Jun 7, 2010

Art from the Heart

This and That about art!


I know that being a good artist is not an easy task. Being a designer is even harder. It all takes a lot of hard work and study and one element that is one of the most important and that is patience.




Looking back over my career I see things I did that helped me get where I am today. One thing I am glad I did was to keep my first paintings, if I had thrown them out I would not be able to compare where I had been and where I was now. I used to go to the library weekly to get art books. I would travel and check out galleries and other artists work, but now the artists of today have the internet and all they have to do it Google what they want to learn. It is very helpful to read about how others have achieved what they have, and read blogs for inspiration.


You can visit museums and galleries online and study the paintings and fine what really appeals to you.


I think learning all about compositions was one of the best things I did for my art. So many times you will see a nicely executed painting only to see the composition if way off, which ruins the whole work of art. If anyone who wants to be a good artist should get some books on composition and learn how to compose a painting that is appealing to the eye.


It is good to have a friend who will critique your work, luckily my husband had the “eye” for art, he sees things I don’t so before I put something up for sale or for a pattern he had a good look at it. You need to have this done by someone who loves you and will be honest. You can get another artist to do this but as I have found often you will run into one who is a bit jealous and this can be disastrous to you and your art.


I love to sit down and just paint without any pre drawing. However my best work has always been done from a rough draft of my idea. It is really a good idea to do a value study before you begin painting. Get your ideas and your composition right before you paint!


Don’t expect to improve your art if you don’t do it on a regular basis, I paint almost every day. I have for years, this has been a serious endeavor for me since I began.


When I went to acrylics I found it was so much harder than oils, and so I had to develop some new habits. Each of us have to find what works for us, be it brushes or paints.


With the acrylics drying so fast I had to learn how to use an extender on the canvas before I applied the paint. I had to keep my brushes wet, with oils I could just lay them down but not with the acrylics, so I fill my basin I developed and in one of the compartments I only add about one inch of water so it doesn’t come up to the metal furule and I set my brushes in that compartment to keep them wet. This basin having the soft scrub cleaning brushes never bends my brushes as they are so soft and delicate so my brushes keep wet without ruining them.


When I go back to oils I have to remember that I don’t have to paint ‘fast” and believe me after you have painted with acrylics for a while and get used to moving fast, the change over to oils is very interesting.


Now we come to designing for others, here I found a very hard and sometimes frustrating job. Yes I say “job” because that is what it is. I am not sitting here at my easel painting for my enjoyment, I have to take many things into consideration. What will be saleable? What should I paint on? What paints should I use?


Once I have established the answers to these questions then I have to decide if I want to paint something for a beginner or for an advanced artist. So then I can get started…from the start of a design I am in a different mode, I am constantly thinking of how I need to explain what I am doing in terms that can be understood, I also need to make notes of all the colors I mix, so I have to stop and figure the ratios which in doing so takes the creativity completely away. I can’t just start picking up any color, I have to keep it in mind what I am doing all of the time. So the whole process is really not as fun or relaxing as when I can just sit and paint to sell or just for myself.


Then once the painting is finished I need to ink the pattern, now inking is not something I can do without intense concentration on what I am doing, I don’t want to miss a line or make a mistake or I will have to start over again. That can be more time doing something I am not especially loving because of the fear of making a mistake.


Now the pattern is inked and it is time to actually take my notes and write the instructions. This can take hours. Then I need to proof it at least two times. More time doing left brain things! Finally I get it done and then I have to photograph the project and if I am putting it into a pattern packet I need to sit and assemble them…….by now the painting I have been working on is one I don’t even like anymore!


Sometimes I wonder if it is all worth it and then I get a wonderful email or phone call from some nice person telling me that they were so excited because they painted one of my patterns and it turned out really nice!
This is my reward, and when this happens then I know that I am doing what God intended for me, to paint and share what I have learned with others so they could find the true joy I have found in painting.

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