Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chalk Under My Nails (or Is It Bringing Work Home If You're Covered in Dirt?)

Builder in Pastel 
A good Builder should understand structure. (I'm still very much a student for human portraits.) The further I get into this project the more I appreciate the masters who studied biology.

So if I'm staring at you from across the room... don't freak out. I may be studying your face, your nose, your ear, to understand how to construct something like you in my next art piece.

The Builder - One foot in front of the other. On line into the next. One more layer upon the base. Building is all about the steps that move you forward, and the determination to keep moving. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Every Color Sets a Mood (or Should a Designer Really Match Their Palette to a Client's Wardrobe?)

Designer in Pastel 
Be it a room, a dress, a canvas, or a car all Designers know that satisfying click when things start to fall into place. There's an immense satisfaction from taking a mere idea and pulling together all of the elements to give it life.

Ultimately, the Designer's job is to be a great communicator. Through visual language they tell the world secrets with color, line, composition, and intensity that go beyond words.

The Designer - Collecting color swatches allows you to hold a color, to feel it, and to own it before you commit to it. You can play with compliment and contrast. You can breath in the mood each color invokes.  

I'm Coo Coo for Color (or Can Anyone Ever O.D. on a Color High?)

Mad Man in Pastel 
The clock is the ultimate frenemie for the Mad Man. Too much time and ideas just trickle through his hands, lost with no urgency driving them. Too little time and ideas flood every corner of his brain creating a log jam that can bring everything to a stop.

Personally, I've found that the morning only invites a to-do list with no time for inspiration. While the night owl flies about me with ideas by the thousands.

The Madman - There will be moments when the idea you want seems to be on the other side of a busy freeway. You can see it, but you can't put your finger on it yet. You can close your eyes and hope that being zen or praying brings the idea to you. You can go for a meandering walk and stumble across the idea in an unexpected place. You can get really good at playing Frogger and just own that freeway, run against the traffic, and claim your prize. Good ideas are just too valuable to let escape. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Color Me Clever (or Can You Get Straight A's in the School of Life?)

Student in Pastel 
Always be learning. And relearning.

So it's been a while since I've worked with pastels, and I have to keep reminding myself that these are just studies. There are parts of this study I really like and parts I could keep working on and erasing and working on again for weeks.

Sometimes that's the hardest part about being a student. You know that you are probably going to fail because you don't know enough yet, but the only way to get experience is to run, screaming into the failure. You dust yourself off (I forgot how pastel/chalk dust gets everywhere) and you look for the lessons that will improve your experience for next time.

The Student - Every book (or art medium) you revisit is an opportunity to discover a completely new understanding. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Always Be Closing (or Maybe I Need a House With More Wall Space?)

Salesman in Pencil 
I'm not a commercial artist. I am a FINE ARTIST. But does that mean you have to be a Starving Artist?

NO! Having patrons (the artsy word for customers) has a long time honored tradition. Da Vinci and Michelangelo "took requests" and tailored their art to the benefactors commissioning their talents.

This Salesman's hat often gets overlooked or explained away as "selling out," but in some ways it's the most vital hat an artist should wear. If part of why we create is to share our talents with the world, then the salesman provides us a way to connect with the world.

The Salesman - But what if I never paint anything that good again? Let it go. You'll never put your full effort into it if you truly believe your best work is behind you. Let someone else buy your great painting and tell them it's a promise of more eye candy to come. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Call to Order (or Don't Some Laws Just Demand to Be Broken?)

Judge in Pencil 
You've ignored him for too long. It's time to unleash the Judge. Step back and make an honest assessment of your work. Is it really done? Could you add something more to make it special? Did you overwork it again?

All these painful questions that eventually lead you to ask... Why do I put myself through this?!?

You do it because you love making something, and you love that only you can bring your art to life in your own way.

The Judge is a necessary evil. We invite the critic within so we can prepare ourselves for the critics lying in wait out in the world.

The Judge - Bend the rules or break them, just be sure the result is something worth witnessing. Otherwise, embrace the rules as a solid foundation for some fancy artistic architecture.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You Can Never Have Enough Tools (or Does This Pearl Go With My Hard Hat?)

Builder in Pencil 
Finally things are starting to take shape. After the Student, the Mad Man, and the Designer now we can actually roll up our sleeves, grab a hardhat, and get down to the real nitty-gritty of being an artist -- the making.

Putting pen to paper, paint to canvas, clay to the wheel, this is how we all love to spend our time as an artist. How many people do you know who can actually say that they MAKE something everyday?

The work of the Builder can be precise and messy, intense or inspired, methodical or maddening. Every Builder approaches their art with their own unique skills and goals, but each one must back them up with a powerful sense of purpose.

The Builder - Measure twice, paint once. In other words, get the proportions right in your sketch or else you spend way to much time and paint fixing it later.