Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Had an Artist "Melt-Down" last evening

Okay, as you know, I've begun trying to do landscapes, and I've found it's really, really different from doing animals.  In my defense, I see landscape artists who try to do animals, and for the most part, they do pretty well, but they just don't quite get it.  So I understand that there are "tricks to every trade," even when it's still the trade of painting images.

I'm a perfectionist by nature (no, I don't like it; I think it's a major character flaw), so I'm trying way, way, way too hard at these landscape paintings.  Last evening, I was painting pretty much for the third time (on the same canvas, by the way) a painting I'm working on of a pretty scene near where I live with a falling-down shack, sitting by a creek.  I was really having some problems with color and light and too much detail.  I keep a timer so I'm forced to stop every five minutes to step way back and assess what I'm doing and where I'm going with my painting.  But I think I need to shorten it to three minutes, maybe.  I made a couple of bad strokes with way too much light on my brush, got absolutely disgusted with myself, and slapped paint all over the canvas, probably saying a few words that I ought not to have said.  Then in a panic, I tried to wipe all the offending marks off, which, of course, made a muddy mess of the whole thing.  Anyway, I acted in a very childish way and swore that I was never going to paint again, that I was a failure, etc., etc.  And, of course, too, I was awake most of the night, thinking about what I should have done differently.

Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with painting.  But again, as I've said many times, I'm compelled to keep trying.  We'll see.  I'm giving myself one hour today to get some sort of painting done of this pretty little shack, and I will list my result.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Painting of the Yakima River as viewed from the Iron Horse Trail, Ellensburg, Washington

As I've said recently, I'm going to be doing landscapes for a while now, with probably a few farm animals thrown in here and there.  I'm intentionally throwing myself into an area in which I have almost no experience, and it's hard.  But I'm going to keep working on it for quite a while.  For one reason, this beautiful area that I've moved to would motivate even a non-painter to at least pick up a camera.  It's astonishingly beautiful here.  Even the most ordinary pathway has a palette of colors that forces even the most jaded person to stop and wonder at the beauty all around.

The painting below is, I know, not a great painting, but I'm going to post it anyway, perhaps to document my (I hope) progress in mastering at least somewhat the landscape.  This scene we see every few days as it's along one of the many trails we take on our daily walks.  This particular trail is one that crosses almost the entire state of Washington.  It's called the "Iron Horse Trail" (or in this specific area, it has been named also the "John Wayne Trail), and it is one of the great "rails-to-trails" projects that have occurred in the past few decades, turning no-longer-in-use railroad tracks into trails for hikers, bicyclists, horse trail-riders, or just happy walkers.  We're lucky to have it pass extremely close to where we live.

The photo left the painting a bit blurred, and I'll be doing a better shot of it very soon.  I wanted to go ahead and add it, though, before I got too afraid to do so.  At this point on the Yakima River, there are various channels coming together and creating quite a bit of rough water.  Beautiful, though.  There were a couple of fly-fishers there, but I chose to include just one.

I am now working on another painting, also of an area near our property, of a really old, falling-down shack sitting next to one of the large irrigation creeks/ditches in this part of the state.  I'm really enjoying painting it and look forward to sharing it.

Friday, November 6, 2015

An Update on the Theft of my Images

I am happy to report that after my having contacted Amazon, they have had me file a formal/legal complaint against the people who stole (and altered by removing my name) my images.  I expect that at the very least, the stolen images will be removed very soon.  I don't know if any sort of charges will be filed against the people or not; I hope so because I want this kind of theft to stop.  We painters work very hard to create our paintings, and it's a personal violation (as well as a financial one) when someone stoops to stealing and even selling the stolen images.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I've been pirated -- again!

My artwork has been pirated recently and is for sale on Amazon.  If you see any prints of my paintings (my signature has been edited out, by the way), please don't buy them from these thieves!  I've reported the problem to Amazon, by the way, and am still awaiting a response. So far, I've found only my cow paintings, and I have no idea where the thieves found large files to steal.  I have a few ideas, but I have no way of knowing exactly.   Here's one of the listings:  http://www.amazon.com/Cow-Painting-Decor-Abstract-Restaurant/dp/B00TIGFK52/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1446677745&sr=8-3&keywords=cow+pattern+print+on+canvas

Really, really depressing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why the high cost of paints doesn't matter

This morning, I did my quick sneaky perusal of Facebook to see how much greater my family's and friends' lives are than mine, and I came across a post that made me think a lot about why I paint.  It was a photo of a few tubes of paint, and the poster was complaining about their price, which paint prices can be quite steep.  I almost never comment on Facebook, but this time I had to say a little something.  I said something along the lines of "Think of all the wonderful paintings you can do with these tubes of paint; then they don't seem so expensive."  That made me think about why I paint at all.  There are many other "careers" I could still have, but I'm somehow driven to paint.  And the cost of the materials is relatively irrelevant.

Well, I still don't know why I paint exactly, but I can give a bit of insight into it.  I paint because I am internally driven to do so.  Maybe there's a kind of personality that causes some people to push themselves to excel at something, not to compete with others but for the sheer satisfaction of knowing they're doing their best.

I have two main activities that I pursue in this way:  One, of course, is painting.  Painting is as necessary to me as eating or breathing.  I don't think I'm a very good painter -- better than many and worse than many, many more -- but I truly don't compare myself to others.  But to myself I'm not good enough yet.  Maybe that's what drives me to keep trying and trying, that I don't think I'm YET a very good painter.  I want to be the best painter that I personally can be, and I think I can be better.

I also have this overwhelming drive to master another language, in my case, French.  Unfortunately, I don't know anybody well who even speaks French, so this pursuit is for the most part unknown to those outside my family -- whom I drive mad with my constantly speaking to them in French.  (I am teaching my little granddaughter to speak French, though!)  But I think the same drive I have to paint is what motivates me to continue to improve my ability to speak French -- even if it's for the most part something I do "in a vacuum."

So, yes, the cost of the paints and all the other materials necessary to create paintings is high, but the personal rewards far outweigh the costs.  Plus, on a more practical note:  A tube of paint can go a long, long way in creating many paintings.