Monday, October 29, 2007

You pissed me off Terry Miura!

A few months ago, Terry Miura, an artist that I really respect ( you can link to his site from this blog), wrote on his web site that it's challenging for him to frame his art for galleries and sales. He must pick the appropriate frame and at a price point that won't break his pocket book. If any of his pieces don't sell immediately, hopefully they will in the near future and defray the framing cost. He's a fantastic studio and plein air oil painter and believes (no ifs, ands, or buts) that he MUST frame his work. Well... I commented back that if an artist is as good as he is, he doesn't need to do this! His work speaks for itself, and the buyers have the option to choose frames of their liking. "No, no!", Mr. Miura shot back. He was taught, and he believes that one must put one's best foot forward. Well, a few weeks ago, a very good gallery in town accepted some of my acrylic plein air paintings to display and sell (hopefully and keep my fingers crossed!). The owner insisted that I frame them! Miura's words came back to haunt me! But first, let me say this: I have had numerous medium to large paintings on stetched canvas sell at another gallery with ZIPPO framing! I asked this latest gallery owner, "Do I have to frame them?". Not one iota of hesitation... "Sure, it's the cost of doing business". Now what was I to say?.. "NO!" Of course not. I want to be in his damn gallery! He has a reputation for selling art. This afternoon, I picked up my framed pieces. Most all of them are 8"x16" on stretched canvas. They are all floated in a simple gallery-style frame. Hot damn, they look good! It has now dawned on me that if you do not let the framing cost get out of hand, the enhanced presentation increases your odds of selling (even if the buyer plans to later reframe). And, that extra mile you go, ultimately enhances both your sales and your reputation as an artist. As far as very large canvases are concerned, many buyers hang them on their walls as is, and indeed, if the sides are finished off nicely, there is nothing wrong with that (especially with more modern style paintings such as I paint). Come to think of it, one does not always have to frame small pieces either! But... I think most of the time, it's awfully hard to beat that framed look. You can't go cheap, but neither do you have to break the bank. And, you need to get just the right type of frame. OK, OK, Miura!.. ya dun got a point! can be a pain to frame but the frame can add to your fame. Now that's poetry to any artist...even a plein air wannabe.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Block This!

Whether outdoors or in, starting a painting begins with the "blocking in" process. Simply outline the shapes to get your composition (usually a drawing process with a small round brush). Then you can paint in large areas of tone (value) and simple color to finish this initial blocking in stage. From this foundation, you can start to detail or polish your painting to a point where you say, "Looks good! I'm done." Never do you want to start with a lot of fine detail with all the time committed to it. You most likely will end up with a poor composition and a reluctance to "erase" what you have done, considering all the time and effort put into it! Blocking in is relatively fast, and if your composition heads south, it's no biggie to start over. Never settle for less when you can get more by blocking! Here is an easel shot of my blocking in stage. Yes, I worked from a photo I took early in the morning of a U.S. Postal worker taking five and reading the sports page. Loved his left leg on the dash board the the sun piercing through the paper. The second photo is the completed polished painting. Sometimes I take a break from plein air, especially when it's raining...nowhatta I mean?!

Eat My Dust!

Three hours of painting here "en plein air" and another 3 "en studio" (fake french for sure!). If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, someday I'll finish an acrylic en plein air! This piece must have at least 12 exploratory painting layers on least! I played! I played with color schemes and brush work. All this painting activity was completed within a time span of 3 days, working off and on. This is something that you would fined very difficult to do in oil because of the medium's slow, slow drying time. Did I say slooooowwww? But with acrylic...nooooo problem! I like my work to have brush marks and not a lotta fine blending. Acrylic's fast drying time (between 5 to 12 minutes, depending on the day's humidity) precludes super fine blending unless you can do it fast. Even a drying retardent medium added to your paint doesn't really buy you much extra time. What can I say...I just like bold painterly strokes and this rough hewn, urban gritty look with a cherry Mack 4 Mustang in your face. my dust!!