Monday, November 14, 2011

Open Canvas Art Event

Last Saturday was the 10th annual Open Canvas event held in Milwaukee. Six years ago I stumbled upon a small newspaper display ad promoting this event so the wife and I decided to attend. Billed as 80 artists creating original pieces in one night seemed like an interesting way to spend a Saturday evening, especially if you're into art.

The event is put together by Jeff Kursel and his family in dedication to his father who was a successful ad exec here in Milwaukee. He also attended Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), the only accredited private art school in Wisconsin. The amount of work that appears to go into this event is staggering. Coordinating the space; a beautiful old warehouse in Historic Third Ward, dozens of food vendors, donated art supplies from Richeson Art and finding 80+ artists to donate their time and effort, parking, valet, coat check, security and processing the payments from patrons that buy works via a silent auction at the end of the night....WOW...and then the clean up aftermath. It really is quite a show.

This is my 5th year of participating as an artist. I feel so fortunate, as this year featured 90 artists, many locals, many from the Kursel family and a guest artist from Germany. And me...little Mike Pintar, local artist from Waukesha struggling to sell anything this year. Getting the invite back in July to paint at this event gets be jacked up right up to the day of the event. With what I guess is close to 1000 people attending (based on bidder ticket numbers), the atmosphere is so electric and so much artistic energy, it's really hard to describe. I don't have time to take many photos when everyone is there and they discourage photographs anyway, so it's one of those "you have to be there to believe it" kind of things. Here's a quick glimpse of the action.

Artists start arriving in early afternoon. Doors to the public open at 6pm and bidding starts immediately with final auction bids closing starting at 9:30. If you're artist #1, you better be close to finished vs #84 where you'll have an extra hour to finish up your piece. So while it's a ton of pressure to create a piece in 5-8 hours, the process is where the action is, and what the public comes for.

Artists start at various times, but the key is to pace yourself so when the public is watching, you're in the middle of your work. Easier said than done!

The man, Tom Nachreiner of Milwaukee.

I took a "safe" subject this year, a cityscape, but went out of the box and developed it upside down. Below is a completed block-in and starting to move on to refining the big shapes. I'll detail the rest of the process in my next post. It was a great Open Canvas this year and hope to be back next year...cross my paintbrushes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Goes Around.....

So I woke up at 4am my wife's snoring! Of course, that was after I got up at midnight to relieve myself, just after I went to bed at 10pm. It was just one of those sleepness nights.

I decided to get out of bed at 4:45am and one of my first thoughts was about art. I went downstairs and started taking photos of all my art and pieces I have stored in "the closet". Dozens of older works that I just don't have room to hang in my house.

In a moment of reflection, and after my first 4 shot dryLatte, I picked up a favorite book, The Sermon on the Mount by Emmet Fox. I flipped open the book to any random page and behold:
"The plain fact is that it is the Law of Life that, as we think, and speak, and act towards others, so will others, think, and speak, and act towards us. Anything and everything that we do to others will sooner or later be done to us by someone somewhere."

To me, in layman terms: What goes around, comes around. I asked God to help me do the right thing today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Shows, Events and Holiday Prep

Last night I attended a meeting at The Clinton Street Gallery where I exhibit. We're planning a holidays/charity event called The Art of Giving on December 8th. More details to follow.

I also met with the owner of Jake's and Haute Taco restaurants yesterday to review what paintings she'd like to see hanging in Haute Taco. We also had a chance to talk about developing artwork, since she was one of my students from recent class.

This Saturday is Open Canvas, a great art event in it's 10th year. This will be my 5th year painting and can't wait. They usually get around 1000 people attending and bidding on work being creating live.

Still waiting to connect with my church people to review final changes made to the layout before I begin painting.

Also put up a new video on YouTube showing start-to-finish of this painting.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Plein Air setup

I mentioned in my last post that I made my way back to Whitnall Park in Milwaukee to paint. There are so many spots to choose from, but this old red barn with a small outbuilding was my first choice. The day was perfect, even though completely sunny which causes problems with changing light situations. But here is my plein air set up and I just sketched the elements in with charcoal.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Painting Time

I've found time to paint a lot lately.

I'm still in the never-ending process of the church mural, which is almost ready to start putting paint on...after another review by church members.

I'm still on my Richard Schmid kick since I've purchased his Alla Prima and Landscapes books. What an unbelievable collection. To study how he paints and then look at some of his masterpieces is just amazing. For me, a landscape guy, it's very inspiring. Here is a piece I completed over the summer (late post) influenced by his techniques.

Made it over to a local city park, Whitnall Park, one of the award winning parks located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While I've been there before...I've never observed "as an artist". What I found was a plethora of nature, trees, rivers, bridges, paths, people and trails I didn't know existed. I took dozens of photos and did go back the next day to paint a great red barn scene. While I loved the scene, I just had a problem with composition. A big red object dominating the painting just didn't work. Hey, it's just a piece of canvas and 3 hours of my time. I'll try it again soon...with a better composition.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ugh, digital vs analog overload

How hard can it be to keep up with a blog? Hard, when you're trying to run your life, find a job, learn about social media, research employers, take video of painting sequences, go fishing, stay up on digital printing (job opp), work my normal analog job, teach a intro to oil painting class....and stay sane!

Okay, I'm done bitchin'. I'm posting something I've done recently in the art world. Which is quite a bit, I'm just having a hard time using this blog as a communication method. Does anybody hear me?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday...TO ME!

Today was a great day, even if I'm a year older. Cholesterol levels are high and I have to cut back on my turtle sundae consumption. Shit, that stinks.

I'm enrolled in a social media bootcamp for the entire month of September and it's taking up a couple hours a day. All good stuff though! I'm also doing more research for Art House Reveal, my new website adventure for artists. Hoping to get this live sometime this month. It's really been a rough road with the developers I've hired to build it. One delay after another.

It has allowed me to really think through the value proposition and refine my vision for what I want it to be; which is a community building tool for any artist. Hoping to have many tools on the site to help artists and at the same time offer education ports for non-artists to learn more about these artists and what makes them tick.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pewaukee Classic Boat Plein Air

Last weekend was the 7th annual Classic Boat and Car show in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Over 40 classic boats, lots of beautiful CrissCraft "woodies" were there. It rained early, but I didn't show up until 11am. I didn't enter the plein air event, though I should have, with only 14 artists and $1500 in prize money, even I had a chance at winning! Besides the boats, there wasn't much to choose from from a compositional standpoint. Pewaukee is a pretty small town. So I set up under the canopy of the train depot, which offered shade until mid-afternoon....thinking ahead cuz I've been in this spot before. 

Here is Step 1: Sketching
I liked the three boats with their colors; red, white and blue. They were tied up with matching color ropes so I thought I'd play into that theme. I had placed my new EZ L viewfinder over the area to help figure out what elements to put in.

Step 2: Blocking In- Start

Step 3: Blocking In- Complete

Step 4: Establishing Midtones and major shapes
The sun was on the move already. I'm about 1 hour into it at this point. A LOT of people were on the dock behind the first row of boats, but I decided earlier to just put in a few. My problem grew.

Step 5: Tightening Up

I should have been done by now. I'm 2 hours in and just all over the place. The foreground water is looking okay, but the reflective light on the boats and the water is giving me grief. Felt pretty good about the background lake and distant trees so I'm out of that area.

Step 6: Complete; Ol' Red White & Blue 12x16 Oil (Plein Air)
This is what I left with. The figures proved to be very difficult as they were always moving, like people usually do. I made a critical drawing error early on and though I thought about it, I moved on. The middle boat is out of scale and kinda threw everything off. When I got home I looked at my reference photo and sure enough was WAY OFF when it came to drawing. I didn't pay close enough attention to gridding the area to the canvas. I even had my new EZ L viewfinder and went through all the motions but still missed it in terms of placing the objects accurately on the canvas. The problem was the viewfinder is set up for 8.5 x 11 and I painted on 12x16. It's all in the proportions. Oh well. The crowd had grown to over a thousand people by the time I left. It turned out to be a gorgeous day...and I got to spend it painting. That's not too bad after all.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Images from the Door County Paint Out

The two hour painting frenzy was only topped by how many sold via auction while the paint was still wet! Everybody was crowding around the tent but I managed to snap a few photos of my favorites.

From what I saw, every painting sold, with a minimum of $500 being bid up to $2000. It was quite impressive and gives us artists hope that people are still buying art. What a great event!

Door County Plein Air Festival

This past weekend was the 5th annual Door County event. Over 40 nationally recognized artists paint for the entire week leading up to the Dockside Quick Paint which takes place from 9-11am on Saturday. It appeared over 60 "regular" artists, including me set up easels all over Fish Creek, WI.

It was quite a site. I got there at 6:30am and there were already a lot of artists set up and many others scoping out their territory. Luckily I got there a day early and looked around for where I wanted to paint. My primary spot was already taken by two people! So Plan B...and I set up just before another woman set up right next to me!

Even though it was a mostly cloudy morning, I opted for a shady locale. Below is my 2 hour creation: "Just Birdy", 11x14 Oil.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sweat & Oil Paint

Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year here in SE Wisconsin...105*. So I ventured out early (8:30am) to paint. I've started wearing latex gloves and as I got going, I noticed moisture on my palette. I quickly discovered it was sweat dripping out from the inside of my painting hand glove! It was hot, and I had to constantly be aware of the sweat and wipe often. I was set up out of the hatch of my car so it offered some shade, but it was still a cooker. Sun worked its way around to affect my panel by the up is a good plein air umbrella. Either way, things turned out well and I know there's a little "special medium" worked into the oils for this painting- "Hot as Hell on Hwy H"; 12x16 Oil

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Schmid Influenced

During my workshop with Tom Nachriener, we discussed Richard Schmid. One of my fellow students also brought her Landscapes book by Schmid. What a stunning set of images! I decided to purchase his Alla Prima book, since I felt my work was "better" if I tried to finish it quickly. This typically means in less than 2-7 days for me.

Shown here is a studio piece I just completed using some of the broken brushstrokes and direct painting methodology Richard describes. 18x24 Oil- Peninsula State Park.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Where have I been? Painting of course.

Okay, it's hard to keep up with this blog. While I've done a lot of art related things over the past 3 months, I haven't posted anything. A couple of followers would inspire me! Oh, I have to post, regularly first! Duh...

Anyway, I've been painting and teaching away all spring and summer. Last week I attended a workshop at the Peninsula Art School in Fish Creek, WI. Tom Nachreiner was the instructor and it was really fun and educational. He's a great artist to learn from. Here's my day 1 piece.

Creek in Scuppernong Park, Eagle WI
8x10 Oil

Maybe I'll leave the post as is, and force myself to come back and add more pix from this great workshop.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Class is in session

This week I started my two new adult intro to oil painting classes. In my third year now doing it in Wauwatosa, and a new start in Waukesha. Of course, I left my sample work in Tosa. Hope no damage due to high schoolers wanting to claim them as their own!

I've decided to let students know they need to have some drawing skills if they want to have successful paintings. You'd think that's obvious, but many come in all starry eyed about learning to use oils....and then what? One of the hardest mediums to learn requires the basics being down. I believe what I was told: Good painting can't save bad drawing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Path- 16x20 Oil

Hiked out to a local nature center a couple weeks back. Attempted to complete this plein air but the oil paint wasn't cooperating due to the cold. I scrapped the 8x10 I started on and worked from the photos I took while I stood there. Sun was getting low and cast some nice shadows across the path, with the only tracks being mine.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Karen and the pink sky painting

This morning was just another morning until I got a phone call while in the car. It was a woman who said she had previously purchased one of my paintings and had tracked me down to ask about another, one with a pink sky. She had seen the piece awhile back when I exhibited at Almont Gallery in Waukesha. Of course, the owner wasn't as helpful as I would want her to be but with perseverance, she tracked me down. Still not knowing exactly who this was, we agreed to meet later to discuss the painting in question: Did I still have it or was it sold?

Karen and Rob met with me at the Steaming Cup in Waukesha. Let's just say it was strange destiny as the three of us shared very similar views on art, life, politics and business. We chatted non-stop, at most times drifting away from talk of art. Two very interesting people, just a few years my senior, but very engaging.

I had photos of pieces I thought she was describing and in fact the work she was interested in was in fact back home in my studio. So off we went back to my place to take a closer look. Note: always pick up your dirty underwear in the event new guests may be coming to your house to look at your artwork! We looked at lots of pieces I have littered throughout my lower level/studio. Rob was interested in learning more about techniques. I offered the class I am about to start teaching next week. In the end, I'm going to prep the piece for a sale and deliver asap. What started as a "who is this?" phone call led to a interesting interaction with two very nice people (and another sale). Art has this way of bringing people together as they explore the spiritual journey of life.