Just for fun I thought I would end this year by selecting my nine favorite paintings of the thirty-plus that I've finished in 2019. It's been a great year for learning, improving, showing, and selling. I'm feeling very blessed and looking forward to what 2020 will bring.
As always, thank you for reading my blog!!!
The Randy Higbee Gallery 10th Annual 6' Squared Exhibition and Sale is in full swing and rife with several hundred small pieces, all 6 inches by 6 inches, adorning the gallery walls in Costa Mesa, California. These are my two juried paintings gratefully accepted into the show:
Can't make it to California? Me either, but you can still see all the paintings on-line here and if there are any you would love to have for your very own, call the gallery at 800-506-7624 to purchase. If you purchase two pieces by any one artist you will receive an additional 15% discount on both pieces. How convenient that I have two pieces available! (wink wink) Also every painting in the show is beautifully framed with top of the line wooden Plein air style frames from King of Frame in Costa Mesa.
Happy and Blessed Christmas to you all!!
Once again it is the season of giving gratitude for the abundance of blessings in this life. I am going to put an "art" spin on what I am thankful for this year, so here goes:
I'm grateful for the Art Community, both in a wider sense and close to home...
I am grateful for the Wonderful and Generous Teachers I have had along the way...
*Jo, Christy, Mary, Roger, Anne, Richard, Colley, Frank, Kevin, Marc, Marcie, Jim, Pam, Hayden, Ingrid, Morgan, and Calvin*....so many! Learning to excel in any endeavor takes time and money, as well as patient endurance!
I am grateful so especially for my Patrons who support me in exceedingly more ways than simply buying paintings. They have trusted me with their cats, dogs, grandchildren, homes, cars (a few of the subjects I have painted). Their financial investment has allowed me to buy paint, canvas, workshops, videos, books, join professional organizations, enter shows and competitions. Not only that, but their belief in me has spurred me to improve, take risks, get brave. And so in no specific order, they are:
*Betty *Sandy *Gay *Ray *Suzanne *Lynne *Teresa *Marcia *Kelly *Tim *Ted & Lindell *Vicki *Charlie & Eban *Naomi *Nancy *Rebecca *Ann *Renee *Mary
*Loi *Kathy To each of you, and those who purchased from shows and exhibits, you have my deeply felt thanks!!
Finally, and most precious, is my gratitude to God who called me onto this path of painting in very clear and specific ways, who is always present and faithful, who I call on when I'm in a painting pickle and don't know what move to make next, who fills me with joy and receives it back as I express it...and to my wonderful Husband, Warren, who has let me pursue this passion wholeheartedly and come along for the ride (quite literally when I'm hauling paintings to a show). His support knows no bounds and I know what a lucky, blessed lady I am!!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL YOU ALL!!!
Don't you love it when you find a compelling novel to read? A Gentleman in Moscow (by Amor Towles) comes to mind, or Circe (by Madeline Miller). Both are, in my opinion, fantastic books for so many reasons:
*convincing, well-developed, complex characters
*interesting and original plot with a balance of conflict and resolution
*creative word choice and sophisticated sentence structure
*thought-provoking themes developed throughout the story
The same can be said about a compelling painting:
*convincing, technically well drawn subjects
*Interesting composition of shapes and patterns
*creative choices of subject and expression
*thought-provoking themes developed with color and relationships
I have so much respect for the writer who is willing to take the time and no small amount of effort to create a story of lasting value. A perfect sentence is a work of art! And I feel the same about a painting. Just as a perfect sentence doesn't have to be complex or sophisticated, so a painting doesn't need to be a masterpiece; it does need the same elements, though, of technical mastery, personal inspiration, and originality. It takes lots time and lots of effort to learn to produce work that hits this mark. The key is to NOT GIVE UP! I once heard Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, speak at the Southern Festival of Books, saying that her manuscript was returned to her multiple times and she rewrote the book multiple times before it was finally accepted and published. So, too, painters will find themselves repainting, starting over, doing another, on the quest for mastery. And rarely will you meet a painter who thinks she's "arrived", because there is always more growing to do.
Every painting I start is a fresh beginning and a blank canvas to apply all the lessons I have learned and am still learning in my pursuit of painting well.
Be willing to be a beginner every single morning. (Meister Johann Eckhart)
you've heard how everything comes in threes, right? in October it seems that things are coming in twos for me. Let me explain:
Two more paintings for the Radnor show, the botanicals I mentioned in the last post. There was a nice group of 12 painters at Radnor Lake for a paintout and meet & greet with the new Friends of Radnor Board members. it was definitely a chilly afternoon, but we persevered and I produced two simple botanical-styled paintings of what turned out to be a toxic perennial and a invasive shrub. I didn't know that until I got home and looked them up...they just looked pretty to me!
Two finished commissions! I love my Patrons and am always thrilled when I get contacted to do a painting for someone. Ray requested a painting of his visit to Monet's Giverny gardens, specifically the beautiful lily-filled pond. Using his photo references, I developed a composition we were both happy with and wrestled a bit with all the greens to come through with this sweet painting. One thing I loved about Ray was that when he called to commission this piece he said "it feels like it is time to add to my painting collection!" How great is that!
Kathy, who has walls full of incredible paintings, must have felt the same when she asked me to paint from reference a portrait of her beautiful granddaughter who recently graduated from high school. Kathy wanted a younger version of Maura, so we poured through the photos until we both said "that's the one!" She put a lot of faith in me because I haven't done very many human portraits. They are not easy, that's for sure. Just a millimeter off on any of the features and it doesn't look like Maura anymore. I absolutely loved the challenge and learned so much from it.
And lastly, two juried into the Randy Higbee Gallery 6" Squared Exhibition and Sale in Costa Mesa, CA!! They are flying to California right now. Yippee!!
For those of you who don't live around Nashville, Radnor Lake is a beautiful oasis in the midst of a large city. It is a natural area, modestly developed with designated trails, an educational visitors center, an aviary, and a mission to preserve wildlife and the lake ecosystem. The Plein Air Painters for the Land (Chestnut Group) works with middle Tennessee organizations that have a mission to preserve and protect rapidly disappearing natural areas. We paint on location and in-studio those areas and partner with the organization to hold a fundraising art event. We've partnered with Friends of Radnor Lake several times now and had very successful shows, raising thousands of dollars for their projects. This year's show is coming up very soon! November 8-10. Admission is free and the art is amazing. I hope many of you locals will be able to enjoy it (and take a nice walk in the park as well!)
Here are my submissions for the Radnor Show: the two deer paintings were done in studio (obviously), as was the lake painting, from a photo I took of the lake in late summer. I'm heading over to Radnor this afternoon, hoping to do one or two small plein air sketches of a botanical nature. The weather has finally cooled down enough to give us a happy painting day.
Thanks for reading my blog!!
It's a fact that high anxiety produces stress reactions that shut down the mind's best response to learning new skills, so developing a mental environment of receptivity seems like a good early goal. What does that look like? As I observe others (and myself) in new situations, like a new job for instance, the first few encounters tend to be slow and unfamiliar, bordering on incompetent, possibly embarrassment. We don't like that! It upsets our self-image and causes stressful biochemical reactions. I have found it helpful to learn to pay attention to what my body is telling me, noticing and naming the physical responses like shaky hands, dry mouth, pounding heart. I've noticed that a few minutes of high anxiety makes me feel very sleepy and distracted. Also hungry! But I am not a child, right? So what to do? I've learned more and more to assesses and accept by first: taking a few deep breaths, gradually slowing my breathing rate; next, intentionally relaxing from shoulders on down, maybe rolling my neck a bit to release retained tension. Even doing just these two simple steps is often enough to calm the "fight or flight" mini crisis the brain goes into. Voila! Frontal lobe, with all its sensible, problem solving, language absorbing abilities, is back in the saddle. Welcome the Beginners Mind (and get used to it) because there will be many stages of learning in your chosen discipline that require humility and openness!
...When It Is Finished?
This is probably the most common question artists get from both learners and viewers...and a question that is always in the back of the artist's mind as well. I have six paintings in the works as I write this, almost all are in the final stages, and I am asking myself with each one: are you finished? what else do you need? will other people see you the way I see you?
I find myself more and more painting until I get that sweet feeling of "enough". While most artists want to paint with expertise and mastery, that is rarely the "Why" or reason that they are painting that particular subject. I'm learning to ask myself why I want to paint a scene or thing; what is it that catches my eye and heart? and what I am trying to communicate through painting it?
I'm a sucker for delightful, serene, charmingly simple settings, as you may have noticed. Life can be hard, heavy, heart-weary and these moments I paint remind me (and, I hope, you) it is also wonderful, beautiful, magical and filled with goodness.
I am much happier with the studio works, but it was the plein air studies that helped me retain the immediacy of the scenes. I also became more aware of my tendency to interpret shadows much darker and higher in chroma than I personally prefer.
What do you think? Your comments are always so interesting to me and I appreciate the time you take to make them. Thanks you, as always, for reading my blog!!
Just to warn you, this is no botany monologue. I mean, I love nature as much as the next guy, but everyone has their limit. My limit is mass quantities of ant colonies in and around my house. This year it's been all-out war. In prior years we've had a general detente, with only a few exceptions: like when I disturb a nest while weeding under the magnolia tree and find my legs and arms covered with panicking ants. But this year the little bastards made their move and built freeways, overpasses, subways and country roads next to and inside the walls of our home. I don't believe in using a lot of chemicals, so did a google search on various homemade deterrents. Yes, I did use a couple of the basic ant & insect home defense type chemicals to start with but moved to non-toxic means for the daily battles. Today I miraculously happened to be by the kitchen sink just in time to see an invasion of at least 50 optimistic ants making their way through a tiny space at the base of the window. (They're dead now) but that's the first lesson to be learned:
I am approaching art and life with these attitudes as this plein air sketch I did in Washington illustrates. It was a cold and windy day so I knew my time was limited. (Optimism) I started with decisions of composition and line, laid in a transparent red oxide wash, wiping away the light areas and defining the major shapes. Because I was shivering and holding my tripod to keep it from blowing over, I sped through the drawing and aimed for getting the shadows and hues down. (Persistence) I had to stop when I couldn't take the climate another minute even though I knew the painting had many issues. (Failure) Later, in the studio, with memory, sketched and photo reference, I returned (Reconnoiter) to the painting and faced the challenge.
The annual and infamous Tomato Art Fest in East Nashville is happening this weekend: food trucks, craft vendors, parades, music and, last but not least, the gallery-hosted art show and sale in the former Art and Invention Gallery. The festival is pretty much only on Saturday, August 10th but the gallery will continue to display tomato art for a few days after. Gallery hours are:
Saturday August 10 9-6
Sunday August 11 12-6
Wednesday August 14 12-7
Thursday August 15 12-7
Friday August 16 10-7
Saturday August 17 10-6
@ 1106 Woodland Street (formerly Art and Invention Gallery)
Obviously this is not a serious event and so neither is the art. In fact, most of the art is wacky and whimsical, which isn't really what I'm fluent in, so I aim more for presenting this yummy vegetable/fruit in unexpected ways. These are my two entries this year:
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...