I was recently inspired to do a failures list again. There is not much pressure with a failure’s list- I mean, how hard can it be to fail? And there are lots of benefits. For me anyway. It makes me try things I wouldn’t ordinarily. And there is life in trying. There is also the consolation of adding a fail to my list when I get another refusal from a show or gallery. And of course, it’s rather satisfying to have to cross something off the list because it ended up being successful after all. Which is, surprisingly often, the case. It will be interesting to see what my success ratio works out to be. I made a pretty list for myself and hung it inside a cupboard door. Do you want to do it too? Sign up below to get a free printable download of my list! This is my first time making a printable download, so I hope it works. If not, let me know and I will add it to my Failures List!- haha, no, I will try again to make it work for you!
David Dear in pencil and paint. I love painting my baby.
One needs time. Long stretches of time that almost reach boredom. Let yourself have this time, without media distractions. Time for drinking green tea and eating shortbread and staring at the neighbors crocuses.
2. Daydream/ Experience Fully
Immerse yourself in the experience. Let all your senses participate in the moment. Let the crocuses fill their bed and overflow….drink in their golden centers…let the cool light reflecting from the purple petals delight you. Let them grow. It is this elevated way of seeing that gives you something to share. What you see most deeply is the thing to create from.
Take from your experience and make it your own. Get the model. Prep the canvas. Arrange things the way they were in your daydream. Make the daydream appear in the realm of reality as alike the dream as you possibly can (This is why you need to spend time perfecting the dream to begin with. The clearer the idea the easier to execute). Do the work- there are cycles of life and this is the time to focus and bring to life.
“…All things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at sight of them. This is beauty. The art student that should be, and is so rare, is the one whose life is spent in the love and culture of his personal sensations, the cherishing of his emotions, never undervaluing them, the pleasure of exclaiming them to others, and an eager search for their clearest expression.” - Robert Henri
Here he is, our adorable baby boy! And this is how we spend our time these days- admiring him.
A preview of my show at Art on the Boulevard....(Hover over the image to see title and description.)
The Plein Air collection.... (Featuring the handcrafted gold leaf frames of Mayen~Olsen.)
This lovely magnolia tree is another new addition to my life. I like the statuesque presence it brings to our back yard. It was stunning in full bloom with the bluebells encircling it. I am looking forward to seeing how the clematis- now twining up one of it's trunks- will look when it is grown.
"I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.". The inspiration for these came from "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady"- a watercolor journal with exquisite illustrations. These eggs, however, are mostly done with sharpies, and they are very fun to do.
(Goose eggs, compliments of Nessly Family Farm.)
I realized just how long it has been since the last post! and so much has happened in my world! The summer was spent being engaged and planning a wedding and being part of the wedding of one of my best friends. On October 8th I married the handsome Cameron McNeil and moved (my studio and I) to his home. I am enjoying being married to this wonderful man, and on the side getting ready for a couple shows this Spring- at Haven in Springfield, OR in February, and Art On The Boulevard in Vancouver, WA in April and May.
A roomful of rich roses, a daydream that turned real. I loved the way the Lawrence Gallery set up my room and filled it with paintings! You can visit the show through the end of June.
This is my annual painting give-away, and it's easy to enter! just sign up for my email newsletter here! This is a perfect little painting to add a summery feel to your decor this season. Of course, if you don't happen to win (even though your chances are very good), you can always buy your own cow painting! Visit Haven for a great selection of the most picturesque cows.
I have really enjoyed these roses! Their warm pink centers and cream and green outside petals have been delightful to paint. Here they are paired with the first of my clematis to bloom. I love the rich, cottage-like look of roses and clematis together. I have been adding more clematis vines to my rose garden, and am really looking forward to seeing last fall's new addition blossom this spring. I think it was supposed to be pink. (I found it at one of the Little Red Farm's amazing year end sales. I wish I had bought more.) Clematis has surprised me as a good cut flower. There are some in a vase beside me right now- graceful in an Art Nouveau sort of way. So anyway, this is the beginning of this year's rose and clematis paintings!
I want this painting to be a joyful welcome to spring- imaginative, and with an almost enchanted feel, like an early spring evening when the sun is setting and the robins are singing their evensong. I listened to "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Anderson, and "Peter Pan" by J.M. Barrie which helped to keep the imaginative and childlike feeling with me. (I was impressed with "Peter Pan". The author has such a good way of putting things and describing human nature, and has in Peter the characteristics of a charming yet selfish toddler.) It can be difficult to find music or books with the right mood to enhance my work. "The Secret Garden" is one that I come back to again and again; and for music, the melodic and romantic Josh Groban nearly always works! "If" is a recently discovered song that I love the beautiful and wistful feel of. I have a long attention span for a new song and can listen to it over and over for half an hour- which is helpful if it has just the right emotion.
This painting is currently hung over my bedside table, so I have been looking at it a lot. I decided to crop it, as shown, while I lay pondering how it could be improved. The original study was done on location at the Walterville pond one morning two years ago. Mum suggested we go out painting before her chemo session. This is my selfless mother for you, as she doesn't paint, but keeps me company and reads to me. It was early. There were some really deep frog noises, and after a while we went looking for them...and they were big! I have only seen a frog like this once since at the pond. they had beautiful yellow throats that they would puff out when they sang. Bird cages are rather sad for animals, so I wouldn't do this, but- just imagine a large frog with a yellow throat giving ambiance to your sunroom from it's frog cage. Maybe it is better to keep the whole experience wild and fresh outside in the early morning.
This week's cow paintings are set in the lush landscape of the view from the McNeill farm. Because I live in trees, I appreciate a long view like this one, where the atmosphere changes and softens the landscape as it recedes. These little paintings are bound for my show at Haven, March 11th.
While visiting a gallery in Cambria, CA recently, I saw a painting I really liked: it was a depiction of twelve marbles- much larger than life size...beautiful edges and a painterly quality... fresh and cheerful and modern. I have been imagining what a nice statement piece that would be in an office or home ever since.
My art collection is mostly the gifts of artist friends. I have a gorgeous plein air piece by Nathan Drushinin of the view from Mt. Erie in Anacortes- a misty view of land and water. I first saw the canvas tacked on the wall of his romantically Dickens-y studio. One of those pieces you feel. I told him how much I liked it and he gave it to me! Another artist friend, Brent Burkett gave me a lovely small painting done in oil and pencil of a windswept landscape in colors that look like spring.
The Montana Gallery has a great selection of studies by fabulous young artists that would be a great way to start an art collection. I like to go to their page and pick which painting I want most. I love Josh Clare's work...his clouds, his drawings... If I never own a Daniel Keys painting, at least I want to see one in person.
Art is a great way to set the mood of a room, to express who you are, or remind yourself of who you want to be. I've always wondered what difference it would make in a person's life having a truly marvelous painting they lived with day in and day out...would it set the tone for making other more beautiful choices? Could you live with an inspiring painting and still be hard-hearted? Probably. But I like to think that would be a subtle influence for good, quietly shaping the the thoughts and actions of the people who come in contact with it, elevating the moral culture. I like to think so.
I'm so happy that this recent commissioned piece won tenth merit award in the Portrait Society of America's Members Only competition! I loved the way it came together, and I'm glad they did too!
Isn't he cute?! Is there a more compelling distraction than an adorable puppy...who is chewing on the rug or needs to out (two seconds ago) or is playing a wild romping game with Mesika Alice or is just looking kissable?
Another disruption- we are having a wall built around the laundry room in the studio! It's going to be so nice and clean looking when it is finished...but in the meanwhile, I have tried to paint in the dining room... and fought with the light...
The puppy has now gone to his forever home, and the studio will soon be put to rights I hope, and next time I will write about a painting!
These brilliant rose hips caught my eye along the road to Dallas, Oregon, and my friend and I came back for them one day between rain showers. I never knew how good rose hips could smell! The spirit of the rose lives on in them.
Sign up for my newsletter (under the "Newsletter" heading) and you will be entered to win this lovely little painting! Drawing will take place October 24th, 2015.