"Swimming in Paint"

This is about the most fascinating career choice I ever made, that of an Oil Painter

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tommorw is National "TURKEY" day

And, I never painted one, but Monet did. It's such an iconic American image you would think it's a popular subject besides dinner! I remembered this painting from a film on the Impressionists. So in  honor of the day I went looking for it........it's not exactly a popular painting. I did find it and then wanted to know a bit more because I never understood exactly why he painted it! 

This little gem is not small! It's a very commanding size at  67 3/4 x 68 7/8. Not surprising it is an almost square... Titled "TURKEYS". Well, not a clever inspired title. We seem to like clever titles today, often unrelated. Perhaps to spark comments...... if you look, I'm sure there are volumes out there explaining it. 

I actually think "TURKEYS" is an appropriate title. Artists often refer to an unhappy painting as a "turkey".......guilty! Perhaps where it originated.

Claude Monet's Turkeys (67-3/4x68-7/8 inches) oil on canvas
Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

I FOUND THIS STRAIGHT UP! It answered my first impression of the painting... WHY! It was a commission and he needed money to feed his family!

Claude Monet painted Turkeys in 1876. Monet painted a flock of turkeys on the lawn of his patron Hoschede's estate in Montgeron. Planned as a decorative panel, Turkeys marked the rare introduction of animals into Monet's natural setting.

When the work was shown in the third Impressionist exhibition, the critical response was mixed. One critic urged the viewer to think of how well it would look in a lavishly furnished dining room, while others disparaged Monet's choice of subject as ridiculous.

WOW! Paintings in the day were for the best rooms and subject was important if you wanted to eat as an artist..... and size was obviously important! An artists work had to be shown and exhibited if they wanted patrons. Seems like I recall Monet referred to as a "decorative painter" in my youth. According to a google search, a top 3 Art Faux Pas, never refer to an artist as a "decorative painter". Sounds like double talk to me! Nothing has changed other than the dressing!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Finding a Wall


My last Koi & Lilies quickly found a warm, cozy home to hang around in. Nice if they all did... I always enjoy getting photos that show how the paintings are doing! This one is doing just fine:=)


These photos remind me of a very common declaration artists often make. "I don't paint over the sofa paintings"! Then comes the "inspirational from the soul part". My first thought! I wonder where they do want them to hang......enshrined in a museum? Where does that come from? My guess, it's an old elitist, we don't breath the same air thing. My guess, that's still around too!

Perhaps they really mean, they don't want any commercial influence contaminating the creative process. Now that I understand....... kinda like doing commissions. Yikes!  

The odds are against a painting at the outset. We can make art all day long but in the end, it has to match up to an unknown outsider to find a home or a wall. The size, colour, subject, price and long list or other things on someones wish list have to quintessentially match up. Compromise is probably not on the table.

Besides our own heart, our art has to make someone elses heart thump! I personally call it the "jump factor". We see it happen when someone encounters something special or it happens to us and the prize proudly leaves tightly under an arm...

When I make art, I have a more practical view, actually a logical one, paintings are typically meant to hang on a wall and more often than not, as part of the decoration. Given that reality I want the best walls possible for my work. I don't think giving it consideration  contaminates the creative process in any way shape or form.

I also think how we get there is irrelevant and has no hard and fast rules......only the rules or constraints we personally place on ourselves!

What happened to my Binge?

Dingily damn! I fell off the wagon again! The cold hard facts......my energy left the room. The first part of my project binge went no where other than to use up a roll of canvas! So, time to stop, take a break and think about getting back to it!

Over the weekend, still not in the mood to paint, I picked up a 30x30 canvas during Swimming-in-Paint and entered into my auto-pilot zone. So, as my final SIP demo of the year it has a fun title, "Auto-pilot".

All kidding aside, the minute I pick up a brush it doesn't take long getting in the mood to find out where it goes....:=)

Auto-pilot 30x30 oil on linen (11-12-17 canvas 1186)
Auto-pilot 30x30 oil on linen (11-12-17 canvas 1186)

Last weekend was the finial Swimming-in-Paint for this year. So, we have some open holiday time after our open house on Friday night to rekindle new energy. Myself, I have another bigger stack of white canvas just itching for some attention. Not to mention "Sunshine" wanting attention too......wonder what wins?


Monday, November 13, 2017

September & October Coaches "WOW" awards!

September and October we had a number of outstanding paintings completed during studio.

My favorite part of coaching is seeing the team grows, producing art able to be shared and art to delight the many art lovers that frequent Crossroads bi-monthly openings...... a celebration of art and artists.

The Swimming-in-Paint walls are to inspire and show the team what is required to make "Best wall" paintings. Paintings meant to sell, leave, and find their own destiny. Seeing our work all dressed up and on the wall is priceless to our development as artists. When our art speaks to others, even better! This is how we find out.


Always protect the value of your art, your galleries and those who cherish and collect your work.



and then...






"Last Call"

THE "WOW PAINTINGS" will be on display in the Chuck Larivey gallery at Crossroads through December. This month is special, because we have a bi-monthly opening to celebrate on November 17th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. 

Stop by, take a peek or better yet give one a good wall to hang around on. 



Friday, November 10, 2017

I should be painting + LED lighting

The sun is out, probably cold outside too.... but still, the sun is shining brightly into my studio. Perfect for painting with or without additional lighting. 

Which brings me to artificial light. I found some really "bright" LED bulbs on Amazon prime the other day. So, I purchased a box of (4), just under $60 by Luxrite. The specs are 16.5 watts, par 38, 100w replacement, 1160 lumen, color 5000K, bright white. I chose them thinking they were 6000K on the colour spectrum. I was curious about what kind of light I would get. My mistake, but I'm not disappointed, because these 5000K lamps work well beyond my expectation. 

Local suppliers call "Bright White" at around 3000K and is mostly available for the residential market. There are more floods than spots on the shelves...... so most of the 5000K are floods and sometimes dimmable. Best place to buy LED is online!


The key for good painting light is the "lumen" and "colour" ratings. The higher the better and I personally prefer spots to floods, because it keeps the light directed to surface. On a sunny day, with these LED lamps cranked up, colours are crisp and its like being outside in bright daylight.......not bad on a cloudy day either. 

These are suppose to be dimmable, but I don't see it written on the box, now that would disappoint me! Sunglasses......perhaps required on a fresh white canvas. 

Lamps a & d are older LED lamps, less "lumen" than the new Luxrite "b" lamps. 

The center fixture "c" is a very cool, specialized art light available through Jerry's.. a bit expensive at $120. However, worth every penny because its full range and controllable. Still life painters might really appreciate this the most. To my surprise up to 1700 "lumen" - I did notice it was much brighter on my canvas with the rest on.

ML-Direct Screw-In Picture Light The ML-Direct is a screw-in picture and accent light that screws in to an existing lighting fixture. The included remote control allows for the control of color temperature and beam size. 

Key Features:
  • Adjustable Lens: Beam diameter of 20" to 60“ at 6’ from artwork
  • ML200 Light Output: Up to 560 lumens (Battery) – 870 lumens (AC Adapter)
  • ML-Direct Light Output: Up to 1700 lumens
  • Lamp Life: 50,000
  • Adjustable Color Temperature: 2700K to 7000k – on remote
  • Dimmable
  • Timer: 3 hr. automatic shut off w/ 3 or 6 hr. extension – on remote
  • Remote-controlled
Perfect For:
  • The Must Have For All Art Lovers,/li>
  • Home accent lighting solutions
  • Gallery lighting
  • Allowing artwork to be appreciated in their best light
  • Bring out the true color of your art

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Binge 10

Well, something new for me. I have an idea I want to play around with. Light rings as a light sourse opposed to the sun. I'm hoping for all that jazzy neon glow I can muster up in this painting. With all that in mind, I'm using an existing 48x40 giclee to try it out before wasting a fresh canvas on it. Also the ring idea has to be adapted to fit the perspective or view angle seen in this particular painting. Problem solving at its best! 

 It looks like eyes and quirky fish mouth


Moving the Koi forward of the back ring and changing the colour to cream really paid off. Changing the interlocking circles to separate entities....perhaps.

Hoops 48x40 mixed media on full gallery wrap (11-8-17 canvas 1185)

This turned out to be a fun problem solving exercise....  I was able to stay within the bounties of the painting using a giclee. It made it easier to contain the idea without a major repaint always looming around.

I guess the real question here is, can I incorporate it into my more abstract bent I'm working on?

Time to move on to binge 11!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Binge 9

Over Binge 8, in fact so over it, I painted over it!! I need something more subtle to the senses, enough to draw you in at 30 feet and keep you immersed in more refined colour shifts and details.

60x48 oil on full gallery wrap (11-2-17 canvas 1184)


It works well enough, BUT! (gotta love buts) I'm so use to a strong focal, I keep wanting to put it in. So I cleaned the palette and put one in....... 

It would have been a glorious "X" tho!

And the Band Played On 60x48 oil full gallery wrap (11-3-17 canvas 1184)

Cautiously on to binge 10, and a little different approach!