Artists are funny creatures, sometimes we even laugh at ourselves!
This morning I was browsing YouTube, looking at the channels I subscribe to, when I noticed a video “suggested for me”. It was titled, “Things Artists Say”, curious, I clicked on it, and I was in for a comedic treat! Made so much funnier by the truth of what it portrayed. After watching it I knew I just had to share it, Robin Clonts has a lot of other funny videos as well, and now she has another subscriber! I’m not sure if non-artists will find it as funny as I did or not, but I decided to share it here anyway. If you like her video, be sure to check out her channel as well!
For the ultimate blog challenge today I was supposed to share a favorite photo. I decided to go with the idea of posting a photo, but I decided that instead of picking my favorite, which would be very hard to do, I’d share a photo of my latest painting designed for my classes.
The key to doing a class sample painting, is to keep it simple enough to do in a few hours with people who are absolute beginners, this one might pose a bit of challenge, but I think if I hand draw and cut some dolphin stencils for those who need them to at least get an outline, it should work out okay, of course I’ll encourage people to draw their own dolphins if they feel comfortable doing so.
Anyway, here is the photo, it isn’t print quality, it was just taken with my phone, but it gives a pretty good idea of what my next class will be like.
Of course, for those who are in the same area as me, they could sign up to paint this, here is the flyer:
If you’re an are artist you have probably wondered before about joining an artist co-op. Why would you want to join? Is it worth the membership fee? What would you gain from membership? As an artist, I can attest that belonging to an artist co-op offers many perks, and I thought that today I’d list some of them.
Increased Opportunity to Sell
Most co-ops have galleries exclusively for member’s work. Even those that don’t have an actual gallery will usually have opportunities to share the cost a booth at art shows. Most emerging artists have difficulty coming up with the $100-$200 per day a booth at an art show costs, especially considering that there is no guarantee of selling anything, and splitting that cost with even one or two other artists can really help. in addition, co-ops will often have deals with local restaurants and other businesses to display work for sale, and lets face it, they are more open to someone coming to them with an official sounding name like “South End Artist League Co-op”, than they are to an individual coming in and saying, “Hey, I paint pictures, I was wondering if you’d allow me to display my work here.”
Many artists have a tendency to be reclusive, its usually not because they dislike people though, more often than not its because they get wrapped up in their work, which is usually not something that needs to involve others. There’s also the fact that many artists feel that they don’t quite fit with the typical crowd. Artists and other creatives have brains that are wired differently, some would say we are right brain dominant, and we sometimes find it difficult to interact with the more left-brained majority. (Incidentally, the degree of this varies from person to person, I tend to be very global in those right brain vs left brain tests, with only a slight leaning to the right, and I still have a lot of trouble relating to extremely left brained individuals). Whether its left brain vs. right bright brain, or whether its just that non-creatives don’t share the same interests, it is really refreshing to get together with others who fully understand the statement, “Yes, I was hungry, but I forgot about eating because I was trying to finish this drawing.” Only another artist doesn’t raise an eyebrow if they hear you saying you don’t know how you are going to pay rent this month, while simultaneously handing the cashier at the art supply store your debit card to pay for your $70+ order of paints and canvases. Its also nice to get together with people who understand how excited you are over trying a painting medium you never tried before.
If nothing else, a co-op makes us get out of our houses and private studios, and get together with others on occasion.
Learning from other Artists
Some artists have gone to art school and tried a lot of different techniques and mediums as part of their course of study, but a lot of artists are mostly self-taught. These artists might have taken a few High School level art classes, and a workshop or class here and there, but that’s it. Other than those things they have learned through books, YouTube videos, and trial and error. Regardless of whether an artist has a MFA, BFA, or is self taught, most will acknowledge that most of their learning comes from practice, practice, practice. Most will also acknowledge that they don’t know it all, and often learn new things just from being around other artists. The artist with a degree in design might know a lot about how to compose an art work perfectly, but not really know much at all about how to paint with actual paints, as opposed to computer programs, on the other hand, a painter might be very skillful in handling the actual medium of paint, but may need to learn some tricks on composition and color use, and might really want to learn how do digital art. Both can teach each other, and both may learn something about passion and excitement from the brand new, completely untaught artist.
The artist who usually paints in acrylic might really benefit from working side by side with the mixed media artist or the watercolor painter. etc. The point is that by belonging to a co-op, and interacting socially with other artists, we have that chance to learn something new, or to be reminded of things we might not have utilized since a long ago college course.
Learning from other people.
Okay, this kind of goes with the one above, but its not just art we learn from each other. We might learn about effective ways to greet potential customers, what our tax requirements are, best methods of bookkeeping, what we can legally deduct from our income, and how to protect our work from copyright infringement. The list could go on.
The Opportunity to Pool Resources
Bulk orders of art supplies, splitting rent on a studio, sharing booth fees at art shows, purchasing a high end printer for giclee prints, all things that it might be difficult for one person to do alone, but are feasible when done as group and sharing the cost. Even running the gallery, if an artist tried to open their own studio/gallery combination, that artist would have to be there all the time during open hours, or hire help. A co-op can divide those hours up among all members, rather than paying employees to keep the gallery open.
A Place to Teach
I enjoy teaching painting classes, some artists like teaching drawing, some really like teaching kids, a co-op studio offers a place to that.
Those are the benefits of belonging to a co-op studio/gallery, like the one I belong to. Of course there are drawbacks too, but I’ll address those in a different post.
Today, for the ultimate blog challenge we were supposed to share about the last movie we watched. Well last night I watched E.T. for probably the 20th time, and recently I’ve watched Doctor Strange, while I enjoyed both of these movies, neither were astonishingly inspirational for a new piece of art at this time. So I decided to try to think of another thing to write about. I surfed the web looking at other art blogs hoping for inspiration. I’m tired, and inspiration isn’t coming. I revisited the move idea… E.T. was pretty impressive in its time for the special effects, which are an art form in themselves… but E.T. is also a pretty old movie, and by today’s standards the special effects it employed seem a little lacking.
Finally I started thinking that instead of trying to write about one specific movie and its effect on me, I’d write about how I tend to respond to movies and T.V. shows. Like everyone else, I get into the story, but for me I pay a lot of attention to another aspect of the movie.
My reaction to what is shown on the screen.
If I’m watching an animated movie, I pay far more attention to the artwork than the story. Often I’m impressed at how skillfully the background in an animated movie has been drawn.
If I’m watching a drama, a family comedy, or action movie, I often find myself distracted by the art on the walls in the background. Everyone else might be wondering who killed the victim in a crime show, and while I wonder too, I’m also wondering where the investigator got that awesome painting of a dark figure standing in a doorway casting a long, menacing shadow into the room. AS I’m watching a romantic comedy, and as the couple are delightfully falling for each other at a local coffee shop, I’m looking over their shoulder at a painting on the wall, impressed that somehow the artist used a simple silhouette of grass and managed to convey a feeling of peaceful solitude.
Usually, I keep these thoughts to myself, mainly because people tend to give you strange looks when, instead of being appalled at the blood soaked floor dismembered body parts of the movie crime scene, you suddenly exclaim, “Wow! Look at that awesome painting on the wall!”
So, one of the days of the Ultimate Blog challenge we were told to hold a contest on our blogs, at the time, I just couldn’t think of what contest I wanted to run. Finally it dawned on me, why not give away a piece of my art?
I’ll be giving away a signed, archival quality print of my painting “Cerebral Cessation”.
I wanted to make entering easy, so all you have to do is subscribe to my blog. You can do that by entering your email in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page. Also, comment on this post saying, “Enter Me in the Drawing”.
Existing Subscribers can Enter too!
For those who have already subscribed to my blog posts, don’t worry, you can enter too! For those who already subscribe, just leave a comment saying “Enter Me in the Drawing”.
Winner will be announced February 28th, 2017.
So, just subscribe and comment on this blog post before February 28th, 2017 and your name will be entered to win. Once I announce the winner, I’ll also send an email requesting needed information to ship you the print, and that’s it! You could win an archival signed print, normally sold for $25, plus tax and shipping, and you can get it for free.
Only one winner will be chosen, and sorry, I am restricting this contest to the United States.
In my last post I expounded on how decor and art, while they overlap sometimes, are not automatically the same thing. Today, I am going to look at a few quotes that seem to expound on what makes art special as compared to a scarf or a piece of wallpaper that was put in frame, and looks quite visually appealing, but is not art.
Art Changes Us
“What makes people the world over stand in line for Van Gogh is not that they will see beautiful pictures but that in an indefinable way they will come away feeling better human beings. And that is exactly what Van Gogh hoped for.” John Russell
While a pretty scarf from your local department store may look beautiful in a frame, may catch the eye, and complement the rest of your decor perfectly it isn’t going to dramatically improve your understanding of the human condition, or move you with sympathy for the downtrodden, or open your eyes to the oppressive nature of some powers-that-be, Much art, on the other hand, does do these things.
While a piece of wallpaper wrapped around a canvas might accent your carpet and furnishings perfectly, and look stylish and chic, it isn’t likely to make you stand in awe at the beauty of nature and contemplate its origins, or impress you with thoughts of the vastness of the universe and the smallness of humankind. Van Gogh’s Starry Night has been known to elicit these responses in many though.
That is also what I meant when I said that the statement that Duchamp made with his “Fountaine” was more artistic than the piece itself. He sat out to make a statement about the art establishment, he wanted us to ask the question, “What is art?” by showing us something that definitely was NOT, but that was presented as such. At that he succeeded. He showed us non-art presented as if it was art, and therefore forced the art world to examine its definition of art.
Art is (At Least somewhat) Unique
“Someone who copies a Van Gogh does not therefore become Van Gogh, and the same would go for Mozart or anyone else who contributed something that was original.” Daniel Tammet
Art will have some uniqueness to it.That isn’t to say of course that art is always completely original, almost all art is a remix of previously used styles or concepts, but it is at least a unique remix, rather than a facsimile. Even if it is inspired by another’s work, and even if it borrows some theme or element of style from an earlier artist, it will show some unique interpretation of that work. Van Gogh painted many works that were based on the work of other artists, but never did he try to do an exact copy, he always brought his own unique vision and style of brushstroke to it.
In a similar way, I sometimes borrow elements of a style or composition from Van Gogh, but I inject my own elements, subject matter, and style to it as well. While I could probably produce a decent reproduction of Starry Night, if I did so I would only offer it as a reproduction, I’d never try to claim it as wholly my own art.
Can someone learn to reproduce almost exactly the work of another? Yes, but that is, in my opinion, not true art. It can be a good skill building exercise, but it never reaches the same level as a unique piece will. Reproductions have their place, as learning tools, and as decor, but they have a different status from true, original compositions, from true art.
Art is Driven by Passion
“I love what Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh and Jesus all said – that love is really the driving principle of the creative act. In fact, they would say that great art is always inspired by love.” Erwin McManus
Art is driven by passion, the quote above says it is love, and perhaps in a sense that is true. It may be driven by anger, by frustration, by sadness, or by joy, but what, other than love elicits all these emotions so passionately? When one is angry it is usually because something that person loves and values has been in some way violated. It may be their love of justice or humankind or the environment, the same could be said of frustration or sadness, even these negative emotions are usually brought about because something or someone we love has either been violated or has let us down in some way.
Regardless, all art is driven by passion, while framing a scarf is probably driven more by a sense of style.
So, art goes beyond just looking pretty and moves into the realm of passion, originality, and transformation… and that is why is transcends simple decor.
In the world of art, a lot of it is very aesthetically appealing, and therefor makes nice home decor. From a quaint landscape or subtle still-life, to a mind-bending surreal piece, there are many artistic selections that you can use to enhance your living space. Perhaps that’s why people seem to often confuse the concepts of decor and art. I see it a lot.
Not all Wall Decor is Art Though.
Articles online that encourage one to take a piece of nice wallpaper and wrap it around a canvas to make custom “wall art” for their living room. Now, the images on the wallpaper were someone’s art when they were first drawn… but surely a person can see the difference between wall paper and an actual piece of art?
Other examples exist, from “frame a scarf” to “cut circles from paint chips and glue them down overlapping to make a scale like texture” the internet is replete with ideas on how to make your own wall decor that matches perfectly with your paint and furnishings. But are those things art? Well, I guess that is somewhat of a matter of opinion. After all to Marcel Duchamp, and to many art critics, this was Art:
But I don’t see the thing above as art, though perhaps the statement he made with itcould be seen as art, and I don’t see simply wrapping a piece of cloth or wall paper over a canvas or sticking it in a frame as art either.
Now, perhaps if one took that wall paper, and then added other elements on top, in a unique and custom arrangement, perhaps then I would see it as art.
Or the paint chips made into a fish scale texture, that is at least coming a little closer to art… but if all one does is copy exactly the how-to article on it, I’m not sure it qualifies. Perhaps if one adds their own spin to it, making a pattern of two colors with the circles, or something else to set it apart from the one in the diy article… I guess I’d see it more as art.
Why do I care if its art or just decor?
Well, if you simply talking about decorating your living room, I don’t really care. Do what works best for you and fits best in your budget!
However, I do care when people buy mass produced decor or slap together something from a DIY article, and think that is art, and then go to an artist and expect to see unique, one of kind creations valued the same as those.
Art is so much more than decor. Though visual art is sometimes used to decorate, it also represents the heart and soul of the artist, not to mention hours of creative thought and work. Also art encompasses so much more than visual art anyway. Drama, music, dance, and visual art is all so important for society, and should be valued higher than a mass produced product from your local WalMart. The arts should not be neglected in schools, or in culture, because the arts have an element to them that can change lives, give direction, discipline, and hope.
Today the prompt for the Ultimate Blog Challenge was to share a video. Right away I thought of Amy Pearce, who has at least two YouTube channels with lots of art tutorials… I noticed that her channel titled “Mr. Otter Art Studio” seemed to have more beginning level art tutorials, so I decided to select a video from that channel.
One thing I like about Amy’s art tutorials is that when she is doing something repetitive, she speeds up the camera to show that part, so you don’t have to sit for 30 minutes watching as she does the same thing over and over on different parts of a picture.
I decided to share her tutorial on making a Sea Turtle with oil pastels.
In an earlier post I showed the process of creating my part painting, part sculpture Daryl Dixon inspired wings. At that time I promised a better photo of the finished art in a few days. Well now today the Ultimate Blog Challenge’s suggested topic was to post a photo, so I figured I might as well make good on that promise today.
For those who don’t know, Daryl Dixon is a fictional character played by Norman Reedus on the AMC show The Walking Dead, in the show, he wears a vest that has two wings on the back that are similar, but not identical, to the ones I made below.
Naturally, my copyright of this image does mean that I copyrighted the concept, just this exact work.
Now, I’d love to say that I’ve made a listing where you can order this, but so far I haven’t. I first have to figure out how I would ship a painting of this size, and how much that would cost.