Sunday, June 26, 2011

Still Here

I am sorry for my absence from writing and visiting blogs for the last couple of weeks. It has been an extremely busy time--mostly in a good way.
I hope to have a more extensive new post ready for you soon, but wanted to say hello in the meantime. The photo shows a view of our beloved St. John's River, this time from the wide lawn of a Victorian home whose owners hosted one of Mark's Master Gardener events a couple of weeks ago. It is a lovely, characteristically Jacksonville, Florida view. Life is definitely too short for painting all the beauty in our area!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Creativity, Spontaneity, and Planning--Starting a Beach Painting

My regular readers (bless you, one and all!) know that I am a planner. Too a fault! Even in my creative endeavors, I plan. Previous posts have described my usual painting process (if you are interested, enter "painting process" as a search term in the box in the upper left corner of this blog). However, I know planning and taking care with things can be overdone--especially in projects like making a painting. You will chuckle to hear that this week, I am "working on spontaneity".
Since the flurry of finishing paintings for the exhibit at Paddiwhack, I have been working on a vertical piece showing a curving path. It has been moving ahead very slowly, and recently seemed as though the adjustments I made to try to improve it were making things worse. Some paintings are just very stubborn, even though they looked like a great idea in planning and sketching. The best response is sometimes to put it away for awhile and to begin a new piece.
This time, I decided to plunge into the new piece with minimal planning, no sketches, and no tonal studies. It seemed that I had become too careful, too picky over details--and, stuck. What appealed was to start a smallish piece in unusual proportions (12" x 6") with a fairly low horizon focusing on an interesting sky. With a few reference photos and four paint colors (so far), I forced myself to quickly lay in the first coat for the piece in about 20 minutes. It was fun!
Here are a couple of the reference photos--including one of our Shih-Tzu, Magnolia (aka Maggie) tearing down Jacksonville Beach--one of her favorite spots. The block-in of the painting is rough, but seems like a good start. The sky is a mix of cerulean blue and white near the horizon and ultramarine blue and white further up; the ocean uses the same colors, plus a bit of Paynes grey near the horizon. All blues are tempered with a bit of Cadmium red light to neutralize them (tube colors sometimes look phony in landscapes). The beach under-layer is mostly Cad red light and white. This will be adjusted, as our sand is actually somewhat grey-beige, but I want a warm tone present in both the sand and the clouds (which are yet to come).
Question of the day: Am I the only nut who sometimes needs to "work at spontaneity"? How do you overcome creative blocks?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Marketing Flyer for Gainesville, Florida Exhibit of Paintings

I am very pleased with the look of my new marketing flyer, prepared for the exhibit of my paintings at Paddiwhack in Gainesville, Florida. I think you can enlarge it by double-clicking on the image. A few posts ago, I showed you the grouping of paintings there and the Artist's Statement written for that show (it is framed and standing near the paintings). Both these publicity pieces will be useful in other contexts as well; I did not want to go to the time and expense of preparing and printing them just for this six week event.
I am grateful to painting mentor Linda Blondheim for excellent advice, generously shared, as I wrote and prepared these materials and to Lori Taylor of Trends Home Decor for layout assistance and low-cost printing for both pieces.
Whenever I visit other artists' shows, I pick up any well-done publicity pieces that are available. For one thing, I enjoy visiting their blogs and web sites and sometimes strike up an email correspondence with some artists, so like to have their contact information. The other reason I keep these materials on file is that they are helpful when I need to prepare my own publicity materials. Of course, I do not copy what another artist has to say. But, as you know, if you have tried to write any publicity piece from scratch, it can be very difficult. For me, it is doubly difficult to write about myself and my work--even though I enjoy sharing the works and their stories. I just feel blocked and shy about it. Viewing and reading the materials of others helps me get started.
So, I hope that others among you might find the ideas, layout, or other features in this flyer useful. Do not plagarize please :>), but feel free to use this or the artist's statement from the earlier post as a springboard for your own publicity materials. As I am inspired by all of you and your creativity (and I don't mean only the practicing "artists" among you, but all the bloggers who share thoughts and visuals), I hope that you find something stimulating or fun in this post.
Question of the day: Do you also find preparing publicity materials--or any necessary writing you are called to do--difficult, especially getting the process started?