Sunday, November 25, 2012

Passion, Purpose, Persistance and all those other "P" Words

Passion" hasn't been a word that I would think many of my friends would use when describing me.  When I look up the definition of the word in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary I find one of the definitions listed as “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction”.  Obsession would also be a synonym of the word I think.  Remember, if you have read my bio you know that I’m not an art major but rather have a business degree.  I have also spent the last 27 years working as an accountant for a church and Christian School.  You can’t get more conservative than that.  So I have always used adjectives when describing myself with words like detailed, accurate, organized and honest.  While I hold deep convictions about my faith and principles, outward displays of passion have not been very visible. 

I picked up a paintbrush again just a little over two years ago after a 30 year break.  From that point I have felt a change in the way I viewed things around me.  I call it “Looking through my artist eyes.”  I began to view my surroundings in heightened detail and appreciation because I was always thinking about how I would paint that or what colors would I mix together to get that shade.  It is as if my thought processes have been transformed.  I look at this amazing world that God has created with a new wonderment and for that I am so happy to have opened the doors once again to my creative self.

Today, I was looking around some artist blogs for inspiration and ideas to improve my own blog and I came across this quote by an artist named Cheryl Anderson.  I felt her words accurately described what painting has become for me in my life and I wanted to share it.  Painting is truly an obsession for me. Almost every thought I have is never more than two steps removed from painting.” (

I am on the very edge of my retirement and so here I am within a month of starting a new journey and I have no idea if my art will ever be more than a hobby.  I dream that it will,  but the important thing is that I give it my best effort.  I believe that Purpose in your life comes when you follow Persistently the Passion that God has put in your heart.  

Enjoying a beautiful Nevada morning

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Light and Contrast

Taking private painting lessons would be a complete waste of money if I didn't apply the things I learn in each following painting.  In seven lessons, I have really only accomplished one painting to completion, but I have taken several pieces that I have completed independently to have them evaluated.  As I have blogged on previous occasions, my instructor, Lily Adamzcyk gives a brutally honest critique of each work.  Techniques have been analyzed such as how to paint specific elements like grass, water and never use white to brighten.  Probably the most important lesson I have tried to implement is that of light and contrast.  For a painting to have depth and interest you must have both. 

Keeping that in mind I began working on this large piece that was inspired by a fall hike that I took with my son and daughter-in-law near Reno.  The colors were just beginning to change and the birch trees nearly glowed in contrast to all of the darker pines.  The bright morning sunlight filtered across the trail whenever the foliage gave opportunity. 

Because of their prominence in the composition, you would first think that my main focus here is the grouping of the three birch trees near the trail but in actuality, it is the sunlight that is really the star here. I have attempted to show the trail and grass highlighted by the sunlight in a number of locations.  It is almost as if you have walked out of the darkness and into the light as the trail absorbs the energy and warmth of the morning rays.  This energy continues as the trail briefly disappears only to return brighter as you are prompted to continue up the mountain.

At my next lesson, I am sure that there are refining details that Lily will use to help me improve this piece but I think that she will immediately know that I have been listening.

24 x 36 Oil- "Morning Sunlight"