So you're painting along and you've spent about 2 hours on something new and you're just about to close up the session. You've got all the bones of the design in place. All you have left in the next and maybe last session is the muscles, the light, and some jazz. But then you see it... holy shit, how did I make THAT BIG of a screw up!
Then you sit, and sit, and sit wondering, pondering the choices, the solutions, all the options. All the while, it whispers in the back of your mind, "Do I even bother to fix it??"
This one was completed quite some time ago but I never catalogued it except with some in-process photos on Facebook. So I'm going to go ahead and count it on this year's tally of paintings. From a criterium race several years ago in Little Rock.
The wind is sure blowing a lot for me right now, just in way too many directions. I guess I should actually take that as a blessing instead of the confusion it feels like. From Palo Duro Canyon, Texas.
My third painting in the Binary Opposition series I did. The background was completed in only a few hours but the code in this one was extremely painstaking and this one kind of killed my desire to do a lot of these. I did do a few more but not a whole lot.
Below are some detail shots of the code. Decipher it if you so desire. :)
Ok, so yeah, it's past mid-year but not by a whole lot. I have never done a mid-year review before so maybe this would be a good practice for me.
Just in the last month or so, I have been witness to some very liberating events. Some anchors that had been dragging me down have been cut free. Through the fog, I can see some paths coming into focus with some real important choices to make. But for now, I can say that I feel more energized about my art and it's future than I have in a long time. I'm sure this current wave of feelings helps to inspire me to do this review.
1. Get into another gallery
Frame of Mind, Camden, AR
2. Make 60 blog posts
Currently at 27
Just a bit off pace but not too far, this can be made up
3. Complete 50 paintings
Currently at 15 of 50 (published)
Actual at about 20 of 50 (several yet to be photoed and uploaded)
This one is problematic, may not be able to achieve this at this point
4. Hang in 2 national shows
Art at the Center in Overland Park, KS
South Arkansas Art Center Juried show in El Dorado, AR
5. Hang in 4 local or regional shows
0 of 4
At this point, I'm not sure there are 4 local or regional shows available
I am definitely off pace in some areas but I've accomplished the biggest goals already. The 50 paintings goal would be a really good one to make but at the end of the day, 30 high quality paintings would be better than 50 with several of lesser quality. It hasn't helped that I spent almost 3 months doing nothing in the studio. That was a rough time but I hope I'm over it. The local or regional shows are good but nationals are better and I think I have solid chances of getting into at least one more. There is also a Regional I intend to submit for that I have solid hopes of making. I will take another national or two and a regional over 4 local shows.
This is a little plein air piece that has been sitting around for quite some time. I was never terribly happy with the result in the field. There were a lot of things I DID like about it but it was never really connecting with me. I knew what it was too and had even written about it before here. I started this with Golden Opens and it was one of my first attempts at using those. I was a little bit frustrated that I was unable to make a nice deep dark with them at the time. I later purchased some new colors so I could get deeper darks but then found myself unhappy with the consistency of the paint and not able to work it like I would have liked.
Regardless, I may still take the Golden Opens with me in a couple of weeks when I travel to Denmark!
Anyway, enjoy this one because I really like the result after the rework with oils in the studio.
I am very pleased to announce that my work can now be found at Frame of Mind Gallery in Camden, Arkansas. It is very cool to forge new relationships and this one is particularly interesting since the gallery owners also fellow mountain bikers! While down there, I got lots of pictures of Camden to work from and even ventured out to White Oak Lake State Park to do some painting.
I have only ever been to Camden one other time in my life and that was about 30 years ago so it was basically like having never been there. I must admit that we did not even make it to the Ouachita River front area of town. That will have to be for another trip, perhaps sometime before the holidays when the weather is cooler.
There is a little swinging bridge right next to where you would stand to see this location. That might make a really nice painting some day as well. There are quite a few Bear Creeks in Arkansas. This one is right outside of Harrison before turning north to run into Bull Shoals Lake.
Well, I am back at it after about 3 months of break. At this point, my goal of 50 paintings in 2017 is practically impossible but I'm going to keep counting and see how I do. Maybe I can get close to half??
This is plein air that I did right around the time I started my impromptu, unplanned break. It is from Steel Creek on the Buffalo National River in Newton County.
Last year, one of my biggest collectors, who also happens to write and direct musicals both off and sometimes on Broadway, asked if I would paint something that could serve as a poster for an upcoming musical he was working on titled, "During Wind and Rain." The musical is based upon real life events that occurred in one single family in Desha County, Arkansas around the turn of the century. It is a tragic story of multiple deaths and the shadow they cast upon a once prominent and wealthy cotton farming family. I was intrigued and wanted to do it. This is the study upon which the final piece was based. The musical opens in North Little Rock, Arkansas in April and I can't wait to see it.
Back in the '80s, elk from the Rockies were introduced in the Buffalo National River park. Before white settlers came and hunted them to extinction, the region was home to a smaller subspecies known as the eastern elk. Today, the elk herds attract many visitors to the park mostly during the fall when the big bulls join the herds in the bottoms for rut.
I started and did most all of the work for this one last year but was never certain I was done with it until a few weeks ago so I'm taking credit for it in 2017.
My friend from Finland sent me some glorious sunrise pictures from the countryside north of Helsinki a month or so ago. Her description of the experience of the moment was inspiring and I had to do a painting of it.
Let me just lead this post off by saying this is old work. This is from 2009 and was my first in a short series of experimental pieces incorporating encoded messages. I mentioned these in passing to a friend who expressed a desire to see them. That prompted me to take a look here and make sure I had posted them. I looks like I never actually did that. For a while, I kept a separate blog for all of my work that was not directly related to Arkansas scenes but I found that was too much and I abandoned it and tried to upload everything that was on that blog to here but I guess I missed some things.
I have quite a lot of new works that will be uploaded soon. These older coded pieces will get posted interspersed with new work. I won't give away too many secrets as to how to figure out what this says but it really have a message in it. If you want to figure it, by all means, please take a crack at it!
This past autumn continued a streak a less than optimal peak color in the state of Arkansas. The weather was warmer than average and rains came too early. This location is just east of Little Rock on an oxbow lake of the Arkansas River. A local road bike runs past this so I knew from having sped by it in the past that is a nice peaceful and picturesque spot that might be worthy of painting. I went by there one Saturday in November and snapped a photo for a photo exchange with a friend who also did a digital painting of this scene.
I started this little plein air close to sunset over the summer vacation to the Grand Canyon after a couple of other failed attempts at larger sizes. The Grand Canyon is an imposing, intimidating place to paint. Not only is the vista unimaginably huge, the sky and colors so profound but there is also always the presence of humans and potential watchers making it even harder to work.
This one was completed in 2016 so it does not count towards my 50 in 2017.
This a plein air from near Waco, Texas done just before the end of 2016. If you've ever tried to do a sunrise or sunset in plein air, you know how hard they are, how quickly the sky changes it's character and intensity. The entire palette can shift on you in a minute or so, going from vibrant yellows to reds and pinks. So it is a tall order to think that I might have finished this one as is on-site. It had some pretty extensive studio work done and is therefore my first completed piece in 2017!
I have been doing the "7 Day Artist Challenge" on Facebook and I decided that I would refresh people's memories of some older work. This one was completed several years ago and somehow escaped being posted anywhere except a small, fairly low res image on my main website. I had no other good photos of this painting so I reshot it and now have it properly cataloged. It was intended to be a commission for a friend of my late wife whose husband built this barn outside the small Perry County town of Bigelow. When it came time to deliver, they just never replied. I think it was their loss as this has been one of my favorite pieces since the time I finished it.
This is studio finished plein air from Cadron Creek in Cleburne County, Arkansas just north of Quitman. This was from November when I took some more paintings to Ellen Hobgood Gallery in Heber Springs.
This one was still finished in 2016 so it doesn't count towards my 50 in 2017. I have finished 3 so far so with a couple more I'll be on schedule to make the goal. I'll be getting pictures of those pretty soon.
A little plein air from Palo Duro Canyon in Texas that I m finally pleased with. Palo Duro was meant to be a warm up for the Grand Canyon during summer vacation of 2016. But I would up not doing very much while at the Grand Canyon.
This was completed during 2016 so it does not count towards my 50 in 2017.
Usually around the first of the year I will do up a little post that sets myself up for disappointment in the coming year. Goals, resolutions, expectations, call them what you will. I have long had a bizarre relationship to them when it comes to my painting. In other areas of my life, I don't seem to have nearly as much of an issue with this. But for some reason, when I set a goal in painting, I promptly ignore it. Last year, I avoided doing this setting of goals post, opting instead to make a post of a very personal nature towards the end of February. That post contained a "not goal" of going into my studio almost every day during the month of March. I did well enough with that.
Make no mistake, 2016 was a struggle. There were times I was ready to give up the fight and just quit painting. My show at Cantrell Gallery was a large factor in me continuing. The encouragement of some fellow artists on DeviantArt also played no small part in my ability to keep trudging forward. One person in particular has been instrumental in helping to lift some of the veil of darkness. Someone who I feel provides some of the enthusiasm for my work I had been so missing, that helps me say, "yes, I am on the right track here!" This person has also helped me to regain some of my focus in other areas of my life. Dare I say that I can dream again somewhat. Now, I know that time and tide have certainly helped to carry me away from that farthest shore of death but I can most definitely trace the feeling of some creeping tendrils of life and joy to the past month and half or so.
So here I am daring to dream a little bit again. And with that comes the notion that painting must play a large part in whatever future I have. I have two or three rather disparate notions of what my future might look like but in all of them, painting must form the focal point in order to make them achievable. Therefore, I embark once again upon the creation of some "goals." (Yes, I will use that dirty word.) And as always, I try to make sure my goals are things which I am in control of and not something like number of sales or anything like that.
1. Get into another gallery! (Am I really in control of this?? A little bit at least. If I never submit, I will never get in....)
2. Make 60 blog posts!! This would be an annual record for me.
3. Complete 50 paintings!
4. Hang in 2 national shows (this will become much harder now that the Diamond National Show in Hot Springs is defunct.) I guess if the show is online that will count as hanging but if you know me, I'm not much for online shows so they must be seriously reputable, like OPA or OPS shows.
5. Hang in 4 local or regional shows (This will probably require me to get re-engaged with Arkansas League of Artists as well as some other local organizations.)
Lots of energy is required for these and I am still very much constrained by life so I will be plenty happy with any 3 of these.