The Pastel Palette Method

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Paint as Though You are an Old Master today?

"Prosephone in Summer"
(Detail) work in progress
Acrylic on Wood Panel

This is the Christmas Season and I am always loving this time of year. Even if things are not perfect or are sometimes sad, I love the holiday season more than all others. How can one not love Christmas lights and Christmas trees? How could one not love the amber glow of the Menorahs?

Lately it has been a time of introspection with my art. Do you ever have one of those months? Do you get in those moods when you wonder if anyone is paying attention to your career? Do you ever have that scary notion of, what will happen to all of your art in the future? Will it be in museums, important collections, or will it end up against a wall at a garage sale for 2 dollars?

The truth is that I would paint even if the world thought it to be terrible. The process gives me peace. It always has, even when I was just 3 years old drawing with a red pen on envelopes on the kitchen table. I am not saying that I don't have the hope that my work will be important in the grand scheme of art history. I am painting and believing that my work will be important. It's all about the work isn't it? Did Manet know that his work would be so important? I believe in his heart he did but he had to have had his doubts.

I think it is important to maintain that belief and faith that what you are painting and drawing is important and will be for all of art history.That is the fuel that will get us past the introspection and self doubts. So paint like as though you are an Old Master today.

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Creativity takes courage."
~Henri Matisse

Creating is one of the most pure activities in an artist's life. I know for me, when I am creating I am most myself. It's not more apparent until I am drawn away from it, whether it be my 9-5 job, my procrastination or filler activities, such as, surfing aimlessly on the web.

During such procrastination, I can feel the constrictions and the walls closing in on my creativity. I think this is why I often draw on the train during my morning commutes. I want to claim back some of that time; however I am coming to the chilling conclusion that I am my worst time waster.

We have to identify the problem before we can address it.
I am making the hard decision to try and right my own ship. Many people have told me that I get to spend a lot of time on my fine art and they wished they could do the same. The truth be told is that I am only scratching the surface of what I am capable of. I know I can do more and I want to do more. 

I have read many books on the subject of time management. These books mention helpful principles, such as, the 80/20 rule. This is a rule to spend 80 percent of your time doing the 20 percent of the most important things in your day. An example would be that if you had a "To Do" list of 20 items, you should concentrate 80 percent of your time and energy items 1-4. This is helpful and those books are great. The real truth is that these books and other resources are helpful but not the true solution.

What is the true solution? 
I can only dive into my own unique issue but I suspect that this will apply to most artists. I am searching for the answers to my lack of "creative time" in my day outside of myself. Deep down, I know the solution is within. Do I want the procrastinating activity more that the exhilaration I get when a painting is finished? Does flipping through television channels or surfing the web usually create anything other than stress when I know I have a painting to work on?

This morning I am turning the magnifying glass on me. I will not let myself get in the way of my art, one of the most pure activities of my life. My art is what I have loved since my most earliest memories of life. 

To my artists friends, whether you are a painter, photographer, musician, sculptor, writer, chef, or anyone that creates for the love of the creation; I have this quote for you by Winston Churchill (who was a very good watercolorist) :

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.'

Let your Light Shine,

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Can one be a serious artist and have a regular full time job?

There have been several people whom had made a statement to me that an artist is not as serious or genuine as one that does not also have a full-time job to make ends meet.  When I first heard this I did take it personal. I was a little annoyed and since then however I have been thinking about this.

The first thing I want to do is break this down. To use logic, that means that all "real" artists do not have any other job except their "art".  Let us look into the "real" artist argument.

The definition of "artist" in Webster's Dictionary states;  :

; a person who creates art : a person who is skilled at drawing, painting, etc.
: a skilled performer
: a person who is very good at something

Hmmm! I do not see anything in the definition that states not having a full-time job other than art. I am confused. Let's dig a little deeper. With the definition in place, here is the definition of art:

1:  skill acquired by experience, study, or observation <theart of making friends>
a :  a branch of learning: (1) :  one of the humanities
:  an occupation requiring knowledge or skill <the art of organ building>
a :  the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also :  works so produced
a archaic :  a skillful plan
b :  the quality or state of being artful

Ok, once again, I am unable to find the phrase, not having a full-time job. So, it does look like that statement falls apart. oh well. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Great Work Ethic or Jealous Mistress?

(Train Girl Series)
Pencil and pastel on tinted paper

Great Work Ethic or A Jealous Mistress?

Every morning I wake up hours before I have to leave for my 9 to 5 job. The alarm does not even go off. I awake, make coffee and fire up the airbrush for another daily 3 hour session at the easel. Each morning is an attempt to learn from yesterday morning's mistakes and I attempt the resolutions I have wrestled with in my mind the night before.

When I am on my way to work, on the train, I have my portable studio and I work on my drawing skills; working to sharpen my eye and hand. These little drawings, which now I have over 20 done, are called my "Train Girl" series. I also work on them on my afternoon commute as well. Without these exercises, I would feel horrible all day.

Like a shark I am constantly pushing myself, always moving and searching. I am never satisfied and I never want to "arrive". This, to me, would be a defeat. I never want to ever have a limit or ceiling to what I want to accomplish with my art. I am definitely not talking in monetary goals. I am speaking of artistic goals. To draw and paint better and better, to be able to reach a hurting world with a little beauty.

The question I ask myself sometimes is this; Am I hugely ambitious or is it a compulsion? Is this something that I have a choice to do, or is it involuntary, as the shark has to keep moving or die? Is art, to me, a jealous mistress, that does not allow other endeavours take her place or even come close? I know this, that any 9-5 job I had, always took a back seat to my art. Maybe that is not clear enough, my art was always the locomotive and the 9-5 jobs were the coals that allowed the locomotive to run.

Day 31 My Book: "The Pastel Palette Method" Broken Pastel Sticks are a Good Thing

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