Sunday, March 29, 2009

31 days to a better blog

If you're interested in knowing more about blogging you might want to think about this free 31 day course by problogger. This blog is always well written and full of good information. I've signed up.

I'm leaving for the coast today and will be gone for a few days. I'm taking my camera and sketching materials so I'll see what I accomplish.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Robert Genn newsletter

I read the Robert Genn newsletter twice a week when it arrives in my email. I haven't posted about it here on the blog because I assume other artists also read it. But the March 24th newsletter is so good I feel compelled to direct attention to it. It's about choices and how all artists have choices about how they start and finish a painting. There is no wrong way. 

The gist of this newsletter is in this paragraph:

"Today I spoke on the phone to several colleagues. We were talking about planning versus improvisation. While many fine artists plan everything in detail and then simply execute, others admit they don't know what they're doing from the get-go, but they start anyway and spend a lot of time fixing up. Both systems work. Just as some folks are happy and others are miserable, we can simply make choices. The nice thing about choices is that they can be changed."

I'm torn between planning and improvising on every painting I start. And I spend a fair amount of time fixing up along the way. There is no wrong way but sure wish there was an easier way!

And all the talk about how this applies to painters also applies to just living and breathing every day. Lessons are here to be learned every day and I need to remember there are always choices.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More paintings in progress

I'm posting two of the three paintings I started earlier. This is the place where I have to seriously study them before going on. I'll put them in the living room for a few days. I'll squint at them, I'll look at them in a dark room, I'll turn them in all directions, I'll think about warm vs cool colors and it goes on and on. I have a whole list of things to do when I critique my own paintings. I also belong to a critique group and we meet this Saturday so I'll have some outside ideas too. Then I'll carve out the time to actually do the work!

So here they are in all their adolescent glory.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Art Book

I'm currently reading a new book by Mary Todd Beam "The Creative Edge" and want to share some of the information. Mary's first book "Celebrate Your Creative Self" was published in 2001 and I still refer to it.

I took a class from Mary several years ago and heartily recommend her as a teacher. 

Here is a quote from the introduction to the book which I especially liked: "I believe that artists are the visionaries of this world. They help us see and interpret this amazing experience of life. We spend our lifetimes struggling to do that special masterpiece and don't realize that WE are the masterpiece. Your paintings are your shadow. I value you, my dear fellow artists. I know you bring us a better vision of this world."

Mary shares her knowledge fully and there are several step by step techniques with photographs to help explain her process. 

I especially liked her examples of paintings from other artists who used her techniques. 

Both books are useful whether for a beginning or more experienced painter. Lots of good ideas and techniques to try out.

I give it five stars!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sorting and recycling

I've been sorting art books and magazines lately. My studio doesn't look any different but I know it's neater and easier to find what I'm looking for now. Some of the art books will go to Powell's books and the magazines will go to a local art group so they will be recycled. I've also generated paper, cardboard and foam core to recycle as best I can.

Speaking of recycling I want to tell you about a local Portland group who publishes a guide to sustainability. It's called Northwest Earth Institute. They say, "The Northwest Earth Institute is recognized as a national leader in the development of innovative programs that empower individuals and organizations to protect ecological systems." We meet every other week and discuss the current chapter of the workbook. There are web sites and references to material if one wants to know more. Some of the more interesting chapters focus on food, buying and creating green communities. Lots of ideas for making a difference in what each person can do in their own homes. 

Now I have to admit I just purchased two new art books. One by Mary Todd Beam and the other by Ann Baldwin. I'll post a review as soon as I read them. I've taken classes from both artists and really admire their skill as artists as well as teachers.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Message from the Universe

I receive messages from the Universe every week day. Yes, by email, not direct! So here is one I liked.

"I can imagine that from your perspective, it must seem like some truly awful things happen in time and space. So if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to weigh in.
Jan, you live in a world of illusions. A world that springs from a much deeper and far greater reality. And while at times the illusions are indeed ugly, with your physical senses you only see the tip of the iceberg. If you could see the whole, you'd discover that the unpleasantness was only the tiniest piece of a most spectacular puzzle that was created with order, intelligence, and absolute love. You'd see that contrary to appearances, in the grandest scheme of things, nothing is ever lost, no one becomes less, and setbacks are always temporary. And you'd understand that no matter what has happened, everyone lives again, everyone laughs again, and everyone loves again, even more richly than before."

Hubba, hubba -
The Universe

Friday, March 6, 2009

Paintings in process

I had some time yesterday to paint for a little while so here is what I have so far on the canvases I started February 13th. The colors aren't exactly right but it will give a feeling of what I've done so far. Sort of difficult to put unfinished pieces out "into the world" but here they are. So far. They will look much different before they're done!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Art show at Portland City Hall for March 2009

My critique group has art hanging in the office of Dan Saltzman for the month of March. It should brighten up this office at the Portland City Hall!

Here's a photo of one of the walls.