“Being creative means always being a little dissatisfied, pushing for novelty, looking for new ideas and experiences. That’s what makes us humans, what separates us from other species, this restlessness, and I think it exists in its purest form in art making, in questing just for the sake of discovery”
My second-ever studio sale includes a few more experimental pieces that have never been exhibited as well as a couple of paintings from my Interlude exhibition.
Just leave a comment below saying “Mine!” with the title or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be in touch to arrange payment and delivery. Prices include shipping (UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, NZ only). Paintings will be rolled for safer shipping. You simply take it to a framer to restretch or to be framed.
The usual disclaimers about “the colours you see in the photos will depend on the screen you’re using and may not accurately represent the painting” apply. Ends Monday 21 January 2019.
What happens to these paintings if they’re not sold? In order of likelihood: reworked, offered to friends offered to friends who’ve expressed an interest, fragmented for use in other experiments, destroyed, stored.
I’m one person away from being half-way to my first goal on Patreon. Will it be you? Patreon works like traditional art patronage, you support what I do because you like what I do and this enables me to do more of it. Or alternatively, you’re official, signed-up, paying members of my fan club with access to some special fans-only stuff. (It also helps lessen one of the greatest stresses of being self-employed artist by providing a bit of predictable monthly income.)
“Imagine a fly walking on a surface. If the fly walked across a line and disappeared by going around a corner, then that line should be heavy. If the fly walked across a line which marked a change in material in the same plane then it should be light.” Brian Ramsey, “Trade Secrets”
Or if flies give you the heebie-jeebies, perhaps imagine an ant.
Or a caterpillar, though not a very hungry one like Eric Carle’s.
“Even art created solely in pursuit of pleasure arises from the imperative that pleasure, too, deserves space—like outrage or grief, pleasure is something artists can make.” — Helen Betya Rubinstein,
“Praise, Like Criticism, Can Make Us Forget What Art Is For”
Give yourself permission to yourself enjoy your art without guilt (whether it’s ‘wasting’ time and money, or imposter syndrome). Create happiness for yourself, and others.
The Rule of Odds in art runs along the lines of “whatever odd thing you do, people will put it down to your being arty”.
No, wait, that’s the Rule of Oddbods.
The Rule of Odds in art is that a composition will be more dynamic if there’s an odd number of elements in the composition, say three or seven, rather than an even number, say two or six. The reasoning is that having an odd number means your brain can’t pair them up or group them as easily, that there’s somehow always one thing left over, which keeps your eyes moving across the composition.
Why do we pair things up naturally? Perhaps it’s because our body is designed in pairs: two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet, and so on. (Okay, only one nose, but it’s got two nostrils!) Whether we’re painting apples, apple trees, or apple-eating creatures (aka still-life, landscape, or figures), the same Rule of Odds applies.
Take a look at the brushes in the jar in these two versions of a painting.
If I asked you to count the brushes in the left-hand photo, you’d likely be able to do so quickly — once glance and you’ve taken it all in. Whereas in the right-hand version you’d have to spend a little more time and you may, ultimately, be uncertain because some brushes are hidden behind others — you’re spending longer looking and engaging with the composition.
It’s the Rule of Odds in action. That I painted this scene at all, well that’s the Rule of Oddbods.
Last June the water in the river at Sligachan was so low I sat under the new bridge to sketch the old (see: Being a Troll). Sitting nearby was the USA-based artist Michael Chelsey Johnson, who has now turned his small gouache sketches from Slig in a larger studio painting, described in his blogpost Sligachan: The Story Behind the Painting.
Michael says he decided “to treat it as a picturesque landscape, where there is little indication of man and much of raw nature.” Have a read of Michael’s blogpost to follow his choices and reasons, and see how his painting developed here.
For yet another view of this location through an artist’s eyes, have a look at the paintings of Skye-based plein-air painter David Deamer.
My last studio painting inspired by Sligachan was this one, influenced by sitting here on sunny summer days:
Whose 2019 New Year’s resolutions included the one about drawing every day? Well, let Tessa and Eddie who completed all 12 months of drawing word prompts in 2018 be an inspiration, who’ve proved to us that it can be done. Thanks to everyone else who participated through the year and let us see your drawings.
So, for the 12th time, here are some December Word Prompt Sheets for you to enjoy, and my thanks for sharing! Once again, all sorts of intriguing responses!
From Eddie, who said: “The exercises throughout the year have been fun and challenging in equal measure.”
And from Tessa’s grand-daughter, Amelia, her completed November sheet:
And here’s everyone’s from the year.
If you look at these charts and, like me, wish you’d persevered with yours, don’t beat yourself up about it but pick it up again. Even if you only did a week that’s still more than someone who only got as far as thinking about it.
“To be an artist is to have a particular orientation to the world — the interior world and the exterior world — the exact composition of which is somewhat like temperature, impossible to deconstruct into individual phenomenological components without ceasing to be itself.”
I once got seduced by a row of aloes, which weren’t even in flower.
(Cue: Urm, okay.)
In a national park devoted to elephants.
(Cue: Can I rather see your ellie photos?)
It was in the rest camp, where I’d set out to walk to the waterhole viewing platform but didn’t get that far for a while. These aloes stopped me.
(Cue: And? What’s so special?)
As a group, it’s easy to glance, judge it to be a row of plants, and keep going. Close up though, there’s a world of pattern and shape and colour and shadow to investigate.
While I was taking the photos, several adults walked past, giving me that “What on earth is she doing?” look. A young boy came along, watched me for a bit, and then asked: “What are you looking at?” I explained, let him see it through my camera, we chatted a bit, and off he bounced.
Asking “What are you doing?” carries the voice of authority and judgement of an action. Asking “What are you seeing?” carries the unspoken “that I am not” and invites sharing. Give in to your curiosity, don’t walk on by forever wondering.
When I eventually got to the watering hole, there wasn’t an elephant in sight. We didn’t see one at driving around the park (Addo Elephant Park) because it had rained recently and the elephants then don’t need to come to the watering holes. So here’s an favourite ellie photo from another trip:
Investigate, explore, follow the “what if I” impulses.
Try what intimidates or eludes you. It needn’t be a leap all the way across, it can be a step in a direction. “What if I don’t do as detailed a drawing first before I paint?” rather than “What if I don’t do a pencil drawing at all before I paint?”