Friday, May 16, 2014

Figure Drawing in Lee's Summit

I feel like I should contribute to the promotion of this opportunity since I take advantage of it occasionally.. But in case you were an artist in the Kansas City area looking for a good opportunity to do some figure drawing or painting for a magnificent price, it just so happens that such an opportunity has existed in Lee's Summit for quite some time now. 
Every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, a typically small group of us gets together at Got Art Gallery on 3rd Street in historic downtown Lee's Summit for a 3-hour drawing/painting session with a live model (sometimes clothed, sometimes nude) for a price of only $10.  Lately, we've had a format of two 1-hour poses during the session, from 6-9pm (two 1-hour poses + 1 hour for breaks). 
Anyway, the odd thing about this is that so few artists have taken advantage of this great opportunity, and we can't figure out why that is. 
Well, honestly I can figure it out.  For one thing, it is horribly under-promoted.  So hopefully this blog post about it will be 2-cents worth of promotion for any artist or college-age art student who might want to come.  It would be awesome to have you there!
Second, I know for a fact that there are artists or students out there who are terrified of drawing from a live model for the first time.  Whether the model is clothed or nude, the whole concept of drawing from life is completely outside of your comfort zone.  To that I say SUCK IT UP.  If you're serious about becoming better at portrait or figurative drawing and painting, then all time-tested best way of doing that is drawing from life.  Even if portrait and figurative art is not your main interest, it still improves your drawing skill no matter what your interest is!  The bottom line is you will never improve your skill as an artist until you make the decision to do so.  And this is a wonderful way to do it.  This is not a class and there are no instructors or critiques (unless you request such a thing, and in that case there are a few of us who'd be happy to help).  It's just a casual group that loves to draw.  So really, there is nothing to be intimidated about.  Figure drawing is hard.  Even the best artists know that.  So get over it, and join us!  Once you decide to stop being scared of it, and just enjoy the time we have there (it is very enjoyable, by the way), then you'll actually start having fun.
Third, schedules.... Ugh.  Schedules.  Okay, I understand things come up and schedules get in the way.  That's actually why I don't come to every session.  It's just the way it is.  But if you can afford just one 3-hour session on one Thursday night, I can promise it will be worth your while, and you'll want to come again.  All it takes is one or two sessions, and hopefully it will be an enjoyable enough experience that you'll want to actually make these Thursday nights part of your schedule.  And remember, it's only the 1st and 3rd Thursdays.  That's 2 days out of the entire month!  And again, if you're serious about being a better artist, that's not much of a time commitment.  In fact, it's a time investment.
Okay, so that's my infomercial on 1st and 3rd Thursday figure drawing sessions (6-9pm) at Got Art Gallery in Lee's Summit.  Hope it's enough to convince someone out there to give it a shot.
Here is one of my drawings from last night's session:

Figure Study
graphite, white chalk on toned paper

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lee's Summit Journal Q&A article

Hi all.  As promised, here is the link to my Q&A with the Lee's Summit Journal:

And as it says, the Gamber Center Exhibition is currently showing and runs through July 17th.  Hope you have a chance to check it out!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New shows, new work

I am happy to announce that I will be among the many featured artists at a Fourth Friday opening in Lee's Summit called Celebrate Summit Art.  The show runs from May 20 - June 21 at Got Art Gallery in downtown Lee's Summit, and the opening reception is May 23rd from 6-9pm.  I'll have two pieces showing, and one of which will be making its art show debut, so I am excited about it!

Speaking of art shows, if you haven't been by to see the juried show at the Images Gallery in Overland Park, it is up for a couple more days, and then it's coming down this Saturday.  But my Gamber Center exhibition just started, and you have plenty of time to check it out (which you had better).
I am also planning to join my fellow Summit Art members for the annual summer exhibition at the University of Central Missouri gallery in Warrensburg, MO coming up from July 12 - August 8.  After that, it's on to the Raytown Artists Association Invitational on the weekend of August 21-23.
So, as you can see, the art show tour has been extended through August.  Please check out the list of current and upcoming shows on the far right side of this page.

This week for the portrait class, I gave a little lesson on painting from the limited palette of black, red, yellow ochre, and white.  Also known as the "Zorn palette."  I know I've said this before, but it really is more challenging than some might think.  It sounds like it would be easy enough since you aren't overwhelmed with a big palette full of colors.  That's true, but it makes up for that challenge with a pretty big challenge of its own - knowing how to achieve effective and convincing color mixes with what you have.  There is no blue or green on the palette, so you are limited in the types of blues, greens, and purples that you can apply to your painting.  With those colors, you are basically at the mercy of what your black can do for you.  And black itself is a challenging color to work with in a painting.  But, once you get beyond those challenges, and are able to mix the colors and handle them properly, the effect is magnificent.  Here is my demo from this week's Zorn color lesson:

Portrait study in oil
I am also pleased to announce that two local periodicals - the Lee's Summit Journal and Lee's Summit Lifestyles magazine will be featuring me in a couple of small articles very soon.  The LS Journal article will actually be featured in this Friday's (May 9) edition.  I will be sure to post the link to the online article as soon as it's published.  More to come later!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I'm in love...

Something you should know about artists (if you aren't one yourself) is that some of us have a geeky tendency to get overexcited to the point of lunacy about certain materials that we use.  I don't typically do that very often.  I get more excited about a great painting, and couldn't care less what materials were used for it.  But for example, a particular type of canvas material, usually linen, will get some artists panting and drooling like Pavlov's dog.  Personally, I don't get that excited over linen.  I've used it and it's nice, but I wouldn't say it has done anything particularly special for my painting that regular cotton canvas does.  I'm not that particular over surface materials.  I've painted on cotton, linen, wood, and paper, and I like them all. 
Another example would be certain types of medium.  I have a couple of different kinds in my stash of materials that I use and absolutely love.  But I don't really divulge that information to just anyone.  Gotta keep some of it a secret.
But I will say this, lately I've been shifting to a different brand of oils, and I have to give Williamsburg Handmade Oils at least my word-of-mouth endorsement.  They aren't the only brand I use, but right now they are my favorite, and it became official as I finished this painting recently:

Woman in a Red Headscarf
oil on canvas
20x16 inches
I've been using certain colors by Williamsburg for the past year, and of course I used some of them in this painting.  But the new one I am most excited about, officially in love with, and will probably use exclusively from now on is the ridiculously beautiful red of her headscarf and top.  It is called Cadmium Red Vermilion.  Even when I dulled it down for some of the darker areas, I couldn't believe how awesome and strong it was as soon as I started applying it to the painting.  I will say, it was a little pricey for a 40 mL tube, but you get what you pay for.  I painted all the red areas alla prima, so I don't know how it looks as far as glazing goes, but I'm eager to find out.
So, if you're an artist looking for an awesome vermilion, here it is.  And if you're just looking for a great brand of professional oils, give Williamsburg a shot.  Some of the colors have a long consistency, and they won't dry out on you if you're the type to store your paint in containers for later use.
Okay, done with my commercial.  Happy painting, y'all!

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Gamber Center Exhibition - The Aftermath

Well, last night was the opening of my biggest exhibition ever at the Gamber Center.  For those that came out to the opening, again I thank you humbly.  For those that have yet to see it, it is showing through July 17th.

I won't lie, way too many of you missed the opening last night, but I am so thankful for the crowd that did show up in support of me.  You are the reason I work as hard as I do.  And it was worth it to see you all there.

I was a bit under the weather, and about to lose my voice, so I apologize for those who came expecting me to give a presentation.  Honestly, I was happier anyway just to mingle with everyone and let you all enjoy the show.  Most of the Lee's Summit Arts Council members rushed out of there anyway for a city council meeting that was so inconveniently scheduled on the same night.  But not before one of the best moments of the night happened, when the Chairwoman of the LSAC looked me straight in the eye and said,
"You are the best artist we have ever had at the Gamber Center."
The compliment stuck with me all night.  First of all, what an extraordinary thing to say, and to say it with complete conviction like it was a matter of fact.  But then I kept thinking, "So... what does this mean for me?"  It's certainly one of, if not the absolute best compliment I've ever received.  But will the public agree with her?  And if so, will it pay off in the literal sense?  I sure hope so, but it also scares me to think that I might be let down.  I have learned through so many experiences not to get my hopes up and set my expectations high.  But if I don't do that, then I run into the danger of settling for mediocrity.  See how hard this business is, folks?

Well, another thing I know about myself is that I have a tendency to overthink and worry about things.  All I can hope and pray for is that God's hand is in this, and for some kind of wonderful blessing and favor to come out of this exhibition in the next couple of months.  The fact that my work is exhibiting in such a beautiful facility at all is a blessing.  Please go check it out if you are in the Kansas City area.  In the meantime, here are a couple of glimpses of the show.