Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Lot of Monkey Business!

 My piece and Valerie Savarie's art for Monkey Business!  The show opens tomorrow night at 6:00 pm and runs through February 21st.

Here's the info direct from Valkarie Gallery:



Monkey Business: Invitational Group Exhibition

January 27 - February 21, 2016
Opening Reception, Friday, January 28, 6 - 9pm

  2016 brings us the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese calendar and to celebrate, our kick off show is an invitational titled "Monkey Business". Each artist was given an 8" square panel to create their interpretation of the theme but need not include an actual monkey. There is sure to be a great variety of art including paintings, photography, drawings, mixed media and digital art.

Artists include: Jared David Paul Anderson, Adrianne Tamar Arachne, Aria ~ She Paints With Blood, Clay Brooks, Hannah Conlisk, Danyl Cook, Kalindi DeFrancis, Dorothy DePaulo, MJ Dowling, Kayla Edgar, Sharon Eisley, Corrina Espinosa, Erin Hagle, Christy Lynne Harris, Rob Jordan, JxRxKx, Doug Kacena, Lisa Luree, Bernadette Lusk, Pat Marek, Frank Martinez, Eric Matelski, Ryan Morse, Ray Muñoz, Robert Newman, Nixi, Penny & Alex Oliver, Hallie Packard, David Perea, Zachary Reece, Sammilo, Tom Sarmo, Valerie Savarie, Heather Sims, Heidi Snyder, Dane "Colfax" Stephenson, Melanie Steinway, Michael Vacchiano, John Van Horn, Jesse Van Horne, Brian Wall, Emily Wilcox and Zaitlin Ziesmer.

Here are more photos of only some of the cool works:

Adrienne Tamar Arachne

Kayla Edgar

Aria She Paints with Blood

Ryan Morse

Raymundo Munoz

Rob Jordan

Clay Brooks

Lisa Luree

John Van Horn

Pat Marek

Hallie Packard

There, you have a tiny preview of the show. Check out all of the pieces and prices by clicking on this link, then scrolling down to Monkey Business:

And if you're in Denver, come to the opening, meet the artists, and add to your collection!

Thanks for reading--and supporting the arts (and the artists who contribute to them)!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Which Art-Path to take?

The age-old question:
Should artists stick to one, recognizable style/subject, or should artists do what they want and let their muse lead them?

Depends on what the artist wants and/or needs as an end result I suppose. But since a life in art isn't easy, I believe that knowing oneself--what is a fit for one's personality and disposition--is crucial if any contentment is to be had.

If an artist enjoys limits, or wants/needs recognition and financial reward, it may be that sticking to one recognizable style/subject/medium is the right answer. Certain personality-types thrive and create best under these circumstances, and it's a faster way to a brand and quick recognition.

If an artist wants/needs freedom to create, it may be that listening to the muse and exploring the possibilities is the answer to creating a body of work (and a life-in-art) that is rewarding.

I've worked as an artist, illustrator, and teacher for my whole career. All three are exciting, and together they pay the bills. Because of that combination, I've mostly been able to follow my muse wherever she's led. 
I want to feel the art surge in me whenever and however it chooses, at any given time--be it drawing from imagination, from life, painting in watercolor, or acrylic; working indoors or outdoors, at the museum or in my studio. If a character is prying apart the folds of my brain in its attempt to get onto the paper, I need to help it then and there.

I'm positive that my chosen path has somewhat limited my income and my notoriety, but the big pay-off has been in my ability to answer my muse's call; my contentment is dependent upon my ability to experiment, explore, and change things up as often as she demands.

As a result, different people have different ideas of my work, depending on what they've seen most, or to which subject or style they are personally drawn.

My first love is that of drawing characters like those above, and I'm fortunate that they resonate with many people. Sketching goofy creatures gives me great joy, and provides the main vault of ideas for finished gallery works and illustrations.

Some of my most loyal patrons have responded to my landscapes, and lately, plein air work has lead me outdoors again--and in new directions. Being reluctant to cage myself into a single landscape medium has probably slowed my growth, but I've never been in much of a hurry. 
The good thing--trying different media has given me the opportunity to explore. Feeling the variety of brush-drag on paper or canvas is only part of the fascination. Watching how watercolors bloom or the way oil paint lifts into peaks is akin to studying the different water patterns in a river while fishing. It's mesmerizing, relaxing, and gratifying.
I've done my share of spiritual art as well, but have managed to avoid the temptation to paint one of these pieces only for the monetary reward. If I love the saint or concept however, I'm all over it. Above are some preliminary sketches for a commissioned work that's coming together in the studio right now.

And I just finished a new piece for an upcoming invitational called  
Monkey Business at Valkarie Gallery .
It features a whole crop of amazing interpretations on the Year of the Monkey! I'll post more about the show (and my piece) next time.

The eclectic path I've followed is not for every artist; I love many who have dedicated themselves to a single style or medium, and I admire and learn from their works. I'm pretty sure there are more than two road-options, too.
Am I always contented--with my life or the art-road I'm on? Not always. But I'm pretty sure I took the best fork in the road--for me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Reasons: My Plein Air List

 House by the San Juans, an oldie from 2009

I've always loved landscapes in art. Painting and drawing them, looking at those created by others, and just studying them as I walk. But recently I've had a renewed excitement in getting outside and working from life.

Sometimes I go out sketching by myself, but I much prefer painting with the DIS Plein Air Club. It's not always easy to leave the warmth and convenience of the studio, but it's majorly worth the extra effort.
Among many, here are four reasons why I do it:

1. Like fishing, it's meditative and relaxing
There's that amazing suspension of time that occurs while painting outside, with none of the distractions that occur in my home studio. (Check out that artist, dwarfed by majestic cottonwoods, and deep into the experience.)

2. There's a ton of info to be had from nature
I love books, and learn from them all the time, but learning with the bonus of fresh air and nature can't be beat.

 3. It stimulates my imagination
This tree, resembling a charging Ent, caught my eye...

...and I quickly sketched it's gesture in ballpoint pen while a couple of fellow artists finished up their paintings;

Xander worked with gouache... did Clay.

4. It's a really good time
Even though I'm scowling from the bright sunlight, I have a blast painting and learning with these guys; the conversation after each session is as rich with info as the actual art-ing. 
Sometime I'll post more of my reasons for doing plein air work, but I bet you've plenty of your own.
As always, thanks for reading!

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