Wednesday, July 27, 2011
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Still life artist are always on the hunt for objects to use in their still life studies. Some items literally call out to be used. This small sugar server has been one of those objects for a long time.
I always enjoy the challenge of painting white objects. If we look beyond the obvious white of the object, they tend to have a multitude of soft and colorful pastels and greys in them. It is these shades added into the white that really gives life to the objects. The sugar sever has had it's day and is now back in service, beside the coffee pot. Thank you so much for your visit.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
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Friends came for dinner a couple of weeks ago. She was holding a bunch of Black-Eyed Susans for a friend offering. She picked them from around her barn where she is caring for several geriatric horses. One of her horses may need to be put down soon and as she was telling us the hurt was evident in her eyes.
In Victorian times, different flowers had meanings attached to them. The meaning attached to the Black-Eyed Susan is encouragement. I wonder if she knows that.
Thanks so much for your visit.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
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Drawing. Foundational, critical, the corner stone upon which the height of an artist’s skills and abilities depend. And historically, figure drawing from life is the standard which artists have used to develop and refine their skill sets. Sadly, it is also the most neglected of all skill sets. I know – early in my art career I also neglected drawing.
Concept such as light and shadow, massing shapes, edges, line are learned. These foundational skills are then able to be transferred to most any type of painting. I paint most all subject matter and I can truly say that my current level of drawing proficiency is very telling when I pick up a paint brush.
You see, how well you draw is very much dependent on how much you draw. As soon as you stop for several weeks you will notice a difference. The longer you do not draw, the more you will notice a degradation of your skills when you return. That is why master artist continue to draw every week. Yes, they can stop and two months later they will still be able to draw better than you or I, but they will not be able to draw as well as they did before stopping. And they know that the loss of drawing skill will at some level translate to loss of their painting skills. I draw and paint weekly with well known artist Scott Burdick and Susan Lyon. Besides painting, Scott and Susan draw every week, usually multiple times a week. They consider it absolutely critical in maintaining their expertise.
So start drawing, and draw every day or at least several times a week. Join a group, do it on your own. If you have not had formal instruction in drawing I would advise you to consider doing so. The payback is considerable. At least get a good book or video on drawing as there are definite techniques you need to know, and you may or may not learn those on your own.
You may not become a master by practicing your drawing, but I can guarantee that you never will if you don’t. Thanks so much for your visit!
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Outside of my basement door is a Rose of Sharon shrub. It is full of blooms all summer long and reminds me of my childhood because my neighbor had several of these plants in his yard. It is really amazing how many blooms it produces in a years time - seems like it should get tired producing all those flowers...
I have decided that I need to produce more small studies along with my larger paintings. This painting is one of my first efforts in doing that. An artist is never through learning, no matter how good their artwork is or how experienced they are. Small studies are one way we use to work on our technique and they also have become very popular to collect. You can bid on this painting at the Daily Paintworks site where I have begun to auction some of my small works by clicking the link below. Larger works will still be sold through my galleries (see my website for links).
Thursday, July 7, 2011
|"Solitude" American White Ibis, 24" x 30", oil on linen - this is my 2011 Birds in Art painting|
This year I have the honor of being one of the artist included in Leigh Yawkey Woodson’s Birds in Art exhibit in Wausau, Wisconsin. It is always a thrill to be included in the lineup of artist from all over the globe. My painting is one of approximately 112 accepted entries that will hang in the exhibition.
This year the museum has asked the artist to consider contributing one or two small (4 x 6) paintings that the museum will sell during the opening as a fund raiser to help the museum. I am so happy to be able to help the Woodson museum with this.
You have to understand how the artists are taken care of while they attend the exhibit. Besides travel expenses, most other cost are taken care of by the museum. Large exquisite dinners are provided along with lodging for the artist and their guest. Transportation to all events (there are many) in tour buses is a great place where I have met and talked with artist from all over the world. Events with sponsors and the general public opening are heavy with opportunities for promotion with various media representatives. For instance, the last time I attended (2009) the Wall Street Journal sent a reporter to cover the exhibit. And the last event of the weekend is a trip north to the Woodson’s family compound where the artists are treated to an incredible picnic, boat rides, nature walks, games, and just general relaxation.
So it is with great joy that I am able to contribute back to a museum that has given such great support to me and so many other artist all over the world. I will be beginning to paint the small paintings today – we will see what I come up with!
You can read a more thorough article (and see many photos) about my last Birds in Art (2009) on my website by clicking on the following link: http://ralphgradyjames.com/BirdsinArt.html note: I have two websites running now – this link is to the site that I will be closing out soon – when I close it out the site this article will be on my new site (the link for the new site is on my profile)
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
A local publication (Winston-Salem Monthly) wrote an article about my art which was included in their July issue. The link is to their web edition of the issue. I really enjoyed working with the folks at the magazine.
Being interviewed like this really makes you think about your philosophy and process and put it into words. Putting it into words has never been easy for me - it hurts my head! I think that is why painting is so important to me because it is how I communicate easily. So I am going to try harder to develop my verbal communication as it seems that it is being required more of me. So much for hiding in my comfort zones...
Saturday, July 2, 2011
|"Sisters", 14 x 18, oil on linen|
Besides posting my latest paintings, part of my intention is to also explain my technique and thoughts for those of you who might be curious. Part of my job as an artist is to pass on what I have been taught by those who have so freely given to me. I have been blessed by the teachings of many great artists who have encouraged me with their instruction.
There is the tendency among some artists to be stingy with the “secrets” of their success. Most of this really arises out of a fear of competition. The problem is most of what we learn we are taught by others – a treasure that has been entrusted to us to be passed along to future generations. How can we let that knowledge end with us? Our job is to add to the chest and pass it forward.
The overall importance of art is far larger then our individual efforts. So we must pass on encouragement. We all need to pay it forward