning and finishing a painting in a single session (often using thickly applied paint)
Impasto: thickly applied paint
Pigment: dry powder derived from plant, earth, animals that can become paint when mixed with oil, water, or other medium
Opaque: not allowing light to pass through, not transparent
Transparent: allowing light to pass through (allows previous layers of paint to show through)
Luminosity: the measure of glowing light, appearance of radiating or reflecting light
Grisaille (pronounced gri-Zay): French word for painting in monochrome shades of gray or brown
Chiaroscuro (Kee-ahr-uh-skyoor-oh): Italian word for painting in light and dark shades of the same color
That is enough for now! We are in the doldrums of winter here in Tennessee and I must say it looks way more like Seattle than the South. I'm trying to keep a steady schedule in my studio, painting from photographs of sunnier days. Here are a few tidbits of the paintings in progress currently:
The best advice on this art adventure was given to me a couple of years before I ever picked up a paintbrush and that was "take a painting class and get involved with the painters in your community." Of course, it took me two years to overcome the fear and commit to art lessons, but ever since I have been actively involved with other artists in my community and the larger Nashville area and have reaped untold rewards!
Last year I began to consider art events further afield and was, happily, accepted into two art shows on the west coast, which got me thinking about some of the national art organizations that serve oil painters. There are several and I began to investigate what other fellow artists thought about them. Some felt it was an unnecessary expense, but many of the artists I admire had two or three listed on their CVs. After a lot of deliberation I decided to join the National Organization of Oil and Acrylic Painters, otherwise known as NOAPS, which welcomes all comers who pay the dues. I also applied to Oil Painters of America, who jury applicants based on submitted jpgs of recent paintings. If accepted, you begin as an Associate Member and have opportunities to advance, after a few years and a few hurdles, to the Signature membership (where you get to put letters behind your name!) The biggest jump is the Masters Level and it is a small and special group of amazing painters.
When we got home from vacation this week a pile of mail was waiting and in it was a fat little envelope from Oil Painters of America. You know what a fat envelope means, right? (happy dance!) So now I am a card-carrying American artist!!
Thank you for letting me share my happy news! Thanks for reading my blog!
Just like my kids when they were toddlers, it's a good thing this donkey is cute or else I would have given up! I thought it would be entertaining for you to see my process. The struggle is real!
So, the beginning: I start most of my work with a grisaille lay in, covering the canvas in a warm, transparent layer of paint, usually a red or orange oxide. Once that is on, I use a low lint paper towel and wipe away the lighter areas of the subject and go over the darker values with more transparent paint.
I hope you enjoyed coming along with me while I wrestled this cute fellow! Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!!
Secret places, hidden gems, mystery...I am drawn like a magnet to these things and I hope it comes through in my paintings. Ireland abounds with them and I was blessed to experience the reverence and awe of ancient stones: monuments to people who lived eons ago. I chose five to paint as a collection and kept them unified by size and a tetrad color palette (red-violet, yellow-green, blue-violet, yellow-orange) Besides the reality that almost everything looks mossy green, I thought that hue brought out the age and mystery of these sacred sites. The large photos are of the paintings and the small ones are my reference photos...so you can judge how well I did in capturing what I saw and felt.
Thank you so much for viewing my art and for all your comments here and on social media.
You are appreciated!!
I wish you all a merry and blessed Christmas!! Usually I wait until the last minute to paint Christmas-themed work, but this year I started in July and have these completed and up on the wall...except for the donkey...he's on my easel, keeping me company and making me happy. I so appreciate all the kind and encouraging words and "likes" on facebook. I'm beyond grateful that what I paint blesses you!!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God. Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
"Santa Baby 2" 11x14 Oil
work in progress "Light in the Stable" 16x20 Oil work in progress
One last art show before the year runs out: in partnership with the Chestnut Group and Fort Houston, we will have a month long art display of plein air and studio paintings by our members. Fort Houston is a hidden gem in Nashville, near the fairgrounds and I-65, It is a virtual playground for artists of all types and has all the tools, machines, and studio space for wood and metal artists, as well as a photo studio and screen printing station. Our show will help support their contribution to art in Nashville.
The show opens with a free reception Saturday, December 1st, 6-9pm, all are welcome, no rsvp necessary. Click here for map. The art can be viewed during regular business hours Monday through Friday 10am-5pm until December 29th. I hope you get a chance to see and buy some awesome art!
One of the most wondrous things about being human is our individual uniqueness. We feel it as children and rejoice in it. Adolescence, with the angst of belonging and fear of isolation, erodes and challenges it. Adulthood provides experience and perspective to help us recover and feel safe to be ourselves. Every endeavor gives each of us an opportunity to conform to group pressure/groupthink or to listen, observe, be curious, and find our own perspective. I appreciate those people I've met who seem to hold their own counsel and are able to communicate without coercing or dominating.
Finding my path as an artist is an unanticipated piece of the big picture. I thought I would just be learning to paint, but gradually realized each step of that process was a part of a path I was on. Sometimes the path is delightful, like when I've had a good day painting and feel the goodness in the work. Sometimes the path is disappointing, like getting a "not accepted" notice for a show. Sometimes the path is just plain hard, like when I have to consciously concentrate on applying new skills to my work.
I am learning to be aware of those feelings that come up and be curious about what they can teach me: am I being overly sensitive? do I need to rethink my motives? why does this trigger happy/sad/frustration? This kind of self reflection helps to distill the reasons and goals in my mind and heart and during that process I seem to find a subtle sense of direction. My faith that God is directing my steps brings peace and perseverance, showing me there is meaning and purpose in what I am doing. The artists in our world don't create just to fill their own closets with paintings, quilts, poems, screenplays; they create to communicate what they see and feel to the rest of the human family. So each artist, and truly, each one of us, needs to seek and follow our own path in our art and in our life.
Ireland is SO beautiful!! (That might be the understatement of the year.) We toured the southwest region on our late summer trip and explored such areas as the Dingle Peninsula, part of the Ring of Kerry, Killarny, Kinsale and Old Head, and many more delightful places. It actually didn't rain so very much but was still a little brisk for my "fair weather painting preference." Only once was the timing and weather just right to set up and paint plein air. More about that later. The other two paintings were done in our lodging room with photo reference taken a day or two earlier.
Finally there came a day when all the stars aligned... as in the sun shining, handy transportation, supportive travel mates, and an amazing locale. It is really true that painting from life, plein air, brings it's own magic. I stood on the rocky, muddy shore as the tide went out, felt the heat of the sun, the breeze off the water; heard the squidgy pops of whatever lives under the mud and entered that zone where time passes without notice. When the painting said 'enough' and I returned to earth my canvas shoes were soaked and I was so happy.
There is a passel of photos in my painting queue from our trip to Ireland. Five are already started so stay tuned. I'll post the finished products in the next few weeks.
Thank you so much for reading!!
Hello! My name is Wendy and I am passionate about oil painting! Whether in the studio or out in Mother Nature, I get lost in the experience of capturing on canvas the moment and the feel of what I am painting. I pour my love and energy into every single piece of artwork and I hope it shows! This blog is a place where I can use words to talk about art, painting, life, faith, things that make me laugh, and things that inspire. I love every response, so don't be shy about leaving a comment...