July 30, 2011

Old Dog, New Tricks

This beautiful pile of gunk is paint I finally scraped off my glass palette after about a year of sitting in my parent's basement.  It felt good to get rid of the old, dried up and replace it with fresh squeezed paint.  I've been talking to my Dad forever about teaching him a painting lesson and today was the day!
My dad and many members of his side of our family are very creative, some are even artists.  My dad does not consider himself an artist; he's never really drawn anything for "art's sake" but he does draw for a living.... figure that one out.  He is a mechanical designer, he draws parts on a CAD system.  Since he has an eye for detail and an ability to render objects, I figured he would have a step up in this painting lesson.
Set up on our picnic table behind the house, I got everything out, taught him a very quick lesson on mixing colors and he took right off with it.  He ever verbalized every single color mixture as if he were Bob Ross; it was pretty amusing.

It felt good to paint for the first time in a month.

Would you believe he hasn't painted a picture since middle school... and this was his first time using oil paints!  Great job Dad, lets do it again!

July 22, 2011

Hayley's Art

All Hayley's Art is inspired from life.  She finds a space, indoor or out, takes a photo and abstractly paints it.  Once again, its hard to see in these photos, but the colors are so beautiful. They are heightened, tweaked and sometimes painted in a very thick, fresh way.   A majority of these fairly large-scale paintings were created in the past year!

Hayley and I have been in many college painting classes together and we've somehow found a way to consciously and subconsciously learn from one another. I've become a little more loose and free with my paintings and she has become a little more tight and more proportional.

Good work Hay, keep it up!

I Love Buffalo, NY

Meet Hayley. We met the first day of our English 101 class our freshman year of college and have been inseperable ever since... except the fact she now lives 6 1/2 hours away from me in Buffalo, NY. Hayley was a painting major, like me, at Alfred University. When she left school, she moved to an artsy district of Buffalo (Elmwood Village) and opened a vintage furniture shop with one of her friends, Courtney.  

Reimagine Furniture is a fast growing little shop with re-finished vintage funiture and vintage housewares. While Hayley works and manages this shop with her friend, she is also an active oil painter; shes constantly an inspiration for me to keep painting. (I'm still working on being an active artist and teacher.) 
*See the next blog post "Hayley's Art" for images of her recent paintings.

I recently went to Buffalo to see her. She and Courtney had a phone interview with a local magazine for an article about Reimagine that morning. When I arrived, we immediately began unloading a car full of new goodies they had picked up for the store.... lamps, nick-nacks, plates, cups, figurines and even a clear botanical footstool filled with silk flowers. I think that was Courtney's favorite find!

After the unloading, Hayley and I waited for an artist to arrive at the store.  She was delivering her paintings to be displayed in the shop for a while; the show opening is August 12th at Reimagine.
Alix Martin is just as colorful and bubbly as her paintings; also an inspiring person to be around. This was the biggest painting of the collection... Notice Hayley in awe. My iPhone did not capture the beauty of the colors. (Sorry Alix for the injustice to your paintings.)
My favorite was this one on the left.  Very fresh, bright and every paint stroke full of happy energy; its a portrait of her daughter. The paintings are oil on canvas.... a few even have some beautiful spray painted stenciling (the yellow and white design on the one to the right.)

Among the big portraits, there were these cute little bird ones too.  Alix has fun with her paintings, each one even has an interesting name.

Never a dull day for the ladies of Reimagine Furniture! I had a blast on Elmwood Ave. If my situation were different, I would love to move to this artsy town to keep me inspired. :o)

July 16, 2011

Name the Elements and Principles of Art

Early (6 AM) this morning, I went fishing with my dad.  The pond was absolutely beautiful when we first arrived. There was a thin layer of fog coating the whole thing and quickly dissipated as we started floating around in the canoe. My dad was the only one that caught a small fish, a pretty, green, speckled pickerel which swam loose just as he was about to take it out of the water on his pole. Despite this unsuccessful day on "Round Pond", I did manage to take a few photos on my iPhone. I am always captivated by the nature of this 50 acre area of land my Dad now has in his name (formerly my Grandparents').  As I looked at the photos on a larger screen, I came to realize why these scenes are so beautiful in terms of art.  I tell my students that most works of art are successful because they incorporate many of the Elements and Principles of art.  As you scroll through these, see if you can name them.
Emphasis, Symmetry, Line, Depth.

Repetition, Contrast, Analogous Colors, Shape.

Analogous Colors, Symmetry, Line, Depth

Emphasis, Shape, Repitition, Shape, Analogous Colors, Contrast, Depth.

Mother nature, afterall, is an expert when it comes to combining the elements in a successful way!

July 04, 2011


Sometimes it is frustrating when you create something and its not exactly what you want.  As an artist, especially a beginning artist, one needs to understand that "practice makes perfect"... really.
I started designing this tattoo last summer... the client lost contact with me and I never found out if he got the tattoo.  I did atleast twelve different drafts of this tattoo, each time fine-tuning it to his liking. It is a heron eating a frog as the frog struggles to stay alive. It is an image summing up a proverb whose message is to persevere.  Ironic to this lesson, huh?

Here are the inital sketches on the left and one of the final ones on the right.  He wanted the head of the heron and the frog to be much different than I have shown.  I did about five other drawings of just the head and frog too

Another sketch.

So, don't give up.  If a piece of art doesn't look right the first time, don't be afraid to edit and fine-tune until you are happy with it... or your client is.