May
12
2010

Where Does Inspiration Come From by Carissa Goldstein



Art has always been a mystical field for me. Having taken only one art class in high school, I didn't have a lot of exposure other than visits to art galleries. I would wander from piece to piece at each gallery, stunned at how these artists came up with such amazing ideas. Where did these ideas come from? Divine inspiration? Brilliant epiphanies? Whatever the source, I was sure I did not possess the brain cells necessary to create these masterpieces.

Being very left-brained, I went to school for engineering, reveling in the order and objectivity of numbers and equations. However, I soon realized this was not enough. Staring at the same thing all day exhausted my brain and using the same equations became monotonous. I then started working at the Jerry's Raleigh retail store assisting with event planning, and I finally got the exposure I needed to the art world. I realized that real people were taking these workshops and learning to create art. All of these people had other responsibilities, such as jobs, kids, etc. Yet they still found time to paint, draw, or exercise the right side of their brain in some fashion. This was a wakeup call. These artists were not the pretentious, full time creators I had pictured. Some of them had formal education in art, but many of them had stumbled upon this area later in life and picked it up as a hobby. It was during this time I started to think, "Maybe I CAN do this!" Very enthusiastic at this discovery, I signed up for a workshop and came in prepared to learn everything there was to know about becoming a master artist. That definitely did NOT happen. I thought that once someone had shared the "secret" to art with me, I would be able to do anything I wanted. I quickly became frustrated that I could not come up with fantastic ideas and then, when I could think of something, it was as if my brain and hand were speaking different languages. My perfectionist nature was getting in the way and telling me everything I did was wrong or ugly.

Fortunately I was working under a boss who is also an artist and she was, and continues, to be a mentor to me. She shared with me that art is a journey, not a destination. At first I thought this was just a cheesy cliché, but soon began to believe what she was saying. Most artists don't sit down in front a canvas with a finished image in their head. They begin to play with the paint and create; as Bob Ross used to say, "Happy Accidents." I also became friends with another amazing artist who said the point of art is to make "interesting marks." I also learned that many artists do not finish a piece in one sitting. They take the time to walk away and relax their mind, understanding the idea of getting bogged down in details and not being able to see the forest for the trees. I realized that I was comparing myself to people who had been doing this for years, expecting to produce results similar to them. That was crazy! I was expecting to pick up a basketball for the first time and play in the WNBA.

Beginning my journey only a year or two ago, I am definitely still a beginner. I am learning to turn off my inner judge and let go of my perceptions, trying to enjoy art for the sake of art without trying to create a masterpiece each time. I am also learning my strengths and how to utilize them rather than copying someone else. I am still inspired by the professional artists I've had the pleasure to meet, but I know I will not be like them overnight. Art truly is a journey, and I feel I've just begun!
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.

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