Monday, October 17, 2011

120 Bad Paintings

from Jeff Mahorney - 120 Paintings

Excerpt from Jeff's blog post Oct.14th -- I'd like to thank artist and instructor Larry Seiler for featuring some of my work (and blog) in a recent Wetcanvas live Webinar (and soon to be DVD). Larry's work and wisdom have always been an inspiration to me. In fact, the name of this blog is taken from his oft quoted mantra that it takes around 120 bad paintings before you know something about painting. Larry's beautiful work, advice, wisdom etc. are part what influenced me to commit to this little experiment in learning to paint. I can't really describe what it's meant to me (which is everything). So, I wanted to say thanks to Larry. Thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope over these many years. Thank you for passing it on to the rest of us. :)

Webinar Session #2 "120 paintings" is where Larry describes this idea that no matter what you are learning, the path to success is built on failure. You have to put in your time and show up. The bad paintings that you make on the way aren't unfortunate mistakes, they are equally necessary parts of the journey. The bad paintings are the foundational bricks on which the good paintings stand. It's all connected, the pain and the joy, the bad and the good, even if we can't see it at the time. Have faith that these seemingly random dots will connect and trust that the universe will take you were you need to be. So, relax, take a breath and pick up the brush again. You can't control or predict what will happen, but that's not your job anyway. Your job is just to show up and head in the direction of what you love.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Just Keep Painting

from Robin Cheers

The advice my husband gave me last night. And my "mantra" akin to Dory's "just keep swimming" - JUST KEEP PAINTING.

The past two weeks have been a struggle. But I keep trying at least. I have granted myself permission to waste materials. To just try and if it doesn't work, I can wipe off or paint over later. Or wait and see if its got hidden potential.

I noticed my palette got stuck in a certain range and I painted 3 paintings with that same color scheme without even realizing it. So, I altered that. I've tried different compositions, going larger, then going smaller, but just keep going! I do tend to quit too soon. I think a lot of artists stop when it gets ugly. There is an ugly moment in many paintings, but we have to work past that and bring things together. I've been giving up and haven't believed in the painting.

I had the good fortune to attend an artist talk and demo with Quang Ho and Scott Christensen last weekend and they shared some wonderful thoughts which really made me stop and think.

Scott joked that artists have to "enjoy suffering" and need to be willing to have paintings fail. Fail not for lack of trying, but because you push yourself in order to learn and grow. And if you are making decisions as you paint, then you will have a positive outcome, but if you aren't making conscious choices as you work, then you are painting in fear.

Quang said you can't get attached, rather ask, "What if?"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shea Hembrey: How I became 100 artists

If you are out of ideas - try this!

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How do you stage an international art show with work from 100 different artists? If you're Shea Hembrey, you invent all of the artists and artwork yourself -- from large-scale outdoor installations to tiny paintings drawn with a single-haired brush. Watch this funny, mind-bending talk to see the explosion of creativity and diversity of skills a single artist is capable of.

If You Want to Be An Artist

from Robin

My friend Tess shared this with me from Stapleton Kearns... he has a great blog btw. You will find a wealth of business and painting advice, lessons, Q&A, etc.

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I am not well organized, forget to write stuff down and would rather paint than do all of the the things that those creepy books written by career counselors recommend. But I guess I can come up with a few things.
  • Find Earl Nightingale and study his material. Here is a link to a post I have written on that. I am not a devotee of self improvement literature. Earl is different.
  • I often carry an index card in my left pocket with five things that I want to get done during the day. I check them off as I go.
  • I avoid making appointments. I want to paint, not meet with people so I try to keep my schedule freed up. I will obsess about the damage to my work schedule caused by an hour long appointment sometime next week. If I have an appointment during an upcoming day, I look at that day as lost. I try to get as many things done after the light fails as I can, grocery shopping, laundry, family etc.
  • I have no hobbies, I don't play or watch those sport things. I don't play video games or Farmville (whatever that is).
  • I don't have a television. If you watch two hours of TV a day and wonder why you are not making it as an artist, you are kidding yourself about the size of what it takes to do this.
  • I don't seek to earn money from other sources than my art. I don't own a rental unit nor do I buy stock, I am afraid it will divert my attention from my work, part of which is to make a living. If a dollar comes into this house it has to be from the art. I don't do jobs or employment.
  • I have a a mental list of my contacts the people who are my dealers and fellow artist travelers. I call them routinely and check in. Speaking with my friends who are professional artists who are also at their easels helps. I have about a half dozen of those, and talking to them helps me build a model for my own efforts. We are working together, separately. Their lives are very like mine. We provide emotional support for one another. You need to have a network of people who you want to be like. I have that in spades, very important to me. These are successful painters, you would know their names. We become like the people we hang out with.
  • I keep mental track of my time at the easel. Doing business things, talking on the phone, etc is all essential but it is not time spent on your art. You have to account for it separately.There is a lot of advice for artists out there on business management, most of it written by people from the business world who want to help us spaced out artists. I know a few artists who do all that stuff too. Often their work takes on the same quality though. It is real important to put your art first. ALWAYS THE ART COMES FIRST. Then worry about marketing it. Good art will sell. I don't mean to say that you don't have to do all of that phone calling a list keeping, but it is not as important as the art. I know a very successful artist who has no e-mail, no web site and no business card. He does do the phone a lot though.
  • I use Google calender it is on G-mail. It notifies me before appointments and I can look in there and see what is coming up. Many computers are sold with calender and event programs and you probably have one.
  • Once a month or sometimes more often, I call all of my dealers. I don't do it to ask if they have sold my work. I do it just to talk, I need to work with friends. If I can't be friends with a dealer usually things don't work out.
I will think about this some more and see what else I can come up with. I will do a post aimed at the serious amateur who has to have a life outside of the studio, which I don't.
-- Stapleton Kearns
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