cant you feel the sun already on this one! I'm really enjoying these big ones after years and years of 6x8 and 8x10's. me thinks me found me studio mojo.
this is an alley way off beloved Simonton St. Why is it beloved? it is a one way street with wide bike lane. your safest bet against being run over by drunk tourists on a moped for the first time. heard somewhere that key west is reigning champion for the most moped involved deaths/accidents in the states.
me on a bicycle 8 hours a day (with tons of plein air crap strapped all over) makes a really nice target for cars, mopeds and conch trains.
heres the food chain as far as transportation modes around the island. Conch train, the whale, the big kahuna, can do anything he wants since he's like 6 car lengths long. next SUV's and big trucks, cars, small cars, then motorcycles, mopeds, trikes (three wheeled bikes-very cool) then two wheel bikes, and at the bottom of the food chain, the pedestrian/tourist. but when theyre craning their neck left and right (looking at all there is to see that's different than their native des moines iowa) they'll step right off the curb without looking. bet they wouldn't do that in downtown des moines right? but I guess when you put on a bad Hawaiian shirt, and flip flops and have a map in your hand things are somehow different. tell it to the ER doc!
I wrote this post several years ago but its just as true today as the day I wrote it. so i thought I'd repost it as I'm taking off for Key West in a little over a week.
and YAAAAAHH--- tomorrow will be the shortest day of the year. on the 22nd the days will start getting longer and longer! don't know about you but I needed that bit of "sunny" news!
today i want to discuss a little talked about subject in the artistic realm, and thats your muse. a muse is commonly referred to as some impish pixie that makes you want to paint, play music, write and create (in general)
your muse is very important to the process. have you ever had a spell where you just didnt want to create anything. some use the word inspiration, as in "i had no inspiration". i know what they mean but you must remember the old adage "painting (writing or whatever) is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" this is certainly true if what you create also feeds you and puts gas in your car. i think working everyday at your craft is what gives your muse something to work with. and travel to places that your muse loves. for me thats key west. i love key west for several reasons, a million really. its a creative town. my muse works overtime here. i want to paint. i want to play music, also to think about life in a far different way than i do in northern latitudes for some reason. the tropics have a way of reminding you to cheer in unison with people nearby when the sun goes down. when's the last time you cheered the end of a beautiful day? appreciate the little things that make life, well, life.
it reminds you to take a nap in the middle of the day, when its so hot. and without guilt because you know you'll need the energy for the nighttime (day part two) that happens after another breathlessly beautiful sunset. down here you are constantly running into poets. musicians, artists, writers, and their overactive muses. a menagerie of eclectic "characters" assemble here, in this judgement free zone and can range from the buttondown polo shirt crowd to barefoot, shaggy haired, beachbum types all attending the same event. also noticed that signs telling you not to do things are an oddity here. probably because it wouldnt do any good! its the 21st century version of the wild west pretty much.
i said all this to say. if you have a hard time getting your muse to help you out, take him/her/it to a place where there are thousands and thousands of other muses running amuck. yours is bound to get excited and start giving you words, music, paintings galore.
but for me right now....its getting hot and its past my naptime!
then gotta get up and paint that golden hour painting ive been wanting to do for weeks. go muse!
Day two- correcting the colors, correcting shapes (ie. tightening up the chimney and windows areas, a few gutters added. also intermixing bounced colors into the rewetted purple blue of the building.
the trick is to not get too far away from the colors, values, and saturations of this. just correct some colors (either a little warmer or cooler) and show different colors as each plane changes etc. Do this without tightening up the strokes just because I'm getting more and more completed on this painting. its 24x36 and right now has the looseness of my small plein air studies.
here is the 24x36 painting ive got on the easel for the next several days. this is the most fun you can have with your clothes on! the underpainting. spreading around wild pure colors on a huge canvas with crazy big brushes! no fear stage. I mean if you don't like it you wipe it off and put something else down. you can do that at any stage in the painting but this early on there's such a freedom to the painting process.
this is the lighthouse keepers house on top of monhegan island, one of the most magical places to paint anywhere on the east coast. this is being done from an 8x12 study I did one morning when the sun was just gorgeous on the side of the building and you could see for miles across the water.
here's how loose I keep it at this stage, really no hard edges anywhere to be found. that's fun too!
another shot of the blurry edged, thick paint going on
be really careful with your palette knives, they are just like razor blades after a few months of use. I cut the back of one of my fingers today on my blade, while I was painting. zip and its laid open. luckily its like a paper cut, very thin. note to self: be more careful with something called a painting "knife"
after my last few posts about my 'crappy' brushes I was flooded with requests for pics of them, so here they are. I buy em at a hardware store for less than a dollar each. sometimes theyre called 'chip' brushes
they do require cutting with scissors to make them of any use, tho'.
I cut the height of the brushes down until theyre 'stiffer' and then work all the way around the brush trying to turn it into a filbert-type shape.
I used to just underpaint with these but love em so much I actually paint much of the painting now with these. they last an unbelievable amount of time and get better as the months go by. sizes I use range from 1/2", 1" and 1 1/2" for the bigger shapes I need to paint.
the reason I like the raggedy things is it keeps my stuff looser, longer. cant get too detailed or hard edged with these things! give one a try.
Fantastic news today! i'll now be represented in Charleston SC at the Atelier Gallery on King St. The gallery is awesome and right on gallery row. They also represent tons of great painters. very humbled to be in with such a talented bunch. will soon be getting the gallery lots of new paintings that I'm working on, as well as a bio for their website. more about those new paintings in progress in future posts.
here's the first step of the finished painting. as you can see I let a lot of the pervading pinks and lavendars "peep" thru on the finished piece. also kept the feel of looseness using those crazy 50 cent throwaway brushes from the hardware store 80% of the way thru the painting. how can you make an overly tight stroke with hairs sticking out four ways on the brush. SHHH don't tell anybody my trick. LOL
here's the finished piece for a commission ive been working on. caroline, the client, owns the photo gallery on the right under the furthest blue awning. she wanted to capture the late fall leaves that were so pretty in downtown new bern nc but a heavy rain took them all down before I got a chance to set up and paint. so I made them up. hope you like it caroline!