Sunday, March 29, 2015

Afternoon Stroll

Afternoon Stroll
Oil on Linen on board

The painting on top here is the Final version of the painting I started on location 2 years ago.  As with anything painted plein air it has a certain freshness to it that I love.  I just wasn't thoroughly happy with the foreground rock formation:-)  Worked on it the other day and even though neither of the photos probably captures the exact color temperature I feel that I resolved a few things...and it only took me 2 years?!:-)
And whether it's an improvement...only you cant tell.

I have a lot more paintings sitting around my studio these days, waiting for that final critical step...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wendy Wash

Wendy Wash
Oil on Canvasboard

My favorite part of this painting is probably the simplicity with which I painted the trees in the back.  I'm trying to say more by doing less.
It's a great local spot.  I love the fact that you can find water in this wash almost any time of the year and it's home to several kinds of birds and critters...right in the middle of Newbury Park.

Speaking of saying more with less.
I recently listened to a great podcast on the Ted Radio hour on "The Source of Creativity" and what it means to be in the flow.

From the website:
Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Source of Creativity with Charles Limb

About Charles Limb's TED Talk
What happens in the brain during musical improv? Researcher Charles Limb scanned the brains of jazz musicians to find out.
About Charles Limb
Dr. Charles Limb is an Associate Professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, as well as faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He combines his two passions to study the way the brain creates and perceives music. He's a hearing specialist and surgeon at Johns Hopkins who performs cochlear implantations. In his free time, he plays sax, piano and bass.
In search of a better understanding of how the mind processes complex auditory stimuli such as music, Dr. Limb has been working with Dr. Allen Braun to look at the brains of improvising musicians and study what parts of the brain are involved when a musician is really in the groove.

As artists I feel that we experience this state of being in the groove as well.  You know how some paintings just seem to flow without any effort...Why is that?  This Ted Radio Hour speaks to why that is and what happens in our brains when we are in that groove.

There is also this one phrase said by host Guy Raz on the show that really stayed with me in regards to getting out of our way....:
"... practice doesn't make you perfect, but it does help you stop thinking that you have to be"

I've been thinking about what it is that really makes us improve as painters/artists etc with time?  And what has struck me is that it seems to have  a little something to do with building confidence.

Practice helps build confidence in the fact that you start knowing more about  the technical aspects of the craft of course, but more than that, what it also seems to lead to (on a good day:-) is that:
With confidence - I can play more, be bolder with my paint and braver with my brush strokes etc. because in a sense - I care less about getting it right.  (or as this study explores; with practice, I'm shutting of that censoring part of my brain that gets in the way of the natural flow of creativity).

If you are an artist, what do you feel it is that happens with time, the longer you have painted and practiced?   What do you feel happens for you when you're in the flow?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A boat ditty

Oil on Gessoboard

Here's a little ditty of a boat...:-)  A close-up of a boat in the Ventura Harbor.  Perhaps not a ditty though? as I just learned that a ditty is a short song...but I just like the ring of it!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Cat on a Mission (at San Antonio de Padua that is)

Cat on a Mission
Oil on Gessoboard

It's been a while since I've painted a 6x6 and I had a great time working small and on gessoboard again today.   I've had this photo reference since I visited the Mission of San Antonio de Padua 2 years ago.    My friend Daggi Wallace and I took part of a paint out weekend with CAC and got to meet some great artists and paint plein air.   This was the room we stayed in (no frills:) and there was just something about the light coming in through the window, the beautiful curtains and the angles of those bed that made for a really nice composition that I snapped a picture of.  
Here is the website for 

I kept the image in my files and tested it out as a value study a while back.  This is a great tool we practiced in William Wray's workshop, really pairing it down to see what parts of your image can be pulled together into one shape.     It needed a focal point and the cat seemed a perfect choice.
 There actually was a cat that lived at the mission so it even made sense to put one in.
A fun day of painting!  And it didn't hurt that I got to spend the morning with 5 other fabulous painters in our Monday Morning Painters Group.

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Nantucket Walk

Nantucket Walk
Oil on Canvasboard

Here's another piece that never made it into a blog post before it sold.   It captures one of the many sunny days we had as a family on the east coast last year!  It's also a reminder of how important it is to make sure you get a photo to keep of all the work you do:-)...