Monday, November 11, 2013

The educated and the elite.

When I started painting, I also started to seek out the experiences of successful artists. I went to art exhibits and fairs.
Finding successful painters also meant searching online for information about artists as I became aware of them, and also it meant attending exhibitions and art fairs. I’ll talk about some of those fairs in just a minute.
As I heard the stories of these successful artists, in person and online, I was struck by a fairly common element. I asked those I met at fairs to tell me the story of their success as painters. Online I found artists telling their stories in blogs and on youtube.
Here’s the thing I heard over and over again.
Wait: I will point out right here that not ALL artists shared this common element in their story, but the number who did surprise me.
Continue: Many of these successful painters said that the beginning of their artistic journey began with a degree from a university with a good fine arts department.
I’m not criticizing this, I’m just pointing out that it surprised me.
I expected painters to tell stories of inspiration and personal creative agony.
But again and again, artists told me that after feeling the desire to paint, they felt that their first stop had to be to enroll in the university. Some of them mentioned this as a great story, because many of them entered their fine arts programs after the age of forty.
When I questioned several of these artists and asked if a university degree was very necessary to success as an artist, they all answered the same way, saying that they couldn't imagine how someone could even consider oneself a painter or have any level of success without a university degree in fine arts.

Again, I have no criticism for university educated painters, I’m sure any university art class is an incredibly empowering experience. It’s just that getting a degree in fine arts is not a possibility for me right now. And I’m not willing to believe that I cannot learn to paint successfully on my own. 
In that spirit, here's another one I've done while trying to learn to paint:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My first oil painting class.

After striking out with my first attempt to find a local teacher, I was reminded of our local Arts community organization.  I went to their building to explore, and I was thrilled. They were having an exhibit of the works of local artists. I lost myself in the beautiful paintings.
After I looked over every piece in the exhibit, I went to the office to find out about oil painting classes. There was a class in progress. I had already missed two classes. But I signed up anyway.
The teacher was Diane Turner. She’s a great artist, and she was a student of LeConte Stewart, a famous Utah painter, and a hero of mine.
I have to admit that I was EXTREMELY nervous when I entered the classroom on the next Wednesday evening. All the students laughed at my new easel, but they applauded that I was a very new oil painter.
I didn't say anything to anyone about Bob Ross.
We were painting sunflowers in a vase, which is significant to oil painters because of Vincent Van Gogh.
I wasn't sure I could do it. They weren't starting with a thin coat of liquid white, like Bob Ross does.  And the teacher told me I could only use the three primary colors, red yellow and blue. And white.
I picked Alizarin Crimson and tried to trowel it on with a palette knife.  Didn't look right. Then I went after the vase. It looked like I was back in the eighth grade.
I enjoyed mixing my colors to get green for the stems. I was feeling more confident. I did the petals on the flowers with a palette knife, because I've seen Van Gogh’s sunflowers in person, and I believe he used a knife.  My painting looked childish and crude, but I think it turned out okay.

The teacher said I shouldn't have centered my vase and flowers. And she was confused about my odd looking background. I didn't understand about her method of under painting, but I understand now, and I think I’ll try another still life on my own. She covers her canvas in a thinned down color of her choosing. I want to try that. But all in all it was a VERY valuable experience, and I enjoyed the interaction with the other students.

In Utah: 25th Street in Ogden

There are great art galleries here on 25th Street in Ogden Utah. Very much worth a visit.

In Utah: 25th Street in Ogden: Ogden has lots of history, and 25th street is a very interesting place. Lots of shops and restaurants. Lots of clubs and bars, too. That’s ...