Monday, June 23, 2008

Making the Most Out of What You Have

Hi All,

A lot of painters struggle with space to create their paintings. A simple search on the Internet reveals most of us resort to a garage, basement, spare bedroom, or even a corner of the room. I too long for the 14 foot ceilings, north light windows, and a 20 foot by 20 foot space just to paint. However, the question is; do you really need it?

Take a look at the en plein air artists. They do not need a massive studio since they work outside. If you don't paint en plein air, you can still adopt their methods. I use my basement to create, frame, and inventory all my work. A small desk in the family room is used for the "office" and I do run all over the house for space from time to time. All my equipment is portable, or easy to store away when not in use.

Here are some tips for all my cramped space friends:
  1. Try using a French easel and storage bag as your "mobile art studio" and paint anywhere you have room. When you are finished, pack it up and put it away.
  2. Use folding tables as work benches and tables when you need the space. When you're finished, fold up and store as needed.
  3. Use a laptop and the kitchen/dining room table. Desktop computers take up way too much space. Plus, the laptop can go with you anywhere! Instant mobile office.
  4. Use a cell phone for the studio. A land line is a waste of money. After all, you shouldn't be tied down to a studio right?
  5. Only purchase the supplies you need to finish a job or project. Avoid the "pack rat" mentality.
I hope these five tips help you find peace when you get frustrated for not having the ideal space. When you do get more space, I would advise keeping the same discipline of "mobility" that way you can keep your space clean, useful, and organized. I do a lot from my 12 foot by 20 foot basement studio and there is no way I could do it all without the mobility of my equipment.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Art News

Hi all,

I have searched the World Wide Web hoping to find art related news worthy to share. To my dismay I found a host of short snippets containing bad critiques, new wave thoughts, and modernism praises. However, one article piqued my interest because it was about the upcoming Three Rivers Art Festival in Pittsburgh. A really cool idea was to use refurbished shipping containers as art installation/exhibit halls. Not a bad idea; they are portable, secure, and much better than a tent. The 8 foot by 40 foot containers have been weatherproofed and prepared to show art. Great idea!

As I went on searching for current art news I could not find anything on the kind of traditional art I like. I tend to start reading about past American artists and the Dutch masters of the 1700's. The trouble is that the Internet is flooded with bad art and related news. Studies have shown that 95% of us have never been in an art gallery. Maybe this should be a clue to the galleries and museums showing the bad stuff (I really don't want to name drop here).

I became excited when I read the headline "Most Expensive Living Artist - Lucian Freud." My excitement gained as I caught the words "I'm so glad a painterly painter..."; when I looked at the published image of the work and wondered WHAT? Really...$33.6 million dollars!? I couldn't believe it; the painting looked like a calm version of a Van Gough. Before I get hate mail - Van Gough suffered from many problems and was only a painter for 10 years. He never sold a painting in his life and I feel he was not a master. Again, before you send the hate mail, please understand this is just my opinion. Now back to Freud...$33.6 million! Your kidding right. Why can't I offer to give 30% of the profits to a known critic, and 30% to Christies to auction one of my paintings. If it only sells for 10% of the Freud art then I stand to make a cool $1.3 million!

For artists like myself, and those not "discovered" by the world's critics, it is a dark time. We sell so we can purchase new materials and do another painting. We seek out clients who connect with our work. Almost like we are trying to find a good home for a good pet we need to sell in order to feed our families. Art news today follows the trends of modernism. Galleries and museums cater to the elite art scene. I truly believe the only reason the Dutch masters (Rembrandt, Vermeer, Durer, etc.) paintings haven't been put in storage is because the establishment views them as old treasures. These treasures are the bread and butter realism, the bar, the pinnacle, the goal for many of us - so give us some real news and stop pushing modernism!