Category Archives: art

dunes, bay, ship heading out / charcoal and chalk

In defense of perfectionism:

I wonder why perfectionism is so unpopular these days.

Sometimes I see a piece of art, any type of art, and I think that is just sublime. I couldn’t do better. I can’t find any fault with that. That looks like perfection to me. It’s a treat for your eyes. That was no accident. If the artist didn’t work on that particular piece for a long time then they are showing you the end result of years of practice.

Art experts don’t like to see evidence of hard work. They call it “labored over” like labor isn’t part of life. It’s to be avoided. There is no such thing as a labor of love to those people.

If an artist is insecure maybe the person saying, ” don’t continue to work on this painting, stop now before you overwork it.” The expert is trying to make the artist feel better about themself. If the artist is saying, “I’m not good enough,” that isn’t relevant in the art world. You can be a real jerk, it doesn’t matter. You can still do art that is uplifting and people might love your art. I’m not good enough also doesn’t make sense to me because imperfection is accepted, even prized. The artists I’m talking about only need more practice till they feel good enough.

You don’t get there by giving up if you think you can fix a painting and make it better by continuing to work on it. If you don’t want to do that right now, it’s ok to put it off till next week, next year or any other time when you think you can do better.

I’ll agree no one is perfect. Perfection is an ideal. Why not shoot for the ideal? Even if you never get there trying is better than copping out. Art might be the only chance we have to get close to perfection.

If you want to keep going over it again and again don’t let anyone stop you. If you get on a good path and want to keep doing the same thing in different variations until you have had enough then you have to do that and don’t let anyone say, “you’re not done with that yet?”

Ignore anyone that tells you what not to do.

As always, feel free to opine.

the way to the bay / sketch

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on the horizon

Oh man, there are so many places and things I want to draw and paint. I went over there thinking it would be fun to sketch lichens. I had lichens in the back of my mind since last winter. Then I saw some strange thorn trees. I continued walking a little further looking at lichens and trying to decide, lichens or thorns, and I walked out on this overlook and thought I’ll do this scene.

It was great weather, sunny, cool, light breeze. I only saw two people coming back from the beach.

The water was dark gray.

I need a bigger piece of paper. I could get into painting this freely if I tape my brushes onto yardsticks again and stand back. That might help my perspective a little too.

They’re calling for sunny but cold weather this weekend. I should go back. I’ll have it all to myself. It’s a real nice overlook with a bench.

sketch from Back Bay / charcoal and chalk

My sketchbook has assorted colors, blueish, greenish, tan, gray and white. The white is too bright to enjoy drawing on in plein air. Sometimes I tint white paper with pastel, blend it down and spray it with fixative. It’s easier to draw on. The white has so much glare in the sun. That’s what I did for this sketch, tinted it gray first.

Darn it, the waves look a little weak. I need more practice drawing and painting water. It’s always a challenge and it changes every day. I’d like to paint this scene. This is a good time of year to do it. The weather was sunny, cool and windy today. It felt refreshing and I had the overlook all to myself

Except for the water, which might be difficult to paint, this scene looks easy to do. I’m trying to decide, it might not be a good idea to take my easel because I can’t anchor it with the spikes on the wooden overlook. I might be able to paint on paper and lean my drawing board on the railing. I’d have to keep a hand on my easel all the time since it’s windy there.

egret in dead tree / charcoal and chalk

The thing I like about this tree is that a lot of the bark has fallen off and it makes an interesting change in texture between the bare places and the places with bark.

The egret wasn’t there. I looked at photos and tried to fake it.

I still need to sketch more before I can come up with a good plan for a painting. I’d like to use this tree and not have it in the center of the painting. I was glad it fit on the paper because it was windy and I took my 11 x 14 sketchbook instead of a larger paper on my drawing board and easel. I can hold that size sketchbook in one hand and it’s ok in wind. Anything larger and I need my easel. Then I have more to carry and wind makes it difficult.

self portrait of me running into the woods to hide

pornographers in hot pursuit

I had this board from an experiment I did a few years ago when I picked up pieces of birch bark and glued them onto a board to use as a background, then never thought of a good use for it. Today I was looking through my collection of different papers and decided to paint on it with my palette knife.

Now I’m heading out for a walk in nature because nature is a healer if she doesn’t decide to just kill you.

Porn update- Still there as of this morning

It seems like the FCC has bigger fish to fry than porn on wordpress freshly pressed art tag. I tried to find the forum where I complained to wordpress before with no luck. My daughter will come over tomorrow and help me with that. Am I the only one here that looks at freshly pressed? Why don’t the more computer savvy bloggers raise hell with wordpress? I can’t take it anymore. It could damage my mental health that I finally got after so many years of mental unhealth.

I’m outta here.

too much f’n pornography on wordpress freshly pressed art tag

You’re pissing me off, WordPress.

Kids can see that crap!

A few months ago I complained to wordpress because some spammer in India was flooding the freshly pressed tag with non art related posts and they told me anyone can can tag art, just scroll past it. So, I know what I say doesn’t matter to them.

Why are they allowing porn on the freshly pressed art tag? Pick one answer or add your own ideas.

1 This is what they want for their daughters, to be t. and a. for perverts.

2 They like porn and want you to like it too.

3 They don’t look at freshly pressed, they just post anything.

4 other

It’s enough to keep me from reading other art blogs, but, hey, I’m getting old here and they don’t care what I think.

I hope the FCC fines you, wordpress.

a place on the path that often floods but was dry today / charcoal and chalk

I like it more when it’s flooded.

I’ve always loved sedge. There isn’t much of it in PA. but in VA. it’s all over the place. It looks soft and is so pretty and bright orange, gold or a shade of red when the sun hits it right. It’s ok to walk through and today I sat on a clump when I took a break.

A huge white egret was sitting in the tree on the other side of the water but he flew away before I got far enough into the sketch to include him.

I was off the path a few feet and some people walked and jogged through. I thought I’d have it to myself if it was flooded but it was real nice out today, sunny and cool and hasn’t rained.

This is one spot I’m considering for my next painting but I haven’t decided yet. I often go there to walk and don’t take my sketchbook. There are so many great views there.

I see wordpress is putting their own ad under my post. And they moved it up to keep it current. hahaha Is it showing up on your reader? It says “Learn from the experts”. I guess I’m an expert now. Nah, They want to sell you something. I didn’t click on it. Well, I’m not paying them for the blog so – whatever.

omg. I just looked at freshly pressed under the art tag and there is so much pornography on it today I had to leave it. It’s too annoying having to keep scrolling past it. Sorry, friends, if I miss something good.

Cyclamen / oils

I tried to paint like Matisse again by taping my brushes onto yardsticks and standing way back from the paper to paint. It’s fun! I had some problems with this painting, though. Not the yardsticks, the pink.

It’s impossible to mix this color. I tried every combination of the colors I had and put the painting aside because it was dull. That’s the one drawback about oil paint. When you mix colors you lose chroma (brightness). Eventually I went to the art supply store and bought a tube of “amethyst” by Michael Harding for $24. An expensive tube of paint, but I’ll need it in the spring when I try to paint some redbud trees.

You can avoid losing as much chroma as you might if you only mix your colors on the palette with a palette knife instead of mixing colors on the canvas with a brush. You also need a brush for each color. And you can avoid losing as much chroma if you build up layers of transparent glazes and let the viewer’s eye do the mixing. But the modern art way of avoiding loss of chroma is to not mix the colors at all. Just use the paint straight out of the tube!

When I put the painting on hold for a few days and went back to it, the petals and leaves were different so I had to kind of just wing it on top of my underpainting. This close up shows some fun leaf squiggles, smears and lines and blobs.

For the art viewer who likes to look at brush strokes, you might be able to see my layers, first the thin layer of underpainting and on top of that the thicker paint of the final layer.

I realized how I’m making the veins in the paint. It’s something I do without thinking, and big round brushes are ideal for this. You load up the brush with paint then go at it from the side of the brush, rolling the brush as you draw it across the paper or canvas. I hope you know what I mean. I should get someone to video tape me doing the brush roll thing, maybe you already do that if you paint. When I realized I was rolling the yardstick I thought I’m getting the hang of this.

This is the unfinished painting on the easel with the flower. I went larger than life. Larger is easier especially when you have your brushes taped to yardsticks.

Gary Larson returns w new Far Side

This is from the 2021 calendar. April

Gary has a blurb in the calendar saying he gave up drawing Far Side for syndication to pursue other projects like playing jazz guitar, photographing insects and raising snakes. Then he got a digital tablet and is really enjoying drawing on it, so, back to making more of his goofy cartoons.

Rock on, Gary Larson! I missed you! So glad you’re back!

Happy New Year to all my blogging friends! We survived 2020 and we can live through 2021!

Poinsettia on blue w close ups

I’m trying again to paint like Matisse by taping my brushes onto yard sticks and standing back from the painting. When I start to paint like this it’s always awkward for a few minutes because it’s hard to control the brush from a yard away, then it gets a little easier and it’s fun. I can’t tell if it’s improving my skill or not. I’ll have to try it a few more times then look back some time in 2021 and compare my paintings, see which ones to keep and how they look compared to painting at a normal distance.

This is a focal point, green dashes next to red lines on the dark background where some of the black paper is showing through.

I went over the whole paper twice. The poinsettia I painted last week was only one layer of paint and finished in one day. This time I painted the flower, and the gray blue background. When I stopped and looked at it I thought it wasn’t bright enough. The alizarin crimson is a transparent color and one coat didn’t cover the black paper enough. You can see the layers of reds in this photo. I waited for it to dry one day before going over it again.

Here’s a little hairy red smear that doesn’t need to be fixed on top of a red smear over green. oops,

If you don’t mix your paint colors on the paper by deliberately blending with your brush, you can get some overlap of complimentary colors with wet paint smearing together and you don’t instantly get a muddy color. Just leave well enough alone. I hope that makes sense. It might give the viewer’s eye something to focus on if they like to look into the brush strokes.

This is another focal point, bright next to dark, red next to green, small next to large strokes.

This is my unfinished painting on my table with the flower, my sewing machine behind it.

I’m blocking the sliding glass doors to my balcony with the table but this is a North light so the shadows don’t change all day. It’s not a direct light. The balcony of the apartment above mine is blocking the light then there’s trees on the other side of a fence also blocking the light. It looks like plenty of light in this photo but I felt like I was painting in the dark. I could hardly see what I was doing until I had the background started, especially on the black paper.