Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Gallery Relationship - Art Elements in Newberg

Yesterday I delivered the first group of works to Art Elements Gallery in Newberg, Oregon. I hope that these are the first of many, many pieces that are lucky to hang in this elegant space on the threshold of Oregon's wine country. I feel fortunate to be amongst such great artists such as Theresa Andreas-0'Leary, Romona Youngquist, Lori Latham,Don Bishop, Brenda Boylan, Mike Baggetta, and Molly Reeves, just to name a few.

Starting a new gallery relationship is always really exciting and this is especially true for me working with Art Elements being a such a lovely, professional, local gallery. It will be easy to make sure they have new fresh work and driving out to the wine country, taking in the beautiful views can't be bad!

After taking care of details at the gallery, lunch at a great local spot recommended by Sarah...Recipe.
I indulged in a big hamburger and spent a lovely time under a canopy of trees on their patio.
Then we ventured onto some back roads to scout possible painting locations. I'd brought my gear, but in the end, my knee wasn't quite ready for a roadside plein-aire afternoon. So we skipped painting and instead took pictures and stopped at a local fruit stand and got some great plums.

Recipe, Newburg Oregon

If you're in Newberg, stop by the gallery and check it out! In my next posting I'll talk a little bit about gallery representation and some of my experiences with galleries!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Small Space, Small Moves

Small Space, Small Moves

Right before my ACL surgery, I moved my studio to a tiny room inside my townhouse. Giving up my luxiously large, but expensive studio space was actually liberating. It felt good to be compact. It was necessary to be really organized and functional in the small space. Surprisingly in my little temporary space of 10x14, I was able to program the studio in much the same way that I did in the large space.

I hadn't spent very much time painting in the new digs and I still haven't. I don't really have the stamina yet to sustain a long painting session. My goal is to get in there for about two hours each day until I can extend that a little. Sitting while painting is difficult for me, but if I want to spend any time at all at the easel, I have to adjust for a while. I spent about thirty minutes on a new piece and then realized that I can't do that yet. I have to set a timer for 10 or 15minutes and then get up and move around.

I've also set up a small space in my kitchen for sketching. I'm very interested in going back to the basics of drawing and developing that again. I bought three new sketchbooks; one for oservational,(drawing what I see while I'm out and about), one for imaginings and muses, and one for animals. I'm excited to reconnect with line, gesture and the tools of drawing.

Making Time to Paint

Many of my students are women who are about to retire or have just retired and want to paint for the pleasure of it and maybe even perhaps work into selling at some point. Most are quite serious painters who have already found the joy of painting in pastel.

The problem is time. No matter how much we want to, it's difficult to carve out time to paint amid a still busy work/home life; the amount of time it takes to really put on some mileage.

When I say that mileage is really the key to becoming a better painter, I believe that it's not just mileage as in aimlessly stabbing away at painting. I think that mileage should be very intentional.

Here are a few thoughts when you are trying to maximize your painting time.

  • Pick a theme and stay with it for a while. It can be as simple as skies or trees or apples
  • Pick a size that is not too large so that you don't have too much ground to cover and work in just that size for a bit.
    Have you paper picked out and the size of your image marked off
  • Have several reference photos already picked out, so when you do have time to paint, you already know what you're going to work on instead of being overwhelmed by the ominous question of what to paint!
  • When you begin a painting session, start with the intention of working on just one or two things such as “today I'm concentrating on soft edges” or “today I'm working on mark making”
  • Work it out ahead by creating two or three thumbnails. This will save time, big time! Time invested in thumbnail sketches will really help you use whatever time you do have to your best advantage. How many times have you found that you had not worked out a composition and then had to either struggle to rectify it, start all over again or even abandon it altogether.

    • Be organized; if your materials are set to go, then when you do have time, you won't be spending it on finding your stuff. I like having my pastel box pretty organized for this reason too.
  • Don't expect to always create a finished piece, play experiment and find the joy in painting

  • Set realistic goals such as "I'm going to spend 4 hours a week painting" and try to stick with that

If you are realistic and make things comfortable and easy for yourself, your chances of regularly getting to the easel are good. By making a few simple preparations you'll set yourself up for more success at gaining that mileage which will ultimately lead to reaching your artistic goals.