Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
My own art has been evolving over the years, especially when it comes to my slowly increasing knowledge of how the Old Masters worked. One thing I've learned is the concept of selective focus. This idea first came to me by way of artist Virgil Elliot who pointed out how the Old Masters tended to paint a small area with sharp edges while softening or blurring the rest of the edges. This partly makes the viewer want to look at the sharper area (which is often the center of interest) and also actually makes the image look more realistic. After all, whatever we look at directly appears the sharpest to us while the rest of the view falls into our peripheral vision, where edges are -- guess what? -- less sharp. Next time you're in an art museum, look at some Old Master paintings and see what I mean.
Selective focus popped into my head a lot while I was looking at the paintings at the show. Except for watercolor paintings where everything was a little blurry, most paintings had lots of details which were uniformly sharp from side to side and top to bottom. Even distant features in the paintings seemed sharp. In short, the artworks seems to possess a sort of hyper-realism: realism that somehow wasn't. The paintings were sharper than photographs.
Another related thing I've learned over the years: it isn't necessarily hard to develop the technical skill to render objects realistically. But it IS harder to put some thought into one's art that raises it above the commonplace.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
I dropped that piece off at one of my galleries yesterday in the late morning. It sold about four hours later!
It would be nice if it always happened that way. In fact, I dropped off two more small pieces at the same gallery today. I haven't heard yet that either sold.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Well, neither of the paintings I placed in an exhibit in a Balboa Park gallery sold, so I drove down there to retrieve them.
Before I did, I wandered around Balboa Park taking color pictures for paintings, and infrared pictures just because I like infrared pictures!
While I was in an area planted with blue flowers (delphiniums and lavendar), I talked with another artist who was painting en plein aire (or, as I like to say, "in plain air"). His pieces were fun and definitely captured the feel of Balboa Park. His name is Norm Daniels, and he even has a Website you can visit: http://www.normhere.com. I'm always a little amazed that artists can sit outside on a beautiful day and crank out paintings so quickly while I have to labor over them inside in my studio.
Anyway, I've attached a black-and-white infrared photo and a color picture from the delphinium garden (close to where Norm was working) showing the Spanish colonial-style tower of the Museum of Man.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
"In all things, the greatest progress and improvement comes from ignoring arbitrary settings. If we are to cultivate anything, we should be cultivating invention and originality."
"How can there be creative originality if there are fixed boundaries? … Good thing many creative artists don't believe in boundaries. At least the artistic leaders don't."
The above comments appeared on an art business forum I sometimes contribute to. The person who wrote these pearls never really defines his terms, so I'm not entirely clear on what he means by "rules" and "boundaries."
But he seems to be saying that all of the knowledge developed over the centuries should be utterly ignored. Just do whatever you want. After all, who is in a position to tell another artist what's good or bad art?
This seems to be an ongoing situation among artists who are trying to be completely original in making modern art. Traditional painters like myself are, of course, aghast at advice like this.
After all: what other endeavor but the field of art is ignorance considered desirable?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
This is another infrared photo I made recently. The scene is from Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, looking toward the Southeast.
A few days before, we had high winds which put a lot of dust into the air. The next day, it was amazingly clear, and infrared is able to penetrate atmospheric haze that would appear in a "normal" photo.
The dark horizontal band immediately below the horizon on the left is the Salton Sea. One of the mountain peaks right above the Sea is Signal Mountain, which is in Mexico near the border with California.
Wouldn't you just love to have a house with a view like this?
Monday, April 6, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
I'm slowly working my way back into painting and doing other types of art-business stuff. My brother is still on the mend from his quadruple coronary bypass surgery, and I know I'll still need to go out there once or twice a week to check up on him after our oldest brother returns home.
I managed to finish and varnish two small paintings this week -- pix to follow -- and I've started another painting showing a Colorado scene. I still need to re-vamp my Website (in fact, NOW would be the perfect time to order a painting, especially if you live in California: the sales tax rate went up on April 1st, and I haven't changed that yet on my Website!) My Website, in case you forgot or are unaware of the link over to the left, is http://www.southwestspaces.com/ or http://www.desert-paintings.com/).
But at least I'm in three shows right now and I actually put paint to surface today! That's progress!!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I was juried into the show in San Diego! It's hard to believe, but now I have works in three different shows and locations:
- Gallery 21, Spanish Village in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, April 2-13, 2009;
- Hi-Desert Nature Museum, Yucca Valley, CA, ; March 7 - April 25, 2009;
- Twentynine Palms Art Gallery, Twentynine Palms, CA, March 30 - April 28, 2009.
All paintings in these shows are, of course, desert paintings. It'll be interesting to see how desert paintings go over in a seaside community.
The paintings in the San Diego show are featured above. So if you're in any of these areas within the dates I mentioned, stop by and have a look. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me through my Website at http://www.southwestspaces.com.