Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Painting

This is another painting we did in an art class I taught a few weeks ago. Other than the fact that the junk Wal-Mart paints were either thin like water or thick like toothpaste, everyone's paintings came out fantastically well.

Acrylics are fantastic. Make a mistake? Wait a minute and viola! you can paint right over it. Except maybe here in the desert when you only need to wait 5.4 seconds before it dries. It does make blending a bit of a challenge.

One thing the art class participants have trouble with is using enough paint. I tell them to scoop the paint onto their brushes and lay down the first base layer of color in a very thick coat. Then they can pick up their lights for highlights and dark for lowlights and blend the colors right there on the canvas. Make the paint do the work for you! But it only works with super-duper globs of paint. Especially here in the desert. And new artists are hesitant to do anything super-duper in fear of making a super-duper mistake.

The repeat participants are getting it. This painting only took us 3 hours were the first two took us almost 4. As I said, there really are no mistakes with acrylics.

I have been asked to teach a painting class at our local on-base housing center as a community craft class. And then the director of our local art council has asked me to teach this type of class at the town's art center, The Firehouse. I'm honored!

In January I plan on hosting a family painting class for our homeschool co-op. We have 28474 girls between the ages of 5-15 that want to paint like their mom's have been, so I figured it was time to put together a family art class. Boys are welcome, too!

See you in a future art class!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Art Instructor Me!

Last month I began teaching a monthly art class to the moms in my homeschool co-op. One of the co-op directors had the idea to have a monthly craft party, at night, NO CHILDREN.

As you can imagine, we moms that homeschool don't get a whole lot of NO CHILDREN time. (Other than soccer, scouts, Awana, basketball, art classes, and all of the other socializing opportunities we have time to participate in.)

But these craft parties were intended to give us busy, stressed out moms a chance to visit together and do something fun, without the stress of many small hands pulling on our pant legs.

I offered to teach a painting class and they went so well we have done two painting parties so far.

This was our first group painting. It took us almost 4 hours to complete it. Oops. I think I picked a too time-intensive painting. But the moms got many complements from family and friends and I think overall they were happy with the time spent with NO CHILDREN.

There is a class offered through the Frame Shop on base called iCanvas. It is offered once per month with only 12 participants allowed. The charge is $25 and that includes use of brushes, paints, art instruction, and a 16" x 20" painting you get to keep when you go home.

The classes always fill up, and since I have a community center I can rent for free, I decided to offer similar classes. I will only charge $20 per person. That covers all costs plus a modest instructor fee.

My first non-co-op class is next week. I'll let you know how it goes.

This was our second craft party painting. I promised the girls a flower, and somehow I came up with this busy piece of art.

The moms/friends/teachers/awesome-women did a FANTASTIC job on this painting. It only took 3 hours and even though the paints I bought at Wal-Mart tried to take away our spirit, we ended up with 10 masterpieces.

Did I mention we bring snacks, wine, and listen to groovy music while we paint? It's wonderful.

Although, I have had a few requests to make the next painting easier. "We're not that good," they keep telling me.

I've seen their work and yes, yes they are that good. But I understand that when you are not an artist it can be stressful to paint something too difficult, so next time I'll pick something faster.

Please excuse the glare, but this is a painting I taught for a high school co-op art class. We only had 45 minutes, though we pushed it up to an hour, and the kids did a great job. They got to choose the color scheme of the flowers and the stems. I was told there were only girls in the class so when a young man arrived I thought he might balk at having to paint flowers.

He took it in stride and painted blue flowers.

Teaching a painting class is something I have enjoyed. It's a fun way to visit with friends, make something special, and have a change from the norm.

And it's a beautiful excuse to drink wine.

Friday, August 12, 2011

In My Mind

"In My Mind"

Acrylic, 24" x 48" 1.5"

There are a lot of strange things happening with this painting. First being the name. I named this piece "In My Mind" because this beach, where I have spent many, many days, is where I am in my mind. Where I want to be. Where I will be again.

The second strange thing about this beach landscape is the absence of palm trees. When one typically imagines a Carribean beach setting, coconut palms line the waterfront. But here, in my mind's playground, there are pine trees. Even though the pristine turquoise and aquamarine water suggests palm trees, in actuality, the pine trees are just right. I blame my partial Southern, east coast upbringing.

You may be wondering where this mental paradise is located? There is an "out island" of The Bahamas called Eleuthera. It is due east of Nassau, and is a true hidden gem of splendor. We discovered it by referral when my husband was introduced to it by a fellow commercial airline pilot. You see, 20 minutes north of this beach there is an airport with 4+ flights per day to Miami. And 40 minutes south of this beach there is another airport with 5+ flights per day to Fort Lauderdale. It is an airline pilots dream.

The name of this beach is Gaulding Cay Beach. I could go on for an eternity about how wonderful this place is, but I won't bore you. Most blog readers only have 3 minutes per viewing. If you would like more information you can read all about Eleuthera and Gaulding Cay Beach by checking out my other blog; www.thedesertchronicles.com

I will say that I love this beach, this island, not because it is beautiful. No, that's not fair. Of course I love it because it's beautiful. There is no denying it's breath-taking scenery. But there's something more to this island for me that not everyone experiences in the same rush of connectedness. But when I'm there, it's like I'm finally home. I have lived in 18 different homes, in 11 different cities, and six different states during my life. And nowhere, I mean NOWHERE felt like home.

I have visited 30 other states and 6 different countries, and NOWHERE felt like home.

Until I stepped foot on some tiny, remote, isolated island no one has heard of or pronounce.

God willing, we will be moving there, full time, in 2 years, 11 months, and 27 days. Not that I'm counting. We have been dreaming of this, planning for this, aligning our lives for the past three years so we can move there in July 2014.

Needless to say, I have a new favorite painting. It didn't come easy I can tell you that. I'm good at clouds. That's about it. I've never painted a beach, an ocean, sand, or pine needles. Nothing came out like I envisioned it, but that's how painting is for me. There is a disconnect between my mind and my paintbrush-holding hand. Somewhere between gray matter and red muscle, my heart gets in the way and plays havoc with the results.

It's not perfect. Not nearly. But to my heart it is. And that's OK with me.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Purple Fronds

This piece is a commissioned work based on my painting "Fronds for Life". I met the purchaser at my art show in May and she contacted me to paint a Fronds painting for her mother using teal and turquoise.

Commissioning art is hard for the artist. We newbies can't charge much, in fact I've spent so much time on this painting by the time I receive payment I will have made approximately $2 an hour. But of course I'm not complaining. Gotta start somewhere!

I have learned a few things over the past year of accepting commissions:

1. If you don't know the buyer, ask for 30% down, that way if your piece is rejected you can at least cover your cost. (Haven't actually done this one yet but I will next time!)

2. Find out who is accepting the final project. Find out how many people must approve the final piece. If there is more than one person it will be HARD to get that painting perfect for everyone.

3. Have patience. The buyer is busy and this painting may be the center of the artists mind but it is probably not the center of the buyers mind.

4. Be prompt in completely the project. But not too prompt. If you finish a big piece too fast, the buyer might think they were ripped off some how.

5. Business cards. Hand them out to everyone you meet in the art world. Give extras to anyone who purchases your work so they can share you with their friends.

6. Have a day job.

Anyone have any advice about commissions? Getting more, getting paid, etc?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese Wall Art

"What's for Lunch?"

30" x 48" x 1.625" acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

Yes. I have a painting of a big bowl of mac-n-cheese on the wall of my dining room.

(How do you like those taupe walls and industrial vinyl flooring? Yes, government housing at it's best!)

It's a crappy painting copied off of an incredibly good painting done by someone else. I have redone this dang bowl sixteen times.

This is as good as it's going to get or I may just have to bash the thing in with a hammer.

I even wood-grained the background to match the color of our table and chairs. And yes, even the wood-grain sucks.

Can't win them all, can you?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer Art Clearance

So my art show is all wrapped up with pretty good success! I sold a few paintings and received two commissions that I am presently working on.

The rest of my "inventory" is now 50% off from their original prices. I am making room for new and upcoming projects.

Please feel free to visit my commercial site, www.paulareynoldsart.com, to see the remaining pieces from my show.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, May 23, 2011

With This Ring

"With This Ring"

6" x 10" watercolor

For this months assignment over at the Calypso Moon Artists Movement, we were to study the videos from the Royal Wedding and using them as inspiration paint something Royally wonderful.

I won't wax poetic about the Royal Wedding as that has been done ad nauseum, but I will state a few things I learned from the viewing and completing of this painting:

1. The Royal fingernails were superbly done. Short, but not too short nails, no colored polish, and not a cuticle to be seen. I wonder if the Royal Manicurist gets the Rack if there is dirt under a Royal fingernail?

2. Details, details, details. In an era when a video can be paused, zoomed in on, copied, pasted, and painted, it's a good idea to make sure all details are perfect. No lint, no dirt, no stray strands of thread, no dust, no NOTHING. There is no more hiding imperfections when every minutiae of your appearance can be panned and zoomed for nit-picking.

3. I officially know the hands of the Prince of Wales better than I know the hands of my husband.

4. He had one heck of a time getting that tiny band onto her finger! I wonder what he was thinking as he pushed and shoved the ring over her knuckle, "Get on there you bloody pile of rubbish! Brilliant. Just brilliant. In front of 2 billion people and I can't even get this bloody ring on her finger!"

5. There was a moment where Prince William seemed to be falling asleep. I bet the Archbishop of Canterbury is a real bore. How fun would that have been! And the headlines read: Prince William Falls Asleep During Royal Wedding, But No one Noticed as They Too were Asleep!"

6. Katherine's sister is gorgeous and her dress was stunning! (Of course so was Katherine's!)

7. Poor Prince Harry. He looked as comfortable in all of that Royal Regalia as a stuffed Christmas goose. Will he get the same pomp and circumstance when he gets married as he's not the Crown Prince?

8. The hats. Oh my, the hats! I think they're superb and should be in fashion here in the States!

9. The Royal Baby Timer has officially been set. Eight months and 2 weeks to go.......