Saturday, July 1, 2017

The 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge in September

I have a new challenge for y'all. On September 1st I will be taking part in a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge with Leslie Saeter and her blog followers. Leslie is a blog talk radio show host for  "Artists Helping Artists." Leslie is from Artist's Helping Artist's blog talk radio show. You should go check it out. It's a great show and I have found it to be very inspiring and helpful as an artist. I would like to invite all of you artists out there to join me in this challenge and we can do it together, supporting each other each day. There is a great deal that we all will learn from this challenge, and you won't be sorry for taking part in it.

For those of you who would like to take part in it but are concerned about the time involved, let me relieve you of those worries and explain it it a bit more. The 30-in-30 Challenge is where you paint/draw a picture everyday and post it online. The main purpose is to get the artist in their studio/work table and get them creating everyday. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

First, you can do some of your work ahead of time to help you out with your time crunch. If you work full-time like I do, that is a serious issue. I am planing and designing my pictures ahead of time. It saves a ton of time.

Second, you don't have to post something everyday. The purpose of the challenge is to try to get you into your studio and creating everyday. It's not meant to consume your day. It's perfectly understandable if you miss some days. At least you are trying and doing as much as you can. Life gets in the way sometimes.

Third, best thing to do is work small. Helps with the time factor and can help you not feel so anxious about doing your art. Small is good. I plan on working in miniature size, 2" x 2" and 3" x 3", but 5" x 7" is great as well. Maybe 8" x 10" works better for you. Just pick a size that is easy and quick for you to do.

Fourth, you might want to pick a theme. It usually helps you to plan and design more quickly. Also, pick a theme that excites you. One that you love. This could also be a time to try something fairly new, to allow you to experiment with technique, size, and color without worrying about every little detail or worry that it won't turn out all right.

So, if you decide to join me, and I hope you do, just reply to this post telling me you want to take part. Then be sure to post your painting/drawing, whatever you have decided to do, on your blog or facebook page and if you could, tag me please or at the least drop me a message with a link letting me know so I don't miss any of your pictures!

So, please join me! It will be a fun time creating your art and supporting others in their challenges as well!. You have 30 days to plan and to purchase any supplies you may need. I will post more information and ideas in the days to come.

 Leslie Saeter Blog

 Artists Helping Artists

And as always..... HAPPY ARTING!!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Rembrandt - An Inspiration in Art

Recently I've been listening to an art radio station, which is also a podcast, called Artist's Helping Artists. I've been getting a lot of really good ideas from this show, and one of them got me to thinking about artists who inspire me and whom I admire.  So, I decided to write a few articles about these people in the hopes that maybe they will inspire you too.

The first artist is Rembrandt. He was born in 1606 in the Netherlands and died in 1669 at the young age of 63. He produced art in the realistic style, painting mostly Biblical scenes and portraits, though that did not make up all of his work. One of the techniques he used is called Chiaroscuro, which I find fascinating.

                                                  Rembrandt at 34

The chiaroscuro technique allows your subject to emerge from the shadows and into the light. It's all about high contrast and tonal effects. You can get an idea of what this technique is all about in my scratchboard piece "Into The Light."

                                 Into The Light - Nancy Pingree Hoover

In it you see Tooki, my senior citizen cat, just emerging out of the deep, dark shadows and into the sunlight. He was standing in the shadows on my bed in the early morning hours and slowly walked over to the window where the morning sun was shining brightly through and onto the bed. You see the front of his face brightly lit up by the sun, but the rest of his head and body fades little by little back into the shadows.

Chiaroscuro not only draws the audience's attention to the subject, but also helps an artist to model their subject and make it jump off the support due to the high contrast between the shadows and light. Done right, the subtle tonal changes, occasional hard edge of strong contrast along with a few disappearing edges and a bit of detail brings shape and depth to the subject giving it the effect of jumping off the support.

Rembrandt was a master at using this technique. Just look at one of Rembrandt's paintings, "Descent From The Cross."   

                                 Descent From The Cross - Rembrandt

In Rembrandt's painting, "Descent From The Cross," you notice the very dark, almost black sky forming the high contrast in the painting and setting the backdrop for the illuminated Christ and the man lowering Him down from the cross, most likely Joseph of Arimathea. Within the illumination you find areas of deep shadows that help model and shape the bodies. The dark contrast on the left side behind Christ dramatically draws attention to His brightly lit body. This painting is an excellent example of Chiaroscuro, and the dramatic effect such a painting can have on the viewer. 

I always loved the muted colors that Rembrandt seemed to like to use in his backgrounds, and I developed the same kind of background for a few of my portraits. However, I then learned that he really used some wonderful colors in his paintings, colors that were hidden by layers of varnish that had been put on his paintings year after year. So much so that it literally changed the color of his paintings making them look more muted. Nonetheless, I do like the look of a muted background for some portraits.

                               Fallen Soldier - Nancy Pingree Hoover

There are many other great qualities of Rembrandt's paintings, but I've only covered the ones that I like the most and have inspired me. Here are a few more paintings of his that I really like:

 Abraham and Son - Rembrandt 

                                      Apostle Paul - Rembrandt

   Next blog article I'm going to cover a current artist whom I admire a great deal and who's work inspires me continuously.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Idea For Christmas Presents

What did everyone do that was creative this Christmas season? I'm sure all the creative juices were flowing, I know mine were active. I decided to make name tags out of miniature canvases. I cannot take credit for the idea. I was looking through a Christmas sale art catalog and saw a picture of a mini-canvas with a name on it, so I decided that was what I was going to do for the gifts to my boss and co-workers.

I started out with simple, inexpensive miniature canvases from none other than Wal-Mart, of all places. Just a side note, I ordered mini-canvases from Dick Blick after Christmas to compare them, and I actually like Wal-Mart's better. However, I still need to experiment some more on Dick Blick's before making a final decision.

So, I used Dick Blick Artist Acrylic paints and a little of Liquitex Basics, but I definitely liked DB's acrylics better. They are thicker and I found I had more control with them and put fewer layers on the canvas because they also seemed to have better coverage. I also used Pigma Micron Archival Ink pens to write the names with and also for some other little decorations. I tried to make each canvas very specific to the individual, so I tried to use their favorite colors and different designs for each person. I wanted to take more photos of the canvases, but it took me quite awhile just to get four of them done, and it was getting close to Christmas, so I had to hurry to finish them in time. Needless to say, I only got a few photos of them before they were given as gifts.

Here is what they looked like. The backgrounds that the canvases are up against are actually the gift bags they got attached to:

This is April's. Her name got messy when I painted a thin layer of  acrylic gloss medium over it and the "waterproof" ink I used smudged. I had to fight like crazy for fix it before the medium dried on me, and I'm not entirely happy with the way it came out, but it could have been so much worse.

This one was for my boss, Kaitlin. She loves pink and glitter. I used a .05 pen for this name, the other canvases I used a .03 pen. I didn't like how thick the letters were with the .05 pen, which is why I switched for the rest of the canvases.

This is Jordan's. It's a little unusual because the "r" in the middle of her name is capitalized while the surrounding letters are lower case. The capital "R" allowed me to use a bit more creativity than the lower case one would have, so I just made an executive creative decision.

 And finally, this is Peggy's. The background for her name in the middle of the oval is actually pink, but it's hard to tell in this photo. 

For each of the canvases, I used a piece of elasticized material, each of a different color, and used my glue gun to glue them to the top of the canvas in a loop (I attached them to the back wood support). That allowed the canvas to be hung up and allowed me a way to attach the canvases to the bag the presents were in for each person.

It was fairly difficult to write on the canvases with the pens. I had a hard time drawing a straight line or getting a spot exact. The canvas was pretty smooth as far as canvas goes, but it was still not real easy to do. You can see the lines are crooked and wobbly. But I had a ball doing these and my co-workers and boss all seemed to like them very much!

So, what creative ideas did you guys come up with for the Christmas season???  I'd love to hear all about them.