Greg's Blog

Sometimes I'll throw a little useful info out here for you, other times it's just a bit of mumbo jumbo

 

 

  • Newly elected member of the Salmagundi Art Club, New York, New York
  • Artists of the New Century at the Bennington Center for the Arts
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License and Registration Please: 7

June 22, 2014 by admin

After today, there’s tomorrow.

But I won’t be painting tomorrow, at least not in the Adirondacks. I’m going to keep this short (yay, I know) because I must be leaving Road Trip NY Day 7 007about 4am to get to Richmond VA in time for registration.

On the agenda for today was painting at Tupper Lake, Bog River Falls, and then a closing party at our hosts summer home just around the corner.

With painting gear, plenty of gas and a feeling this is going to be the best day of painting ever because this is it, I’m out of here after today I set out on the 35 minute drive to Bog River Falls. There are good things and bad things about jumping out on your own to get to a painting location instead of caravaning over with the group. The good thing is you don’t have to wait for everyone to get ready to go, you can go at your own driving speed, and you get to the best painting spots for yourself. The bad thing is you don’t know where all the best painting spots are. Road Trip NY Day 7 016I did get a pretty good painting place here, but I wanted to get out on a little (okay it probably weighed 10 tons) boulder in the river, and I had brought my hip-waders to do just that, cut across the river without getting wet, but the water was up and rushing through at such a rate I know if I had tried I’d have been swept away with the current… so I stayed put.

Next on to Tupper Lake, just a few miles around the bend.  I ended up setting up along the highway in what IRoad Trip NY Day 7 036 thought was a pretty wide shoulder. The view was across the lake at a couple little islands popping up out of the lake that are pretty typical of this area. The sun was coming in and and, then out and in. It did not really know what it was going to do, so I worked with it.

If I something catches my eye along the highway, or roadside, I tend to pullover and paint. Not always the safest thing, and if it looks like I’m going to be a hazard, or that it really does look dangerous, I’ll not do it. But I’ve a few wonderful Facebook friends that were concerned and have sent me little warning triangles you set on the road, and a bright yellow reflective  vest. Now I can be seen by orbiting satellites I believe.

I set up and painted, and while doing so I had some motorcyclists stop and take pictures, and a family stop and visit. Next a State Trooper drove by, saw me and made a U-turn with his flashing lights on and pulled in behind me. (now flashing lights would be a good way to get people to slow down and avoid me, hmmm?)

The officer was a nice guy, and really enjoyed the painting, but he said that parking my car straight across from where I was painting was creating a possible bottleneck and wanted to know if I could move the car a little. I guess I wasn’t thinking when I saw what I Road Trip NY Day 7 070wanted to paint, pulled the car way way over, grabbed my gear and crossed the street.

The officer did have some nice things to say about the painting, and asked for my card, I told him that this was the first time a policeman had asked for my card instead of my “License and Registration” please.

The party at Eric’s house was splendid. A home to simply die for, I’ll post some pics of it on my FB page, so check that out. Everyone was cleaned up and ready for a little meeting and greeting fun.

Always a sad thing when something like this comes to a close. You remember going off toe camp and meeting some great people, you build a friendship, now with not just the art in common, but a week painting with each other at “Paint Camp” what a blast!

I don’t think the final count has been done, but I believe there were about 900 paintings in the “Great Room”  from all of the artists. Simply incredible, all made by wonderful people of wonderful places.

 

That One Place, 6

June 21, 2014 by admin

If there were one place you would like to go paint, where would that place be? I would have to think long and hard on that one, but for the artists from the “Hudson River Valley” one of the most widely painted locations was “The Flume” on the Ausable River.

No where close to the biggest or best waterfall in country, let alone the state, but it’s drop through the gorge is pretty spectacular.  Road Trip Day 6 026This was to be our second destination for the day, we started off going to “Heavens Hill” Farm in Lake Placid. An amazing beautiful farmstead with meadows, classic outbuildings and me what do I do? (No I did not paint the outhouse this time) I painted what looked like a little cabin nestled in the woods behind it. The light was hitting a little open field before it with a road winding up between the trees. It was made for me and my pallet.

There must have been  at least 50 artists painting the farm, with maybe 4 or 5 painting the cabin.

As soon as I finished I didn’t wait around for everyone else, I jumped into my paint-mobile and headed towards “The Flume”. I had programed the Longitude and Latitude  coordinates into my GPS the night before so I knew I would be fine finding the place.

I had no idea what the area was like, but if it were anything like “High Falls” on Tuesday the prime painting locations might quickly fill up, and I wanted me in one of those locations.

I didn’t need to worry, it’s a pretty long stretch of waterfalls, with good locations on both sides of the river. I hooked up with a couple other artists that were just getting there when I arrived and hiked the trails with them looking for a place to paint. Eric mentioned this to me that when heading out painting, should not go into hazardous territory alone. You never know what might happen, slip and fall, if you are alone you are out of luck. And seriously, my AT&T signal does not work in many places up here.

"Painting the Ausable River"

“Painting the Ausable River”

Found a place to paint that had a good view of the river, not the falls, but still a pretty scene with some nice granite walls around. The three of us were set up on a not so big granite boulder, so there was not a lot of backing up and looking at the paintings. Also the sun hitting the foaming water created a bright white glare that made it hard to see the painting well. After I had blocked in the piece I turned it a different direction and turned around to look at the scene when I thought I needed to.

As we painted we saw the influx of artists meandering in from the “Heavens Hill Farm” beginning to set up in strategic locations on both sides of the river.

Whew! Just in time.

When finished it was about 4:30 which gave us an hour to get back in time for supper. I packed up and began a hike up river along a trail. Here I passed up many a artist painting in various stages of completeness. As I climbed up river with my gear I came upon a giant granite slab high above the river with a perfect view of the gorge below Highway Road Trip Day 6 04686 bridge… and not a soul set up here painting. I thought it a great view, and I checked out my watch, 5:00. I know if I started a painting if I was quick enough I could get back in time before the chow hall closed at 7:30.

Well I did not travel half way across the continent to eat, let’s roll!

I whipped out my gear and was set up in what had to be record time for me. A smaller 14×11″ canvas for me this time. Things went pretty well, quickly blocking in, now lets get those values right!

I finished up about 6:15, packed up and hiked my way back to my car. 6:50 now. There was no way I could make it back in time for supper, I pretty much stopped at the 1st place I could find, delicious!

I know there is a lesson somewhere here to be learned but for the life of me I’m at a loss as to what it was.Road Trip Day 6 038

The rest of the night went quickly, I dropped off my 3 finished paintings in the “Great Room” which was getting very full of paintings. Then headed out to enjoy some S’Mores by a bon fire they were setting up.

Another good day with one more painting day in the Adirondacks left. Hope to make it the best.

We shall see.

Road Trip Day 6 059

Finding the Vista (day 5)

June 20, 2014 by admin
Portable shade

Portable shade

The Publishers Invitational is an artists “paint camp”, you just come and paint when ever, and whatever you want in what I’m finding is a very wonderful part of America. But Eric in the grand scheme of things knowing there are many who are not familiar with the area might need some ideas on where to go for some popular painting locations. Granted you could turn in almost every direction and find something to paint, but some have traveled thousands of miles and paid good money to take part.

Provided is a great newspaper size hand out. (newspaper size, but on quality paper mind you) with all sorts of locations to paint, plus organized groups of to go out to locations to paint. Myself being a newbie have been taking part in as many as possible… you know, “when in Rome…”

Today the morning locations was a high plains view of farm and valley with the backdrop of the Adirondacks. A bright sunny day, with the winds blowing just enough to keep the flying insect critters away.

I set up a handy canopy to shelter me from the sun. It’s a 8×12′ shelter made for tailgating, fits perfectly into a parking space. Easy to set up, and comes in a handy carrying case with wheels. ( would not take it too far from my car)

"To Norman Ridge we Go"

“To Norman Ridge we Go”

My focal point was a quaint barn in the middle ground with the mountains off in the distance.

After this piece I drove out to White Face Mountain to paint from the top, but the road was closed and off limits. I tried finding out

where the group had gone too, but couldn’t find them right off but I found a nice little farm that had a couple barns that caught my eye. I jumped out of my car and quickly began painting. The owners dropped by and

"A Thresher in DeBois"

“A Thresher in DeBois”

said some interesting things about the history of the buildings.

Snuck in for dinner 1 hour early and then headed to Lake Placid to paint. Someone was saying that there is an excellent view from up there but I could not find the expansive lookout scene I had in my mind, so I gave up my preconceived ideas and went with what was presenting itself. I was quickly running out of light, so I threw on a canvas and painted the late afternoon light as it was going down on high peaks to the Southeast along Adirondack Loj Road.

The day finished up by sitting up near the bar at Paul Smith with some of the other artists listening to maybe 10 artists who just so happened to bring along musical instruments to help wile away the hours. All good fun.

"Pronounced Loj"

“Pronounced Loj”

Sunshine Daydream: Day 4

June 19, 2014 by admin

If you would like to get “technical” today was the first “full” day at the “Plein Air Camp”. I slept great despite the dorm room that has what has to be a sleep number 110 or something. I am a definite 40. I must have been tired.

Heron Marsh Trail

Heron Marsh Trail

Maybe it’s like this on all campuses now-a-days, but you need to use your electronic key card 4 times to get from the entrance of the dorm building into your bedroom. Don’t forget to take it with you when you use the restroom! Silly me I had tossed it on the bed and then went to the bathroom, only to find I needed to call campus security to get back in. I now keep this card on me around my neck, even when I shower.

After breakfast there was a group photo taken and then all drove the short trip to the “VIC” to paint. This is part of the Paul Smith college I believe, but it’s 1,000’s of acres of woods and wetlands with beautiful vistas, and soft pine hiking trails darting through the park. I opted for a 1 mile hike along the Heron Marsh trail to the “Shingle Falls”. The view I was looking at was not what I had in mind, so I found a little scene close by, so I could still enjoy the sounds of the falls. A rock was nestled in the dark water with lillies and grass marshes about.

It had been raining all night, and with a slight threat to continue, but the sky was mostly gray and the light pretty consistent.

There were mosquitoes and flies about, but I was not bothered by that probably do to my sufficient dousing of the self with bug spray

High Falls Gorge

High Falls Gorge

and then a little clip on “OFF” bug repellent that works great! Folks have been warning me of the vicious “black fly” and I have fortunately not come into contact with it, or them.

I was very happy with this painting, and will post sometime. I believe I called it “It does make a Sound”.

After lunch was an hour trip to “High Falls Gorge” it’s about a waterfall with a 700′ drop. This is about 3 miles from the Canadian border. It was quite the hike down the 250+ stairs. It was worth the trip, though it was hard to see with all the artists there painting. It was a good thing it was 700 feet tall! This painting I did here was “Down in Front”.

Drove back just in time for dinner (Mom & Dad would call it supper) and afterwards I had time to join a few people on the edge of the lake and painted the late afternoon across the lake.

Cool thing about all this is seeing all of the other artists and how they approach their subject, and then there “plein air setup”. Everyone’s is somewhat unique to themselves, or so it seemed.

All the paintings for the day by all the artists are gathered together in a room for everyone to see. There is no hierarchy to this event, all artists are created… I mean, treated equal. But some of the more famous ones do have their names “dropped” more often than others.

I blew out a heel in one of my hiking boots today, something that is going to take a cobbler to fix… is there a cobbler in the house? I bet so.

Up with the Joneses

Up with the Joneses

Sunshine Day Dream: Day 3

June 18, 2014 by admin
Tupper Lake

Tupper Lake

How many times have you taken a trip arriving after dark, and the next day when the sun comes up the world that lays before you is nothing like what was there when the lights were out?

The Publisher’s Invitational is tucked away at the lovely Paul Smith College in the Adirondacks of New York, with it’s campus taking up much of the Lower St Regis Lake. A beautiful setting that I neglected to actually photograph today. I will make sure I take some shots around the area, even better, I will paint a few pictures and maybe you can get a better sense of its charm.

Cruising the windy roads took much of the day, along with check-in and orientation… and then trying to say hello to the 199 artists gathered here from all corners of America. What a great idea, 100 artists of all levels just here to paint. No workshops, no competitions, no pressure. Just relax and take in the land as only the plein air artist can.

I painted in two locations today, one was along a railroad bridge over a waterway connecting Lake Clear with something on the other

Lake Clear

Lake Clear

side… I had no idea and unlike the fisherman who put in right beside me. I think he knew this area like the back of his hand. He spent almost an hour there getting his kayak and all it’s gear ready for a the day on the lakes.

After checking I headed just around the corner to “The Vic” short for Paul Smiths “Visitor Interpretive Road Trip Day 3 028Center” which is a large area of woods, and wetlands with boardwalks and trails through the countryside. After spending much of the day in the bright sunshine, I took advantage of the shade of the Adirondack forest and painted from within. On Wednesday I believe all the artists are expected to come and paint on the grounds.

I had been told/warned ahead of time, but without actually experiencing it one cannot actually believe it… and taht is the flying insects. Incredible!

The VIC

The VIC

Sunshine Daydream: Day 2 New York

June 17, 2014 by admin
Weathering the Storm

Weathering the Storm

Was it the thrill of getting out early on the road today that got me up before the 5:55 AM alarm, or maybe it was too much fried food from fast food joints on Sunday? Either way, it was not the best night sleep, but the bed was comfy, and the coffee was hot.

Today I was venturing into untraveled territory. I had never been to Pennsylvania or New York and I was excited about them both. The trip along I-90 was going to take me near the Niagara Falls, and how could one be so close to such an iconic symbol without going there?

Having never been there before, getting there early on a Monday seemed like the perfect time. I was one of the 1st cars in the “satellite” parking lot, and once the parking attendants were paid their $5 they were as nice and helpful as can be. I loaded up my gear and quickly set out in the same direction everyone else was going.

Lemmings I tell you!

I had forgotten that any and every place in the U.S. of A. and probably the world, that when there are popular attractions that draw

always a cause

always a cause

people from across the land, there are the requisit protestors or demonstrators. You never know in what form they will be, loud and violent, silent and passive? Every walk of life seems to have a cause they want noticed by everyone else, and these places are perfect for finding a captive audience. Today group was one of my favs, they said not a word, only sat pensively with their signs in strange yoga, or terra cotta poses. I’m for whatever they are doing!

I love painting in crowded places, I love the people and the spectacle of it all. Maybe I am similar to those advocates, only my cause is art… though looking at some of my paintings you might argue that.

I only went in to the site far enough to get what I thought was an interesting angle of the falls.

Among my 83 canvases were 16 that are being “revamped”, what I mean is old paintings I just don’t like for whatever reason. They have reminded me of their inability to be good art long enough and there was only 1 direction for them, and that was up… I hoped.

I toned a number of them in a warm neutrel color, but a few I didn’t have time to, so this I just turned upside down so that it wouldn’t throw my composition too far off.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

I like parts of the Falls painting, but I know I would like to get back there a few more times and hone some of these skills down. I’ve painted falls before, but not of this magnitude.

Many asked to take my picture, and take a picture of them with me and the painting, all fun. I met people from all over this country and a few other countries. An art teacher from West Virginia stopped to visit a bit

Margaret, and puppy

Margaret, and puppy

and had some good questions on the outdoor process. I hope I sparked enough couriosity in her that she might get outdoors and try it. I believe her name was Marilyn, maybe Margaret, but she had a nice German Shepard/Husky puppy that was a bit shy when it came to photgraphing.

On my way to New York I stopped at a rest stop in Pennsylvania and spoke with a friendly woman from the visitors center who suggested an area on the Southeastern part of Lake Ontario that I might enjoy.

Well why not!

Off the beaten path again, traveling on a scenic little road that wound along the edge of the Great Lake. The formations were formed by the glaciers a gazillion years ago, and the winds have honed them to what we now see in the Chimney Bluff State Park in New York.Road Trip Day 2 077 This was totally the opposite of painting in one of america’s most seen attractions. This was an out of the way beach in an out of the way part of the country. This is where one could really lose themselves into a painting and never come out of. This might have happened except for a heavy rain that swooshed in like the wind. I scrambled to put my camera, phone and

 Chimney Bluffs of Ontario


Chimney Bluffs of Ontario

billfold in a plastic bag, threw it in my backpack, then tossed that under my easel for added protection and went back to painting.

One should carry a waterproof bag for these occasions, but you can’t always remember everything. The rain went away, the sun came back out and with the winds it wasn’t long before I was dried back out.

Again I used an old canvas and really like this painting, most of it. I like the composition and there are many things I find working in it, but toning down the cliffs might be the thing that makes this piece really work.

The painting today was a good break to the monotony of driving. I purposely drove extra long on day 1 so that if the opportunity presented itself for me to get out and paint I could do so and still make Paul Smith College on time.

No problem.

Oh, just as an added note, I thought was a bit “curious”. On day 1 on the way up I played the Beatles “Abbey Road” album in it’s entirety. I don’t remember when I last did this, but it’s been a long long time. The song “The End” was what most thought was the end of the album. “Her Majesty” was there after the automatic needle arm picked up so you never heard it. Any way when walking from the parking lot to Niagra Falls I saw there carved on the wall along the way were John Lennon’s beautiful words from the song “The End”…

Karma?

"The End"

“The End”

Sunshine Daydream: Day 1

June 16, 2014 by admin

Well I’ve started the little contest on guessing the final mileage of my road trip, I figure why just go half the way? I’m blogging about

"honey do's"

“honey do’s”

who knows what anyway, it might as well be the road trip.

It officially got going today, though there has been much leading up to the trip that really shouldn’t go without mention. If you are going to be gone from home for a length of time, there is a lot of “honey-do’s” that need to be done. Actually if you could do some extra special things around the house that would help your ever dwindling stock value.

Buying supplies is another thing. In many of my destinations there won’t be art supply stores around so “stock up” while you can. Hopefully you’ve been using those coupons at your local art supply store wisely!

When you have a sweetheart that is as supportive of me as my lovely wife is, you do not take things for granted. It’s hard to be happy if your spouse isn’t, so this is #1 in any and every case, at home or going

Love you, I won't be long.

Love you, I won’t be long.

abroad.

My “paint-mobile”, a 2003 minivan is my vehicle of choice. I believe it was a couple years ago I replaced the engine in it after a road trip, and last year replaced most of the front end. This year I’m hoping all that pays off. One never wants the distraction of auto failure to take away from your journey. You’ve got plenty enough to think about, do NOT need to worry whether the tire will fall off, or that hiccuping engine means much of anything.

I loaded my van up with paints, brushes, canvases and frames. I know I will not come close to using all of these canvases in this trip, but I believe it is better to have too many in this case, than not enough.

83 canvases, 5lbs of trail mix

83 canvases, 5lbs of trail mix

I packed 83 canvases of various sizes into my paint-mobile for my mission!

I arranged everything in a manner that was easy to get to, my 5lb bag of varies trail mixes courtesy of Susie and my thoughtful son Miles, Ipods, GPS, notepad… I’m good to go.

“By Suz”, I’ll keep in touch, without texting and driving of course. (this is frowned upon in many circles I hear)

…and I’m off!

There we go! Driving in most cases is uneventful, and that is pretty much how we want that part to be. I did see an armadillo on I-70 between Blackwater and Rocheport, Missouri. I didn’t think they had come this far North, but surprise surprise.

I love cruising the highways with the windows down and the  music turned up. Just something about it, doesn’t matter the

my F-4 phantom cockpit

my F-4 phantom cockpit

temperature, if it’s above 70 I’ve got the wind blasting through the paint-machine along with my tunes.

There are periods where I turn the music completely off and just observe, think, ponder. Not ponder as much as Joseph Loganbill, but I do have my moments. I spend a good amount of hours just trying to figure out what color something is, and how in the world could I make it out of my 4 tubes of paint.

I have my note pad attached to the dashboard for notes on focal points, and values… don’t forget to think “simple!” This I always forget.

Well, so much for the 1st day. No painting, but I did get to a good starting point for day 2. It’s a long trip, I hope to post daily. Maybe I will, if I don’t it could be I’ve run off the road and the paint-mobile is in the fork of a red oak tree, or maybe I’ve been sequestered by the king of plein air himself and requested not to disclose the secret handshake to anyone, or I maybe just too tired from another day of working in the fields and forests.

Thanks for listening, now get out and paint a picture… pass it on!

Going Where the Wind Goes

Going Where the Wind Goes

 

Inappropriate Behavior

June 4, 2014 by admin

Appropriate/Inappropriate, ever been accused?

Surely you have, it’s not just me is it? Well even if you haven’t, maybe you’ve wondered to yourself, “Is this the way I should be reacting?”

I’m going to veer away from art, just for a second, because sometimes life pops up between the paintings. I know that’s not the way we planned it, or what we wanted, but sometimes things don’t always go the way we like.

There are a lot of times and places where I myself wonder “is this how I should be acting”… what do you when you are just driving along, doing everything just right and a police car pulls next to you at a stop light? Do you think he has that “school record” the vice principal always threatened you with? Do you look at him and smile or just stare straight ahead like he’s not really there? How about you are standing in a checkout line right behind the Mom with the out-of-control child that totally ignores the fact that they just keep pulling things off the shelf and dropping them on the floor in front of you. Don’t you just want to say something to the child, to the Mom, to the Manager?

But is it appropriate?

My biggest one is when a tragedy happens, what do you say? How do you act? Do you avoid talking to them, steer away from them hoping they didn’t notice that you saw them, avoid them so you don’t have to think of the right thing to say? And when you do confront them, what in the world do you say without it sounding “cliche?”

I myself am of the school that it’s better to say the wrong thing than nothing at all. If you know me, you probably know that I am notorious for saying the wrong thing… hopefully at the “right time!”

Here’s a tough one, how about catastrophic loss, what do you do? What do you expect others to do?

Where do we learn these rules of etiquette on appropriate behavior? How about from our teachers, Kindergarten to 12th grade? More likely it’s through your families, your peers, your community, and on the electronic airwaves.

I have been pretty darn fortunate in my life that I have not had to go through too much death. My girlfriend died while I was in the service which was pretty tough, and the military didn’t see a teenagers girlfriend as reason enough for leave. So that was handled remotely. I’ve not seen a guide around on how to act when it’s you that looses a partner, a parent or a child. It’s just straight greif from your heart and soul. There is no right or wrong way to greive I’ve found. It just happens, and there’s no way to stop it when it does come, so don’t even try.

I recently experienced a bit of this myself, and my wonderful wife I guess recognized that I needed to get out and suggested I go out to paint when  my Mother died. Oh she could read my mind, I tried to tell her thanks and I’d be back soon, but the words kind of choked up in me.

I drove and I drove looking for the right thing to paint. I was looking for a small Kansas farmstead, one like my Mothers, with a barn and a silo, lots of outbuildings. I drove farther still and could not find what I was looking for. I was caught North of the Kansas border with a different type of farming is done. No silos in site, but driving down country roads was a good release for me, still I wanted to, I needed to paint! I stopped at the intersection of a minimum maintenance road and the gravel road I was on and pulled out my gear to paint. The subject matter anymore was really not the important thing, it was the act of painting, the process, the routine of it all. Observing and recording. The calming ritual was needed.

Art I have found is very therapeutic.

I grew up in a family where men don’t cry, hell (whoops, I mean “heck”) I don’t remember my Mom ever crying but a couple times in the 56 years I’ve been around. I know we gave her plenty a reason to in my teens, but she was a rock, and taught us to be, I think.

How about hugging your old man at your Mom’s funeral? I don’t remember hugging my Dad, it’s one of those cowboy guy things (old time cowboy, not now-a-time cowboy… big difference) you don’t do it, though I know as a kid when he came home from work once a week (he was an over-the-road trucker) that all the kids would rush out jump all over him and hug him. Must have been “pre-teen” because I know I haven’t hugged him for probably almost 45 years, though believe it or not, we are close.

Just didn’t seem appropriate.

But now-a-days guys are giving guys hugs all the time, (man-hugs of course, totally different that other hugs) is it time to change what I do? I thought about that on the day of the funeral, do I hug my Dad, I know I probably could have used it, maybe he could too! Well I kind of broke that barrier a bit when I put my arm around him and gave him a little shake letting him know I was here if he needed.

Seemed kind of appropriate.

Timing should be essential to whether something is appropriate or inappropriate, and having the right timing is an art in itself… something I’ve never been accused of having. I am somewhat notorious for flippant, off-the-wall comments, always from somewhere out in left field. Always in the best intent of course, with no harm intended, but not everyone knows that.

What is ruled as appropriate or inappropriate behavior could be largely due to your generation, or demographics, or like I said timing… because saying the wrong thing at the right time is okay.

?What?

 

 

Return to Sender

May 21, 2014 by admin

You my dear friend are now a part of history, very pointless and inconsequentiial piece of history, but nonetheless this is the first.

This is my first ever “HOW TO” blog.

His Lordship

His Lordship

Yay!

What do you think about a “How to be an artist” blog? No way, too easy. That’s grab anything, stick it anywhere and call it art. Everyone does it, those lucky few make money at it. What I’m “How-To-ing” about is getting that wonderful piece of art you just created to the gallery on the East coast and back again. (or West coast if you are so inclined.)

It’s great creating art and selling it straight off your easel, don’t even have to worry about framing. But on occasion when that doesn’t happen, one must paint it, frame it, send to your gallery,  or if it’s a good enough of a piece, enter into shows.

I am very fortunate to live an an area where if I were so inclined could be entering shows locally all year long and never have to ship my art elsewhere.

But that would be too logical.

I of course spend half of my time taking part in shows across the country, in places that are difficult to find even with my GPS.

art containters

art containters

How’s that old saying go by one of the original prophets…  “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a soul without honor.”  Sure, it can be interpreted a bazillion ways, but I take it “you ain’t no one at home, till you’ve made it somewhere else”. Kind of a drag, but it’s often the way it is.

So I send things via courier to places far and wide, which just so happens to be different than when you ship a painting when it sells. After a show if it does not sell, it must be returned, subsequently it must then be repacked by the gallery, labeled and shipped. The package or crate I use to ship paintings needing to be returned are not the disposable type you use in a sale.

What I want in my shipping package or container is:shipping crate (5)

  • Safety for the artwork: cushioned packing materials, snug fit
  • Sturdy: able to take drops, falls, kicks, stacking
  • Ease of access: not a mystery how to open and close
  • Mobility: light, easy to carry

I believe being on the receiving end has influenced how I build my containers. I have put on several shows/exhibitions and have had to unpack, and repack artwork, and it is not an easy task. Most containers are not made for reusing, things are easily lost, poorly labeled, and often piecemealed together. Artists are great at creating art, but many times they’ll wrap it in a T-Shirt and send it out for delivery. When on a trip my paintings are all mumbo-jumbo in the back of my van, among all the gear, frames, suitcases. Organizing your vehicle for a road trip is an entirely different thing and something I need to start thinking about… again.

Oh yeah, shipping…shipping crate (6)

…I like wood boxes! Some galleries do not allow shipping in these type of containers, and in those circumstances I actually spend money on a high end cardboard box made specifically for shipping art, but that is a bit pricey, though building a crate such as I do is not cheap.

Now how do we do it?

I’m not going into the boring detail of every move in making these boxes. I’m saving that for my book, in the meantime you can get the idea here, and press me on it later.

Materials:

  • 1/4 sanded plywood (I like the sanded, less splinters in hands)   ($18 for a 4×8 sheet, enough for 2)
  • 8′ 1×4″ = shipping 1 painting, 1×6 = 2 paintings, 1×8 = 3 paintings ($8)
  • 8′ 1×2″ for bracing lid
  • 1″ thick sheet of foam insulation board (Owens Corning) ($15)
  • 1″ & 1 1/2″ wood screws ($3)
  • wood glue ($4)
  • 2 strong hinges ($10)
  • 4 “T” brackets, 3 or 4″ ($6)
  • carrying handle ($7)

Now what?shipping crate (3)

Cut it and put it together. Artists are for the most part very good with their hands, and with those hands fill them with tools and get going. Measure the top and bottom plywood to be about 4″ larger than your painting. This allows for a couple inches of padding and the wood frame. The frame must be cut to fit the plywood, glue and screw them in place. Use the 1×2″ strips for the lid, cutting to size and glueing and screwing just inside the edge to create a frame. Attach this with hinges to the wooden box you had just built. Cut insulation board to fit inside the box and glue into place. I like to cut opening in the insulation and place painting in snuggly. Bend “T” brackets to fit around edges, mount on lid. These will be later used to seal crate. Should be just 4 screws holding things securely. Please drill pilot holes before you screw into the wood to keep from splitting. Use lots of glue, the thing can’t stay together too well, but you can try.

Does any of this make sense to you? If so you now have a nice safe container for shipping your art… if not you have now just spent $75 on a pile of lumber and hardware that couldn’t save even a fresco.

Really if you want a more detailed blueprint for building  let me know. EMAILshipping crate (4)

Make sure if there is a specific way packing needs to be repacked that there are instructions clearly marked. I like to have photos of the artwork that should be packed in this box with titles. I secure this inside along with artists name and address. Don’t assume they have all that info. Put all your return shipping documents in an envelope inside the container.

I mark on the crate what screws need to be removed. They do not always do the obvious or what you thought was the logical choice.

Shipping art is not a lot of fun, but it’s the nature of the beast, and how are you going to find out if it will “play in Peoria” if it never makes it out of Springfield?

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Timing is everything

May 7, 2014 by admin

When Mom and Dad were quietly talking to themselves over in the Den with a desk of paperwork, maybe bills. Is this when you interupted and ask for a bigger allowance? How about when your waitress has a tray of food she is delivering to the table next to you, is this when you try to get your water filled?

Timing is essential in all aspects of life, you just gotta know when and where you can tell the “Yo Mama” joke. Timing!

I was recently taking part in a 11 day painting competition in the wine country along the Missouri River and found that had I put a little more thought into what I was doing, the outcome might have been different.

"In the Out Door"

“In the Out Door”

We were painting at a very popular winery in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. Families and couples gallore were all over the place taking part in the festivities. There were newlyweds, sightseers, conniseurs milling about the entire area, and about 130 artists setup throughout the grounds painting everything from the marvelous view, to the guests themselves. I arrived a little late and began squeezing my way through the crowds looking for that which only you know when you see it. I really had no idea what I was going to paint, I was just looking.

Then I saw it, I looked around to see if any other artists were painting or looking at the same thing, but no just me. What I was looking at was a beautiful little scene of light and dark abstract shapes. Some great angles cutting across the scene and no one was painting it! Quickly I’d say withing 5 minutes I had my easel up, and my paints out ready to go.

What I was looking at was through an old wooden door where which led into the kitchen, where all the food and servers were scurryinig back and forth preparing for the afternoon meal. The light was at a great angle, and there were stone steps, and cast shadows. All very visually interesting… to me. Maybe not so much for the tourists who came to see a beautiful winery, maybe take home a piece of art of the occasion.

There was a table full of Germans who were every now and then saying something about the painting as it progressed. There are only a few words of German I know and I did not hear them… luckily. I really enjoyed painting it, and I thought it turned out great.  But my timing of letting what inspired me got in the way of being in the final winning count. What did win and sell were some beautiful landscapes of the view, and scenes of the people enjoying themselves at the winery.

We had another competition a couple days later, this time at the old Daniel Boone Farm near Defiance. I won 2nd place here the previous year and really enjoyed the place. It would take a lifetime or two to paint all the wonderful things here at this place. I found an out of the way spot and painted a wonderful little painting of a neighboring farmstead with the light hitting it just right.

When judging came around the winner… drumroll please… was a nice little painting of an old wooden building with light showing between the boards.

Jeez Louise, didn’t I just paint that at the Vineyard and walked away with nothing?

The juror went on to say how it exemplified what they and the sponsoring college were looking for, and how it represented the Daniel Boone Farm to a “T”. (okay I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea eh?)

Timing! Had I waited to be caught by the old wood and light to this day I might had stood a better chance of “bringing home the bacon,”  but no I do the rustic at the winery, and the charming at the historic farmstead.

Both times I went with my gut insinct and painted what I wanted, and what interested me at that time. When I paint I look for something that excites me visually, and stirs my senses. This is not always what the judge and jury want to put on their walls or honor for your efforts. You need to know why you are doing, kind of going back to my last blog of “You Can’t Please Everyone” are you out there trying to learn, improve, make a living? Sometimes they don’t all go together, and those rare occasions that they do, that is indeed time for celebration.

You can study all you want, the jurors, the event, the sponsors, play that game, or you can do what you want. Be the artist that you say you are and just paint what you want, throw it up and see where it lands. If you are good enough you’ll do just fine.

…but just in case don’t slam the event in the title of your painting, that’s rarely to your benefit!

"Boones Farm Whine"

“Boones Farm Whine”

 

 

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