Monday, August 24, 2015

"So, how long did it take you to paint that?"

If you ever display your work, be it for a big show or just to your cousin, you will get this question sooner or later.   The hard part is how to answer it.  

I am in my late 40's.  I've been working in the arts for most of those years.   Within that time, I've taken numerous workshops, some good, some not so much.   I've painted from life, painted from photos too.   I've read books and magazines and studied hard.   Does this time count?  You betcha!   Without doing the time, I would not paint the way I do, wouldn't have the skills I've learned.   And I'm not done yet either, I don't' think an artist ever really 'gets there'.   Most just keep trying, doing and learning.  

I've painted horses all this time.   But each one is different.   To do a commission, I must really study that horse, and listen very hard to the owner as to the animal's character, plus take into account how the owner feels about the animal.    I might have a good photo given to me, but the horse looks quiet--but the owner may tell me "he was a real fireball in his younger years, and can you paint him like that?"   All of this research takes time--does it count towards how long it took to paint that?  Yup.

And while a piece is on my easel, there seems to be a need for me to simply stare at it a while.  Its just how I work.  And it is as necessary as the actual time spent with pigment in hand.   Might look like I'm sitting there drinking tea, staring into space.   But I'm not.  Usually.   And that time counts too.

So that is just not a question to be answered with a simple number like "2 hours".   In essence, the real answer is all my life.  Its taken all my life to paint this.

Dusty Road; 8x10 pastel   available at Stagecoach Gallery

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Hello fair readers in blogger-land!   Its been a crazy week, I took my daughter to college, so now have dealt with the big-bad empty nest.   Was tough for a couple days, but my dear sweet daughter has made it easier on me by sending  texts, or pm's on Facebook, and even a couple calls.   

One thing about an empty nest is that it leaves yet more time to paint.   This is a cabin belonging to a friend from the upper part of the state.   I often use black artist's tape around my paintings to section them off, it makes it easier to judge the edges of the image area.  
Connie's Cabin;    6x11pastel on Uart    $100.
  I just joined a brand new gallery, located on Main Street in Mitchell SD.   This Friday, August 21, from 6pm til 8pm, I'll be talking about art and pastel, doing a live demo,  and have a few extra paintings on display so please come!!   I would love to see you there!

Clouds on the way; 7x9pastel   $40.
And finally, this little painting is one from my workshop last weekend, well, from the plein air the night before actually.   7x9 on primed hardboard.   This was from the overlook park area, and the view was so huge and vast, all I could do was pick a teeny part of it.   Gorgeous area, along the Niobrara River.   I highly suggest a trip there if you ever have the time!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Workshop review

Hello out there in blogger-land, I am home again after a weekend workshop with the lovely Rita Kirkman,, in Valentine NE.

  The theme was about working small, which has quite a few strong points, such as, its easy to get in a painting a day, they are easier to frame, and being small, it sets you free to experiment as you don't have this huge amount of time or materials involved.

Rita works mainly in pastel, but students worked in whatever they liked.   She also has a unique way of priming/underpainting that we all tried.    Here's my second piece from the first day, as for the first piece, well, nevermind!
Sam's Bunny    6x8pastel    $50.

Rita was a very articulate, open, generous teacher.    Her drawing skills are just killer, too!    She did a few demos, and can explain whilst working.   I learn well with this, and wrote down several key points when I got home last night.    I have come home with a new excitement to get to work!   Which will help me greatly next week as I slide in head-first into 'empty nest'.  

There was also a show held in conjunction, of which I brought home a 2nd for this landscape, yeah!
Bill's Road   9x12 pastel    $250 framed

The day before the workshop, a few of us went painting along the overlook area of the Niobrara River.  Its gorgeous there!    What a great way to kick off a workshop, too!
Storm along the Niobrara;   7x10pastel on panel, $45

I will post more of the small paintings in future blog posts, so keep watching, and ask away if there's a question.