May
12
2010

Take A Hike by Wilson Bickford














If you want to get your creative juices flowing, sometimes you just have to get out into Mother Nature's domain. Winters here in northern NY can be quite brutal, with minus 20s and 30s pretty common in January and February. There are acres and acres of meadows and thick woods behind my home which I routinely patrol on my snowshoes. Although this is not my land, the owner does not mind me trekking around out there, so I take advantage of that (and I am grateful for it).

I like to snowshoe for several reasons:
* Just to make the best of a bad situation (let's just say that Winter isn't my favorite season)
* To get some fresh air and exercise
* And to get inspiration / photos for my artwork


While snow can be bothersome, as far as the shoveling, plowing and snowblowing, it is also quite beautiful and is one of my favorite landscape themes. This morning was crisp (8 degrees above), clear and bright, so I grabbed my camera and snowshoes and headed out. It was just after 8am when I hit the woods and the sun was still rising and filtering through the trees. I loved the play of light and shadows. More specifically, the warm lights and the cool, blue shadows. If you're looking for a broad range of color temperatures in your painting, this will do it. Such beautiful contrast!


I'm sure these photos will ultimately find their way onto my canvas. It's hard for me to imagine not trying to capture this tranquility. The warm and cool colors, the contrast of the dark silhouetted trees against the bright sun light bursting through............... how can one not be inspired?

So, what I want to say to you is, "GO TAKE A HIKE!!" You may not have snow where you are, so go stroll the beach, take a walk through the city streets, or meander along a wooded trail.

It'll be great for your mind, body and artistic soul!

www.wilsonbickford.com
May
12
2010

I'm A Cheater! by Heather Goldstein

Yes, I said it, I'm a cheater! I am a young artist and I have only been studying the figure for 3 years, but I have found that if it is something you are passionate about, you will do the work. Any figure painter will tell you the difficulties of proportions. In school we learn a basic canon (i.e. an adult is 6 1/2 to 7- sometimes 8- heads tall, the eyes are half way down the face from the top of the crown to the chin, the nose is 1/3 of the way down from the end of the nose to the chin, etc.). Unfortunately, most people do not fall into these perfect proportions and so we must use them as a baseline but be ready to improvise. My paintings from 2009, below, show the unpredictability I have had...
Wallflower
Oil on Canvas
58"x72"
I had a lot of issues when I measured this painting. Often times, we make the head too large and hands too small. The best question to ask yourself is, "could they stand up?" I personally work from photographs and then turn them into life-size figures. The method I used here was a grid. I drew a grid over my photo (printed on computer paper) and then the same one on the canvas. I then sketched out the figure with charcoal and continued my painting. Anyone who has worked like this knows that the gird is not fool-proof. There is a lot things that may go wrong and sometimes its hard to see.
Hey Girl Hey!
Oil on Canvas
58"x72"
I of course, have to put in an example of problem proportions. This is a great example of the head being too large for the body.
Sienna
Oil on Canvas
58"x72"
Of all of that measuring I did with the previous two, here is an example of a free hand large scale drawing (NO MEASURING!!). Art can be unpredictable and you need to be prepared for failed paintings. And know that sometimes you will regress before you progress.

So...why am I a cheater? I use what many artists before me have (in some form or another) and I cut out what is sometimes hours of frustration by using a projector! I love the Artograph MC 250 and the Prism Series!

Keepin it Gangsta!
Oil on Canvas
36"x48"

American Dream
Oil on Canvas
36"x48"








With the projector, I am able to save time and get it right the first time.

May
12
2010

My Creative Process from The Me Nobody Knows (TMNK)












Salt and Pepper

18"x24"
Mixed Media on Masonite
2009

I was asked recently about my creative process as though I had some formula for coming up with my paintings. For me, each painting is a unique journey, a planned, yet unexpected accident. I knew where I was trying to go, but how did I end up here? The only thing I know for certain is, if you are to get anywhere at all you must begin walking in that direction.

And so it is with the art I create. I seldom have a picture in my mind of what the final painting will look like. I merely have the seeds of a thought, an idea, and an emotion that I allow to consume me. One thought leads to another, and another. And so it is I begin my journey; my slow deliberate walk somewhere, yet never knowing quite exactly where. I simply begin. Sometimes I work from sketches in my notebooks, yet the finish works seldom look anything like the sketches. Sometimes I simply begin building layers of textures and colors, until something in my mind says stop, enough. And there are yet other times when an unwritten poem in my mind, becomes a painting; where words are translated into visual hieroglyphics.

Today I stare at empty canvases, scattered scraps of paper, paints and brushes and again I begin that maddening conversation, the one that begins with me daring to call myself an artist. No set formula, just an urge to create something that wasn't before. Perhaps today's journey, today's walk in the urban jungle of my mind will lead to a beautiful discovery. Or perhaps, like many days, I will find myself staring at a wall lost.
menobodyknows.com

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