Friday, November 26, 2010

What It Is

So what is it to be an artist? Do you just roll out of bed one day and decide to create? People just aren't born and ready. They're inspired. By Life. The stories the artist tells, whether it be in words or pictures comes from a deep place within their sole. The heart becomes a place that is full of memories of the past and dreams for the future. So what is it to be an artist?

My story may be like so many others: I'm troubled about things. I bottle up feelings. I'm angry. I'm sad. I need love. I can't find love. I see things around me in this world that are troubling. I see beauty. I want to see God. Most don't. Can you believe?

We're all story tellers. Cover your mouth before you think! Words can get us into trouble. Actions get us into trouble. Anger, jealousy,'s all around us. So we need an escape. We need a way to let those feelings out. So many of us try the seduction of booze and chemicals. Freedom from the bondage of self. It's all so momentary. The feeling is gone as fast as it happens. But we chase the dream. The dream to express our true feelings, to tell a story, and to be heard. So we lay down paint...we write lyrics...we see moving images....we dance....write....act. Who are we?

I'm an artist. But I struggle still to please people and not myself. That's what masturbation is for anyway. Why not lay down a different track? Compliance is such a dirty word. I want to be different. I want to be known. I want to be creative in my own right. I want to let those bottled up, pent up emotions flow out the end of a paintbrush, out of my mouth, through words on paper. That's what it is.

This post is dedicated to Notorious BIG---

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winston Portrait- Phase 2, Step 4

Step 4: Verdaccio

So this is way out of my league, but worth a try. The Verdaccio technique is underpainting in green. While Ivory Black and yellow is an option (along with many other combinations) I went with Chrome Oxide Green, mixed with Ivory and Lead White. Lead White seems to dry faster than my usual Titanium. Below shows two verdaccio glazes and a first layer background in Burnt Umber.

Winston Portrait- Phase 2

Step 3: Continue lead white glazes, added initial eye color.

The process is slower than I am accustomed to. I'm using a galkyd medium, though I don't know what Gottlieb uses. Everything is shiny vs matte. I can push back the eye colors in a later glaze.

Winston Portrait- Phase 1 Redeux

ugh many things have been happening in my little art world, I've failed to make posts. If more was happening, I might be more inclined! Such is the struggle between making a living and making art.

I have been working on a portrait for a client. I've been at it more than a year. With no deadlines, I get real lazy. This photo below shows the painting about 75% complete: it was not approved...and I was sent back to the drawing board. The female has some work to be done, but I opted to start over, completely.

Winston- 75% complete

Version 2:

I was reading an article in Artist's Magazine about Adrian Gottlieb and his use of Flemish techniques that date back 400 years. I found it amazing and the results stunning, so what the heck. Using a combination of verdaccio and grisaille layers and glazes I started plugging away.

Step 1: The monochromatic drawing. Include value interpretation of faces.

Step 2: Initial glaze with Lead White. Focus on building shapes and volume, slowly.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Milwaukee Domes Plein Air

Blazing heat and humidity. but was able to put these two pieces together. Didn't win anything, but it was fun...and I needed the practice.

In front by the main entrance. My impressionistic palette of a very bland building/structure.

Looking south of Mitchell Park lagoon. Big willow dominated my thinking. It was overcast, so I thought the purple hues lent coolness to an otherwise hot day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Open Canvas and ArtHouse contest

Good news this week as I was invited back for my fourth appearance at Open Canvas. With next to no PR on the event, the bottom line was I know I got in the top 10 (out of 90) artists for bids on my painting(s). Feels good artwise to know I'm still wanted.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Sunset

Painted during the last 30 minutes of a beautiful summer day, from the front seat of my car.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Plein Air on Father's Day

So my daughter Adrianne, mom and I went to Pewaukee Lake today. She agreed to paint with me. It was a beautiful summer day and lots of people were mingling around the downtown and beach area. Keeping it simple, I decided we should set up and just paint the lake area looking west. Here we are doing our thing, just me and my daughter. It was great...and I needed to get out and paint!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Adrianne Portrait progress


How else to describe a general state of nowhereness. Paint? Nothing. Draw? Ugh. Ideas? Where is my head? Is this what they call writers block? In my world, it's artist funked. Even though I've sold a big piece to a guy in NY, I just don't seem to be very motivated. My gallery owner is dinging me on working more hours, and I don't want to. So I don't know how that will turn out. Without the gallery, maybe I will find myself and quit worrying about producing pieces that sell.

I've felt more inclined to do some abstract stuff lately. Well, I do have 4 pieces in some stage of production, but I'm too lazy to even post those results. Lost my Flip Video so I can't record any more painting sessions, which was kinda fun.

Oh well, at least I came back to blog a bit.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Murals, portraits, and more

I've been busy working up comps for the large church mural paintings I've been asked to do. No deposit yet, but its' God's work, so I'm confident in getting a deposit before I get too far. This has been very challenging coming up with inspirational concepts around things like; service, praise, hear God, taste God (communion), etc.

I've also backed myself into a corner with a portrait commission that's due the same week as my church commission. Shouldn't have put it off for 2 months!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Too Many Days Off

So here's a bunch of stuff I've done...ever since I last posted.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Something New- SLIDE

New Art during the Art Crawl

Last weekend I took the chance to paint while I did my time at our 60th Art Crawl for downtown Waukesha. I took down several paintings that I was showing and taped up a piece of paper to create some new art. Pastel dust flew, and viola, three hours later this is what we got.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Original Acrylic Artwork- Sea Churn

This painting was inspired by my trip to Hawaii last year. I took several photos from the ship as we skimmed along the ocean. The foam along with the aquamarine color of the ocean was awesome. So I took a fragment of the water and created this painting.

16x20- Acrylic.

Portraiture Art- Adrianne Drawing

This is the beginning stage of my new portrait painting of my daughter, Adrianne. Many hours are spent drawing and refining the head. The painting part is fairly straight forward if the drawing is accurate. Drawing is done in charcoal in preparation for the oil work to follow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Portraiture and other artwork

I've been working on a new portrait of my daughter. This is the biggest portrait painting I've tackled to date; 40x30 in oil. I've also been contacted by a local animal cruelty prevention group asking me to donate time for a pet portraiture during an upcoming event. Sounds like fun and I said yes. Even offered to paint the portrait on site during the event. Also have a chance to put some artwork up in the local public TV Channel 10/36 auction. They have a separate fine artwork area where locals can actually view paintings, portraits, etc. Hope to hear more on this event soon.

Just finished a new abstract acrylic, with hopes of doing two more before the next Art Crawl, March 3rd.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Yesterday presented two new opportunities for me and my artwork. I met with the pastor of a large local church. He apparently had received a grant or donation of $3k to have some original art produced for the church. The project looks interesting and can offer a chance at some PR for me. The space is about 10x7 and will get plenty of eyeballs as you have to go past this wall to enter the worship area. Praise be to God.

I also had someone contact me regarding support for a local animal cruelty prevention gathering. I love animals and have done a couple pet/animal portraits, so this could be another great opportunity to get in front of other pet lovers for possible future commission work. Stay tuned on both these new projects.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Slow start

I just finished my first piece of 2010; abstract acrylic. I'll get the photo up shortly. I've got a portrait of my daughter on the easel, where it's been on and off for two weeks. It's a bit intimidating...the biggest canvas I've ever worked on...and a 3/4 figure with hands, which is always a bit tougher. I have to get over the thought if I screw it up it's a bust. Fact is I can just gesso it and start over.

Hope to get some paint down soon.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year. New Art Goals

So here we go again. Last year turned out to be a good year for me and my artwork. I was the highest gross sales exhibiting artist at the gallery I'm in. That was for original work off the wall sold. Another guy who sells portraits exclusively by commission, I know did better.

That's one of my goals this year: do more commissioned portraits. Kids and pets have to be the ticket. So I'm starting a big piece of my daughter and will be hitting some vet clinics to see if I can hang examples. Another friend of mine sells organic pet foods at the big chains and said he'd hand out flyers. So I've got to get some marketing going or it's going to be another pipe dream.

Have to finish my eBook on teaching kids via after-school program I've been running. That could really be a good revenue stream...but again, I'll never know unless I get it done and put in online for sale.

Sold more artwork last year than any other year in my life. Would like to increase that amount by 500%....which would put me in the 10k range. Surely not enough to live on, but helps supplement my other habits; like fishing and boating.