As artists we’ve all been there before… you send in the work, you fill out the forms, you jump through all the hoops. And then wait. A phone call to check on progress. “The person you have to speak to is on holidays”. More waiting. Another call. “We will be reviewing all the applications next year”. You wait until next year. Finally the letter comes… you are nearly falling over yourself with excitement… this is it… the big break! “We received a large number of applications and we are very sorry. You didn’t get picked”.
Then something really big happened. The internet came along. All of a sudden it became really easy to meet new people. Whereas before a small group of people had no time to look at my work it turned out that now there was a big group who actually really liked it. I also realized that I had no time to wait… I had too many ideas and there was too much painting to be done! Conversations happened, I got into a painting routine, things started to take off, even some sales!
Studies have shown that less than 1% of actors will ever make it into a Hollywood movie. There are over 56,000 artists living in New York City but less than 1% will ever be picked by a top gallery.
You can spend a whole lifetime waiting to be picked. Or you could start. On your own. Now.
Painting on the run has its challenges. Finding a subject, limited time and working in haste. Not all works work out. This painting which I did in Nice last year has some learning opportunities (aka glaring errors) that lend themselves to reflection and refinement.
1. Composition. The scene has a near centre horizon line. To have the one third sky or two thirds sky allows for focus and expression. The large foreground is difficult to do anything visually exciting with and is a wasted opportunity to use the valuable real estate in a small work.
2. Colour. Neither warm nor cool, this study needs to decide what it is and tone up or down to create mood. The rule of thirds can assist. One third warm, two thirds cool and a highlight of light or dark to give wow factor!
3. Tone. The absence of contrast means no strong shapes so to remedy this the headland could be darker to illuminate the sky and shore.
Monet painted haystacks. Many haystacks. Winter, summer, autumn. The light, the shadow...all different.. yet some may see same. Nudes reclining... many.. so many. The artist sees the light, the shape, the texture and you are informed... differently. Munch and his many "The Scream"s. I read he did many. Some on scraps of cardboard.
I love harbours and boats. Mountains and fields. Boats and headlands. Many headlands. Many beaches.
Welcome! The latest workshop was blessed with perfect weather. The walk to the nature reserve at Killalea provided landscape inspiration for everyone. Blocking in and preparation for painting completed and then on to a three course lunch and conversation (with a few bubbles thrown in).
Demonstrations lead on to painting the final art works and a Devonshire tea over a plenary session ended the day. Inspiring, challenging, extending and achieving. The plan is Portugal for this group and us. Let the planning commence!
Preparation is key. To make things look easy there are years of experience, weeks of thinking and planning, many ‘learn by your mistakes’ and days of cleaning and sorting and tidying. It is a team event. It means allowing people into a personal world. It costs. It is worth it. The cost is worth it. When the artists come to learn, everyone learns and grows. Here’s to learning and growing!
Rather than thoroughly blending the two hues on your palette, try mixing them quickly with your palette knife. Scrape up the incompletely blended colours and apply them with either knife or brush. You'll get an entrancing mix of hues and effects as you apply the paint to your canvas... the colour will mix itself as you go... creating unexpected worlds that never existed before.
It's uncommon to discover perfect and organized compositions in nature. Simply think about the contrast between natural bushland, where the trees develop randomly, and a managed forest, where the trees are planted in equally dispersed lines.
Shifting the space between the components in your organization, varying the points at which they lie and their sizes, make a work of art all the more intriguing.
Ian Fairweather said “painting is not something that must be understood. If the painting is for you it will produce an almost physical sensation, something of joy, of wonder – a tug to the heart.”
Words are not necessary to explain why a buyer must have. Understanding is great and some have that too. For others, they just get it. It is a little like love. There are words said and heard. And sometimes not.
The road was blue to me. That’s how I started. What other colour could the trees possibly be but red? When you invert your normal colour choices a whole new world of possibilities emerge. With a bit of practice you will learn how to balance an alternative colour spectrum which will give rise to an exciting new visual language.
When I first posted this painting someone commented that they never noticed the red trees and the blue road because somehow the colours all made sense. Have you tried switching the colours in your landscape?
The shelves at my place are packed with books. Many of them art books. Students of today use books....sometimes. More often they are online and in cyberspace for research and inspiration. Schools buy licences more and books less. In the olden days the masters were studied from two text books... Gardner’s “Art Through the Ages” and Janson’s “A History of Modern Art”.
Nowadays it is more likely that the curriculum will include the artist as entrepreneur, the spokesperson, the voice of the repressed and marginalised, the role of social media in art. The kids as a first go straight to Google and Wikipedia. This is the next generation of art historians, the gatekeepers of the future.
It used to be that if you made it into a book you were made as an artist... but I wonder if art books will even exist in the future? And if so, who will be writing them? Who will be reading them? And most importantly, who will be in them?
Richard Claremont - artist. A peek into my studio. How I think. How I paint. How I run my art business. Bite sized daily chunks of goodness. Just me talking aloud, really. Join me for a chat over a cuppa.
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