Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lesson of the Century: Am I Being True to My Self? Part 2

Continued from Part 1: Am I Being True to My Self?

All of these qualifiers or adjectives that we use to describe ourselves or allow ourselves to be described by are just ideas. They are extremely relative and can change from moment to moment and person to person. One person may consider my art to be brilliant and another may consider it to be horrid and not to even be considered 'art.' If I can accept that my art is all the adjectives imaginable, both all at once and never, I can be open to any reaction. In this way I could find benefit in considering a point of view different than my own. If, on the other hand, I am attached to the idea that all my art is great, I will not be able to learn and grow from the work that is not-so-great. A valid criticism that could help me would undoubtedly go unheeded.

Through my practice of detaching from ‘being’ a painter and all of the judgments about the work, I actually become freer. If I am less caught up in what others might think, it is more likely I will take more risks in the work and discover more than I ever imagined possible. Both in my art and in myself. In this example, being true to myself is painting authentically. For me that means I might not ever paint a vase of flowers. I love flowers. They are exquisitely beautiful, but I just don’t see myself painting them. 

If the person who created this, um, outdoor installation (see photos) was self- conscious about this piece, they may not have created it and I would not have smiled as I passed by today.  Some may call it art, others may call it hideous,
I just kinda like it...

Please post your thoughts by clicking 'comments' below.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lesson of the Century

As I learn and grow, I realize there is yet more to grow and learn.  Certain life lessons re-emerge and come around again and again until they are finally transcended. I have many, but one that is under all of them is, "Am I being true to my Self?"   For me it truly is the lesson of the century.  One thing I am learning is that being true to ones Self is not selfish it is Self-full.  It is moving beyond the limitations that the mind, the ego, or the small self puts on us and discovering our true nature or true Self.

After a lesson with my spiritual teacher  I wrote this question on my hand with indelible ink as a friendly reminder.   In this way I can remember and remember and remember.  The art in the photo is detail from a large work in progress which has the general theme of letting go of things that no longer serve us.   These 'things" are in many forms:  such as physical stuff,  ideas,  emotions,  personality,  roles,  habits....   It seems that the problem is not really with these things,  it is with our relationship to them.  For example, when we actually believe we are our personality traits,  we can be devastated when something comes up in our lives that questions that view!  Therefore letting go is recognizing that all these things are tools that are appropriate some of the time but not all of the time.  This letting go is what some call being detached or non-attached.

In my personal story, if I believe the sentence "I am a good painter," then I am attached and this does not serve me well.  There is no room for anything else.  The minute someone criticizes my work, I will be crushed.  I may question my choice to paint and may even fall prey to artist's block or some other destructive activity.  If I practice detaching and recognizing that painting is something I do this is a start.  Then I can look at the judgments or qualifiers like 'great,' good,' 'mediocre,'  'lousy,'  and  'horrid.'

 To be continued in part 2 on Thursday...

Please post your contributions by clicking 'comments.'

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Twelve Days Of Christmas Campaign

My Two Cents, Twelve Stamps, and No Excuses...

Mid-December, as I browsed the net for artists' work, I was led to an artist group, MIRCA and MIRCA Tour For Human Rights. I wanted to share this information with you and let you know how you can easily get involved.

Write-A-Thon Cases:

Write a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a lifeWrite a letter, save a life

Throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas, thousands of letters were sent on behalf of the prisoners of conscience like the people pictured above.  Amnesty International‘s (AI) Global Write-A-Thon empowers individuals like you and me to take a small step that can help save a person's life.  You can find out more about each person's situation by clicking their photograph.  Also, here is another link with additional information: AI Blog 2009 Global Write-A-Thon.   Success stories can be read here: SUCCESS!

If so moved, you can still write letters.  For all of the people pictured above, I wrote the letters, sent them to officials in their country, sent copies to appropriate embassies here in the US.  I also sent a card or a letter of encouragement to each person above.   Next,  I rejoined  AI's Urgent Action Network to continue the effort throughout the year.  Through AI I can make a small effort that can result in a large positive impact to promote peace and non-violence and further human rights around the world.

Post your thoughts by clicking 'comments' below.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Let Creativity Flourish- Organize Your "Stuff"

Yesterday I saw a license plate that simply said, "UNLEASH."  If I want to unleash my creativity and have it  flourish as an artist, I have got to give it the room.  Lives can be very, very cluttered with all sorts of things that do not serve us.  If you simply keep what enhances your life right now, you could free up a lot of physical and emotional clutter.  Some quick tips can be found here: Zen Mind: How To Declutter.

As creative people, we often keep things around that we "might use" in a project.  This is great if these things are stored in a way that does not hinder our work in the meantime.  Otherwise this is just another barrier to being successful.  There are plenty of obstacles beyond our immediate control- we don't need to add to them by creating more barriers!  In a blog post I recently read, the guest author was talking about how to have less stuff by wanting less stuff.  He wasn't just saying "get rid of your stuff."  He was supplying an additional tool to facilitate the change.  Here is the link: How To Want Very Little

Perhaps you have determined that you really do need to keep most of your stuff, but it could be stored in a more manageable way.  For a more in depth and systematic way to organize, Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern is one of the very best books on organizing.  I'll write some more specifics about the book in a later post.

Please contribute your thoughts and suggestions by clicking 'comments.'

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ten Steps to Photographing Artwork

Below is the method I use to photograph 2 dimensional work.  I start with an unframed piece.  Drawings or works on paper can be taped to a support.

  1. Set up outside on a bright overcast day with no or few cast shadows
  2. Arrange piece on a black background
  3. Level the piece
  4. Set up camera on tripod at center of piece at closest distance to fill the frame.
  5. Turn off flash
  6. Adjust camera settings according to built-in or separate light meter
  7. Use highest mega pixel setting available  & adjust any special settings- know your camera's capabilities*
  8. Level the camera
  9. Take photo with timer or remote button release 
  10. Crop/Adjust image size with computer program
For small pieces I use a French easel to secure the piece.   For the black background I use a black cotton sheet.  Some people use black velvet.  I use a small level on two sides of the stretched canvas to level it (top or side and front or back).   The camera is leveled the same way.  I have eyeballed or estimated the left and right side of the canvas to be same distance from the camera (or parallel to the camera).  For larger pieces this would be measured for accuracy.  If needed, I then use a program on a pc to adjust the image size and to center it.

* I wrote about some special settings here: Photographing Artwork 2.

Have I forgotten anything?  What would you add?
Please post your contributions by clicking 'comments' below.

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    "Be Mine," A Work in Progress 8

    An Oil Painting In Stages

    The piece I have been reworking is nearly complete.  
    As most of the edges are fuzzy, they will be sharpened in a few key areas. 
    There is some touch up, detail work, and shadows and few areas to bring forward.

    Work in Progress 12/12/09:

    "Be Mine"
    Oil on Canvas

    Facial Detail of a Painting

    This is the work in progress- taken after 12/1 painting session.



      Painting corrections 11/7/09:

    Defining Additional Narrative Elements of Painting


    Defining Form and Palette

    Underpainting Blocked In

    Initial elements and layout, 10/15/12:

    Please post your thoughts by clicking 'comments' below.

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Photographing Artwork 2

    Continuing from Tuesday:  by adjusting 3 settings of an HP R707 digital camera a piece of artwork went from being poorly photographed to professionally represented.  See the example here: Photographing Art.  The settings on this camera are saturation, sharpness and contrast  and are found by clicking menu, and scrolling down the screen.  There you find all three defaults set to medium.  By changing each one to high, indicated by a "+" sign, photography magic happened.  I suppose this could have been photoshopped, or something.  With this discovery on the camera, though,  I am just delighted to save time skipping this extra step.  did I just type, 'delighted?'  I don't use that word often, so this is a big deal discovery.  I also used an old tripod that I had for my heavy 35mm's.  It is so cool, I have to show it to you:

                  Click Any Photo To Enlarge

    It would be particularly useful for plein air painting because it is so compact.  It can't weigh much more than a pound and measures about 4x1x3" when folded up.  What is great about this mini tripod is two of the legs, which are the small metal rods, store inside the handle.  The third leg is adjustable in that it can be lengthened.  This third leg is also a clamp that can be attached to a tree limb, portable easel, bicycle, or a pole up to about 1-1/2 " thick.  The device that holds the camera has a ball socket joint that can be adjusted from straight up vertically to 45 degrees on the side horizontally.  Furthermore, this ball socket rotates 360 degrees on a horizontal plane.  I hope the photos show this tripod well.  Unfortunately, I have no idea who made it.  It has "Made in Germany" stamped on the side.  I know I obtained it at least 20 years ago and, amazingly, it fits the digital camera.  Once the camera is in place on the tripod, it can be set to go off automatically with the 10 second timer.

    To Read Labels, Click Photo To Enlarge

    Doing a search online, I found this exact tripod had sold on eBay for less than $5 on October 30th.  I also found a similar model in a store in Oregon, but it is no longer available.  So they can be found with some diligence.  There are many other models of mini or table top tripods.  What those are lacking, however, is the clamp feature which is really nice for those of you that like to paint out in the woods; oh, sorry, en plein air.    
    More on photographing artwork will be posted next week. Saturday, I have a work in progress update for you.

    Add your thoughts by clicking 'comments' below:

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    Photographing Artwork

    An important part of art marketing is having quality images of one's artwork.  What I am learning as I delve deeper into the subject of self promotion, is that art experts overwhelmingingly agree that too many artists are submitting substandard photographs of their artwork.  There is no leeway on this point.  With so many artists' applications to weed through, the ones with poor photographs are quickly removed from consideration.  They are not considered good candidates for an exhibit on many levels.  We as artists are repeatedly and strongly urged to get this right.   The photos below are of a work in progress taken with an HP digital camera:


    "Be Mine"
    Oil on Canvas
    (work in progress)
    These two photos were taken minutes apart with only an adjustment of 3 settings.

    I began photographing my work before the digital age worked on my technique until excellent slides were produced.  Many of the do's and don'ts have not changed since then, though I was having difficulty producing representative photos of artwork with my current digital camera.  With a 35mm, I felt I had much more control over the settings.  Until recently I thought I may need to upgrade my digital camera, an HP 5.1 MP R707 with a 24x zoom.  As it turns out, I needed to adjust some settings I did not realize existed.    Thursday I will post the details of how the better likeness was obtained.

    Please post your contributions by clicking 'comments' below.

    Sunday, December 6, 2009

    Who You Really Are and Expanding Creativity

    One of the things that can keep us each miserable the mind and the thoughts that it decides to think.  We can just continue to allow the mind free rein or we can choose make a shift.  So let's continue with clearing out the mind clutter and allowing creativity the room to grow.  Earlier we explored ways to quiet the mind: Unleashing Creativity.   Taking it further, if we let our minds tell us who we are, that can be very limiting.  In Reality, who we are is limitless!  Once this is truly realized creativity knows no limits.  I discovered another blogger who exquisitely expands on this topic.  I'm keeping it short so you can read her most excellent post here:  Who Are You?.   Thank-you, Alethia Hallador, for a great post!

    Post your thoughts by clicking 'comments' below.

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Newsflash: Check Out These Great Artist Resources!

    I'd Rather be in the Studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion, Alyson B. Stanfield, © 2008

    One of my favorite art marketing books just got better.  A perfect gift for your favorite artist now comes with 7 bonuses!  As you know, reading Stanfield's book, is how I started this blog.  For a limited time, when you order through the link below you will receive seven bonus resources.  Even if you don't decide to order, click this link: Stanfield‘s Holiday Resources and you will be able to access additional links to these resources' authors!  Alyson Stanfield does it again:  she wants you to be successful and gives you every opportunity to do just that- including sharing her resources' links!

    Subscribe To RSS Feed Using Microsoft's Windows Internet Explorer Reader in 4 Steps....... or More!!

    Having Problems Subscribing to RSS with IE?
    Getting a Window with Buttons for Other Readers?
    Wondering If the Microsoft Feed Reader is Working?

    To Subscribe to a Feed using Windows Internet Explorer 8 (IE) RSS Reader:

    1.  Open IE browser.  
    2.  Go to Page with RSS feed you wish to subscribe to.
    3.  Click the orange RSS icon on the page (pictured above).
    4. A new window opens once you click on the orange RSS icon on the IE Command Bar that says:
     "You are viewing a feed that contains frequently updated content. When you subscribe to a feed, it is added to the Common Feed List. Updated information from the feed is automatically downloaded to your computer and can be viewed in Internet Explorer and other programs. Learn more about feeds.
     + Subscribe to this feed"

    Click on the "+" symbol and your feeds are added to your "Feeds" tab in your "Favorites Center," which is different than your "Favorites."

    If You Do Not Get The Window in #4, Above, Do This:

    3a.  In the IE Command Bar click The orange RSS icon.
    (If it is grey, there is no RSS content on the page you are viewing).
    If you do not see the RSS symbol in the IE toolbar section, to make it visible
    proceed as follows:
    • Left click "view" in Menu Bar.
    • Hover over "Toolbars" for drop down menu.
    • Click "Command Bar" to enable with a checkmark.
    3b. If you still don't see the orange RSS Icon, do this:
    • Click "Tools" in the Command Bar at Right of IE bars (there might also be one at the left, in the  Menu Bar).
    • Hover over "Toolbars" for drop down menu.
    • Click "Customize."
    • A new window opens called "Customize Toolbar."
    a.  Find orange RSS icon in the left column, "Available Toolbar Buttons,"and click to highlight.
    b. Click "Add" it moves  to the right column, "Current Toolbar Buttons."
    c. Click the orange RSS icon to highlight and click "Move Up."
    d. Click "Close."
     You should now see the RSS icon in The IE Command Bar and can go to #4 above.  Now that this is set up you will easily be able to subscribe when a feedburner page or different feed reader page comes up.
    Phew! It should be easier!!

    Please click 'comments' below to post your thoughts or questions.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Featured Artist: Kolja Tatic (part two)

    Kolja Tatic  is bound to be a very well-known household name throughout the world. Talent and vision...(To read all of part one click): Kolja Tatic

    Kolja Tatic
    Photograph, Computer Enhanced
    1873x702 pixels

    Using various mediums his artwork spans three decades.  What is fascinating is the cohesive voice that is woven throughout these pieces: In his words, "I am always painting the same idea, the same world, different from our own: silent, distant and lonely..." His imagery is haunting and at the same time very beautiful.  Despite the solitude and vastness of the world depicted, his work alluringly invites you to look at it, to ponder it, and to explore it further.  In some of the works he uses figures, but in others there is simply the suggestion of a figure, be it a shadow, or a stone sculpture or even an empty space that is a non-form: as in an opening, shaped like a living being, in a wall or building.

    Kolja Tatic
    Wood Sculpture

    As I began the tour, I was struck by the strength of each piece, and I nearly found each painting to be my new 'favorite.'  When I say tour, I am referring to a web gallery in which you actually get to 'walk through' rooms with artwork on the walls.  As you come to a painting, you can see it from an oblique angle, hover your cursor over it to see the title and then click on it to see the full painting.  His online exhibition of oils, entitled, "Glass City" has approximately two dozen paintings in two galleries.  There is also a third gallery that is under construction.

    Kolja Tatic
    Oil on Canvas

    Although Tatic does wish to evoke the previous feelings he described, he does not want to influence viewers with his own words and prefers them to use their own imaginations when looking at his work. He believes it best for each viewer to observe his work from their own individual silence.

    Kolja Tatic
    Oil on Canvas

    Currently Kolja Tatic is living in Belgrade, Serbia where he is painting full-time.  Although he is not selling his work, he says this may change in the near future.  To view his online exhibition of oil paintings, click: Glass City Exhibition .  To see his other works of art, please contact the artist and he can direct you to his other web sites.   To contact the artist, email Kolja Tatic at this address: kolja.t(at)

    Please click 'comments' below to post your thoughts.

    My Painting Process- Current Work 7

    This is a work in progress- the latest view taken after 12/1 painting session.

    "Be Mine"
    Oil on Canvas

    Please post your thoughts by clicking 'comments' below.

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Featured Artist: Kolja Tatic (part one)

    Kolja Tatic is bound to be a very well-known household name throughout the world. Talent and vision like Tatic’s can not go unnoticed.  Breathtaking, contemporary and surrealistic are what come to mind when looking at his art.  His pieces are in various media: photography, wood sculpture, oil on canvas, and digital art.  He first began by taking photographs in 1979 and has had over 150 group and solo exhibits showing this work.  In 1986 he began painting in oils and in 1997 he added digital art to his creative process.  His sculptures were created just at the edge of this new millennium.  His artwork can be found in private collections throughout the United States.

    "Abandoned Red..."
    Kolja Tatic
    Oil on Canvas

    Born in Jagodina, Serbia, in 1962, Kolja Tatic was drawn to the arts at an early age. When asked about childhood influences, Tatic replied, "My father was my first teacher, and when I was about 12, I saw for the first time paintings from Giorgio de Chirico and Dali." He went on to say, "...when I first saw "Love Song" and "The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street" from de Chirico and "Premonition of Civil War" from Dali, I saw 'mysterious, enigmatic worlds...'" He said he considers secrecy, mystery, and premonition to be among the most important factors in quality artwork and wishes to create "enigmatic, mysterious, silent places" through his artwork. In this, I believe, he has certainly succeeded.

    Kolja Tatic
    Oil on Canvas

    Part two of this featured artist will be posted tomorrow.  Come back to see more examples of this beautiful artwork.  To contact the artist, email Kolja Tatic at this address: kolja.t(at)

    Please post reactions to Tatic's work by clicking 'comments' below.

    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    My Painting Process- Current Work 6

    "Be Mine"
    Oil on Canvas

    Coming down the home stretch for this piece, I have discovered some things about photographing the work that I will share in a later post.  When you compare the photo of "Be Mine" in today's post with previous posts, here: Current Artwork , be aware that the apparent jump in quality of the painting is in large part a jump in photograph accuracy.  The photo above was taken this morning before today's painting session.

    In order to complete the piece there are a few things left to do.  What remains is adding more form to the figure while maintaining the subtle changes in flesh tone, painting all elements so that the light effect supports the painting's mood, adding back in the pieces I removed previously and unifying the piece, overall.

    Check back to see the end result and the next piece I have started.

    Regarding November's Artist of the Month, I thought I would have the post up , but this is delayed a few days as I communicate with him about some details of the article.  I believe it is worth the wait as I am really excited about his work.

    I love hearing from you:  post your thoughts by clicking 'comments' below.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Not Enough Hours in the Day- Part 3

    Earlier this week I began the topic, Not Enough Hours In The Day.  While learning the business side of being an artist, I then ran across a timely post on an art marketing site this week. It directly relates to our discussion about doing too much. In an art business coach's, words, "The problem with saying Yes to everything (which essentially means being a people pleaser) is that you end up saying No to yourself and everything you want for your life."* True to form, art biz coach, Alyson Stanfield, fills in the gaps left by others. Not being able to improve on her words, I encourage you to read Stanfield's full post. Although geared to artists, her suggestions can be easily modified by anyone with the "Yes, I'll do that- disease." To view Stanfield's post, click: Say No With Grace.  I'm keeping it short today- more on this topic in the coming weeks.

    * Stanfield, Alyson, Say No With Grace,, June 23, 2008.

    Please post any feedback or remarks by clicking 'comments' below.

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Not Enough Hours In The Day- Part 2

    This is part two from yesterday's post.  We were talking about recognizing where we are before we can consider an effective change when we are trying to do too much.

    OK, I am going to use a simple, silly, personal example to illustrate this.  Most, if not all, of you are not aware that I am an imperfect speller.  If I did not recognize this and/or did not want to make a shift, my writings would be full of misspelled words.  I would not use spell-check and I would not use a dictionary when writing for you.  Furthermore, I would not even pay attention to the words I misspell repeatedly, to try and remember the spelling next time.  Does this make sense?  I accept that my spelling ability is weak and I choose to make a shift.  In my example, the shift is then made by using additional tools as well as my mental memory to learn from my mistakes.

    Getting back to shifting to, enough hours.  Let me give you one cool tool I employed many years ago: (repeat after me), "I'll think about it."  It is that simple.  This is the problem I had in doing too much: If someone asked me if I would do something, I barely considered it and said, "yes," as it seemed like a small request and I wanted to be helpful.  At the time, I was a single parent who was working and going to school.  I had also decided I was 'supposed to' volunteer in the children's schools.  Oh, I also had my art studio which I was working in part time.  It was insanity, at best.  To use this tool properly, I had to employ it in all situations: "Julie can you work an extra shift this weekend?" or "Mom, can we stop at the video store, tonight" or "Julie, can you bake some cupcakes for next week's party?"  "Julie can you watch my dog this week?"  Even if I thought I already knew the answer, I would say, "I'll think about it," and give the asker a time that I would get back to them with my answer.  Then I would be able to take a moment to realistically see if this was something I ought to do.  This kept me from either always saying, "yes" or swinging the other way and always saying, "no."  Sometimes "yes' is appropriate and sometimes "no' is appropriate.  If we let the mind give the knee-jerk answer, the response will almost always be the wrong one.  That's another way the mind messes with us, by the way.

    Part 3 of this topic shows one way to say "no" with style: Not Enough Hours, Part 3

    Please click 'comments' below to post your thoughts.

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Not Enough Hours In The Day- Part 1

    When discussing routines, clearing out the mind clutter was one idea presented.  One way was to make a list of tasks.  Another was to write and practice a formal, but flexible routine.  For previous posts click: Routines.  If we write down all that has to be fit in our routine, at some point we may suspect or even determine that "there might not be enough hours in the day." 

    Well, guess what.  There aren't.  Not for what my mind has me thinking that I have to do.  What do I mean by this?   Recall that I spoke about how our minds can "run us" rather than we running our minds?  This is just one of the ways a mind can run a person.  By ensuring that every minute of every hour is filled with stuff that "must" be done, it keeps the person running.  Layered on top of this for some is the 'failure factor.'  Because we don't get it all done, some of us can feel like failures, as if we should be able to do a better job.  Why does this even matter?  Because it is another way the mind keeps me from my higher purpose.  For an artist it is one sure way to allow a stifling of creativity.

    Perfect Mind Play:  Create a situation that is impossible, then when unsuccessful in completing the super-human task, wallow in a failure stew.  Get up the next day, and do it again.  Are we having fun yet?  Do we just keep doing this day after day and year after year?  News Flash:  It does not have to be this way.

    If it had to be this way, it would be a universal truth for all humans.  And I am sure, it is not.  Having experienced both sides of this, I prefer the enough-hours-in-a-day approach.  So, how does one shift from the not enough to the enough?  The first step is, yes, you guessed, recognizing where you are and wanting to make a shift.  This is extremely important.  If  I can not see where I truly am, I just continue to delude myself into thinking I am somewhere else. 

    This introduction to 'Not Enough Hours in the Day' has been changed from its original format and divided into parts 1 and 2.
    For part 2 click: Not Enough Hours, Part 2

    What has worked for you when there was too much to do for the allotted time-frame?
    Please post any comments or questions by clicking 'comments' below.

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    My Painting Process- Current Work 5

    The painting "Be Mine" has been in process for longer than anticipated. When I last showed it here, Be Mine , I was not happy with some of the drawing within the figure.  What initially appeared to be minor adjustments in actuality were more significant.  In today's post are pictured the most recent two painting sessions. It is now back on track and has a better foundation.  Although I had to paint over some of the key elements to bring the foreground and background back to a unified place, they are to be painted back in. That is the collar and chain, the key and the heart shaped box that you saw in previous versions.

    "Be Mine"                   
    Oil on Canvas, 30x40''          

    Early next week I will post again on this painting.  And later this month the Featured Artist I promised you will be revealed. 

    Please post any comments or suggestions by clicking, 'comments' below.

    Saturday, November 7, 2009

    Green Artist Tip: Cleaning Paint Brushes

    Keep Paint Out of Drains and Ground Water!
    • Save paint to palette for reuse, if possible. (or to paint can or paint bucket).
    • Wipe as much paint off of brush onto cloth rag or paper towel before using any water or solvent.  
    • Use smallest amount of water or other solvent needed to wipe off additional paint to rag. If you put this in a recycled disposable container, and keep dipping, you keep even more paint out of the drain. 
    • ~ In the case of water, you can then let it evaporate from container and wipe out loose paint. This container is then ready to clean brushes again. 
    • ~ In the case of turpentine, you can then let paint settle and pour off clean fluid to a clean jar. The paint sediment can be wiped out of dirty jar with a rag. 
    • Allow the rag or paper to dry completely before putting it in the trash.
    Do you have a tip to share? Do you want to comment or add to this tip?  Please click 'comments' below.

    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    The Fuchsia Aisle Finally Got To Her: My Painting Process

    I don't know if you will consider this a trick or a treat today for Halloween.  I tried to find my most frightening piece to post, and it was a toss-up between two of them.  I chose the one that was easiest to photograph.  OK, I have slides of them, but that does not help today.


    "The Fuchsia Aisle Finally Got To Her"
    Oil on Arches RKB paper

    'The Fucshia Aisle' refers to the toy shopping aisle that is overwhelmingingly this color.  If you are not familiar with this aisle because 1) you do not have a daughter or granddaughter or 2) you live outside of the US commercial market, I will explain it to you.  In toy stores or department stores like Target or Kmart in the United States, the row of toys that are marketed to girls looks pink or fucshia.  Most of the boxes and packaging in this aisle of toys is this bright, screaming pink color. 

    The term 'fucshia aisle' in the title has not only this literal meaning, but also has a figurative meaning.  Figuratively it represents the 'ideal female body' in my society's media, advertising and entertainment.

    This group of paintings had the female body image as a central theme.
    The detail at the left from the above painting is of a doll I found in a child's room in that state.  If you click on the image you will see a larger view.  The doll is standing on her hands with her neck dangling down.   She has one leg straight up in the air and is missing the other leg. Her head is where her foot should be.  She has been given (or gave herself?) a very interesting haircut. Oh, and she has no clothes on.  Also of note, is that this doll is not a "Barbie." Or is a non-Barbie  (The Barbies in the room had their heads missing.  Those are in other paintings). 
    In reality, the razor blade would be much smaller than the doll.  But here we see an enormous pink blade with the sharp edge up.  The opposite color from pink in terms of gender identity in the US is blue.  This is the color that not only the doll is surrounded by, but also is the background of the entire piece.  If you look closely, the underpainting that shows through is pink, but it is virtually covered up.  It is as if all of her decisions, options, choices are colored by this dominant sea of blue.  Other than the huge razor blade, there is nothing else in the frame.
    Well, this seems like a peculiar place to stop.  Though it is Halloween. 
    In my next post I will get back to the painting "Be Mine."

    To post a question or comment, Click 'comments' below.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Frugal Artist Tip: Clothespins for Drying Paint Brushes? Yes, Clothes Pins

    After washing and reshaping paint brushes, (See: Cleaning Oil Paint Brushes)
    • Clip each to a clothes pin.
    • Set on edge of a counter or table with the bristles toward the ground.
    • Allow to drip dry.
    Water drips out of metal ferrule . This keeps water from collecting inside ferrule which helps prevent bristle damage.
    On a beveled countertop you will need to anchor clothespins with something: a piece of wood works well  or clip a 2nd clothes pin onto the one holding the brush.

    I have found wooden clothespins at a small local hardware store or for an even better price at a dollar store. 

    Do you have a great art tip to share?  Post below- just click 'comments.'

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    My Painting Process- Current Work 4

    Over the past month, I have been sharing with you how I go about creating a painting from beginning to end.  This is the 4th post in this series. 

    The piece I have been showing you has now been definitively named "Be Mine."  I sat with this title throughout, and it is the right one.  At this point, the details of the chain, key and heart are to be painted in.  The painting has come together as you see below.

    "Be Mine"
     Oil on Canvas

    Additionally, the collar is to be detailed as shown in the studies below.

    (Click on an Image to Enlarge)

    Ring Studies (and Detail of Ring Studies)
    Acrylic Gesso on Canvas

    These studies were done using  both black gesso and white gesso, instead of paint.  I found it interesting to work with such a thick and unforgiving medium in this way compared to the oil paint that I am used to.  I will use this ring as the collar on the figure in "Be Mine."

    As I look at the painting so far there is something that does not sit right.  I am satisfied with the treatment of the paint, itself, though I am not pleased with the positioning of the figure.  I have some changes in mind that I will share with you this coming week. 

    I am also finishing up another painting in this series that I will introduce to you soon, as well. 

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