Friday, December 21, 2012

10 Best Painting Tips I Learned in 2012

"Winter Pause" 8x10 oil on canvas (currently at 910 Events Gallery)
Happy Holidays! With 2013 just two weeks away I wanted to share some painting tips and  suggestion that really hit home this past year.  I was lucky to kick off the last year early in January with a colorful and inspirational Dreama Tolle Perry oil painting workshop in Florida.  (I can’t wait to return to sunny Marco Island in a few weeks for another one.)

1.  If you enjoy painting from photos (or your subject matter requires it), always have a decent camera handy and take tons reference photos. If I visit a place like the Botanic Gardens or the Zoo I take 300+ shots. Also, take photos in a variety of weather conditions. You just don’t know what will make a great painting. On a rainy day, take a few minutes to organize your photos by subject, place, etc.
2.    If you have an older digital camera like I did consider upgrading. I can’t imagine not having a digital 20X zoom. First these "bridge" cameras have really come down in price. Places like Best Buy and QVC have them all the time for well under $300. One of the best "art" investments I made this year and I can't wait to travel with it.
3.    Prior to 2012 I usually printed out my reference photos, but now I paint mostly off my iPad--and I'm finding many artists work off monitors and laptops as well. Consider what you spend on printer ink each year. You may find that a tablet will save you money within the first year. 
4.    If you’re an oil painter who likes to work alla prima (or wet in wet) try using transparent oils pigments to quickly block in your major shapes. This takes a little practice but floral painters like Hedi Moran and Dreama Perry swear by this method.
5.    Interesting shapes are one of the key building blocks of a strong painting. How do you improve your shapes? Take a look at your most recent painting. Are your shapes  complete, specific, and unique?  This is one I find you have to work harder at than you think you would.
6.    A helpful way to start your painting is to establish the BIG shape and value relationships first. You want to nail down these proportions carefully before proceeding to the medium and smaller detailed shapes—as tempting as those can be.  Especially when you’re working on larger canvas.
7.    Like many painters, I’ve been a casual art history buff since I was a child. I may be dating myself but anyone remember Masterpiece--The Art Auction Game? It was the first time I saw a Pollock and I was fascinated. If there’s a painter you admire, take the time to really study them. Maybe read a bio about them. You'll likely learn something about them that you can apply to your own art. 
8.    Do some art related activity out of your comfort zone. Only you can define that. Work larger, faster, smaller, brighter, looser, tighter? And don't be too hard on yourself when you are in "experimental" mode.
9.    What about those times you just can’t paint? It’s OK to take creative breaks once in a while. Build your inspiration file—browse through magazines (they don’t need to be specifically art related), check out sites like Pinterest,  Google your favorite subject+ media. For example: Peacock watercolor.
10.    That being said there’s no substitute for easel time and brush mileage. I love thinking about painting but there’s nothing like doing it.  So sometimes it is better to push through tough days and grab a brush. It’s better to paint something and learn to enjoy your lifelong journey.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Celebrating the Most Creative Season!

"Wildflower Waltz" Gold Leaf and Oil--20 x24-Now showing at 910 Event Gallery
Happy December all! A million thanks to friends, students, fellow artists, and family for all helping to make Opening Night of the Spirits Bright Holiday Art Show last Friday night so successful!
From the easel to the gallery!
Prior to the show, I was (relatively) lucky to have an injury (broken toe still healing...) where I could still sit and paint. But, as many of you know, after the art is complete there are still tasks like framing, transport, supply shopping, marketing, PR, party planning, etc.

Friends and family checking out the colorful art!
All of which I actually enjoy but challenging when you can't drive or walk so very special kudos to everyone who offered and provided extra assistance during their own busy holiday schedules! I couldn't have done the show without you.

Bad timing injury aside, it’s always thrilling to get your painting out of the studio and share them in person with lots of folks who otherwise might not get to see them.
Landscapes and treats for the guests!
We were blessed with very mild late November weather on Friday night and had over 115 visitors! I couldn’t have been happier with the turn out. It was a wonderful way to kick off the show.
Over 5,000 art lovers flock to the Denver Art District on First Friday
I’m already looking forward to being a part of Denver’s Santa Fe Street Art District very popular First Friday Art Walk (over 40 galleries participate) next Friday—December 7. Many of the galleries have live music, food (Tip: Fellow foodies be sure to check out the food trucks!), refreshments, and artists in attendance. Parking can be limited so be sure to take advantage
of the free First Friday shuttle transportation.

Looking for more relaxing art night? Check out Collector’s Night which is the Third Friday. Finally, thanks again to my fellow Denverites (yep that's what we're called) for supporting artists and the arts! Wishing you all a colorful and creative holiday season!