Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Painting Lost.....Then found 22 years later

Today started off like most days, with the exception of I had planned on going to the hospital to be with my family for my Sister-in-Laws surgery. The plan was for my mother to pick me up, eat some lunch and make our way to the surgery center. I saw my Moms vehicle pull in the driveway from the window...she got out and pulled a canvas out of her car....This is not out of the ordinary, she buys me canvases and art supplies all the time (she is an artist and loves to buy art supplies). I opened the door and in her hands was this beautiful landscape painting......I knew this one!!!

The Painting of a mountain landscape with lake and trees....was painted by me in 1989....I had not seen it since 1989....22+ years this has been in a box....In storage!....under my parents stairs! When I first saw it today a rush of memory flooded back to me....I was 17 years old all over again in one quick second. I had forgot that it even existed until seeing it again. Then it all came back....

It was 1989, I was a Senior in high school, painting class with Don Durfee and my teacher. The assignment was to do a landscape mountain scene in oils on a canvas that we had to stretch. I spent every moment I could in the art room when I was in school. It was some of the best times of my life....a bounty of materials, tools, kilns, paints, really everything you could think of. Mr. Durfee was one of the most talented and cool folks around. He had this long beard...looked like he was part of a motorcycle gang...but for an young high school nerd like me....He was COOL! ya know.......... He was great, would let us kids that dug art really express ourselves and help us when we needed it. His assignments where always a challenge and lots of fun. He loved us to get our hands dirty. He was a glorious painter and in this area his work is pretty well known. During times when we all would be working on our art....he would sit in the room in front of a canvas and paint these beautiful nature and wildlife paintings. I would watch and hope that some day I could be half as good.....I do what I do now because of Mr. Durfee!  Don Durfee-Eye of the Artist (Mr. Durfee focuses on Photography now days check it out).

A Few Memories of this painting:  I remember learning to stretch the canvas. Mr. Durfee helping pull as I used the staple gun. When it was all done I recall being real proud of the fact that I had really stretched my own canvas. It also was my first time really using a palette knife to paint and not just mix paint. The only thing I do actually remember painting was the mountains and the snow on them. I would go into the art room during study hall and get in close and focus on the detail of every speck of snow..... The palette knife became my friend real fast.... I was hooked!

I do not remember the grade I got? I do not actually remember bringing it home or where it ended up soon after that?....Me being 17, I was probably more interested in skulls and fire (I was a metal\punk musician kid) than in a landscape of mountains. But 22 years later thanks to my mother it is here in front of me and I have an adult appreciation for it.....It actually makes me a bit sad....sad because this life moves so fast...if you blink and not notice it will be gone....sad because I miss that 17 year old kid....and sad because I lost so many memories and feeling of those days of youth.  The sadness was replaced with smiles and memories of the wonder I felt in those days...I wanted to be an artist my whole life and I think about that all the time.

I would also like to point out a fun little thing about this painting....the way I signed it....I used my normal signature...Lance-printed and a big loop of the J circling it.....but the funny thing was the word RATSKULL under it....When I was in school I was a RocknRoller...the kid who played electric guitar in garage punk bands...Black t-shirts with Metallica images....long hair...Gonna be a big Rock Star when I grow up....etc etc etc....you know the Art\Rock music type.....I had a "stage name" and that name was RATSKULL....I must have been real proud of it during that time...cause I signed my landscape painting with it.....Oh to be a youth again....hehehehe It makes me giggle
I was so very happy today when my Mom brought this to my home. I smile even as I write this.....I will never let it go to storage ever again...I will cherish it....I have very very little of the work I did in those years. I think it deserves a frame!

I will also note that this is one of only three landscapes I have ever painted...the others are the painting I did a month or so ago and wrote a blog about called "My Day with Vincent. The other is a painting of a deer standing at the edge of a pond...which I do not know here that painting is and have not seen it since I painted it in like 8th grade.....I hope my Mom finds that one also.....

Another quick Note....my Sister-in-Laws surgery went great and she is recovering well....

Peace and Love to you all and thank you for taking a stroll down memory lane with me...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tools of my Trade #1 "White Oil"

In this new series of blogs I will focus on the "Tools of my Trade". The things that help me create visions. In essence. Shop talk! I will showcase some of the products and techniques I enjoy and use, as well of some that are not so good and my thoughts on them. It will also help fans and buyers better understand my work from another viewpoint. I hope you enjoy it even if you are not an artist.....

This is not a box of oil paint.....it is hundreds of visions!
-This is one of my trays in my oils collection
A Quick look at the Titanium Whites I use

Oil paint is a very simple thing, pigments and oil. Pigments derived from minerals, oxides and synthetic materials. The oil used is not what you put in your car or what you fry your chicken in but an oil derived from the seed of the Flax plant called Linseed Oil. Linseed Oil is the most common used but other types of oils are also used (Safflower, which I will discuss soon, Walnut, Poppy even Hemp). 

In my world, I prefer my Titanium White to use Safflower oil. Safflower oil has a tendency to yellow far less that linseed oil (Linseed oil is known for turning a slight hue of yellow with drying and age) The yellowing is not always a bad thing with colors but you want your white to stay as white as possible. Remember White=Light! I also want to point out that I use only Titanium White. There are a few other whites out there like Zinc White but I have never used any. (Zinc Oxide-what Zinc White is made of is also a pigment in Titanium White) 

There are many manufacturers of oil paint. Some large companies and some very small boutique companies. Most paint brands today have been around for 50+ years...Some even more! Most of them know what they are doing. for sure! Like anything else you get what you pay for. 

Artists get real picky and weird about the brand(s) of paint they use. They become fanatics about it sometimes. Its just one of those things...you like to use the best tools available and something that has become familiar. I have "My Brands".....can you tell from the photo up above of one of my oil paint boxes? 

Yeah I Love the Rembrandt Oils from Royal Talens.....I also use some of the Van Gogh line also from Royal Talens and a bunch of other companies depending on color.....but we will discuss other colors in a future blog....Let me get back to White....I always will have on hand at least 1 150ml (large tube) of Rembrandt Titanium White (Safflower Oil) and 1 200ml (large tube) of Winton line by Winsor and Newton. I will also keep a 40ml tube or two around for when I need just a little.....it is easier to get just a little out of the small tubes because the large ones have huge openings hehehehe  

REMBRANDT and WINTON by Winsor & Newton
  Why two brands of the same color? The answer is feel! Feel is everything. Every paint brand has a different feel. It will depend on many factors like how fine they grind the pigments, the quality of the pigments and oil etc etc etc........ Some colors I have the same in many brands, which one I use depends on the painting and application. Sounds complicated huh? I have been through about every mainstream paint companies product in one way or another. I found what I like for white in these 2 choices....

Rembrandt Oil Titanium White is smooth and buttery, it has a creamy feel.... This is the paint I use when I use white especially in the subject of the painting! I just love how well it works in almost every type of technique. It blends very good when I add it to color both on the palette and on the canvas. It looks less chalky than some other brands when mixed with color. Even with its high pigment load it feels light. It is rich and smooth. 
Also note....Rembrandt Oil Paints are professional quality and the price reflects that....
***Rembrandt is made in The Netherlands***

Titanium White is a heavy paint, thick and pasty. If I where to use it in the same applications I use the Rembrandt.... I would have to add lots of linseed oil (which I do from time to time to get the white to actually naturally yellow a bit). It is chalky and I can tell is not ground as fine as extra fine grinds found in much more expensive paint. The Winton line is Winsor & Newtons academic line of paints. Low cost but still very good quality. That helps for the reason I use it.....When I need volume (like in a 36x48in painting background using a palette knife)..or on a heavy Impasto style painting that would use lots of paint. I also like the feel in other applications such as when I want a chalky white feel or while glazing\layering another white to play of of the other or just want that non-creamy feel........ This is my bulk paint!    
***Winton is made in France, Winsor &Newton are headquartered in London, England***  

I usually buy Titanium White in big tubes...the price also reflects where the extra quality come into play.... The Rembrandt 150ml tube will cost about $18.00.........a 200ml tube of Winton cost about $9.00 (50ml less for 1/2 the money but there is another cost...)....I will never have a problem with spending whatever the cost to get professional fine ground paint....

    Well thank you for reading this....I had some time to chill this afternoon and felt like writing a blog...Folks ask me all the time "What paints you use?"........ "What brushes you paint with?"..... "What Planet you from?"......"What is wrong with your Mind"......I thought I could at least answer a few of their questions hehehehehe Peace and Love to you....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


16x20in Oil on Canvas

It was on this day he noticed....finally really noticed. It had been there his whole life but he was to busy with his fake life. The life everyone expected him to live. The banks, bill collectors and advertisers all had a good hold on how he should be living his life. Marketing departments owned him. They shove the "must have items" in his face. They influence him to spend money on things that are just things. The Rulers of his land worked to make him conform to the party line. They promised freedom but delivered nothing.....besides rules. He was taught to just "be". He became Blue...
.....and alone! When he finally started to notice what had been done he took a long walk....to the edge of the world. Where light is pure and energy is real. It is a beautiful but lonely place, cause not to many know it even exists...not to many have made this trip....not to many have admitted they are also Blue. He stepped close to the edge and looked up....With his bloodshot eyes, for the first time he actually saw the Sun...
He knew it was always there....but he never really ever "Saw it".......... He raised his hand and with a deep sigh and a tear, he pointed to the sky. A visual snapshot entered his mind, he would never forget this moment. He would live his life different now. An awakening moment. He realized that he had forgot about the natural energy of the world and the universe as we know it and the power of light and color...
He would never be the same again....He now took notice of the beauty and life all around him...Maybe it was from that point on "When He Found the Sun" that he was actually alive for the first time?

Do you need to take that journey?

***This is a painting I finished up today...I started it about a week ago (the background and sun...everything except the figure...which I completed today). As I was painting it, I tried to capture the feelings and mood of the story that was swimming in my head. I wanted to show the loneliness we all feel....and sometimes the palette knife is the best way to show that....hopefully the bright colors yield the viewer a glimmer of light and promise....even if they live their life in the Blue......
Thanks for checking it out....I had fun with this one...I would love to hear your thoughts!!!

***UPDATE*** This beautiful painting now lives in Australia....It was sold soon after I posted this blog....It is now part of a collection by Temporary Galley . I am super happy that it has such a great new home....I hope many can enjoy it.....Peace and love to you
 "Lance: your painting arrived alive and well in Melbourne, Australia. Thanks a Million. Erik The Viking"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Some thoughts: My First Gallery Interview

Last Saturday I took an important step in my blossoming career as an artist. Taking that first step into working with a gallery and\or art broker...

In the past, my art was something just for me. Something I did with my creative side that was just mine. Being a pro musician for most of my adult life I felt I was giving away so much of myself to fans everyday through music. Painting and my art was what I did for me. My paintings would hang in my home and the only eyes that would gaze on them would be close friends and family that would visit my home. The only semi-public place where my paintings would be seen was at my recording studio and that was just industry folk, musicians and friends. So in the life of most of my paintings very few eyes have actually set on them. Some of the latest paintings, very very few eyes have seen them in person....This is sad to me! In person is where they really live..........So about 7 months ago I decided to change everything in my life and make painting my number one priority. I wanted something new to pursue in the second half of my life....I started my facebook page and painted a lot....started this Blog....getting some other things lined up on the internet etc. etc. etc. The next step was kinda a scary one.....The contacting a gallery and seeing about getting some of my work in their gallery step. It would also be the first time anyone in the industry, even local, would be seeing my work in front of them...I am glad I do not have stage fright!!!!!!

So I had stopped in the gallery a few weeks ago just to peek around, catch the vibe and maybe ask a few questions. The vibe was great......The visit was great. They told me to contact them as soon as the holiday was over....So I made a call last Friday and the owner was very well versed in my work by this time. We had a great conversation with the rundown being....Bring me a bunch of paintings tomorrow...

I walked around my house pulling paintings off the wall in between a few cups of coffee...Loaded them into the Jeep and headed to what I kinda felt was an interview. I carried 8 paintings into the gallery. They where set up against various stands and desks in a rough circle. It was cool to see them in a different type of lighting...and setting. Every one seemed excited? Another local artist, that has a show in the gallery right now, was there and that was exciting to have another great artist having eyes on your work. I wanted to use this as a learning lesson...I wanted to pick some brains! I wanted to really see how folks reacted to my visions I created on canvas....I had nothing to loose!

Almost 3 hours later I loaded up my paintings with a fresh view on the art world. My mouth was dry from the great conversations we had. The information I was given was very valuable and down to earth. I now knew a few things I had to do to take that next step even on the local level. I had a little work to do. First being, Getting together a retail price list for the paintings I wish to sell. This would be more difficult that even I had imagined. Being so green in the art world, I really needed to do a bit of research. Figuring out part if it is pretty easy...knowing costs you have in materials, frame (if needed) and even to some extent the time you have invested. I know what the galleries commission will be..... The real difficult thing in the rest of it! During our conversation I was asked painting by painting what I think it should sell for and why....He was picking my brain also. I got the feeling that the prices I was throwing around and my reasons where within reason or maybe even low, from the reactions I was getting? So I am on the right path anyway....The whole "price for paintings" is an ongoing conversation that warrants millions of blog entries....Anyway I am now working all that out .....I guess I would rather be a bit high than low...right? hehehehehe

The most enjoyable part of the day was the gallery owner digging in to every painting. He wanted to know everything about anything that had to do with each piece. The story, the process, my state of mind at the time, the history that lives in it....everything I could tell about it. It was awesome to just tell the whole story to someone that really wants to know. He was gauging my passion....He wanted to know if I was the real deal....an artist or someone who just paints?......That really impressed me! Sure it helps him sell my work from a sales point of view but it was good to see. If I allow someone to earn a commission off of the work I do, they need to show me that they are also invested in it and go earn it. We are doing each other a favor...lets both make some money and get color into peoples lives.

We ended our day with smiles....I felt confident that even if I was not to work with this gallery, that my paintings would stand up anywhere. I did walk away from the day with a strong feeling that what I am creating has value and worth...not only $$$ but real artistic worth. I look forward to growing as an artist and learning the business....and with the help of folks I work with and learn from along the way, I know it will become successful.....No worries right?....I just have to paint and paint and paint...everything else will fall into place. If a gallery wants to show my work, that is up to them., it is their wall space. Would I dig it....of course! Sometimes business is business.....I also look forward to my future conversations with this gallery, and working with them in the future....I learned a lot on this day!!!!

And thanks to you for even taking some time from your day and reading a bit about my Saturday adventure.....If it was not for you, my friends and fans, I would not even have to guts to even take my art to a gallery interview...thank you for all your support.......Lots of Love coming your way!!!
 Two of the paintings I showed

*DISCLAIMER I didn't want to mention the name of the gallery or some folks involved for privacy reasons at this point...We still have some conversations to have.......... If they read this and would like to comment... that is cool...matter of fact encouraged! I just wanted to share my thoughts and day with you...

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Afternoon with Vincent

 "My Afternoon with Vincent"  16x20in  Oil on Canvas
painted by Lance Jeschke

While most of the world spent the weekend celebrating the coming of a new year, I spent mine a bit under the weather. It was not a wasted weekend, even though I tried to get some painting in, my body had other thoughts. So I grabbed a book I have called "Vincent" and with the aid of the 251 pages of beauty, I set out to learn a thing or two. I just simply looked at a lot of his paintings. Van Gogh being one of my favorite artists, I had seen them many, many times before....but this time I just looked with a fresh eye (may have been the medicine? or the slight fever? hehehehehe ). I decided once I felt better I would try and paint a landscape with the thoughts of his work in my mind. First of all this was the first landscape I have painted in 25 years and second I was going to try an emulate a master. It sounded like a great study and project...
Van Goghs "Wheat Field with Cypresses" 1889 oil on canvas...was my inspiration and my guide it also happened to be on the cover of the book I was viewing and reading all weekend.

So I had made a plan.....I was looking at it more of a study or an assignment. Back when I was in school, I used to love it when the teacher gave us a project, some parameters and expected a certain outcome. It turns into a great puzzle to solve. The only difference was during this project I didn't have to worry about a grade (not that I did much worrying about my art grades) but you get the point.....I didn't want to copy this masters work brush stroke for brushstroke, what would I learn doing that? I just wanted to use a style to create an emulation. I have always loved his style. I wanted to see if I could even get the feel or the mood close?  I have never really been interested in doing landscapes but if I was going to try one it would be in the style of Van Gogh. So I painted one....

It went very well!.......The first problem was that I only had like 1/4th a tube of Titanium white (and I was not about to get more today)..That white went pretty fast! ....oh well?...... I spent like 3.5 hours  in front of the canvas and it seemed like 1/2hour...Once I got a flow it went pretty good.  I wanted a Cypress tree or two, some Olive trees, a wheat field, some hills and a flowing sky. Those where my main parameters and some color choices too. I didn't have a plan where to place them, just wanted it to happen!..... I will admit painting the wheat field was my favorite part of this whole piece. It felt like I was building a wheat field with a brush. Actually the whole piece was rather liberating. The name of the game is get as much paint on your brush as you can and do most of your color mixing right on the canvas. Deliberate strokes but not deliberate! If you think....the painting will not work....I can see on my painting, where I thought, and it shows. Where my mind was wandering, those are the parts that excite my eye.........I used a lot of paint on this one...but the texture is so fun and the color is so pure. I just love heavy impasto oil paintings. They have always caught my eye. (I am always compelled to touch them for some reason?)  Speaking of the paint.....The palette was a beautiful mess....a work of art in its own way?

I will have to say it was a day well spent...I learned a lot today and had a blast doing it. My little painting will spend the next weeks drying. It will then find its way onto a wall somewhere in my house as a visual reminder of the time I spent with Vincent!.....

Painting is a beautiful thing on many levels but today I spend about 4 hours doing something that will last my lifetime and possibly many lifetimes....All because I spent my weekend looking at paintings and felt inspired to learn something, and of course because Vincent Van Gogh didn't care what folks thought about his work he just did it. He also lived it.....Peace and Love to you...thank you for checking out my day project....