Jumped Ship

It’s been a long time since my last post, but I’m finally ready to start posting and sharing this year. Since this is my first entry of 2013 and it’s been so long since I last wrote, I thought I’d make this a more personal entry and take the time to get you caught up to speed with what’s going on with me. It’s ’bout to get real.

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I still miss my little friend. “Puddin” 05/1997-10/2012

The reason it’s been so long since my last entry was that I made a sudden decision back in November to move from the east coast to the west coast. With my cat passing away in October 2012, the hustle and bustle of the holidays, back to back trips around the country including a stop at Art Basel 2012 in December, and the exhausting tasks of preparing for a long-distance move, blogging was the last thing on my mind for the last few months. I had been wanting to make a move out west for a while and finally started saving up last year, but even when circumstances had cleared up for me to move I was still reluctant to pull the trigger for many reasons. Too many to get into in this post so you’ll have to ask me yourself! The increasing feelings of stagnancy, disappointment, and being uninspired became the main catalysts to making this move. So in mid-January I finally jumped that sinking ship and moved from the DC/MD/VA area to Reno, Nevada. Definitely wasn’t my first choice, I must admit! But basically I was able to make a job transfer so Reno was a compromise I had to make just to get the hell outta there at that point. Probably the most impulsive decision I made in a long time, but I was steadily feeling out of place where I was so this needed to happen. When it came down to it, I was more than ready to go. The move was low-risk but high-change and even though that plan wasn’t really what I envisioned, ultimately it was the right balance for me.

Here's a chunk of my life, didn't seem like a lot once it all arrived to the new place.

Here’s a chunk of my life, didn’t seem like a lot once it all arrived to the new place.

The first month or so was difficult! This is a new kind of isolation that I’m feeling. Continue reading

Back at it!

First let me apologize. It’s been a long hiatus! Things had definitely been a little hectic for a while. Not sure why I hadn’t said anything about it before, but now that it’s finally here I am very excited to share that I’m in Philadelphia this week doing a painting workshop at Studio Incamminati! Studio Incamminati is an atelier that is one of the best at developing students who want to learn the style of humanist realism. Students are taught under the teaching philosophy of its founder, Nelson Shanks. The experience has been stimulating yet challenging so far, and while I’m here I will do my best to provide updates, pictures, and for the first time – video! Yes, I’ll be recording video recaps of my days in class and the work that I’m doing. For now just check out the Purple Paintbrush Facebook page for the video uploads. Like, share, comment, or just watch if that’s what you’re into. ;)

To Be on Hard Times, or Hard Pressed for Time?

photo courtesy of becky.sm on Flickr

Artists, how do you do it? Seriously. I might need some tips.

The last 2 weeks have proved to be very difficult for me to squeeze in any time to make anything. Mostly because of the extra hours I’ve been putting in at my job. I’ve come to know 9 to 10 hour days very well lately. Granted, it’s not the worst problem to have because it does pad the pockets with a little extra green. But seriously, it’s those times that I come home from a long, trying day at work 4 – 5 days out of the week that the LAST thing on my mind is getting home and finding the extra push within me to make art – one of my favorite things to do in life. What sounds better than that, you ask? These days, it seems to be:
- Rest/sleep
- A mindless hour of playing video games
- A couple of mindless hours surfing and researching stuff on the internet
- Netflix
- Personal hygiene and upkeep
- Social interaction OFFline (Facebook and Twitter don’t count.)

Before I can even glance over at a canvas, it’s right on back to the 9 to 5 and the cycle continues. Isn’t that sad? The things that have been balancing me out lately have nothing to do with picking up a paintbrush or an Illustrator pen tool.

“Man, say what you want, but that ‘starving artist’ ish is not cute.”

I suppose the argument there could be posed that maybe I just don’t want to do it bad enough. I can see why one would think that. I guess my only defense to that is, hey I’m human. At the same time I also know that sometimes, wanting something “bad enough” and focusing solely that one aspect of life doesn’t mean I’ll always benefit from that kind of drive – the kind of drive that people lose themselves in and neglect families over. There are only so many hours in a day, my situation isn’t that bad, and my body and mind can only take so much. And let’s face it, sometimes a person’s priorities just have to shift – at least in my case it’s only temporary. I know I’ll regain momentum again soon enough. Maybe these things sound like excuses, I don’t know. I guess that doesn’t make me a “true” artist then. Honestly if I could, I’d say nuts to this 9 to 5 crap, drop everything and just throw myself into figuring out how to profit as a painter…straight up. During the periods of burnout like I’m experiencing right now is when I feel that urge the most! Then there’d really be no excuse because I’d HAVE to make art my life. That sure sounds noble, but is it really THAT easy? Is that a realistic type of life anymore? Or have I been fed the wrong images of making a living as an artist? (see above)

I live in one of the most expensive areas to live in the country, and I’m not the type of person that has vast amounts of Luck paving my path. Man, say what you want, but that “starving artist” ish is not cute. Even having said that I STILL would do it if I could, because I know I’d still be able to achieve a certain level of happiness. Unfortunately I have to be realistic and continue to figure out a less extreme route. Too long of doing the “noble thing” with no way to take care of myself and unable to continue doing the very thing I gave up everything for would certainly have me yearning for 50 hour work weeks and W-2 forms again. I’m just sayin…

At the end of the day, I just seek balance. That’s all. Painting is important to me, but like all other things in my life I won’t die if I can’t get to it all of the time. I notice the void, but production always picks back up eventually. Thank God for this blog and the accessibility of it. I think this platform is probably the loophole to my creative stalls. It’s a way for me to stay connected to that part of myself and maintain an outlet for expression – which now that I think about it, is probably the root of what I need anyway. Maybe as long as I find SOME way to do that in the midst of it everything else, I’m not losing as much as it may seem.

Your thoughts? Can you relate to this at all? Please enlighten me! What do you do when your passion has to take the passenger’s seat? (Or in some cases, the backseat?) Are you waking up in cold sweats in the middle of the night over it, or is it not as deep to you? Are full-time artists really starving and broke?

Took a Breather

Been on a bit of a break this week with the memorial day holiday, overtime at work, and just catching up with myself in general. Sorry I was MIA! But I’m ready to get back on track with the regularly scheduled program.

In other news, someone has a birthday coming up tomorrow…

Painting @ The Torpedo Factory – Week 2 recap

Started from here going into the 2nd day of class.

Well, now we’re getting to the nitty gritty: color. I know I should be champing at the bit about this as an aspiring painter, but I was just about ready to pull my hair out at the thought of it! I always experience a certain level of anxiety when starting a painting. It’s just like when I start anything new in life, I can have the best of plans going into it but I really don’t know what’s going to happen…and 9 times out of 10 it never turns out the way I thought it would (and that can be in a positive or negative way)! Week 2 of my portrait/figure painting class had me experiencing both outcomes.

First we’ll start with my homework. I was so excited to do it actually. I planned to do a still life and I was so confident it was going to turn out to be an interesting piece. The assignment was to spend no more than 2 hours on a color study starting with a hot orange for the light, and a cool blue for the shadow, and try to achieve the actual colors of the object (local color) from there. Well, somehow I forgot that I had to use the hot/cold colors to start off with and I ended up with this:

WTF? How the hell did I make this?! Terrible! Needless to say that I was NOT looking forward to sharing this with the class. I couldn’t decide which was better: bringing that sorry painting in as my homework or pretending that I just didn’t do it!

I decided to face the music like a man.

The good thing was, I knew that I can do better and I knew exactly what was wrong with the painting (besides completely forgetting about the color study setup – how did I do that?!). I needed to paint faster and thicker because for a 2-hour painting, it looks so undone. I also need to punch up those colors! So next time, I know I will be able to step it up correctly and possibly avoid some pitfalls. When it came time for the critiques, Danni, our teacher, basically said, “You tell ME what’s wrong with this.” Damn. Well, at least I expected that. I guess it could’ve been worse! :)

The upside to this though, is that Danni seemed to be impressed by my work in the actual class. I’m starting to better understand the concept of a color study, and after a bit of stalling by painting the background a little longer than I probably needed to (hehe) I finally dove right into it. Honestly I’ve been approaching this painting with a lot of hesitation. It seems like with every new piece I’m afraid that I’ll discover I’m not as good as I think I am. But I have to be brave and keep trying anyway, right? Funny how the things we learn in making art can apply to everyday life…

At first my painting was looking like The Thing from The Fantastic 4! Starting off with such extreme colors is so new to me, but I went with it and tried to recall the demo from the 1st week. Surprisingly, to me at least, Danni was pleased with my piece. She continued to give me encouragement throughout the day and reassured me that I was doing well. I was very skeptical at first, but I did begin to see what she meant as I kept going. I’m starting to get a bit of a luminous skintone just from the color I’m adding on top of the orange and green. Who knew!? Now I’m getting excited about how it’ll turn out. Here’s the progression throughout the day:

Added color for the background, and Cadmium Orange for the skin in light

Used Permanent Green Light (I think that's what it was) for the shadow, then started using mixtures of Permanent Rose/White on top to achieve skintones. LOTS of blending and pushing color into color.

Started dragging color to other areas of the painting. This is where I left off.

Homework for this week: A 2-hour color study starting with a Lemon Yellow/White mixture for the areas of light, and a Permanent Green/White mixture for the shadows. Pray for me ya’ll.

Class is in Session

Gallery

This gallery contains 12 photos.

This past Saturday was my first day in a figure and portrait painting class at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. I have been so anxious about it ever since I signed up for it 2 months ago! You can imagine … Continue reading