Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Golden Pears - Show Tip #2

Golden Pears, 18 x 18, oil, L. Daniel © 2016
Sold in Solo Show, "Chasing Color, Finding Light", Davis Gallery

Fruit that is actually growing on the tree seems somehow fruitier, doesn't it? It must have something to do with seeing it in context... how it's connected to the tree, how it grows and how it is nourished. This bunch was on a tree in California and the pears were quite sumptuous. I loved their plumpness and how they were tucked into the boughs. 

Golden Pears Block-In (ultramarine and burnt sienna)
Note that I added a third pear to the bunch as I painted. :)

Tip #2 - Set up Deadlines

I need deadlines to get things done. When I was a graphic designer, I often made appointments to show ideas to clients BEFORE I ever did the work. Having an appointment on the calendar forced me to actually do it. Deadlines just work for me, even if self-imposed. For my show, I need more than just an end date to get all the paintings finished. SO, I figure out how many new pieces I want to include, and divide that number by the number of weeks between now and my finish date (remember to include drying and framing time). That tells me how many paintings I need to finish each week, and I can set my schedule accordingly. Number of paintings / number of weeks = number of paintings per week. (Math is not my strong suit and I inverted the equation in my original post. Sorry. Hopefully you got the gist.)

How does this take away the stress? Well, first of all, it breaks down what could feel like a giant, daunting task into smaller achievable goals. Second, it keeps me from getting bogged down in any single painting and gets me into the flow way faster than if I noodle around on one piece. Third, when I meet my goal each week I can pat myself on the back, AND take a break (it's important to feel human). Yes, even a creative can benefit from keeping a schedule. 

Here is a link to my first tip... more to come and thank you for following along!
Tip #1 - Stock up on Supplies

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, January 25, 2016

Freshly Cut - And Show Tip #1

Freshly Cut, 20 x 20, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
Sold in Solo Show, "Chasing Color, Finding Light", Davis Gallery

I do love hydrangeas. There is something about their round shape, and delicate petals that just makes me swoon. This lovely bunch was freshly cut and ready to be put into some water. Unfortunately, by the time I finished my painting, they were no longer peppy enough for a vase. Thankfully, I had others to enjoy on the kitchen counter! This piece will be in my Davis Gallery show in April. 

A word about my show preparation process: Over the years, I have discovered that I work most efficiently when I have a good working plan. That's true for most things, right? In the coming weeks, I will share tips that help me get ready for an exhibit. One of my big goals is to cross the finish line without panic and worry. Hopefully, these tips will help other artists do the same. 

Tip #1 - Stock Up on Supplies
This may sound obvious, but stocking up on supplies is a huge pre-requisite for getting started. What does this include? Canvas, paint, mediums, brushes, and anything else I need for the process. I buy LOTS of canvas in a variety sizes and formats that I like working on, and I get it all gessoed and sanded. I also keep an extra full set of paints on hand at all times. Otherwise, running out for a tube of white or stopping to gesso a canvas really kills my momentum. I even stock up on frames - after all, I know what dimensions I will be painting, so why not be prepared?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hydrangea Bouquet

Hydrangea Bouquet, 20 x 20, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016

This year I have been slow to post, but hard at work nonetheless! I have a big show coming up in April, so I am deep into the process of building a new body of work for that. The show will be at the Davis Gallery in Austin, and I will keep you posted on details as the time gets closer! Meanwhile, I am working larger and have been waiting for a few paintings to dry, so that I could sign, photograph, and start sharing. 

A beautiful hydrangea bouquet inspired my first piece. After a nice break at Christmas, painting from life brought me back to the rhythm of observation and focus that I love so much. 2015 was a busy, noisy year for me due to our home renovation, and I can not tell you how much I am enjoying the quiet, daily practice of going into my studio and loading my brushes. Pure joy!

Please stay tuned, as I plan to post about my process of preparing for a gallery show.

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

Graphite Study for Hydrangea Bouquet, 8 x 8
I am a drawer, so a quick sketch is always part of getting started for me. It's a great way to play around with composition and identify patterns of dark and light. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Golden Memories - The Progression of a Commission

Golden Memories, 30 x 40, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016

Toward the end of last year, I was commissioned to do a very large painting as a Christmas gift. Commissions are not my favorite thing to do, but I am a hopeless romantic and my client's request was too compelling to pass up! He wanted a painting of the spot where he proposed to his wife at sunset - overlooking Lake Austin - while they were students at UT in the late 80's. After graduation, they moved away, had a family, and their own children are now in college. All these years later, he wanted to surprise her with that scene. Well... how could I say no? 

To make things more interesting, the scene itself is now completely overgrown with trees and shrubbery. The view is gone, and my client didn't have a photograph! Remember the days when we were not obsessively snapping photos on our phones, documenting every activity? Here's the great part - he remembered the colors and the angles, EVERYTHING really... including where the sun went down on the horizon!!! 

As most commissions go, there was a lot of collaboration back and forth, all by computer (since we were working long distance). Between the two of us - using his incredible memory and my research of other spots on that same hillside - we came up with "Golden Memories". Many thanks, MZ, and may the golden memories be always with you!

Here are a few outtakes from our process...

Composition Study, 8 x 10, graphite on paper
This was the final pencil sketch for the design and composition of the painting. I did 7-8 versions before we settled on this one.

Color Study, 9 x 12, oil on panel
As with the composition, the color study underwent several corrections and adjustments. (We even tried adding some bluebonnets, but decided to leave them out in the final.)

Underpainting, 30 x 40, acrylic on canvas
This acrylic underpainting allowed me to get approval for placement and shapes before diving in with oils. I don't usually include this step when painting large work on my own, but it was very helpful for staying on the same page with my client.

Golden Memories, 30 x 40, oil on canvas, L.Daniel © 2016
I had quite a lot of fun working on this, and was very glad I took it on. Receiving the "well done, brushes down" confirmation from my client brought me great joy!

The framed piece. 

H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R !