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Slow hot summer doldrums

It’s been a bit longer than I’d like for this post. But It’s been a hot wet, take it easy kind of summer break.

But it’s time for school season to kick off and that means a return to a bit of routine, so I’m looking forward to a bit more structured weekends and getting back in front of the canvas again.

I’m fascinated by a recurring theme I’ve noticed myself exploring subconsciously, so I’m do some exploration and hopefully get some new paintings out of it.. and I’ve got to get the Undine III painting’s sketches & comps a bit further along.

On the website front, the performance has been really really really bad so I’m moving it this weekend hopefully. Lots of posts and configurations to move, but I expect it to not be too bad.

But It’s so bad on the Hostgator hosting account that even this little post has taken over an hour due to loading and image failures etc…

Beyond Exhaustion/ no more spoons/ determination, poses that show the contrast between the mental drives at conflict have really been speaking to me.
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On The Easel

The end of spring is rapidly approaching. That means it’s been a lot of garden time which is my favorite solace to recharge my batteries.

I mean.. look at this !

So painting has been a little slow, but I’m on the home stretch of the Undine painting. Really struggled with it for the first couple of weeks but I feel like it’s really beginning to come together and has really taught me a lot on bending the light around the forms.

Still have to do one more detail pass on the face and then the craziness that is going to be the water, but I’m super pleased with how most of the other elements are coming out.. except the reeds… the more look at them the more I want to wipe them out and just re-do them.. we’ll see.

Other than that, the store front re-work is coming along and I think it’s gonna be fine, but somehow I don’t think I’ll make it to my self imposed deadline of launching July 1.. which is kind of a bummer, but realistically there is just so much left to do.

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Stalling into Spring

Been an odd two weeks, but it finally seems like Spring has settled in… so that’ll be a nice months before the oven gets turned on high. So a bit of time has been spent in the weekends

Work on the next Undine painting is just about wrapped up with the drawing phase and I’m hoping to get it on board and ready to start painting this weekend.

But I have also finally gotten the store config issues worked out so I can keep populating all the products and get working on the print-on-demand along set up. And I need to test that it actually all works. So that’s a preeeety long list of todo’s this week… but also pretty exciting to see things coming together.

I could use a clone..

Because I also started a little series of dryad drawings. Figure if I make the drawings nice and on good paper they’d look nice framed and then after the Undine convert them to a series of small paintings. Trying to get comfortable working at multiple paintings at once and figuring out what I can do to maximize my number of paintings I create, I really don’t want to force myself to work faster and selectively looser.

So it’s gonna be a busy spring!

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Walking Backwards

Also known as backtracking. One of the benefits of understanding the process is that you know where you are in it, where you’ve been and where you’re going. This makes it easier to evaluate a piece at various stages of work.

And this week has been spent walking down a lot of dead ends, and then going back a step or two in the process to fix problems that are keeping the Undine I image from going as smoothly as I had hoped. On the other hand knowing when to stop, and backtrack and fix underlying issues instead of blundering ahead and hoping that the problems will go away by themself, is absolutely going to result in a stronger final image.

On a related note, a couple of us local artists tried to get some community involvement and see if we could get together and meet some other local creatives. But I guess fakebook just ate all my attempts at getting more people involved, which is a shame because it would be nice to see if we could develop a local artist community. So a not so fun step back there.. but one of them did mention another nearby town’s artist community so I guess that something.

Anyway I’m hoping to get the final drawing of Undine I done this week as well as the frame final glazes for Undine II.

Onward we journey.

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Finishing thoughts

I find that the end of a canvas is almost as hard as the beginning. When you start a piece there’s the fear of the blank canvas, and at the other end, it’s the end of the canvas, the last stroke, sticking a fork in it, calling it done.

It’s not a loud panic inducing fear, its more like the quiet fear of stepping away from it and saying it’s the best that I can do with this at this time. Pre-separation anxiety you could call it.

But then again, maybe it’s just me. Loads of artists don’t have a problem going back and reworking an old painting. I just can’t get myself to do that. When I finish a piece it’s a snapshot of where I am in a moment of time and what I’m trying to say at that point in time, and going back and re-working it well… fells wrongish.

(but boy is it tempting sometimes.. there’s some paintings that I know I could do it so much better now.)

Anyway, it took a bit but I wrapped up the Undine painting, and now I can’t wait to go and get started on the next one.

Good, but stressful week, all things considered.

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Trusting the process

If you ever spend much time time around an artist I’m sure you’ll hear them mumble ‘Trust the process damnit’ to themselves. But as a developing artist you quickly find yourself wondering “What Process?!!? How do I get a process that I can trust??!”

And if you take a course from an artist, or watch a bunch of YouTube or whatever process you can learn from, you’ll run across tons and TONS of artists who are more than happy to talk about ‘the right way to do X’. And if you’re like me, some of it will be amazing knowledge, and even more of it will be nonsense. Which brings us back to the whole process thing. What a lot of teachers try to teach you are their process, or the process of classical artists. That’s useful information, but what it doesn’t do is give you YOUR process.

Continue reading Trusting the process
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New Work and busy times

Undine Sketch 1

I’ve settled on a theme for the next series of paintings, the Undine. Beautiful water spirits rising from the water as they discover love yet dealt a tragic fate should their lover become unfaithful to them. I want to capture the fluid watery essence of them and give thought to the mournful tragedy of their inevitable betrayal from those they love.

It will be at least a series of 3 16×20 paintings and I’ve already got the first board primed and on the easel, waiting for me to finish the drawing.

Continue reading New Work and busy times
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Lots of changes on the site, new theme, new mailing list, new art, new new new… Whoo it’s a bit exhausting actually.

But it’s time to clean up things and gear up for what promises to be an amazing and creative and magical new year. And with brush in hand and critical furballs by my side there’s no telling where we’re going to wind up but it’s gonna be an exciting journey!

Continue reading Ch-ch-ch-chaaanges
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Pushing into the further reaches

I’m still chugging away turning out small practice paintings, getting a feel for the oils, medium and just the general nuts and bolts, I’m 5 away from the midpopint so I’m  a little behind my planned schedule, but I’m about to be a bit futher behind, because I’m going to Fantasy Art Workshops 2018 Illustration Intensive!!!!!

Yes, I’m excited (and a teensy bit terrified) 

But with it comes pre-class homework, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

The goal of the workshop is to help you make the best portfolio piece you can and provide assistance along the way, which is super cool.  But before you even come, you need to have your basic idea down and to that end we were given a choice from 12 assignments (all pretty vague but just some basic guidelines)

All Right! I immediately set down and started on the idea that popped in my head knocked out a thumbnail and started getting things ready for a more complete ‘rough sketch’ (that’s the actual assignment, bring a good rough sketch for feedback and alterations).

But…. a little voice in my head started yelling… “I don’t Love Love Love this anymore, is this really the best idea?’

Continue reading Pushing into the further reaches

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It’s time to go homeschool myself

There was a great thread in the Fantasy Art Workshop facebook group about sketchbooks that really got me thinking.  I love my sketchbooks, and I burn through them at a fairly terrifying rate.  And that’s ok, because in my mind they’re totally disposable, they’re just for practice.   But paintings,  those are for some reason trapped in this ‘precious item’ category where there is no room for experimentation, trial and error or anything other than execution of an already realized image.

And as a result of that mentality, I’m not painting enough.  

I need a painting equivalent of a sketchbook, permission to myself to totally f up the canvas and then just toss it.

And then Michaels sends an email that they’re now offering Bulk items. 

Like canvases.  Cheap.  And lots of them.

So I stocked up. 

 I now have a pile of  40 8 x 10 canvases are now sitting next to me ready to be played with. I’ve made a checklist of exercises that I want to do, and setting myself some basic ground rules.

  • 3 days per painting MAX before it moves to the side
  • when it is put to the side only minor tweaks, retouches allowed
  • only one painting on the side at a time.
  • Run out of canvases before August 1.

I’m so excited! Here we go…

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2017 – recap

2017 was a year of study, practice and experimenting with oils.  As such it really wasn’t a year where I had a whole lot to show for it with a couple of exceptions.

The first oil practice piece that I think wasn’t a total disaster. Was just a tiny little 3×5 scrap board

This  was what I’d call the first ‘successful’ Oil painting, ‘Gnome Home’. (18″x24″ Oil on canvas)


And a last minute Christmas present to a co-worker of their doggie.  (12″x12″ canvas acrylics)

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Working on many things

Boy did this year go whizzing by.  I’m hoping to finish up the year with one last acrylic painting. It isn’t looking like I’ll hit the 12 Paintings in a year that I hoped for.  On the other hand I did blow that goal out of the water if you measure it by surface area.  I was originally planning on 18×24 being the default size until I fell for the box 30x40s.

I’m still hoping to do all of next year in oils, but I may delay the start of that until the Jeff Miracola oil videos are launched, that would let me experiment a bit with acrylics before then.

Still having a hard time letting go of the feeling that everything has to be the most complete piece that pushes skills to the limit.  I may do a bit of a mini quickndirty Painting challenge.

But for now the end of the year looks to be coming fast and that has all sorts of repercussions to ‘free’ time.

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Long Live the Littles

Jude Little


Jude LittleFinished another painting,  tremendously happy with parts of it,  but I think I need to take a break from these larger pieces for a while.  It’s been very exciting to work big and loose but the surface area size and the quick drying time of acrylics are working against me at this point.  But on the upside, it really feels like that’s something that’s been hard to get to the point of noticing,until recently. That has to mean that I’m getting to the point of making the mental shift from working to just get paint onto canvas in the right spots to the point of having a feel for the paint itself and having the working time to execute the mental image.

And that, is an improvement artistically.