Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The GRUMBACHER " Winter themed" ATC SWAP

I few months ago I had never heard of an ATC (Artist Trading Card). For those of you that still may not know they are works of art on a very small surface 2.5inches X 3.5inches...it is the actual size of a baseball card, if you are familiar with those. Any medium is accepted oils, acrylics, watercolor, drawing, collage and on and on....The whole premise is to create them and trade them with other artists. I thought it would be fun to play with some. I saw blank ones for sale in one of my art catalogs and decided to create a few.

I then saw that GRUMBACHER\CHARTPAK was having a Winter Themed Swap....having lived in South Dakota USA most of my life I know a thing or two about winter. So I set out to make an entry....and created the above painting...called "A South Dakota Walk"....Acrylic on canvas paper)..I was actually pretty proud of it! it was only the 2nd ATC I had made and being a guy who usually paints on big canvases and uses oil paints...this was a little out of my comfort range at the start! The highlight of this little painting to me is the overall feel of cold and the little animals I stitched into the hat...(I wear one with Deer on it hehehe) I really reminds me of the thousands of times I have been in that exact position just living through a South Dakota winter....In essence, when it was completed it really made me smile.

So part of this swap thing is that after I send my painting to Leeds, MA they take picture of all the entries and post them Swap Photo album at GRUMBACHER We all got to check them out...thinking which one we may get in the mail. They where all very cool and varied in  the subject and style. I liked the way mine looked in with all those talented artists...I was kinda proud of myself.

Some time went by, I was excited! Today I heard a knock at the door...looked outside and saw the UPS man with a little box....I saw that it was from Chartpak...Smiled!...Opened it up and first found a bottle of Higgins brand ink...and the ATC I was waiting for....(notice it is the end of December in South Dakota and we do not have any snow on the ground yet...that is a miracle...really!!! We are usually buried in it by now!!)
 This is the one I got today.......The artist is Tia Marie from northern Minnesota....and it is beautiful. Reminds me so much of being a child at winter in this part of the country (Tia is from Minnesota she knows winter up here very well too)(South Dakota and Minnesota are right next to each other).....Here is a close up of her very awesome work:
Please go visit her site at:  http://tiamarieillustration.webs.com/
her facebook is : Tia Marie
Please take a moment to check out her work...it is awesome!!!

I just want to say..I had a great time with the whole Grumbacher Swap...I cant wait till the next one!! I scored a cool mini painting and some Higgins ink....I just hope the artist who got my painting is excited about it and that it makes them smile!!!

If you are an artist or just want to have some fun go over to the Grumbacher facebook page and "like" them...they will be having another swap very soon...if you have any questions please ask 'em they are very cool folks over there......Who knows you just be the next one to get one of my mini paintings?
Anyway, as always Peace and Love to you all.....Happy painting!!! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

"WASP the YELLOWJACKET" an insect in Oil

A Wasp, or sometimes called a YellowJacket, they are know to strike fear in even the bravest of humans. They seem to taunt us by living and hunting in close proximity to places close to where us humans also spend our days. The bright yellow and black contrast shows the world "Don't mess with me, I am way more mean that that happy Honey Bee!"... "I will make you hurt!" It is a beautiful respect they have gained or shall I say Earned!!!

I set out to paint this beautiful Wasp to make a few small statements. First of all the beauty that can be found in nature, even in the villains....matter of fact evolution has given most of the villains of the animal kingdom some of the most beauty. A warning sign to would be predators. When I say villains I mean the creatures that possibly strike the most fear to other animals...the predators, the ones who can make you hurt. They are not real villains they are just doing what they need to do to survive on this planet. Actually the Human race are the real villains on this planet, they are the ones who destroy it!

Second, I wanted to paint a subject that would arouse emotion around the beauty I can show. I don't know how many comments\messages that stated "Oh this painting is beautiful....but I hate Wasps, they scare me" or simply "That creeps me out, but the painting is real good." A close relative came over to the house a few days ago...I showed her the painting...she said " You did a great job but I would never have a painting of a wasp hanging in my house"....Mission Accomplished!!!!

Third was simply the personal challenge to paint this guy. I had a vision of what I wanted to create and it actually came out they way I had originally envisioned, that happens on rare occasion. I usually start with a vision or idea and even a well thought out plan but throughout the painting process it either changes or my skills will not allow it to be as I visioned. This time everything came together. I always find the process interesting...from idea to hanging on a wall, the painting process is a beautiful journey that few ever get to see....they usually just see the finished product...and do not know the work or decision making that goes into a painting. I try and show that from time to time on my facebook page in photo journals....folks seem to really like to watch the step by step and of course I get real excited to post a new update...it adds a special feel to the painting....and yes I do have an album for this guy...."Wasp the YellowJacket" photo journal  Looking through that album you can really get a feel for what was going on at the time...my comments and the comments of others can put you, in some part, into the mind of the artist...It is a fun journey!

I ran into a few challenges during this painting but no more or no less that on any painting I do. That problem solving is one of the things I really enjoy about painting. Its like a big puzzle that changes from minute to minute. The main issue was the colors....I had to let certain colors dry before I could move on to the next...Black and Yellow are notorious for making a mess with each other. If you get even a tiny amount of Black into the yellow wet paint...it is very hard to remove and it can turn that Yellow to mush real fast...Oil paints are a skill!......So for me, I always got excited and wanted to keep moving when I knew I could end up making a mess of it all.....so I had to practice a lot of patience! It was worth it in the end! Another point about colors...my palette was very limited for this painting, but limits provide a chance to do big things with very little!!!

Well the Wasp is now in drying mode....spending his days curing out....in a few days (when he is a bit more dry) I will hang him in my living room to enjoy while he is doing the process of shedding his linseed oil...then I am looking forward to getting him into a beautiful, big, black frame. Someday maybe prints will be made so lots of folks can enjoy him or someday someone may pony up the cash to have the original hanging in their world...but for now he will just be part of my personal premium collection.

I want to take this time to thank everyone who is reading this....and all the folks who followed his creation....I enjoy sharing my talent with you all very much. It makes what I do, so very enjoyable!!

I just wanted to share a little more about what was going on in my twisted mind about this crazy painting....Please go check out my facebook page and see what else is brewing...Peace and love to you all!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

I remember a time when I was Afraid...

Time, or our human perception of time, moves really fast. A routine of mundane from here to there interactions that have no real meaning on this earth. The universe has no real care about who you love, what job you have or the amount of useless products you obtain. It cares nothing of if you are fat, ugly, beautiful or wise. It really has very little use for us! Despite all that it did give us a great bundle of gifts, the gifts being our senses. That gift is really what we are. It is what makes us who we perceive to be.

As far back as my mind allows me to recall I wanted to be an artist. Important influences in my life, being members of my family, where great artists. I would draw and paint trying to make a visual representation of the world around me for others to see. As a child I would struggle because what I was creating was not the image in my mind. It just never was the same and that made me afraid! That fear is what most people feel and eventually will give up on art. I was determined to not let that happen. My determination was weak.....I was afraid!!!

I am not about to give a history of my artistic life here today...(I will spare you all the details) but there where large stretches of time where I did not paint or draw. Being a musician, my artistic talents where diverted to the sense of hearing. It was just as worthy and noble but throughout time it became another useless job. The music business fools you...it starts off being this wonderful world of creation and wonder, but then it turns on you and becomes a monster. Money and greed are the only thing that is really strives for. There is very little real truth in the music business. Those who say otherwise are lying! Sure, there are a small elite group of musicians that are not effected by its negative charms, but for the most part even ever dreaming of being a rock star or "making it" you are feeding that monster. After 20+ years I finally learned that lesson and gave it all up....all of it!.......I was afraid!!!

Last night I tried an experiment...I jumped out of my skin as the artist and looked, really looked, at my work as just a human. I noticed many things I had never seen before. It excited me! I got the same felling I get when looking at other artists work that catches my eye or I enjoy. Obviously it is very hard to separate ones self from your own work....... If accomplished it will show you things deep inside.......  Good and bad! The one thing it did bring to my mind was...... I am no longer afraid!!!

I am no longer afraid!!!.....saying those words out loud and meaning it can change your whole life. It happened without me even knowing it. I look at my work and see that I have no fear about what others really think. My work is ever changing...there are very little common threads between each work (besides the use of Yellow and Orange hehehe). I really paint whatever is interesting to me at the time. I go from abstract to semi-realistic to fantasy to weird to heritage to "who knows what I was thinking".....it shows me that I am not afraid!!!

"I AM NOT AFRAID" take some time and search your soul...see if this is how you truthfully feel about things in your life....it may just change it!!!

Thanks for reading some of my overactive brain thoughts on this day....I know it is just a bunch of dribble but it has to find its way out of my brain somehow....Peace and Love to you!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do you own any Original Art?

Today, There are many things that have been boxed up into "Buy this to make your life better." You can walk into someones home and see the same generic wall adornments. You are part of the club. Same old boring home interior wall decorations. Some people even think they are doing something special by going into Hobby Lobby shuffling through all the prints and getting that print framed. Spending lots of money on something that everyone else has, or an old idea. I mean, I love Van Goghs "Starry Night", but seeing it in 3 out of 10 friends homes gets a little unoriginal.(at least they dig art enough to put it on there walls, I guess)

I understand that original art can be expensive...the materials alone for someone like me to create a large painting can set me back $50-$200 not including the time or the value of talent. That's not the point! The point is, that when you purchase original artwork you are purchasing a vision, a dream, a one of a kind! Sure some paintings a artist will do resemble other works they do, but that is also part of the style you now own a chunk of. When you display that work in your home or office you are also making a statement about who you are as a person.

An oil painting can last hundreds of years, generations of folks can enjoy the small investment you made today. It can be a focal point in a room. It can be a conversation piece. You can learn something from it everyday. The way the light hits it on Monday afternoon in the filtered sunlight through your blinds gives you a different perspective than Saturday night with your lights dim as you enjoy a glass of wine. Try doing that with a framed poster print?

The moral of the story is take a look at your walls in your home....Find a wall that needs something that will take you to a new place, excites your eyes, or makes you dream. Find some local artists that can do that for you, find a few. Maybe even go crazy and fill your walls with original local art or any style. Many local art can be purchased for less than you think. We know we are not going to make a ton of money doing this. Hence the phrase "Starving Artist." What you will be doing is giving that artist a chance to buy more materials and create more art! That is what I figure. I have so many visions inside my head I could paint everyday for the rest of my life and still not get it all out! So give us a chance to do just that! We need materials to get these visions out of our heads....We want to share those visions with you and the world. So think about it the next time you feel like doing something cool for yourself, seek out some local art and if it moves you, Buy it!! Also think about how you can share even more by giving it as gifts to your loved ones. When you give a gift like that I can assure you Aunt Sally and you will not be double gifting.

Thanks everyone for giving me the chance to share Color, Peace and Love with you.....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I sit down...dig through my collection of oil paints, choose the tubes of color I will be using for the session and proceed to put some paint on my palette. Grabbing the palette knife, maybe some linseed oil, I prepare the paint for placement on the canvas. Digging through my brush collection, I see that perfect brush.....I grab it and look at my canvas that is perfectly arranged on my easel. I know what I want to create!! (TOTAL TIME = 3-5 minutes)

I paint....place some more color on the palette...I paint...step back, check the piece....I paint...repeat!! (PERCEIVED TIME = 1-2 hours.....**ACTUAL TIME = 4-6 hours)

It is always a shock to me when this actually happens. I do not have a clock where I paint. I usually don't even listen to music. (I was a pro musician most of my life and sometimes music captures my attention to much and distracts me from the creation in front of me.) I even ignore the phone or turn it on silent.  My art studio is located in the basement of my home so I do not even see the changing of outside light as a guide. In essence, I have no time keeping devices within my world when I paint. All part of the plan to create a feeling of Time Compression of sorts.

It happens to us humans in many things we do, the loss of time because our brains are to engaged with the task at hand. I actually seek this out. I know when this happens that my focus is directed at that work of art. It is the great escape! The perception of time is relative to your mind energy and your attention. Ever notice that when you are looking forward to something, anything, that time seems to creep?  That great concert you are going to see at 8:00 tonight and it is 2:00 pm and that 6 hours seems like a full day! ...Yeah that's what I am talking about. It seem we talk about it without even noticing it.

What happens when I paint is that the color and form take over. A pirate of my time. I can see why a lot of artist are kinda crazy. Time is different to them, they are not a slave to it! The hustle and bustle of the normal world means nothing to them while they create. Time is actually an enemy of sorts. Time makes things dry too fast or slow, ideas to be forgotten and the bills to be due! Thus we seek to loose time.

Besides the rotation of the earth, Day to night, Time is a man made thing. We clever humans have invented clocks, calendars, hour glasses and the like, to feel that we have control over what time is. I hope to shed this thought process and in large part have. Sure I have to know these things because of real life and that everyone else in the world abides by it. So in many ways I am still a slave to it and have to be! I accept that. Loosing time when I am doing my art is my big "middle finger up" to the clock of humanity and all her rules! You cant have me all the time!!

So in my little speak for the night that I am sharing with you I just wanted to tell you....Do something creative to loose that concept of time even for a few "actual" hours each week. Find something that is revenge for all the other time you spend keeping track of it! Be beautiful for yourself....Create....Try a new hobby....Go down to Hobby Lobby and buy yourself some cheap paints\brushes\cardstock(heavy paper)....Find out how easy it is to do something creative...you do not need to share it with anyone...keep it to yourself if you wish.....art can be creating with anything your mind wants to...it only needs to be art to you!!!!

Thanks for listening....I wish you a wonderful day....now go create something!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Peace and Love to you all

One more thought: We where all born with the ability to be artists...it is just some of us who are not afraid to do so!

Separation Anxiety...the Artist Variety

An artist creates...creates mood, feeling and many emotions within their work. They lay their inner being on to a canvas in order to share it with a viewer. When they get in front of an empty canvas they are faced with difficult decisions and must overcome many obstacles. Masters of problem solving and the ability to overcome an error, they continue to press on to end up with a work that others admire and sometimes want for their own environment. That is where the issue comes into play. The issue of Artist Separation Anxiety.

I will spend hours, days and sometimes longer in front of a painting. I know it from the inside out. Every brush stroke is an old friend. Every color becomes an actor is the wonderful play I am writing. In the end they are a part of me on many levels. That is what I do as an artist. Some people realize this and are moved to give me money to own that part of me I placed on a canvas. Then they actually hang them in a place they can enjoy and even show it off. That is one of the most wonderful things that can happen to an artist. In all of that wonder the down side is that I often miss that part of me. I can never re-create that particular part of me ever again. (and that is why original art work is so powerful, it lives as an individual, a one of a kind)

My home is filled with my work. On my walls are many pieces of me. I hang them, and rotate them in and out of prime wall space. They will hang to dry, to cure, but really for me to enjoy before they may possibly be sold. I have some stacked against each other in my studio waiting to be displayed in my home or in yours. I love each and every one of them in some way or another. They are part of my family.

That is what you get when you purchase original art from a person like me...you get more than simply canvas and dry paint....You get a slice of my soul!

The other pressing issue is what to charge ($$$) for this? I am just a simple guy living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota USA. I am not a well known artist with awards and fancy gallery shows. I don't know all the "in" art people, even in my town! I had enough of that self promotion world of image falsity in my 20+ year RocknRoll music career. I know the time and materials it takes to create a cool piece...but what is that worth? I guess whatever someone is willing to pay? It is one of my biggest issues right now....What is my art worth? that's a great subject for a future rant!

I love to sell paintings....I love the rush I get knowing that someone wants to own a work of art done by me. I know that they can enjoy that for generations. It becomes part of their family and world. I just miss an old friend. They are all important to me. That is the wonder of it all!!

So Yes!.....Please give me a complex...another spell with Separation anxiety.....it is the disorder I do enjoy...Give me that feeling right before I pack it up to ship to look at it with my own eyes one more time. Maybe even a happy tear? Just know when you get it in your hands that is was done with all of me....I would hope that when you hang it on your wall that throughout time you will also learn the inner workings of it and create your own attachment. That is my goal!!