Some things I've been thinking about recently: It's hitting me really hard recently how important it is for me to paint and draw from life and create work just for me. It's probably the most important thing for me to do. The other thing I've been thinking a lot about recently is focusing intensely on my teaching. I was just given an incredible teaching opportunity and I want to do the best possible job I can. I don't want any extraneous things and I need some things to be just for me.
I'm also reading some books (The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle and Power Vs. Force by Dr. David R. Hawkins) that are making me think about my own perceptions. It's all just stuff that I'm going through and I need to do it on my own and with those I love and who love me. I feel at a crucial point in my journey. I'll always be sharing some thoughts on this blog but I'll mostly be focusing on myself.
I am always honored to create custom pet portraits for my patrons and the way I do it is often directly from photo references. There's a ton of debate over the use of photo references and I believe it's a balance to find what works for you as an artist. To me, photography is a tool that artists should use but not rely on (as they have for well over 100 years now). The other factor is that it's important to always paint from life as much as possible to bolster your photo references.
The other thing to remember is that a painting is not a photograph and shouldn't be compared as art forms. There are a lot of photo-realistic paintings, which to me are technically very impressive, but often have a lack of heart in them. I never want to compete with a photo in terms of accuracy (because I'll always lose haha) but I do believe I can get more feeling and heart in my paintings.
There are many techniques, processes and pathways to create a painting and however you get there is a special journey and you should use whatever tools you have access to, but having a nice photo reference doesn't mean you'll end up with a nice painting..
I'm very happy to announce that I'll be teaching one section of Art 101 at Bergen Community College for the Fall 2019 semester. I first taught there from 2015 to 2018 and I'm very proud to be a part of Bergen again.
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I wanted to share some recent insight I had about having different approaches to making art. I always catch myself wanting to have a clear, linear style way of painting, but the truth is that it's good to have various ways of working. For my pet portraits I work in a certain way, usually slower and in a few distinct layers. But I also love working completely alla prima and finishing a painting in one sitting.
This is also true for the way I use source material. Using my laptop and photos to paint pet portraits is super convenient, but you have to be careful because it can get flat really quickly and the colors can appear different. I mainly love working en plein air, but that has its own disadvantages; the light is always changing and it's a race against the clock sometimes. But the advantage to working outside or from life in general is clear in the final work.
Basically, there's no right way or wrong way or "cheating" or anything. It all becomes your own work when you put your signature on the piece. Learn to love the variety that painting provides. It's all your own as long as you create it!