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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Painting for a themed exhibit

Normally I paint based upon inspiring things I have seen or places I have visited. I have thousands of photographs I have taken that I combine and morth to recreate a feeling I experienced or a vision that I think will draw others into my work. Lately I have decided to enter some socially themed exhibits and have found this way outside my comfort zone. Instead of starting with inspiration I start with someone elses concept and try to find something I share that fits the theme.

This feels much like being in school trying to answer an assignment; not something that makes the juices flow. Often I abandon the exhibit when nothing comes. Sometimes I can play around with ideas long enough until something that does inspire me finally arrives. Do you have techniques you use for these themed exhibits?

"Celebrate" (shown below) is the final work I created in response to the "Cupcakes for Claudia" exhibit in support of the courageous journeys of those coping with cancer.  The reception for the exhibit will be held on April 16th, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Self Critique

You have no doubt read or heard about many approaches to critiquing your own work. Some include looking at the painting in a mirror, standing at a distance, putting the piece away and looking at it in a few weeks. All of these are attempts to have you look at your art in a more objective fashion. They can also force you to stop painting to assess, which may save you from overworking, a big danger for those of us who work in watercolor.

I have found that photographing my work as I go is a tremendous help to me. I generally photograph after each painting session on larger works. Writing down your thoughts about what you see in the photograph is also very helpful in forcing you to be objective. I note what I like and what is not quite working. This approach seems to help me see where I need to increase or decrease value changes or adjust the color. I am always surprised when I look at my photographed work..sometimes in a positive way and sometimes not. Either way I know I end up with a better painting in the end. This approach may help you; give it a try.

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