May
12
2010

Humble Beginnings by WIlson Bickford

 

Whenever someone finds out that you're an "artist," the first assumption is that you were "born with talent" and "came by it naturally." (and a hundred other comments which allude to the same idea). When it came to painting, I can assure you that I had no "gift" bestowed upon me.





Shown here is my first "serious" attempt at Oils more than 20 years ago.
At the time, I didn't think it was too bad, but I knew I had a very, very long way to go.

Art is a cumulative process. You'll learn the desired skills through study and practice. The more you invest, the greater the return (and the quicker that return will be).

At the time that I painted this, I had NO IDEA that one day, I would be a full-time artist, teacher and author of an instructional book. Painting literally led me down another road to a new career. I started out painting for my own enjoyment, not in search of a new "job."

I was told by friends and relatives to "keep your first painting so you can look back on it and see your progress." Boy, were they right! I am so glad that I've hung on to this all these years. Very often, I take this painting to my classes to encourage my students. We all have a good chuckle over it, but it definitely eases the anxiety in the room when they realize that they are no farther off the mark than I was, initially.

I've found that art boils down to these 4 essentials:
1. INSPIRATION - obtaining the desire to create
2. PERSPIRATION - putting in the hard work and study
3. DEDICATION - sticking with the “perspiration part” and not giving up
4. SATISFACTION - being confident in your abilities and level of work

From your initial attempt, you can only grow and improve. Don't be afraid to take that first step!

www.wilsonbickford.com
May
12
2010

Collecting Art by Deb Bartos

n addition to creating art, I have slowly and affordably collected art from other artists over the past 20 years. It has been a wonderful thing to do and every piece tells a story. I've collected work that is practical. These items include a hand-blown vase to hold my flowers, a welded sculpture to hold my keys, soap dishes to hold my soap, stained glass nightlights, jewelry and scarves, clothing to wear, you get the idea. It sneaks in everywhere. William Morris said "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." When I have been able to combine the two, it's even better.

I also have collected paintings, which seems redundant, as I am a painter, and have my own work stacked up all over my house as well as taking up most of my wall space. This has been the hardest to justify, however, the most enjoyable. I have collected 2-dimensional work from my travels as souvenirs and from other painters whose work I have known and admired. I enjoy my collector's wall every day. I remember the qualities I loved about the work when I bought it and years later, still do.

It is well said that beauty is consolation in sorrow and affirmation in joy. Beautiful art touches our souls. A quote from an art collector I recently read an article on is "the art on our walls is a mirror of our lives." This is true, in every private and corporate collection I have ever seen. If you purchase original art you love, it speaks about your taste as well as the artist. It affirms their talent and vision and allows them to continue painting. This is a wonderful thing to do. It allows art to continue and affirms that art matters. Thank you to my collectors. I appreciate you each and every one.

May
12
2010

Left in the Dark by Wilson Bickford

 


I recently conducted an oil painting class which focused on a night-time seascape theme. Rendering night scenes is always challenging, as colors diminish and things take on a more monochromatic feel. The issue is to get the scene dark enough to convey that particular time of the day, but not so dark that it literally becomes lost. In reality, some nights are pitch black and some are still quite light. It takes a lot of "judging" of the values to pull it off convincingly.

I find it easier to establish my mid-tone first and I use that value to "tone" my whole canvas. This sets the stage for the lights and darks I will apply which will straddle either side of that mid-tone.

Painting is all about value contrasts and I make sure that I still get a broad range. (Note the lightness of the moon and sea foam compared to the rocks.) However, the middle values are much "closer" together and vary only slightly. This is the key to capturing that night-time mood.

I have found that these "moonlit" themes seem to strike a certain chord with viewers and consequently, they are good sellers. By a large margin, most landscapes are portrayed during the daytime hours, so perhaps a moonscape's appeal lies in the fact that it's different. If you're strictly a "daytime" painter, don't be afraid to catch "full moon fever" and try one of these.

Just watch out for werewolves!
www.wilsonbickford.com

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