Sunday, February 17, 2013

Distractions of the REALLY Good Kind

This week has found my studio empty and rather neglected but occasionally that isn't a bad thing.  My mother-in-law turned 80 years old yesterday and to celebrate that huge milestone, I have taken the time to plan a surprise birthday party in her honor.  All my six children came to be with Grandma and with them came their wives and those precious grandchildren that they have blessed me with. Family and friends gathering together to share a meal and laugh is a good thing.  Actually it is a REALLY good thing!

We have heard over and over that our families must take priority over work and since I'm trying to become a serious artist, family responsibilities must come first.  It also doesn't hurt to step back for a short time when you are having a pivotal learning crisis in your creative world.  That is where I find myself as an artist because I was told that my all important light source in several of my paintings is confusing.  Obviously, I am not fully understanding how light and shadows interact and that is due to years of not truly observing my surroundings with the artist eye.  Your brain processes all of your surrounding but often we just take in information and never really consider what it is that we are looking at.  Only until we present conflicting images do we stop and think about the fact that something just doesn't look right.  So a little study of light and shadow is exactly what I need to do right now so that my paintings become more realistic and I'm not confusing my friend and instructor, Lily Adamczyk anymore with my "Your light coming from all direction" compositions.

Since no one is awake in the house yet, I have a lovely cup of hot tea and free access to the computer I decided to do some research on the subject.  I found a helpful blog titled "Making Great Paintings-Understanding the Light and Shadow Families."  Well making GREAT paintings sound really good to me so I started reading the article.  I found myself thinking how familiar some of these suggestions were and to my surprise I noticed that the website so appropriately called "Artist Mentors Online" is the creation of Kevin Macpherson. (AMO)  Well can you believe, that I am currently reading a book called "Putting More Light and Color in Your Oil Paintings" by none other than Kevin Macpherson.  I love to see artists that spend their precious time helping new artist like myself learn the secrets of the trade. I have only begun to scratch the surface of the treasure chest of knowledge that this website contains but I am loving his book right now.

So if you are like me and you find yourself needing to spend some in depth study on a specific trouble spot in your artistic journey, I would greatly suggest two things....1.  It's time to put on your walking shoes and go observe first hand the relationship that light and shadow have with each other.  This might require you coming to the same spot several times in that day so that you can see how the shadow changes in relationship to the sun.  2.  Find someone that already knows the stuff you need to learn and become an informational processing sponge.

Holding my Newest Grandson, Jonas

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