Saturday, November 24, 2007

Artist Statements

Alison Stanfield in her recent Art Business Blog talked about the importants of artist's statements. Particularly she referenced an article by Dane Stickney of the Omaha Herald-Tribune entitled " Artist statements shed light on artists ideas," and her e-book and short podcast linked to her Blog.

I have always had problems with my artist statements. They have been almost a bio/resume or sometimes just a story, and not the kind of statement that Dwain and Alison talk about.

Each painting on my website and everywhere my paintings are shown online there is a statement that probably is not doing what it should be doing to let the viewer know what I was thinking when I painted that painting.

Now is the time when I should revisit all my active statements. It is a project for the new year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More New Paintings

At last the latest 10 x 8 inch oil color on canvas paintings of my Grandchildren were dry enough for me to scan them. These are "Kevin 2007" and "Diane 2007."

I will be giving them to their other grandmother tomorrow when we get together for Thanksgiving. I have made full size prints on paper for their parents and ourselves.

They will be soon posted to my website and to my Imagekind art print website.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Catching up once again

Time goes by so fast. I had not realized that more than a week has gone past since I last blogged.

I have been painting regularly each morning. But somehow in the afternoons, when I have been doing my blogging, I have family tasks to do, and have not been thinking too much about painting. Still, I now come to the task with a fresh mind.

I am continuing to work on the last five small (10 x 8 inch) portraits of my grandchildren. They are all to be Christmas presents for their respective Grandmothers. I have to finish the paintings of the two youngest, Diane and Kevin, by this coming Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. There is our usual family gathering for Thanksgiving, and their other Grandparents will be visiting us that morning, and we will not see them again before the holidays.

Actually the these two paintings are finished, except for labeling and scanning for my records (and reproduction). Diane's portrait has been finished for about a week. Kevin's I coated with medium last night and am waiting for it to harden enough to handle for the final labeling and scanning. It should be OK by Wednesday.

The other three portraits, Sara, Megan, and Dana, are progressing somewhat in parallel. Sara's will require another few days of work. The others will take a little longer. These can wait, for we will see their other Grandparents at Christmas.

Last Wednesday I was sitting once again at Gallery 113. Before arriving at the gallery, I stopped by Scott Mclaine, my photographer, to drop off recently finished the "Marty & Diane" portrait for photographing. It is too big for my scanning.

Scott was telling me about his task of photographing the items at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art Chinese Clothing exhibit I blogged about last week. He is their official photographer. Many of these items had never been out of storage before and had not been documented. He said that it took almost two months.

The show at Gallery-113 was very big. It was hung Salon Style from floor to ceiling. My piece was in a good place, high up near the door, and well lit. But there had been very few sales. There was very little traffic that day, even though it was a nice outside.

I have decided to discontinue my small advertisement in the local weekly CASA Magazine. Though it has given me a lot of recognition amongst the local art community, it has not brought any sales. It costs $65/month, cheap as advertising goes. But I think it is time for a change.

For some time I have been thinking about publishing a book of my single person portraits. Self publishing with online print on demand has become very inexpensive. I have all the software and digital images to do the job. So I will give it some more thought, and study the situation for a while.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Opening of two exhibits at the SB Musum of Art

Yesterday (my birthday - 78) we went to an Opening at the Santa Barbara Museum Of Art. As Members we had a special invitation. They have two new exhibits: "Everyday Luxury: Chinese Silks of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911)," and "Identities." Of these, for me, the Chinese exhibit was by far the most interesting.

The Chinese exhibition showcases selections from the Museum's collection of Chinese costumes and textiles from the last three hundred years. The exhibit is beautifully staged and curated. There are extensive and informative signage describing the exhibits. Unfortunately the aisles were packed with people and it was not easy to spend the time the exhibit needed to take in all the details. I will be going back at a quieter period to have a second look.

The "Identity" exhibit is a rather mixed collection of items expressing various artists' feelings about racial, sexual, and cultural identity. Many of the exhibited items I had seen before. It seemed a letdown after the brilliance of the other exhibition.

Took a few days off!

We took off for a few days and went up the coast a hundred and fifty miles to the small coastal town of Avila Beach, California. It is hidden from the main highway and missed by most travelers.

Actually there are two neigboring communities: Avila Beach and Port San Luis, about two miles apart. For many years they were an oil processing and fishing community. A long oil rig servicing pier still pokes into the nearby ocean, servicing the occasional boat. A few years ago the oil industry decided that the location was no longer needed for major oil storage and processing and closed down and removed much of their operations.

Unfortunately, the oil processing had contaminated much of the ground below the small town of Avila Beach. The oil company was required to dig up much of the town and then pay for it to be rebuilt. Most of the quaint old stores, small hotels, and homes were torn down and the ground beneath them dug up.

We have visited the community several times over the years, both before it was torn down, and since. Our last trip was three years ago when the rebuilding had just commenced. At that time (and again this time) we stayed at an older hotel that is on the beach front, but halfway up a hill, and just above the oil containation.

Today the hotel is old compared with much of the new community. But the owners have played on its old fashion features to make it unique. Each room is different and provides some special ambiance. We stayed in the same room as on our last visit; a suit overlooking the beach. We were able to go to bed with the ocean waves crashing outside our window. It brings back memories of our youth when we lived on the beach at Malibu.

The weather was not the best, which we had expected, cold and a little damp. But there were few other visitors around and we shared the beach front and pier mostly with locals. There were many new places to explore and the long fishing pier to walk along. Mostly we just lazed around and read.

On the Thursday evening we drove into the nearby university town of San Luis Obisbo. That night they have a large street fair and farmer's market. The main street is blocked off and filled with stalls and milling people. Unfortunately, at this time of year it is dark and not too suitable for photography.

I had intended to look for new material as we wandered around. I took some photographs but was not much inspired. Twice we went to the nearby tiny community of Port Saint Luis. It is a tiny fishing port with its own pier and a fish processing plant. The whole bay with both communities is a natural harbor with many fishing boats and a big boat repair yard at Port saint Luis. The photography opportunities were better, though scarce on the interesting characters for portraits I usually go for.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More Work Needed.

Tuesday morning of most weeks is the meeting day of my critique group. Yesterday I took in what I thought was my completed painting "Mart & Diane," and the latest small portrait of my Grandchildren series.

From both I received some good feedback requiring that I make some small modifications. It always amazes me how blind I am to obvious elements that are easily seen by others. A little softening here. A little mellowing there. And so on.

I try always to get each painting seen by someone else. None of the items will require more than a few minutes work. The need for each change stares me in the face after it has been pointed out. I still have a lot to learn.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

My Website Updated.

Over the last few days I have reworked the galleries of my paintings on my website. Before I had them broken into just web pages of "Portraits," "Groups," and "Crowds." Also, the Menus were very brief and not too descriptive.

Now I have expanded the Menus. Hopefully they will lead a visitor to explore more fully the many things offered at the website. Also, the "Portraits" pages has been broken into "Male Portraits," "Female Portraits," and "Friends and Family" page sections. The "Friends and Family" pages are mostly paintings I given to, as it says, family and friends.

I will be watching the page statistics to see if visitors explore the website more deeply.

Another Finished Painting.

Today I finished up another new painting. This is to be a gift to our good friends Marty and Diane who live in San Diego. A short while ago we went to their wedding and from the many photographs I took that day, I have composed a painting to commemorate their wedding.

It is on a 16 x 20 inch canvas and shows head and shoulder poses of them looking at each other. As is common for me, the image was derived from several photographs. No one image had exactly the expressions that I needed to capture. One of the advantages that an artist has over a photographer is that he may improve on nature. Or at least choose the best parts of several shots.

Hopefully this coming week I will be able to drop it off at my photographer for him to take the usual high resolution image, and then I will mail it to them.

Heal The Ocean Exhibit - I Am Juried In!

Last Monday was the ingathering for this month's special juried exhibit at Gallery 113, benefiting the local charity "Heal The Ocean." My wife and I had to go to Los Angeles for the Monday night to look after some of our grandchildren. A neighbor artist friend was kind enough to enter my new painting "Sunset Stroll," and it was accepted.

The annual show is hung salon style with paintings crammed in from floor to ceiling. So I do not know where my painting ended up hanging, but it will be part of a wall of art. I will be there in a couple of weeks for my monthly duty of "sitting" the gallery.