Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New To You

Have you ever worked on something in where it's new to you?  For me, it's self-portraits.  I'm not a person who can draw or paint people all that easily, so I've avoided trying as I get the perspective all wrong.  However, last year, while  I was stuck for something new to paint, one of my friends suggested that I try out doing my first self-portrait.  

It was a great success.

A lot of people didn't think it looked like me though.  However a self-portrait is what you look like to you; nobody else.  And your first one never looks all that great... just like your first painting never looks great.
This year, I've begun working on another self-portrait and it's from a different perspective completely, one where I needed some assistance from one of artist friends.  He needed me to model for him for a new line of work he's doing; and I needed a new lot of photos to work from with my self-portrait.  So, we killed two birds with one stone and I modelled for both of our ideas last week.
I picked out a half-lotus pose where I'm meditating for two of my Chacras and he's picked out another of a reclining pose.  Both are coming along quite well.  however, I'm not going to reveal anything just yet; unlike my other pieces, this one will be kept a secret until it's completely finished.  There's a lot of work to be done on it and I'm very excited about it... and so far it does look very promising.
So do tell, where in your art life have you needed a change - wanted it - and didn't know how to go about it?  And when you did change and work on it, did it work out?  Did you try something new or take something old and turn it on its ear?  Did everything work out?  Leave a comment and let us know, love to know what you're all working now now.  Until my next post, keep creating!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Art Books

Besides working on art, attending workshops and walking through galleries full of the work of arts from all over the world (or just around my area), I have a nice little collection of books about art.  One of the first books I remember picking up is a little, thick book on Vincent Van Gogh.  This artist is one of the reasons why I took up painting and also why I keep going with it.  He had the worse medical problems around; and to make things worse, he didn't just have one problem, he had a few.  There was Manic Depression, Epilepsy and Bi-Polar; all of which really screwed with how he lived.  But could he paint!  His brother had a similar condition, but he had it under control; unlike poor Vincent.
The only other book I have on one other artist is 'Michael Whelan's Works of Wonders'.  It's a collection of his cover art; of what it looked like as a book cover and what it looked like before it became a book cover with his description of how he came up with it to start with.  This is a book I stumbled upon in a Life Line where it was hiding from the world on the top of a bookcase and it only cost me $4.00.  When I got it home, I looked it up on the net and found out that it's out of print and worth so very much more!  Now, it's one of my most prized possessions in more ways than one.
Other books I have collected are about how to get my brain to work the right way to be an artist.  I know this sounds strange, but 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron and 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' by Betty Edwards are two such books that have helped me in the past.  Even though I rarely use them now, it's always good to know they are here in my bookcase just in case I need them - or somebody in my family does.  

The most interesting books about art I receive are always from my Mum.  She bought me 'Essential Impressionists' by Antonia Cunningham.  This book covers a wide range of Impressionists from all over the artistic arena who changed the art world.  Some of them I like; some I don't.  But they are all there in this wonderfully large, heavy book to see; in full colour!  Another book Mum bought me - and I love delving into just to exercise my brain a little - is 'Incredible Visual Illusions' by Al Seckal.  This is a book full of the most brilliant visual illusions that by the end you'll have a headache, but it's always fun to look at some of them; especially if you wish to put something like them in your paintings or sculptures.  This kind of book can give you great ideas.

The last set of books are something I bought on a whim; and didn't think much of until recently.  They are 3-volume set of home decorators books from the 1940's.  The first book shows you how to paint a house... from peeling the paint, choosing your colours, brush size, primer to the the final coat.  The other two volumes work on the inside of the house; showing you how to wallpaper, choose wood panelling, shades, curtains and how to get your house looking very modern.  These kinds of books don't exist in these sets anymore; so I picked this set up very cheaply at a charity store and kept them as I find this is another type of art form in itself of interior design.
So, what kinds of art books do you own in your bookcases?  Are they up-to-date and modern, of your favourite artists lives or do they date back centuries?  Or are they all to do with the other side of the arts - the learning side of it all - where you delve into the studies of the arts?  Love to know which books you guys own.  Until my next post, keep creating!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Not All Black and White

I have to tell the truth:  I got stuck with the Melting Flowers painting.  My detailing brushes are stuffed and the ones I received for Christmas aren't the ones I was hoping for.  So, I have to put that painting on hold until I can get my hands on new detailing brushes to replace my old ones.
So, I pulled out another piece of canvasboard that had been painted over and painted it green (which, for some reason, helps me with new work) and started painting a black and white painting.  About a week ago, I was talking one of my friends and said that I'd love to do a painting completely in black and white; and the shades of grey in between.  It would be a real challenge.  However, as I started out, I realised this one wouldn't be completely like this.  It's going to have some colour in the middle; showing there is colour in the world of black'n'white.  I only started it today.  What do you think so far?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The World Loses Dorothea Tanning

This afternoon - just now in fact - I was perusing the ninemsn.com.au site for some news (as I hate watching the news on television; it's all so depressing when it comes from there) and I found out that Dorothea Tanning passed away a couple of days ago; aged 101.  
I don't know much about this artist, however, I have found her home site on Google where her passing has been announced by The Dorothea Tanning Foundation.

Dorothea Tanning

On this site, it tells more of her life than I ever could.