Artists as the Way Showers Sages and Soothsayers by Cheryl Whitestone

This 16x20” oil painting is one of the illustrations from a story that came to me, a kind of healing Native American myth. I have titled the book “Dennies Totally Bizarre Magical Mystical Rite of Passage.” I would tell you it is a true story but you wouldn’t believe me, so you can think of it as fantasy. That’s ok some metaphysicians believe what we think creates reality. Anyway somehow I have always had a sense of the fantastic and extraordinary. In fact I am drawn to the unusual and fantastic. I always believed people/our society today needed new dreams, myths, legends, up-lifting stories and traditions that they themselves create. In a sense we are doing this with blogs, web sites, music, videos, art, movies (Avatar). We see you James Cameron! You can see my meanderings in my blog www.cherylwhitestonesworld.blogspot.com. Look at the oldest posts.

I believe artists will step out on that ledge of the extraordinary and explore, then lead others to their personal muse whatever it may be. Art is such a healing activity for anyone, no matter what skill level. When I was painting abstracts I could actually see what was going on in my life in the painting, a window to my soul, I could actually read the painting.

When I came across Joseph Campbell, I jumped for joy. I devoured the books and videos. Someone who though what I thought! PBS ran a series called “Joseph Campbell the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers.” I taped them all. It was a beautiful series. And the book is set up as an interview:

          Moyers:  “Who interprets the divinity inherent in nature for us today? Who are our shamans? Who interprets unseen things for us?”
          Campbell: “It is the function of the artist to do this. The artist is the one who communicates myth for us today. But he has to be an artist who understands mythology and humanity and isn’t simply a sociologist with a program for you.”
Go inside yourself and explore, write, blog, paint, create a new mythology, create happy endings. Long Live the Arts.




Art Stars Contest WINNER! Cliff Welty

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Hat's off to Jerry's Artarama for sponsoring the Art Stars: My Art Journey Video Contest. It truly gave a great opportunity to many artists to share their painting tips with the world. I'm glad they named it the "Art Stars Contest", because all who participated were winners. I would like to thank Jerry's for the privilege to participate in the Art Stars Contest. It was the experience of a lifetime.

-- Cliff Welty, Brownsville, TX



Painting and Selling Portraits - the Family Dog by M Theresa Brown


Two of my five dogs think they have achieved stardom because they are featured in a 2 hour DVD!   There's  Louie, a shaggy little cockapoo rescued from an uncertain fate, and DaVinci, an impressive looking Rottweiler who, in truth, is a little dog trapped in  a big dog body.
Both are my models at the Burning Oak Studios where I filmed the DVD Painting and Selling Portraits-the Family Dog.  They were perfect gentlemen while working among all the equipment and lights and took all the attention in stride. After all, they had  everything they needed: doting people, squeaky toys and dog biscuits.  Lights, cameras, action....life is good when you're a well behaved dog .

It would be wonderful if all family dogs behaved so nicely in front of the camera. And if you are an artist interested in painting dogs for either fun or profit, many times you will be taking the photographs of your subjects.  So I made a point of demonstrating how to capture a dog's attention to take the best photographs.
Photographing and Painting your own family dog is a great way to introduce yourself to the colors, techniques and different poses.  Your dog knows you and will accept the fact that you are crawling around on the ground or making odd sounds in your throat while you practice your photography skills. The better your reference photos, the better your portrait. And although you may think that all black Labs look alike, nothing could be further from the truth! Learn to see the subtle differences.

If creating portraits of dogs to sell is your goal, spend time looking at dogs. Visit dog shows, shelters, dog parks and observe. Take every opportunity you can to understand the bone structure.  It is far easier to see the bone structure of a  smooth coated dog than a shaggy dog.  Study the feet, the eyes and ears. There are over 160 AKC recognized breeds and that does not begin to cover the mixed breeds loved by their families! And by learning various basics of breeds, when a client brings you their photograph of their dog, or you're working with Internet clients, you will be able to work around their bad photography to create a beautiful portrait!

Creating an accurate image of a family pet is only part of the finished art. The other part is to capture their personalities.  The expressiveness of the ears and the eyes are part of that personality and can speak volumes in the completed art.  For most people, dogs are a family member and it is important to convey that in your portrait.
The average client looks for her pet in your portrait.  If they have seen your style and they like it, the odds of them loving your completed portrait are greater if the other factors are in place.  There are as many dog portrait styles out there as there are artists  but it all comes down to the basic fact that your dog portrait needs to look like the client's dog! So work in the style you are most comfortable with and can create the best portrait in.  Initially, by  painting your own pet over and over, and branching out into photos of other dogs you have taken, you will develop your unique style.
Learn and practice the necessary marketing skills and you can make a comfortable addition to your income by painting Dog Portraits! And who knows, maybe Burning Oak Studios will have a "walk of fame" and add a star for Louie and DaVinci!

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