Monday, June 18, 2012

Indianapolis Museum of Art

I finally did - I finally went and walked around the Indianapolis Museum of Art or IMA.  I went on Friday with my Activity Day group of girls and their dads.  We invited them to have a special daddy-daughter date at the museum in celebration of Father's Day.  And the girls loved it!  The dad's also especially enjoyed it.  Many of our group had never been before, which adds a nice touch.

I LOVED the 2nd floor collections.  There was a large Renaissance/Religious art exhibit which I thought was really cool, as well as a collection of Dutch painters, and more.  Seriously sweet.  I was geeking out a little bit, not going to lie.  We checked out the African exhibit and then all of the contemporary art exhibits, which most of the group "didn't get."  And though I have studied some of the works on display there, like Donald Judd's Untitled, and Kara Walkers' They Waz Nice White Folks While They Lasted (Sez One Gal to Another) or the type of media, like video and audio art, I too don't always "get" contemporary/modern art, because I just don't buy into the ideas that everything is art/beautiful/worth our study. 

The museum was a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be!  I didn't even get to look at everything, nor the chance to explore the 100 Acres or the Lilly House.

I'm pretty sure that I will be returning to this museum again. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Prepped to Paint

I have indeed been keeping up with doing art, though it hasn't been everyday.  However, I now have my drawing mapped out onto my canvas and am just waiting for some painting supplies from Utretch to show up in the mail soon!  I am very excited!  Sorry about not posting pictures yet, there's just not much to see so far. But, I promise pictures will come!  My reference pictures is this one:
Like it?

What have you been working on lately?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Starting up again

I guess I've taken a break over the last few months from art.  While I still have in my possession the painting on glass piece I still have yet to touch it, and I think it will probably stay that way.  I do believe it's a goner, or at least I am not willing to learn how to reverse paint on glass when I'll have to repaint a whole big picture.  It's just too much and not in my expertise. 

And I'm supposed to be starting a drawing from an old friend from high school of her and her boyfriend, but we haven't hammered out all the details on it yet so I haven't started working on it yet (she wants it done by October).  I still have the mixed media map/ship I redid for a friend in my possession as well because we haven't been in contact since the end of last year.

What it boils down to is that I haven't done much of any anything art-related in four months.

Until two days ago that is.

I got out some oil paints and painted!  It's an abstract painting of different colored lines.  That's it.  And it felt great just putting something on canvas again!

And yesterday I picked out a photo I took years ago that I've been wanting to paint for months and started doing prep work for it.

And today I gridded it out.

And I hope tomorrow I might start mapping in the image.

And I hope the day after that I may start painting (or finish mapping the image).

Point is, I hope to do art consistently.  If I am lucky my girls will take naps like they are supposed to and I can work uninterrupted for a good 2 hours.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?

How do you find time to paint if you are a "part-time" artist?  How do you find the motivation to do it consistently?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Reverse Glass Painting with Mother of Pearl - A Restoration Project

A while ago (about two months now!) I was approached by a friend with a new type of work for me to do, something I don't have the first idea how to do - restore a painting done on glass!

While I told her and her mother that I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to such things, that it didn't really matter since at this point this just have to throw it out, so anything (we'll see..) that I do to fix it will be an improvement.  Considering the fact there there are empty spots and flaking paints I hope that I really can't hurt it much more than nature already has. 
The front of the reverse painting on glass with mother-of-pearl accents
The back of the reverse painting on glass with mother-of-pearl accents
Before I just start going at it, I figured I should probably do a little research!  Here are some of the things I found:

A Helpful guide from Michaels Craft Store found HERE, including which type of acrylic or other paints to use.  It also mentions baking the paint/glass.  That sounds interesting doesn't it?  Not sure if that would help make this painting permanent or not.  Also taught me that I should make sure the glass is clean and what to clean it with.  Makes me wonder too if the rubbing alcohol will help get some of the paint off that's there already?

On they have several different videos and information on painting on glass, projects to do, and more (click HERE to see them all).  I found this video to be helpful in knowing what painting supplies I will need:

Painting Glass: Choosing Glass Paints -- powered by ehow

On I also found an article about Reverse Painting on Glass (found HERE), which is what this old painting is.  You view the art from the front of the glass, but all the paint is on the back of it.  It's kind of fun to read about the history of this artistic tradition.

Did you know there are still contemporary glass-painting artists out there today?  At Andriy Khomyk makes and creates hundreds of them!  I found that what he said about technique and skill in regards to reverse painting on glass to be... well, daunting for a first time-attempter:
THE TECHNIQUE is not such complicated, as it appears to be. The image is carried on glass in exactly the same resulting in unique effects manner as on canvas, paper or wood; but when we look at the image, we look through the glass - which serves both as a support and a protective varnish. Everything is backwards from traditional painting. The working image is on the back of the glass. The viewer looks trough the glass on to the painted layers. Letters, symbols, and images are painted as the mirror image to how they normally read, in order to be correct when the glass is turned over to be viewed. Details or accents which would ordinarily be painted last, are painted first; the background, instead of being painted first, is last. All the details have to be correct as it is not possible to make corrections without destroying the underlying work. When the painting is finished the glass is turned over and displayed with the paint behind the glass. Therefore, three "reverses" take place: the paint is applied in reverse order, the glass is turned over when the painting is completed, and the design or painting is seen in reverse -- that is, the right-hand side of the pattern appears on the left-hand side through the glass. When painting on glass special care must be taken in the selection of the color palette due to the primacy of color. The synergy of paint and glass has a depth and luminousness unlikely in any other medium. Painting on glass is a very time-consuming and difficult handicraft operation. There is no place for a mistake because this what you first paint will always be in the front of the painting and you have no possibility to change it.  
 In fact I am a little hesitant to even start working on the piece at all because I feel like as soon as I touch it it may start completely falling apart!  I found this message board (found HERE) that makes me feel even more that way, especially the last comment that says: "We had a similar piece artwork [an old reverse painting with mother of pearl accents that needed to be restored some] brought to our gallery for repair. I took it to the woman who does our restoration. She wouldn't touch it. She said once they are opened up to air they start deteriorating."
Reverse Painting on Glass close-up leftside
Reverse painting on glass close-up middle
Reverse painting on glass close-up rightside
I also found a painting (found HERE) very much like the one I was given, (maybe even the same artist? what do you think?) that someone had appraised at around $150, but the piece I have is much larger.

It seems that there are a lot of people (see THIS forum) where people are wondering what to do with their in-laws, grandparents old reverse glass paintings and don't know their worth. 

I guess the question I have to anyone who might know about these type of works of art is should I even attempt to "fix" this piece?

The people who gave it to me have had it sitting in their garage for years (I believe) and the husband really liked it but now it's un-hangeable since it looks so bad, and therefore, I believe probably has no real value anymore.  Should I just do my best?  I feel once I start working on it, and getting in there I am going to have to remove more and more of the original painting...  Will it be worth my time?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

James H. Fullmer - Fellow Artist and Friend

I find it a great privilege as a new, beginning artist to have a friend who is a professional artist.  It's all he does and he supports his wife and four boys doing it.  I have known James H. Fullmer, or Jay, for a long time, for more than ten years now I think!  He moved to my hometown and was a member of my church.  He taught early morning Seminary and did a fantastic job at it.
While I was home for the holidays, I asked him if I could stop by his studio and talk to him a little bit.  He showed me some of the stuff he's been working on diligently for the last year for his latest project - The Other Heroes of the Book of Mormon.  My parents had a copy of the book at their home and I only had a chance to peruse it during my stay there, but the artwork is of course phenomenal.  The stories are exaggerations, but bring the stories and characters from the Book of Mormon into life.
Here's a trailer of the book:
While talking to him I asked him several questions about what he wants to do next, if he was planning on doing art shows, or exhibits, or make/sell prints of his works, etc.  He said that much of his works are narrative, illustrations, and not necessarily fit for most people to simply display in their homes, and to get things ready for exhibition/sale (i.e. framing) costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time.

I him if he ever wanted to do stories from the Bible, or depictions of Jesus' life.  He said no; he said that his calling, he felt, was to continue painting, depicting, and telling the stories of the Book of Mormon.  He then told me how when he first began to paint and do art, he thought and felt that his calling was to paint landscapes and animals, which he painted exceptionally well:
But, later Jay realized that his love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as his love especially of the Book of Mormon, called him and his art in a different direction.

It was these statements that led to a discussion on what I feel my 'calling' as an artist is: and I don't know.  Jay asked me if there were no limitations on time or resources, what would I paint or create, and I didn't really have an answer.

The problem I think is that
1. I do have limitations on my time and resources and
2. I often feel comfortable simply doing what I know best - drawing.

I have drawn since a little girl and have developed it quite a bit through the years.  I also have always been fascinated with drawing people.  I love doing portraits, but lately have enjoyed the still-lifes I have done as well.  But, what kind of calling is simply copying a portrait and redrawing it for people all the time?  Can you truly call yourself an artist on such grounds?  Can you even make a living simply doing that?

Even if I continued to do still-life work, which I take my own reference photos for, and draw, which I enjoy, is there a career or a passion to that for me as well?

The thing about drawing, is that drawing is the fundamental skill of art.  It's the first thing you learn.  Generally speaking, if you can draw, and draw well, you will be a better artist in whatever medium you chose to create in.  Which means, perhaps my future as a life-long artist is not simply in pencil and charcoal.
I really would like to explore mediums more, like paints, and really start to figure out what I enjoy.  What brings me the most satisfaction?  What is my calling as an artist, as a Christian artist? 

When I think about art I would someday like to create and sell and be proud to call mine and that is original, I do think it would have a religious context, though perhaps not overtly religious (i.e. not Jesus hanging on the cross).  I think creating works that depict human happiness, love, joy, and hope would suit me.  I love families and marriage.  I love children.  I love the simple pleasures of life.  I once had an art professor say that we should not depict the difficulties of life in our art, but the ideal, and I like that.  We know what the difficulties of life are, what problems there are.  Unless we are offering a solution in our work, we aren't truly doing our part of contributing to our society in a positive way.  We are artists.  We can choose what to depict. 

I guess part of the reason I have this blog is so I can share my journey from graduate to artist.  I hope everyone will bear with me and encourage me as I discover what I am truly meant to do. 

Feel free to follow Jay on his blog HERE or HERE - great for artists!
Click Other Heroes of the Book of Mormon if interested in his new book.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pencil Portrait of Parents/Grandparents

I finished the commission for Nancy tonight! Just in time for Christmas! In fact a few days early.  It took me nine working days and about 17 hours to complete (I kept track for the first time).  This is the second piece Nancy has commissioned from me.  Last year for Christmas I drew her daughters.  This year she asked me to draw her parents. She sent me four different pictures in the mail, with requests that her mother's glasses be clear, and perhaps take off a few wrinkles. 
I did my best to compose a good picture from the ones she gave me, doing a little editing on the computer using Gimp. I, however, did not want her mother to be as washed out as she is in the picture I ended up using for the composition.  Flash is such a nasty thing and doesn't make for great portraits - drawn or not!  So, I used the other pictures to help me fill in the blanks some.  I hope her mom looks like her mother.  I think her dad turned out excellent though! 
But, what do you think?  Do you think I did a good job?
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