Friday, May 27

Paint Small

The Motif for My Small Painting
I did something last week that I haven’t done in a long time. I painted small.
Of course, the term small is relative. Small for you and small for me may be two entirely different things.
I have read and actually seen drawings and “paintings” that were rendered on the head of a pin. Why on earth anyone would do that, other than the sheer novelty of it, is beyond me. I don’t enjoy peering through a magnifying glass to view artwork.

Anyway, when I say small, I mean smaller than a full sheet of watercolor paper, which is 22 x 30 in. (56 x 76 cm). So my latest painting is on a half-sheet, and I didn’t even use all of that real estate either. My painting is only 9 x 16 in. (23 x 41 cm.). Again, that’s small for me.
Why did I enjoy it? Well, I like that you can paint a small painting relatively quickly. I think I spent about four hours over a couple of days, which was great since I am having a very busy May as I told you in a recentblog.

Also, the smaller size meant that I didn’t fuss with the details, which I sometimes do in a larger painting. That is, I sort of painted the whole thing at once. My painting is a simple landscape, so it was ground, trees, sky---one, two, three. Easy.

I like the result, and so I have decided to do a series of the same motif, but in different seasons as suggested to me by an artist friend. I’m looking forward to it.

So my suggestion to you is—think  and paint small sometimes...

Happy Painting!

Monday, May 23

A Simple Painting Tip - Squint!

A Motif I'm Considering to Paint (& Squint At)
Squint—that is what we’re told to do as we paint. Squint, Squint, Squint, and squint some more!

My eyesight isn’t all that great to begin with, so I feel as if I’m naturally squinting all the time anyway. But squinting as you paint is not the same thing.

It means you should step back from your work, scrunch up your nose a little bit, make your eyes into little slits and really squint at your work.

What on earth? Well, there is both rhyme and reason for doing this seemingly idiotic gesture while you paint.

It allows you, your eyes, and your brain to determine the values in your work better than merely looking at it. By squinting, you sort of “gray” everything down in your vision so that there is better contrast between the lights and the darks.

In theory this should help you see (and paint) the correct values more easily.

You can accomplish the same thing by taking a black and white photo of your motif and then printing out a copy. The darks, lights, and grays will all become more obvious than in color.

Or you can just squint.

If you’re not doing this already, then give this painting tip a try and see if it improves your natural painting abilities.

Happy Painting!

Wednesday, May 18

An Observation on Artistic Open-Mindedness

My Acrylic (on Canvas) from 2010
Artists are supposed to be open-minded, or at least that’s what I thought. However, after several years of:

-reading about current art and art events online and in publications

-attending many museums, galleries, and exhibitions

-talking to a good many artists

-personally painting and entering my work in exhibitions

…I am not so sure anymore if my above statement about open-mindedness holds true.

Why? Because everyone, including and especially artists, seems to have their own idea of what art should be and/or look like.

What I mean by that is, avant-garde artists seem only to relate to contemporary or to what I like to call really-contemporary art. Art can be in any shape, form, or hue as long as it doesn’t conform to anything—even other contemporary art. They acknowledge other types of art, but it is of absolutely no interest to them.

Then there are other artists who only like representational art—the pretty, painterly pictures and portraits, etc. that are the mainstay of many traditional galleries and art museums. If it doesn’t look like something or it isn’t beautifully painted, drawn or sculpted, then, well, you know…it isn’t proper art, and is of absolutely no interest to them..

I am not putting myself above any other artists because I have my likes and dislikes, too. I’m just saying…

Happy Painting!

Saturday, May 14

I Guess I Don't Take Criticism Very Well

You know, you can still learn things about yourself, no matter your age. I discovered last week that I don’t take criticism all that well. I’m speaking of art criticism, specifically criticism of my work.

I suppose I should be more gracious. Or if I can’t be gracious, then I should probably just smile and nod in agreement.

But I didn’t, I got a little defensive--it's my work after all. I mean, I didn’t throw a hissy-fit or anything like that. I just said something like, “Wait a minute, time out!” I don’t think there’s anything particularly egregious in that.

I don’t think I have that high of an opinion about my work that I’m above criticism. At least I like to think that. I am a good listener, and I have a good memory, and I remember almost all previous criticisms, and I strive not to repeat my erroneous ways.

As I’m planning and executing my painting, I try to remember “the rules” as I was taught them on how to render techniques or to avoid mistakes when painting a particular subject or motif.

When I heard conflicting information (or at least what I considered conflicting information), it upset me a little. I mean, we artists are supposed to be sensitive, right?

Anyway, I was reminded by my critic that I didn’t have to take the advice or make any of the suggested changes if I didn’t want to.

Well, I took that piece of advice from them, and I decided not to change a thing. So there.

Happy Painting!


Monday, May 9

A Busy Artist

The Boardwalk at Port Royal
Acrylic on Paper
Copyright 2011
I’m having a busy, busy week, and I may have a busy, busy May.

For that reason, my blogs may be a bit shorter and not as frequent as they usually are. Or not. It depends on how busy I am.

If you’re a busy artist, then you know what I mean. Your art and painting, in addition to all of your other responsibilities, has to get prioritized somewhere on your own personal list.

Anyway, today’s image is an acrylic painting I recently completed. I really like it as it reminds me of a beach vacation from several years ago. I hope you enjoy viewing it, too.

As I mentioned above, I must to sign-off for now. Until next blog…

Happy Painting!

Wednesday, May 4

Who's Your Favorite Painter?

An Acrylic on Canvas of Mine
in the Style of Edward Hopper
Or perhaps you have more than one favorite painter? Not that it’s anyone’s business but your own, but I find it interesting (or if “interesting” is not the right word, how about “really?”) to find out which painters are favorites of other artists.

You never know whose work or which style and certainly not which painting catches the eye of an individual artist.

It is “interesting” to learn why certain painters' work attracts some and not others, psychologically speaking.

If you are a regular viewer of OrbisPlanis, then you already know who my favorite painters are (in no particular order): Claude Monet and Edward Hopper. Of course, these well-known, famous painters are the favorites of hundreds of thousands worldwide, if not millions.

And I can tell you why they are my favorites.

Monet’s paintings capture the true sense of beauty for me, and they put me in the time and the place and the moment. The harmony of colors in his paintings is unmatched by other painters (in my humble opinion). I admire his loose style with vanishing edges everywhere. We all know Monet, as well as other Impressionists, painted light, and nobody painted the illusion of light better than he.

Edward Hopper’s paintings do two things for me. I have discovered in my artistic journey that I, for whatever reason, like to paint structures. Many of Hopper’s representational paintings include architectural elements that are highlighted by bright sun and cast shadows. I like that a lot. In addition, almost all of his paintings tell a story, or maybe I should say they tell an unfinished story that leaves the viewer thinking, “What just happened here?”

So, these painters are my favorites. I wish you would leave a comment for everyone to let us know who your favorite painters are, and don’t forget to tell us why.

Happy Painting!