Sunday, June 24, 2007

Walk on the Wild Side

The picture below is the of the piece I recently completed in my new abstract class. I am truly enjoying the class simply for being able to have fun with paint and experiment with new techniques. I can get crazy and dirty and not worry about how it will look. This one wound up reminding me of a hypercolor t-shirt from the mid-90s, amusingly enough:

I think that if I didn't already have some training on the basic color theory and design, I would probably be pretty lost. There are definitely some people in the class that have no clue about those things, but it really doesn't matter. Everyone is supportive of each other, and because we are all trying totally new things and techniques, who knows if your work will wind up looking great or not, and who really cares?

Truth be told, I was actually happy with this painting. I was pretty disappointed that after only getting to mess around for about a half hour, it was done, but overall I really like the way it turned out. I didn't overwork the piece, and it has solid compositional elements in it. Plus, it was a hell of a fun time basically splashing the canvas with paint. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Step One

To your left is the first painting I have completed in oil. Well, to be exact, this is the first one that I have completed on my own. I am trying something a little bit different from what I have been doing in my class. I am doing an online self-study program. The reason for this is that I feel that none of the classes I have taken have really taught me HOW to paint. The instructors go very in depth about your composition, and the conceptualization behind the painting, but as to the actual process of becoming a good painter logistically, I feel that I have sorely lacking. So far everything I have been reading through this has been greatly educational. The course itself is pretty intense. Hopefully I will be able to keep up the discipline to continue the program through its entirety. Supposedly, it takes a year to complete this thing, but it "can" be done in 6-9 months. I am shooting for the six to nine months route - I very much want to step up my game and make sure this is the path I want to pursue.

The painting I just completed is what is called a baseline painting. Basically that means I just paint something, pretty much anything. The only stipulation is that I have to paint it from life.
Later on, I will compare my progress to this original painting, hopefully to help me boost my sorely trodden upon ego as I have spurts of success followed by many frustrations. Heh. In any case, it felt great to do something completely on my own, without an instructor constantly looking over my shoulder and meddling with it. One of my biggest pet peeves from my last class was how I always had to wait for the instructors "permission" to continue to the next portion of the painting. He also had a tendency to belittle the students, to mix the colors for them because they weren't "competent" enough, and to actually paint part of their works himself. I can understand this to a certain degree for super early beginners, but by the end of the class, I actually did not like some of the things he had done when touching my painting. In any case, this felt good to paint, although it is definitely not anything close to being stellar. Very student-grade. Sigh. Just keep swimming.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


My new art class, much to my dismay, is an acrylic class. I am excited about it being abstract, but I had really set my hopes on it being an oil class. From what I understand though, most classes aren't anymore, mostly because oil takes so long to do anything with. For some reason I am in love with the medium. I don't know quite exactly why, but I am. I love the smell of it, I love the way that it can be manipulated and almost sculpted. Acrylics can do the same things, with mediums, but I like how oil is that way in its natural state. In any case, because this class was in acrylics, I wound up spending another $200 on supplies in addition to the $300-$400 that I just spent (by the end of it all) on my oil class. A little frustrating, to say the least, but what can you do? I have evidently chosen a very expensive hobby. Oil paints are mucho expensive, and this abstract instructor gave a list of about 30 different acrylic colors. Honestly, I KNOW those colors can be mixed from some combination of other colors. But, I figured that I would at least follow it for the beginning and return whatever paints I was sure we wouldn't be using. Sort of like college with the bookstore. Easier to get the books and return them later than to chance the store being out of a copy of what I need.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Update on Progress

My first art class just wound down. It was basically a class about doing oil glazes over an acrylic underpainting. By the end of the class I had finished two pieces and am about halfway finished with a third piece. This class was through the Houston Art League. All in all the class was a great way to get back into the swing of color theory and some rudimentary drawing/painting skills.

Overall, I started relearning how to see properly again. This may seem strange, but when I have been completing many art projects on a regular basis, I start to see things differently, literally. The one summer I was in an art immersion program, by the end of the five weeks, I would look at a tree and not only see green leaves, but different shades of brown, violet, blue and red within the leaves. Eventually I start to see shapes differently. Shapes become values and hues rather than the general object. What my brain has been programmed to identify, say, as a "chair" starts appearing as general smaller shapes that make a larger, complex shape.

I signed up for the same class again this summer. I think after the end of this summer I will most likely not take it again. Although the class is fun, and the instructor is a very nice man, it does have a lot of limitations. The one technique he is teaching is basically wet oil in very transparent glazes over dry canvas (whether it is dried oil or acrylic). I really want to be working more wet on wet. I want the paint to be able to take on a life of its own. This technique is pretty rigid, where I want my work to be looser. But for right now I am learning a lot about paint, and really building my skill set. It feels awesome.

Long time

I have been seriously remiss in updating this blog. Part of this has been due to events of life, the other part largely due to the fact that I currently have no digital camera to speak of, so I cannot post any of my work in progress. A little hard to post blogs about how to do things in art without being able to show some sort of visual. Funny how that works, eh?

Work is going quite well, to say the least. I am finally beginning to make some sales - and some commission. At the same time business in general is beginning to pick up, so now I do not feel like if I don't make a sale the company will go under. Looking like we will make it through the summer, and hell, it may even be pretty lucrative.

Just plugging away with it all. I'll have a more art-detailed update later today most likely. In the meantime, its off to shower and get ready for one of the many weddings we'll be attending this season.