Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Adventures in Drypoint

Winter Greys #1 (2007)
6 x 6
Private Collection

Here is another small painting from the archives- a scene I see everyday in winter driving into town. So, I've been working away on a drypoint this past week. Drypoint is a form of intaglio printmaking where the artist works directly on the plate. No acid is used in this process so what is printed are the lines scratched into the surface of the plate and the resulting burr thrown up on either side of the line by the needle. Because of that, drypoint has a darker richer line than etching. It is also more fragile because the burr gradually wears away with each printing. Drypoint can be combined with etching (where marks are made in a ground covering the plate then acid used to "bite" those lines). Rembrandt did this with some stunning results.

The gradual wear on the burr, reworking of the plate, and variations in the way the plate is inked can produce a different version of the image with each printing. It's fascinating and the learning curve is steep! I'll try to get organized and show some process shots on the next one. In the meantime, enjoy Rembrandt!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter Greys #2 (2007)
6 x6
Private Collection

Here's another small painting plucked from the archives that suits the season I think. This week, with my painting deadlines met, I've been concentrating on drawing and doing a test drypoint plate to get the feel of my new little press. Just "playing around"!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winter at the Pond (2007)
6 x 6

Private Collection

We had the first of our lovely winter fogs yesterday morning which reminded me of this little painting from almost two years ago. I wrote about the challenges of painting fog and mist here.

I came across a quote this week which I think beautifully sums up the value of art and beauty in our lives and as an underpinning of civilization. Thanks to Matthew Innis and his excellent blog Underpaintings for finding this.
The following sensible reflections on the permanent value and enjoyment of true works of art are taken from the columns of the New York Nation:

"Is art a luxury, like wine or silks or laces? Does it minister only to the pleasure or ostentation of the rich, without benefiting the community at large? Decidedly we say no. The first great distinction between a work of art and those luxuries with which it is falsely classed is, that it is not consumed by the man who buys it. If I buy a bottle of wine and drink it, it has pleased my palate, given me an hour of pleasant exhilaration, and it is gone. The money or the labor it cost is destroyed absolutely in procuring me that hour of pleasure. If I buy a silk dress for my wife the pleasure lasts a little longer, and, if she is a handsome woman, spreads a little further, but the dress wears out, and there is an end of it. But if I bring into the country a beautiful picture or a noble statue, I have brought something that will last for hundreds of years after I am dead, and will contribute to the higher pleasures of generations yet unborn. So far from destroying the labors of others for my personal and temporary gratification, I have paid for the enjoyment of thousands, and in so far am a public benefactor. We all recognize the public spirit of him who erects a fountain or gives a garden to the people, and doubtless we are not called upon to admire in the same way the generosity of him who puts a picture in his parlor. Doubtless he puts It there for his own pleasure. Yet, as far as the public is concerned, the benefit is but deferred. Be he as selfish as he may, he cannot keep it shut up forever; he will die, and the picture will live. Even in his lifetime many will see it, and a work of art truly belongs to him who enjoys it, not to him who owns it. Sooner or later it will change hands, it will be seen in public exhibitions, it will be sold, and the history of all great works of art is, that at last they become the property of the public, and are placed in museums for the pleasure of all. Luxuries are for the moment, but "a thing of beauty is a joy forever." The first quality in which a work of art differs from a luxury is its permanence; the second is its productiveness. It not only gives pleasure to thousands and for ages, but it gives much more than pleasure—it gives education. The history of art is the history of civilization. Art, in one form or another, is the great beautifier and ennobler of life, and a nation without art—without poetry or painting, architecture or sculpture or music— is a nation of barbarians, though it possess the steam-engine and electricity."¹
¹"Art No Luxury", The Deseret Weekly, Vol. 39, June 29, 1889,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Shows

Autumn Moon
8 x 12
Available at Whistle Pik Galleries, Christmas Miniatures

The holidays are approaching and I've been busy sending out new work for Christmas shows. The annual Christmas Miniatures show at Whistle Pik Galleries, Fredericksburg, TX opens on November 22. Huff Harrington Fine Art in Atlanta will kick off their holiday festivities with their Little Jewels show on November 27. Finally, Galerie Kornye West in Ft. Worth will celebrate the season at an opening on December 2. I'll be in Ft. Worth for that one, so if you are in the Metro area come by and say "hi"!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More Backyard Magic
36 x 30
Available at Galerie Kornye West, Ft. Worth, TX

I'm happy to say I've just published a book called Studio & Business Practices for Successful Artists. It's 76 pages chock full of no nonsense information about building a career as an artist.

Success can mean many different things- so this book is designed to help both professional artists as well as those who don’t want or need to make a living from their art, but do want to be better artists, sell more work and achieve more recognition. I share what has worked for me- and what didn’t, and why- over the last fifteen years of building a career in art.

You can read more about it (and order) here.