I spent two weeks painting these six “word portraits” to take with me to the Delta Arts Festival in Newport last week, and not a one sold! Guess I thought others would like the words of scripture displayed in their house. I was inspired by my priest’s chasuble he wears Sundays in ordinary time. It says “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY” across the front. At any rate, here are the images — the acrylic paintings are 11 x 14″ and I’ll sell any of them for $25. The embellishments are symbolic – at least to me! Might make nice gifts — who knows! Comment if you like them, please
Knowing about how to use linear perspective doesn’t mean that you have to be a slave to it. Using the principles of perspective in drawings and paintings that include buildings, posts, roads, etc. can become an internal knowledge that makes your artwork more realistic. However, some artists like to distort reality and in doing so, distort perspective as well. De Chirico is a prime example of this. Some contemporary artists do this as well: (from Artist Magazine, June 2010).
But here’s another way to use perspective creatively — an imaginary residence high up in the sky! This drawing uses 4 vanishing points — all related. The vanishing points are on vertical and horizontal lines. Try this in your sketchbook to work out your “dream house”!
These are pretty much the last of the quotations I’ve collected over the years. I’m particularly thankful for those of you who have sent me your favorite quotations. Please feel free to do so, and I’ll add them to my book of quotations.
“The painter today has a choice: to break new ground and try to do what has never been done or to paint the uncommonly common in a way that reflects insights that are personal yet unique for anyone who encounters them.” Elizabeth Mowry
“That landscape painter who does not make his skies a very material part of his compositions neglects to avail himself of one of his greatest aids.” John Constable
“Great art depends on exaggeration for expressive effect.” Skip Lawrence
“Art is the proper task of life; art is life’s metaphysical exercise.” Friedrich Wilheim Nietzsche
“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” Plutarch
“Everything is related to everything else.” Leonardo da Vinci
“Form is the outer expression of inner meaning.” Wassily Kandinsky
“The gift is not the act of painting; it is the passion to paint.” Unknown
“Drawing requires no exceptional ability, only normal vision and a degree of coordination.” Nita Leland
Hopefully, you are enjoying reading the quotations from artists I have collected over the years. Some of them associate the Divine Creator with the creative process. Some can be applied to other areas of our life than just the visual arts. Here are a few more:
“This is the real test of your emerging creativity–doing work that is neither repetitive of your previous work nor a copy of the work of others.” Nita Leland
“When your creative self calls, go with it. It is God speaking. Listen to your creative conscience, the voice of the Divine guiding you each day. it resides in your heart. Go there and roam. That is your true temple.” Lalia Copoechione
“The object of painting is to evoke emotion in the viewer.” Elizabeth Grover
“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” Emily Dickinson
“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other people’s models, learn to be ourselves, and allow our natural channel to open.” Shakti Gawain
“Follow your bliss, and doors will open where there were no doors before.” Joseph Campbell
“To me, the thing that art does for life is to clean it, to strip it to form.” Robert Frost
“Chance is always powerful. let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.” Ovid
“Learn how to meditate on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation.” Thomas Merton
“All arts are derived from the breath that God breathed into the human body.” St. Hildegard of Bingen
I have a gang of these – thanks to all who sent quotations I didn’t have. Here are some more:
“You’re not a reporter but an artist. A painting is a statement of the heart.” Ann Pember
“I don’t want it true; instead, I want a beautiful lie!” Edgar Whitney
“The need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist.” Unknown
“In creating, the only hard thing is to begin.” James Russell Lowell
“If you are afraid of making a crazy mistake, then you’ll never get any bright ideas either.” Unknown
“A creative act is not necessarily something that has never been done; it is something YOU have never done.” Unknown
“Action is the fundamental key to all success.” Pablo Picasso
“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.” Andrew Wyeth
“You use the arts to see your soul.” George Bernard Shaw
“A picture is nothing but a bridge between the soul of the artist and that of the spectator.” Eugene Delacroix
“To work with nature as a poet is the necessary condition of a perfect artist.” Thomas Cole
“…it is the soul, not the eye, that sees.” John Ruskin
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Aristotle
Which is your favorite?
I thought I’d start out the New Year by sharing with you some of the quotations about the making of art that I’ve collected over the years. They mean something to me, and may be meaningful to you as well. Some of these are anonymous (meaning I don’t know where they came from), and some aren’t. I have given the author’s name where I can. So here goes:
“Painting the verb, the act of doing it, is more important than painting the noun.” Gerald Brommer
“When you watch children paint, they are not concerned with end results at all. They’re just thrilled with the process of expressing themselves. I think all artists need to step back once in a while and remember to enjoy painting and not be so concerned about end results. Art is about expressing yourself. The end result is just a bonus.” Sandra Meyer
“Every artist should be afraid of doing a painting where people don’t do anything; where people don’t react; where they say, ‘Well, that’s a pretty picture’ and move on.” Dean Mitchell
“Landscape is a medium for ideas…the various details in a landscape painting mean nothing to us if they do not express some mood of nature as felt by the artist.” Robert Henri
“The whole fact is that art and science are so closely akin that they might well be lumped together.” Robert Henri
“Do not let beauty in the subdivisions destroy the beauty or the power of the major divisions.” Unknown
“Paint the things that mean the most…the things you’d grab if the house were on fire.” Unknown
“Never let reality stand in the way of imagination.” Elizabeth Grover
“Art is just another language for praying to God.” Unknown
“What we need is more sense of the wonder of life and less of the business of making a picture.” Robert Henri
MORE WILL FOLLOW IN SUBSEQUENT POSTS — WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?
I’m sure everyone remembers the old Chinese proverb, “One picture is worth more than a thousand words.” A thousand words seem like a lot, but it does seem true that drawing is a universal language understood in all countries. This is especially noticeable in expressing certain emotions. I sometimes begin my basic drawing classes with an exercise that prompts students to make spontaneous marks on sketchbook paper as I call out a certain human emotion, such as ‘joy.’ After several of these words are called out, the students compare their drawings. It is always amazing to note how much alike the drawings are for the emotions depicted. I ask the students to use lines only, and not symbols. (Someone is always wanting to draw a heart for the word, “love.”) Sometimes the lines can be joined to make shapes, but this is not necessary.
I ask my students to divide their sketchbook paper into 12 blocks, all about 2 x 3 inches each and number the blocks from 1 to 12. Then I call out an emotion and have them quickly draw a line or lines to express that emotion. The emotions used on the example below are 1. anger, 2. anxiety, 3. loneliness, 4. joy, 5. power, 6. love, 7. peace, 8. femininity, 9. fear, 10. depression, 11. masculinity, and 12. curiosity. When the exercise is completed, the students compare their results with others in the class. Some drawings as compared, such as anger, anxiety, and loneliness are almost identical!
Here are my results:
Here is the second in my series of moody, misty landscapes. It may be my last in pastel, since the cost of framing pastel paintings is cutting into my retirement money! The next ones will be acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas. They will need no framing!
I’m calling this one “Cloudy Sky” for obvious reasons. I would welcome better names from any of you — naming a painting is sometimes problematic! This one is very greyed down to invoke a rather ominous mood. Aerial perspective plays a large part in showing distance; there are several planes between the foreground, middle ground, and background. Mountains in the distance are a mid violet grey. The sky is full of grey clouds just waiting to drop the rain on the green field below. Colors are muted purples, greens, with a little orange for an accent. There are some blue and ochre tones as well. The size is 15 x 23″ unframed. Let me know what you think about this one.
This is my first pastel in a new series of moody, atmospheric landscapes. I have been out taking photos in rainy, foggy mornings and evenings so that I have plenty of references for this series. If I get up early enough, I drive out to the lakes and rivers where I live to take pictures of early morning sunrises, even though it’s sometimes difficult to find spots without cars, buildings, streets and houses. Sunsets are also intriguing and will find their way into some of the paintings in this series. Formats will be verticals as well as horizontals; colors will be monocromatic and analogous in subdued tones, and values will be closely related. I am excited about the possibilities in this series, and will do some acrylic paintings on canvas as well as pastels on paper. Tell me what you think — would you like to see more?
Other art organizations available to Arkansas artists in the central region include the Arkansas League of Artists (ALA)and the Conway League of Artists (CLA).
The web site for the ALA is http://www.arkansasleagueofartists.org. The Mission Statement on the web site reads: “The Arkansas League of Artists is an organization formed to promote fine arts in Arkansas. The League is a growing membership of artists and art enthusiasts who gather to learn from one another by exploring new techniques, working in new mediums and sharing their collective knowledge.” The group meets the last Tuesday of each month except for December at 7:00 PM at the North Little Rock Community Center. Programs include demonstrations and lectures, and each member may bring an original art work to the meetings to be voted on by those attending. Each winning piece is displayed for a month at local banks as “The Artist of the Month.” In addition, several exhibitions are hosted throughout the year. The 5th Annual Juried ALAart show is scheduled for September 12th – December 27th at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies in the Arkansas Studies Institute. The organization also awards scholarships to high school students and to the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School.
The Conway League of Artists meets at either the Faulkner County Library in Conway, or the Art on the Green (a local art gallery and studio) the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7 PM. On the web site at http://www.conwayleagueofartists.org, it is stated that the “Conway League of Artists is about creating visual art. We’re artists of all types: students, teachers, professionals, hobby painters and creatives who just want to learn and talk about art. We have painters, sculptors, potters, photographers, and illustrators… and a wide variety of media.” There are several exhibits held in Conway areas yearly and ongoing displays at banks, the library, and other Conway businesses. The meetings include demonstrations, information, and member voting for the “Art of the Month”.
All four of these Arkansas art organizations are active, involved, and inclusive. Dues range from $20 to $30, and are well worth the price for the degree of encouragement, inspiration, and education derived from membership. If you’re not already a member of one of these groups, think about joining — membership will greatly enhance your creativity and confidence.