Thursday, March 31, 2016

Farmer's Flowers - Show Tip #21

Farmer's Flowers, 24 x 30, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
Sold in Solo Show, "Chasing Color, Finding Light", Davis Gallery

In this painting, I revisited a favorite plein air day from last year at Boggy Creek Farm. This local, natural farm is always welcoming to artists and is a fabulous place to paint. They also have a beautiful farm stand with all organic, delicious vegetables. The day I was there, these rows of zinnias were ready for picking, and painting! I loved the scene, especially with the little yellow house at the end of the row. 


Show Tip #21 - Frame Incrementally

I am a painter who pretty much frames everything. I do it all myself and it's a big job. Here again, I recommend tackling this in small batches. When I try to frame a lot of pieces at once, I inevitably hurt my wrist or tweak my shoulder because it requires repetitive movements and muscles I don't use every day. To avoid that pain and the subsequent weeks of recovery, I try to space the task out (it's a great weekend job). This works well with my other systems... after the paintings dry and are varnished they land in the framing queue. With the show just 23 days away, it feels very good to see my "framed and finished" pile growing! :)


Here are links to other Show Tips:
Tip #4 - Work in Series
Tip #6 - Be Kind to YOU
Tip #8 - Stay Flexible
Tip #11 - Take Notes
Tip #12 - Know when to Quit
Tip #13 - Stay Updated
Tip #15 - Assign Tasks
Tip #16 - Step Back
Tip #17 - Sign As You Go
Tip #19 - Celebrate Growth

Painters - join me at this Plein Air Workshop:
April 28-30, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Info: Mary Anderson, 912-634-8414

Monday, March 28, 2016

Creek Crossing - Show Tip #20

Creek Crossing, 24 x 36, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
Sold in Solo Show, "Chasing Color, Finding Light", Davis Gallery

I love how creeks crisscross through coastal marshes. They ebb and flow with the tide, always changing their "look" so to speak. When clouds hover overhead, it's just about as perfect as it gets. This little creek crossing is a special place for our family... my husband learned to fish off this little bridge, just like his father before him and our children after him. Now we look forward to teaching our grandchildren at this very same spot! 

Show Tip #20 - Varnishing Day(s)
I highly recommend setting aside several days for varnishing dry paintings in small batches. Saving them all till the end is a recipe for last minute problems and stress. But why bother at all? Besides providing a protective seal, varnish evens out the surface tone on an oil painting (pigments tend to "sink" or dull out as they dry). I usually use an oiling out process for this purpose, but this time around I decided to varnish everything. It is way more efficient with large canvases. I am using Gamvar by Gamblin, and am very pleased with the result. Click HERE for an excellent demo on the Gamblin website showing how to apply varnish correctly. 

Historical footnote: Back in the 1800's, the Royal Academy in London would offer a "Varnishing Day" to artists prior to the opening of their Summer Exhibition. In addition to varnishing finished pieces on location, artists would make last minute adjustments (and some cases, finish incomplete work). It was chaotic, but exhilarating I'm sure. Click HERE for a funny depiction of the craziness of the day, illustrated by George DuMaurier. 

Here are links to other Show Tips:
Tip #4 - Work in Series
Tip #6 - Be Kind to YOU
Tip #8 - Stay Flexible
Tip #11 - Take Notes
Tip #12 - Know when to Quit
Tip #13 - Stay Updated
Tip #15 - Assign Tasks
Tip #16 - Step Back
Tip #17 - Sign As You Go
Tip #19 - Celebrate Growth

Painters - join me at this Plein Air Workshop:
April 28-30, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Info: Mary Anderson, 912-634-8414

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Beachfront Palms - Show Tip #19

Beachfront Palms, 30 x 24, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
Sold in Solo Show, "Chasing Color, Finding Light", Davis Gallery
H A P P Y   E A S T E R !!!

I used to be afraid to paint palm trees and now they are my favorite. What made the difference? Observing and practicing. For the last three years, my daughter and her family lived in Hawaii. My visits with them included many a foray outside, to plein air paint along the coast or at the beaches near their home. It was a perfect opportunity to study the behaviors and personalities of palm trees... and study I did! This scene is from the Georgia coast, where my palm lessons continue to be applicable. 

Show Tip #19 - Celebrate Growth
As I painted the scene above, I reflected on how I no longer avoid or "edit out" palm trees when I am painting. In fact, now I look for them and choose them as subjects! It made me happy to see that progress, and yes, I did a little happy dance! We all make little advances every day in whatever we are doing. Sometimes success is immediate and obvious, and other times it is slower and incremental. And there are also times when we are so intent on the next hurdle that we just forget to notice where we've been. It is really important to pay attention and give ourselves a pat on the back when we see growth. Look for it. It truly is cause for celebration (and great inspiration to keep going for that next hurdle). 

Here are links to other Show Tips:
Tip #4 - Work in Series
Tip #6 - Be Kind to YOU
Tip #8 - Stay Flexible
Tip #11 - Take Notes
Tip #12 - Know when to Quit
Tip #13 - Stay Updated
Tip #15 - Assign Tasks
Tip #16 - Step Back
Tip #17 - Sign As You Go

Painters - join me at this Plein Air Workshop:
April 28-30, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Info: Mary Anderson, 912-634-8414

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Let There Be Songs - Show Tip #18

Let There Be Songs, 18 x 18, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
SOLD

You may find it interesting that music was the artistic path in my family of origin. As soon as my sisters and I learned how to read, our parents signed us up for piano lessons. We also all played a second instrument, sang in school and church choirs (our dad was the choir director), and participated in school musicals. It's a great legacy, and I learned a lot from those lessons even though I eventually moved on to the visual arts. The biggest lesson? Practice, practice, practice! I discovered the correlation between practice and mastery (and vice versa), and it's a lesson that crosses over all disciplines. 

Side note: No, I do not still play the piano, in case you are wondering. I also learned that you just can't do everything. :)

Show Tip #18 - Take Your Best Shot (photo, that is)
Getting a really good photo of my paintings is really important. I need them for use on my website, to send to my galleries, and for advertising of any kind. Here is a quick overview of my method: I set up a tripod (every time), use a good SLR set on highest resolution, shoot work outside in the shade at an angle that doesn't catch the glare (experiment with this), make sure the camera lens is parallel to the picture plane, shoot three graduated exposures (called "bracketing"). The best time of day is when your shadow is longest and most protective - early morning and late afternoon. Overcast days are great when they coincide. After the shoot, I upload them to my computer, choose the best exposure, crop and format the images in Photoshop, and save them in special file folders by year and genre. Photographing artwork is a skill that takes practice, and I highly recommend learning it. If you know a professional photographer, consider offering to pay him or her for a lesson with your own camera; or find a class. It will be worth it. 

Here are links to other Show Tips:
Tip #4 - Work in Series
Tip #6 - Be Kind to YOU
Tip #8 - Stay Flexible
Tip #11 - Take Notes
Tip #12 - Know when to Quit
Tip #13 - Stay Updated
Tip #15 - Assign Tasks
Tip #16 - Step Back
Tip #17 - Sign As You Go


Painters - join me at this Plein Air Workshop:
April 28-30, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Info: Mary Anderson, 912-634-8414

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spring Laurel Branches - Show Tip #17

Spring Laurel Branches, 24 x 30, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
Available

In Texas, we know that spring is on the way when the Mountain Laurels bloom, and this year they are abundant. We have lots of them in our yard, so these branches didn't travel far to sit in my studio for a painting session or two. Their waxy green leaves and lush purple blossoms are fun to paint, and their delicious aroma filled the whole house. They kind of smell like grape jelly, but in flower form. Yum.

Show Tip #17 - Sign As You Go

For some reason, signing paintings can be an obstacle. Plein air pieces are quick and easy because I scratch my signature in while it's still wet. But with larger canvases, I like to sign them with paint. Years ago, I would wait till I had a bunch of pieces finished and sign them all at once. But then I would be backed into a corner, waiting for the signatures to dry. This delayed photographing, framing, and getting the work out there. Now I sign them as soon as the paint is tacky enough to take another layer. I use a liner brush, and mix a tone just slightly darker or lighter than the passage where I plan to put the signature. Then I take a deep breath, just do it, and I don't mess with it. (If you share this phobia, try practicing your name over and over on an old painting. It helps.)


Here are links to other Show Tips:
Tip #4 - Work in Series
Tip #6 - Be Kind to YOU
Tip #8 - Stay Flexible
Tip #11 - Take Notes
Tip #12 - Know when to Quit
Tip #13 - Stay Updated
Tip #15 - Assign Tasks
Tip #16 - Step Back

Painters - join me at this Plein Air Workshop:
April 28-30, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Info: Mary Anderson, 912-634-8414

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Garden Girl and Show Tip #16

Garden Girl, 18 x 18, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
Sold in Solo Show, "Chasing Color, Finding Light", Davis Gallery

The dramatic light on this little garden girl statue caught my fancy for a number of reasons... the vividness of contrast, the layering effect of the light and shadows, and the way the subject stood perfectly half-in and half-out of the light. These were all challenges I couldn't pass up. I started in my usual fashion, but toned the canvas yellow so that the patch of light would have an inner glow. I also added some loose indications of red as a place holder/reminder for the roses that would come in at the very end. 


Block-in of Garden Girl.

Show Tip #16 - Step Back
In my painting process I am constantly reminding myself to step back. The reason? Getting away from it allows me to better see the overall image. I'm looking for overall continuity, any sore thumbs sticking out, and passages that need attention. The same goes for getting ready for this show, I have to keep stepping back to make sure I haven't lost my overall sense of how everything is fitting together; to help me figure out what needs more attention. Maybe I need more still lifes or to count my frames again. Or maybe I need to stop painting for a day and take care of the administrative stuff. The goal is for everything to happen on time and without stress, right? That is what I keep telling myself. 


Here are links to other Show Tips:
Tip #4 - Work in Series
Tip #6 - Be Kind to YOU
Tip #8 - Stay Flexible
Tip #11 - Take Notes
Tip #12 - Know when to Quit
Tip #13 - Stay Updated
Tip #15 - Assign Tasks

Painters - join me at this Plein Air Workshop:
April 28-30, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Info: Mary Anderson, 912-634-8414

Monday, March 7, 2016

Regatta and Show Tip #15

Regatta, 30 x 24, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
SOLD

One day last spring I was out plein air painting and suddenly this regatta sailed by. It was a most beautiful sight but didn't last long (no chance of catching it in the moment). Thank goodness for phone cameras. I ran to the dock and was able to snap off several shots that helped me preserve the memory for this painting. So much fun.

Show Tip #15 - Assign Tasks
Whether you are having a solo show in a gallery or a group show at a restaurant, it's important to know who is doing what, and when. There is so much more involved than painting the canvases. It helps to make a list of all that needs to happen to produce the exhibit, and then make assignments with a detailed timeline. Getting everything done (and having it all come out even and on time) depends on early and constant communication with everyone on the team. And of course, it requires being diligent with those deadlines!

Here are links to other Show Tips:
Tip #4 - Work in Series
Tip #6 - Be Kind to YOU
Tip #8 - Stay Flexible
Tip #11 - Take Notes
Tip #12 - Know when to Quit
Tip #13 - Stay Updated

Painters - join me at this Plein Air Workshop:
April 28-30, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Info: Mary Anderson, 912-634-8414

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Moment's Peace - Show Tip #14

A Moment's Peace, 24 x 36, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
Sold in Solo Show, "Chasing Color, Finding Light", Davis Gallery

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you know I love the beach. We spend a lot of time on St. Simons Island, where daily walks at the seaside are just part of the plan. It's peaceful and the best way to start any morning. 

Show Tip #14 - Balance Effort and Ease
"Be in a position of energetic rest", said my pilates instructor one morning. "Energetic Rest," I repeated, "isn't that a bit of an oxymoron?" She went on to explain that for this exercise (and actually for all exercises), I needed to balance effort and ease; to be engaged but not straining. Now isn't that a great image for painting, and for just about everything we do? Too much effort (straining) has obvious harmful outcomes like tightness, fear, and overall negative energy. Too much ease (not being engaged) results in poor discipline, low yield, and lack of passion. It's up to each of us to find that balance in our own daily routines, and probably a lifelong task.

Here are links to other Show Tips:
Tip #4 - Work in Series
Tip #6 - Be Kind to YOU
Tip #8 - Stay Flexible
Tip #11 - Take Notes
Tip #12 - Know when to Quit
Tip #13 - Stay Updated

Painters - join me at this Plein Air Workshop:
April 28-30, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Info: Mary Anderson, 912-634-8414

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

In Search - Show Tip # 13

In Search, oil on canvas, 17 x 9, L. Daniel © 2016
Sold in Solo Show, "Chasing Color, Finding Light", Davis Gallery

I love these birds. They roost and watch and pounce in their hunt for dinner. It's fun to watch. I painted a smaller version of this guy for my "Paint the Flying Spirit" challenge on Daily Paintworks last year. The challenge was based on a quote from painter Robert Henri which bears repeating, "Paint the flying spirit of the bird, not its feathers". That was my goal in painting this, to not get bogged down in the details but to try and catch the spirit of the great bird in flight. 

Show Tip #13 - Stay Updated
When I am completely focused on painting this new body of work, it's very easy to forget about other tasks. Things like updating my website, blogging and writing newsletters is hard when I've been painting all day. But here is what I know, if I keep things updated, I am saving myself from a last minute rush that is usually wrought with system failures, operator errors, and all around frustration. This is about survival. But this tip has a marketing value. In addition to staying ahead of the panic curve, I am also getting the work out there where it can be seen and previewed! I can direct interested collectors and friends to my website or blog to see what I am doing. I am not always successful with staying out in front of this stuff, but when I do it's a win-win! 

Here are links to other Show Tips:
Tip #4 - Work in Series
Tip #6 - Be Kind to YOU
Tip #8 - Stay Flexible
Tip #11 - Take Notes

Painters - join me at this Plein Air Workshop:
April 28-30, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Info: Mary Anderson, 912-634-8414