Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mallard Duck

Decided to stick with the water fowl theme and do a drawing of a mallard duck.  I saw this feller out at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve and he looked pretty much at ease with himself.  He was swimming around with another male and one female.  They had one Ruddy Duck following them around and I think it was because he felt outnumbered by the dozens of Northern Shovelers that were inhabiting the pond at the time.  Maybe being the only duck on the pond with a blue bill had him seeking refuge with the only three Mallards on the pond.

I need to work on my shading a little more.  The whole upper half of this duck isn't nearly as dark and shaded as it should be.  But, I guess this is why we practice.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This goose is NOT cooked!

I was out at Desert Shores a couple of weeks ago and got a picture of this character.  He was just too sexy for his bad self because he wouldn't turn and face me.  Like he was saying, "I'm too sexy to even pay attention to you."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thomas Kinkade - 1958-2012

As many of you may know, Thomas Kinkade, the self-proclaimed "Painter Of Light" passed away a way a few days ago and the art blogosphere has kicked into high gear.  I haven't read even one post that had much of anything positive to say about the man.  In some cases the vitriol was more acidic than the words spewed after the death of Kim Jung-Il, the dictator of North Korea.  And that's saying something.

Thomas was a very good artist.  Make no mistake about it.  He could never have created the works that he did without knowing the craft of painting.  His plein air work is just as good as most that I have seen anywhere.

I think that if Kevin McPherson or Scott Christensen had painted either of these works, people would be lining up to ;pay top dollar for them.  But, because Thomas painted them, most "artists" have nothing good to say about them.  I would be thrilled to be able to paint either one of these paintings above.

Did he bastardize the world of art with his "limited" production runs of quaint homes with bright lights shining in the windows?  To some extent I would say, yes.  I don't like giclees or off-set prints or any other method of printing a work of art that is then sold as "fine" art.  If an artist wants to go that route, then all the power to them, but to me, those reprints will be nothing more than fancy posters, like the ones I used to hang in my room with thumbtacks when I was a teenager (God bless Farah Fawcett).  

Thomas probably could have made a decent living as a regular gallery artist, teaching workshops now and then, but he was looking for something more and he found a market and mined it with a gusto.  When I look at the paintings that he is known for, I like certain things about them and don't like other things.

I think that appealed to most people who liked his art was the fact that they look at a scene like the one above and can imagine themselves living in that house.  But the art "critics" start in with their diatribe about the colors used, the warm light coming from the windows and anything else they can think of.  

But, what I see in the words of most of the people that criticize him, even after his death, is unbridled jealousy.  They can';t stand the thought that they labor day in and day out over their paintings and nobody knows their name, but Thomas sells his colorful, comfortable scenes and is known the world over.  They don't like it so they stoop to calling Kinkade's buyers all kinds of names and calling Thomas every name you can imagine.

Yes, some of his business practices were a little suspect and some of his gallery owners may have some legitimate beefs with him, but as an artist, just as an artist, I think he had as much talent as most that are plying their trade today.  Jealousy is such an ugly emotion and you would think it would have no place in the hearts of artists, but I guess we're all human.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Where's Dave?

Sometimes I feel like Waldo and wonder where I am and what I'm doing.  It has been, almost a year and a half since I've put anything on this blog.  That doesn't mean that I haven't done anything in the way of art.  Just that I've been doing more painting and posting those efforts to my other blog, The Daily Painting.  One thing I've noticed is a tendency to do the same thing a lot of artists do and that is to neglect my drawing.  As I've said in other posts here, drawing is the foundation of all good art.  So, I'm getting back into drawing just for the sake of drawing. 

I did this one last night.  Who knew a laptop could come in so handy as a still life stand?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Art fairs

Now, let me see if I can irritate a few artists out there.  The art of putting brush to canvas seems to be dying.  Or maybe the pencil and brush artists have found better ways to get their art out there.

I just got back from the Boulder City art festival, Art In The Park. I must say I'm getting a little disillusioned by some of the things I'm seeing at fairs like this anymore.  I went to the Summerlin art festival last weekend and it was the same thing.

It used to be that when a photographer took a picture that they intended to sell, they would shoot it, make the corrections, blow it up to a print size they wanted, mat it and frame it.  This is how they did photographs way back when.

What I'm leading up to is the plethora of photographers that take a picture and then have it ink-jet printed onto a canvas and sell it as fine art.  Now, some may argue that it is fine art, but I would respectfully disagree.  To my mind it really isn't.  And I won't even get into giclees here.  That's for another post altogether.

I realize that it does take quite some skill to get the right shot to begin with.  Then it is run through various computer programs to enhance color and exposure, brightened up in one section, darkened in another.  Then sent off to Fine Art America and printed onto a stretched canvas and sold as a fine piece of artwork.

The booths set up by the photographers appear to outnumber the booths of the pencil and brush artists.  There were maybe 100-120 booths set up in the northern part of the park, which was supposed to be set aside for fine art and there were maybe a dozen painters and pencil artists there.  There were probably twice that many photographers and the rest were taken up by crafters and such.

I guess what it comes down to is "art is in the eye of the beholder."  As it always has been, is and always will be.  There is just something ethereal about being able to run your fingertips over a canvas and feel the peaks and valleys of each brush stroke, to see how one stoke blends so well with the ones next to it and to know that the artist looked into their heart and put something on canvas that touched them.

Well, that's my little rant for the day.  Hope I haven't aggravated the photographers too much.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New website

I've made a change in the way I do my websites for my art.  The Pencil and Brush will stay as it is with one change.  I won't be putting my artwork here anymore.  It will be a place for my musing about the world of art.

I have started a new website, The Daily Painting.  I will be posting my artwork there and hopefully on a daily basis.  So, click on the link and wander over there and see what's happening in my little world of art.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What have I been doing lately?

Well, here I am.  I know it's been awhile since my last post and I feel bad about that.  But, I don't feel bad about some of the reasons I've been away.  I've enrolled in a six week painting class at the community college, with the goal of taking my oil painting to a new level.  I've taken a couple of Bob Ross workshops in the past couple of months and have had a ball with that.  Now, it's time to build upon the things I've been taught in those workshops and these classes are just the ticket.

First, let me show off my two "masterpieces" from the workshops.  The one on the left was done in February and the one on the right was done just a couple of weeks ago.

I like them and can see some real improvements over my first attempts I made on my own.  Having an instructor looking over your shoulder can make a world of difference.  I do see some mistakes and some things that I will do differently in the future, but I am quite happy with the results so far.  Next month we are doing a black canvas painting.  Should be interesting.

In the college class, I am learning the traditional style of painting and seeing that it will try the average person's patience.  That would be the biggest drawback to learning the Ross method first, in that, you get used to knocking out a painting in an hour or so.  Then you get into a situation where it is going to take six weeks, maybe longer, to finish a painting.

But, maybe that's a good thing.  Some times it will be nice to slow down and step back from the canvas once in a while and see where you're at.  Maybe this is exactly what my blood pressure needs.  Only time will tell.

Until next time, take care and God bless.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Be Careful In Your Thriftstore Shopping

I know it's been awhile since I last posted and I need to get better at that. I've been spending a lot of time in the garden lately, getting spring bulbs in the ground and doing some general clean up. I do promise to make my postings a little more regular.

Today I have a tale to tell, a bit of a cautionary tale. Some details I hesitate to divulge as I can imagine some artists will gasp in horror when I do. Some will accuse me of being an uncultured oaf. But, I digress.

A few days ago I was doing a little thrift store browsing with my girlfriend in one of our local Goodwill stores and I headed to the art section. Yes, there is an art section at the Goodwill stores, as there is in just about any thrift store you go into. They usually have shelves upon shelves of discarded paintings and prints of various sizes and shapes. I can spend quite some time going through these "treasures."

Am I trying to find some discarded Andrew Wyeth masterpiece or a long lost Van Gogh? Well, that would be nice, but no, my search is for something a little more down to earth. I am searching for frames that can be used for my own artwork and in some cases, I will look at canvases that aren't too heavily textured. I can hear the screams of "BLASPHEMER!" coming from all corners of the world. How could I possibly think of destroying another artist's work of art to create my own? Well, it happens. Especially when I find a nice 48"x48" canvas with some gaudy painting that looks like a reject from a junior high school art class. When the canvas can be bought for about five dollars and it is in good condition, I consider it manna from heaven allowing me to go large without spending over a hundred dollars on a pre-stretched canvas.

And the frames I've found have been used in many of my pieces of art. You can't imagine some of the frames I've found, frames that would cost large sums of money that can be had for just a few dollars. I found a brand new, still in plastic wrap, 16x20 frame a couple of weeks ago, that was in the thrift store bin because it had been dropped and the finish on the backside have chipped and flaked off. So, I bought it for four dollars, took it home and spread a small amount of epoxy across the chip and then painted the backside of the frame with black acrylic. It looks brand new and for four dollars and a few minutes work I picked up a frame that cost close to $70.00 in the art store.

Now, where does the cautionary tale come in? This last trip to the thrift store netted me two VERY nice frames that I thought would make excellent frames for some future pieces of art. These were two very nice, carved wood frames that were a matched set. And the great thing about it was that there were two paintings already in the frames, that weren't highly textured and would make great canvases for me. The paintings were nice, but nothing special in my eyes.

As I walked up to my girlfriend with frames in hand, she asked what I had. I explained to her that I had two nice frames and canvases to do some paintings on. When she saw the paintings she gasped in horror, "You blaspemer!" At that very second I knew that my treasures were no longer mine.

To make a long story short, those two paintings are now hanging, untouched by my sacrilegious hands, in our bedroom, laughing at me every time I walk by them. And my girlfriend has made it quite clear that I will NEVER paint over them.

From now on, I go thrift store shopping alone!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My latest project

I've put down the pencil and pad for a little while and picked up my brushes and palette. I'm doing an acrylic that should take about another 3-4 hours to complete. Knowing the rate that I work sometimes, this could take me a week to finish. Anyway, here is the progress so far.

When finished this should be recognizable as a hibiscus flower.  Only time will tell.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Art and The Meaning of Life?

This evening I was eating a quick dinner at my desk and watching some artist videos on YouTube and I came across one that got me to thinking.  It wasn't the art or the artist themselves, but the opening of the video that did it.  It opened with a quote from Antoni Tapies that said, "Art should startle the viewer into thinking about the meaning of life."  I really only had one reaction to that quote and it was just one word.  Why?

First off I guess we would need to ask Mr. Tapies what he considers to be art, because I can think of a ton of art that wouldn't get me to thinking about the meaning of life in any way.  And having stopped by a gallery of some of Mr. Tapies' art I can say without hesitation that his art didn't get me to pondering any deep meanings of life either.

I would never criticize another artist or their art in the negative because I feel that there will always be someone out there that will appreciate it.  I may not, but someone will.  However, I will question an all-encompassing idea that art should be one thing or it should be another, no matter who was making the comment.  Even if Da Vinci had made that same comment I would feel just as negatively towards it.

I have seen incredible paintings of roses that I would consider great art, but they don't evoke a search for the meaning of life in my heart.  Drawings by my children and hung on the refrigerator when they were young were considered by myself to be art, but I don't look for those pieces to be hanging in the Louvre anytime soon.

Sometimes when I see art that looks like the artist was trying too hard to make a statement, I am left with nothing more than a desire to move on to the next piece.  Some artists are born to stir up the hearts of the viewers, causing feelings of deep uncertainty, while others are moved to paint something of beauty that will be pleasurable to look at.  It might just be a simple bowl of fruit or a portrait of one's cat.

Some of the great artists of history have created art that evoked such responses and then the next week produced a piece that was just a fine piece of art.  Van Gogh could create a painting like Starry Night that caused people to write songs about it and then turn around and paint a vase full of sunflowers.  A painting of a vase of sunflowers by Van Gogh, while pleasing to the eye won't get me to thinking about my existence.

I think art is whatever the artist decides it is and when their work finds an accepting viewer then the artist has done their job.  If it evokes feelings of the majesty of our lives, then so be it.  If it just gets us to stop for a few minutes and admire the beauty of the artwork and maybe even pull out our wallets to buy it, then the artist has done just as valid a job.

Enjoy art for what it is.  Not for what it isn't.