Saturday, January 29, 2022

A Deeper Dive: Working in Series

 "When you finish a series..." "When I work in series..." "Oh, maybe I will do a series..."

Do you ever not work in series? What is a series? How do you approach a series? Is working in series something special? Is it any different from just working? Do you plan to work in series? Do you plan the series? Often I wonder how other artists think of series when they treat it as something special, something separate from 'regular' work, or as if it is a finished-product goal. To me, the series is the unit of art making. I always approach my work as if I'm doing one of a hundred pieces with similar parameters, even if I stop at one. I have an idea, and I explore the idea over the course of a bunch of pieces. To me the series is the process of working through an idea.

Sometimes a series, or an idea, is pretty well defined, like this exploration of concentric circle/stripes:

Moving Target, Pilot, 20"x20"

Moving Targets, each 10"x10"

Moving Target #?, 36"x36", in process (partial)

Here is another group of "Shape Studies" that I did in a continuous time-frame (maybe not one session, but several successive sessions). The parameters for these are a little looser.

These are each 9"x9" on paper

And more "Shape Meditations" I did at a later date, but I would consider them part of the same series, in that they constitute a similar exploration. These are all 9"x12" on Bristol.

In the above two groups I am putting together shapes that are different from each other in several respects - size, color, value, pattern/texture - and seeing what kind of interesting negative space I can create.

I would love to hear your thoughts on working in series and what it means to you. Please comment. I check comments daily for 'moderation'. I need to do this because of a plethora of bot-generated spam. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


 This series started like any series of mine - a visual inquiry in a given format. I'm exploring color, texture, edges, proportions, the nuts and bolts of visual content. And then what emerges may or may not speak to me. These stripes reminded me of the pilings under piers jutting out into the ocean. The reflections of them and the underwater portion distorting the angle. 

I'm offering this one in a raffle to raise money for Rupert Village Trust. See the right margin.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Deeper Dive: Is Your Work Authentic?

I am going to say that authentic work is work that comes from you, the artist, honestly. The images are not imitating other artists, they are not coming from a place of people-pleasing or trying to anticipate what the market will favor. It sounds simple, right?

How do you peel away the layers of influences that are inevitable and necessary, to find what is uniquely you, or what is true for you? Voices in our heads can include:

  • Any rules we were taught about what makes good design or composition
  • Our Inner Critics who voice our self-doubt and give it more importance than it deserves
  • Anxiety over what will sell or what will be accepted in a show or a gallery
  • Opinions of others whom we listen to - a spouse or friend or colleague

Working in a sketchbook, playing, experimenting

How do we learn about composition and still maintain the freedom to develop our own unique way of expression? How do we put aside the Inner Critic or the gallery submission and just get down to work? How do we take criticism (positive or negative) from those we care about, without giving it more weight than it deserves?

Trying out some pinks and reds

We look to other artists for inspiration. This is an important (to me) part of being an artist - be inspired, learn from others.  But how do we keep from imitating artists we admire? How do we avoid making paintings of paintings instead of just making paintings? 

Collage and Crayons

I don't have answers; just raising the question. The sketchbook pages here show some visual inquiries, and I wonder if working in a sketchbook more often helps to develop the honesty, the authenticity.

I would love to get your thoughts on these questions. Please comment; I have to 'moderate' because otherwise I get a lot of bot-generated spam. But I do look at comments and publish them every day. THANKS.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

State of the Studio

 I'm doing a little re-organization in the studio; maybe that is organization. Not re-organization. So I've pulled out all my paints and organized them by color into plastic tubs. I'm putting up some pegboard, which is really painful to do with my arthritic right hand (right handed with a drill driver), but it will be worth it. The goal is to have easy access to my paints and tools (shelves, etc, on the peg board), and to be able to put them away and clear the decks for new projects at any given time. I need to be able to shift gears more easily. 

I generally keep my tools in similar plastic tubs, but each tub contains all the tools I need for Project X, or Technique Y. When seeking a bone folder or a painting knife or a squeegee I have to paw through multiple tubs in endless search. 

How do you organize your paints and tools and surfaces? Love to know. Please comment - I have to moderate comments because of bot/spam comments, but I check every day for those 'awaiting moderation'. Thanks!

Studio Portrait

A View from the Loft (my office and yoga space)

The Fluid Acrylics and a few High Flow

Trying to Color Code the Tubs - this one is reds that are not Tomato Red or Orange. I have another box for just the Cadmium reds, Pyrrole reds, and oranges. This one is for the outliers such as pinks, magenta, and my beloved Quinacridone Gold.
Installation of pegboard in process
The Tubes of Heavy Body

Nelson, my studio assistant (he's technically a subcontractor, as he chooses his own hours and brings his own tools - which are very sharp; he also assists other projects, so he is not on the payroll.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Art Basics: Your Supplies

 Here is a video showing you the supplies I recommend for someone just starting out in art. You can see a list of my recommendations, and links, in my previous post.

Thanks for watching, and enjoy your art practice! Happy new Year.

Just to be clear: as you grow into your art practice you will want higher quality paints. Add them gradually as your budget allows. As many of you know, my preferred brand is Golden - they create paints in a range of formats and viscosities (heavy body, fluid, high flow, etc) and a huge variety of mediums and grounds. There are many other high-quality, pigment-rich paints available, too. But to begin an art practice, the less-expensive student-grade paints are a good choice.