Well, I thought I was done with the Bargue, but little did I know.. So I worked more on that today and got a lot done on my sight-size cast drawing of David's eye. I'm pretty proud of both of these drawings so far.
Juliette Aristide's book Beginning Drawing Atelier, was given to us as part of this program and it's a really interesting book; it's even more interesting to go through the book with Juliette herself and hear her first-hand information for each section. I was particularly captivated with the script lettering section. I'm really enjoying these academic basics; very old-school.
"We live in a world of the quick and easy and because we live in the quick and easy so things fade away just as quickly."
If anyone is looking for a great book check out Eric Gorge's: A Craftsman's Legacy: Why Working With Our Hands Gives Us Meaning.
I'm currently working on a different type of commission. It's a 10" X 14" oil painting and the scene is of vintage Winnie-the-Pooh. Although my personal work is based largely on en plein air work, landscapes, still lifes and figurative work, I also like doing these commissions which expand my creative range. I think it's good for artists to play around with different styles and subject matter. It's a fun break from what I normally do, but I feel like it's still me.
This type of illustration requires a lot of creativity because I didn't copy this scene from another source. I created my own composition and placed the characters where I wanted them. I still tried to make the scene look like one from an old Pooh story. Something different in my technique is that I washed on the oil paint in sort of a watercolor-style application; usually I like working with thick paint.
The scene I had in mind is of Christopher Robin coming to the 100 Acre Wood for a party with all the characters. There's a lot of fun little details in the painting which make it like an eye-spy game. My friends and family know that I'm a big Pooh fan myself and have read all the stories. And a fun extra fact is: this isn't my first illustration project, I illustrated some children's books once upon a time... but that feels like a lifetime ago.
I have been thinking a lot recently about all that's required of artists today. I know that it's never been easy to be an artist throughout history, but it seems that artists today have to wear more hats than before. A standard artist today has to utilize a large array of digital capabilities in order to make a name for himself or herself.
The advantage that we all have nowadays is that we can connect with a huge number of other artists or other avenues for opportunity. I have personally taken great advantage of this in order to network with some brilliant people and to build my career. But that ease of communication has disadvantages also. I, personally, have a few email accounts and I have a number of communications going on all the time: students to communicate with alongside junk mail, advertisements, etc. An important email from someone could easily slip through the cracks and the prospect of that disturbs me. When I really want to say something important, I either make a phone call or send a letter.
But what can you do to alleviate some pressure? Well, I have taken steps to find a middle path to allow myself some quiet to work on my own projects. I don't do social media because I personally think it's an addictive waste of time and causes depression; social media and other such sites never gave me any distinct results. The only real results that I've gotten have been through directly reaching out to individuals and asking for help. Personally, I also don't enjoy being on the computer a lot and I don't like texting because it feels like a very cheap form of communication. BUT, even if you're the most skilled painter on earth, you'll never be successful if you live like a hermit in a cave. I guess there's also different definitions of what is "successful".
I needed to adapt to also teach online and it's been a fun and educational transition, but it wasn't easy. I needed to learn about how to use Zoom and how to do virtual critiques. I really spent (and continue to spend) a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to teach online. I'm definitely not a luddite, but I like to have a more humanist approach to teaching, art and life.
I recently went through my entire site and reorganized things in order to remove old work and unnecessary information. I now have examples of my best work and basic information on here. I was feeling a pressure to keep a digital catalogue of my work, which started to become a real headache. I honestly don't enjoy digital photography and photographing my work because I feel like it doesn't do justice to my original paintings and drawings; I discussed some of the reasons why in my last post. I let all of that digital baggage go and now I feel way better.
The problem is that it's no longer enough to just be a painter; maybe it has never been enough to be just a painter. The truth is that unless you hire someone to handle your digital work, then you'll need to figure out how to handle it yourself. That's not a bad thing either (I had a lot of fun figuring out how to build my own website). I still enjoy writing on this blog and I've had students, patrons and fans find me through this site so I see the benefits of it. I guess it's all a balance like everything in the world.