Welcome to M.E. BAILEY ART . . . .
As an art instructor, I don't wish to hide the fact that I crash and burn often. I will always be learning. So, it all gets shown here . . .good and bad. Every painting we do counts in the learning and experience process. The failures actually are much better teachers than successes. Every piece made is a teacher. That's the fun of it: the challenge to learn.
Join in and comment or email me, if you would like.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Recently, in another post comment, Ed Terpening mentioned that he used a scanner to photo his plein air pieces. This one used a scanner, too. I had to buy a fax, scanner combo for business purposes, so this is a trial. The accuracy of this image is disconcerting because one can see every thread of the canvas! And one can see how thin the paint is.
This brings up a question . . .I need help from you readers . . . .I slobber on the paint (or so it seems) only to have it later absorb into the weave of the canvas or linen. Apparently, I am not putting it on thick enough. What do you artists do to get such rich texture and paint thickness? A palette knife? I see brush marks in all of Terpening's work, why don't mine come up the same? Do you first seal the surface in some way? Does toning the canvas set up a seal so that the brush marks appear and the paint sits on the surface? Comment, please!
This piece was done a few weeks ago and was dry enough to put into the scanner. It is titled no parking, because of the sign in the painting. In life, there are parking places just outside the frame of the painting. This is a common scene here in Santa Cruz . . . .cliffs, ice plant, surf and sand. And, yes, this is exactly how it looks . . .colors and all! Not a baaaad place to live and paint, eh? :-)
Monday, May 28, 2007
This painting and I were out in the field for four hours . . .and I came away disappointed. I had an epiphany in the shower this morning about making some key changes in it so I ran to the studio to implement the changes. This is the outcome.
For you painters out there, these eucalyptus trees are absolute rascals to paint. I am beginning to understand the nuances I must build into these beauties to really set them off and it seems those nuances and subtleties must be laid in first. Next time, I 'll be wiser. Already, I can see progress from the first of this month. We may only gain inches, but we learn best by hard won experience.
Hope your weekend is wonderful!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
It is always amazing to watch the looks on peoples' faces as the truth unfolds that few painters are willing to face: It takes work and study to fully internalize these aspects and be able to mix colors well. The blank looks and twisted brows say much about wanting the 'quick secret.'
There are countless hours under my belt doing these studies about intensity and how that differs from value. There is as much or more study about how temperature changes imply light and shadow and can reveal depth much more so than a simple value change. I received an email from a long time friend this morning which said, "To be a great artist you have to work harder than other artists. . . .and that isn't so difficult! Most aren't willing to put in the work."
I have much more to master with color and much more work to do to really make it become second nature. As I painted this subject, two hours into it and nearly done, I happened to actually see some new colors in the shadows that I hadn't noticed all morning. A small little dark shadow edge, right under the edge of the carrot, showed up as violet suddenly! Why didn't I see this two hours ago, I asked? It must be that my observation powers click into gear after spending a LONG time looking. Or is it that after almost 30 paintings . . .and a dozen more practice workups . . . .I am beginning to see? It that possible?
And someone in class, last nite, said that shadows were gray! I wish they could have seen what I saw this morning!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
This piece is that little vinegar jar again. It has a beautiful glaze on its surface with all manner of blues, greys and violets. The textures and reflective surface makes for an interesting lighting challenge each time I attempt it. As for the geranium . . . .this time, I wanted to simplify it down to its essence . . . one or two simple strokes of color for each petal, then leave it.
The end result made an interesting abstraction of contrasting sizes from multiple tiny shapes against the larger negative shapes. Just another in the endless string of 'experiments.'
Aaaaah!! A nice dose of vitamin D was gathered yesterday. I got out into the beautiful day and painted en plein air! Whooopppeee! It has been three long weeks!
What is it about the successful painting experience that gives us artists such a high? After a day standing at the edge of our lovely town, looking at the waves and foam, breathing the fresh, misty air . . . and making a painting that sings when in a frame, I am so high I can hardly sit still!! And that is no exaggeration. I feel like singing at the top of my lungs!!
I can remember when I was first learning to paint and how I carried frustration most of the time (this is years ago) . . . . but when I got one that spoke to me at the finish, I was high for a full week. There must be a huge endorphin release when we have a successful experience. Maybe that is why we artists are on a continual chase for more paintings!
This little painting took but 90 minutes and really feels like the conditions of the day . . . .a slight mist hanging over the cliffs as the sun penetrated in and the glare from the water bleached all color from everything near it. Wooo Hooo!! I feel good!!
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Well, after yesterday's vow to go out and paint, the world caved in here. Never made it out. Maybe today. Nevertheless, I rose early to insure that today received its creative beginning.
I am feeling more comfortable with the paint and the techiques, but I still have a long (and exciting) journey of discovery ahead. Glassware is a major challenge of observation and subtlety of paint. Jeff Hayes arouses envy in the way he makes use of color and value in his glassware paintings. I have much to learn!
Also, thanks to Ed Terpening for the suggestion about photo images. The shine is driving me nutz! I'll have to explore that, Ed.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
On another subject, my webmaster phoned late last nite to inform me that the blog is now a link on my website. So, now there is a synergy between the two places in cyberspace. For those of you in Europe and other parts of the world who visit my site, let me say thank you and welcome here to my blog. This is a little different than the site, because it is mostly devoted to oil painting and a painting a day in that world . . .sometimes watercolor . . .but it is intended as a place for sharing knowlege. If you have a comment or two, please feel free to make note of it here. Another point . . .you might want to consider subscribing by using the link in the uppermost left corner of this blog.
If you are a mom who is visiting, know that all of us here in the USA honor you and all that you have done for us! Happy Mom's Day!!
(Incidentally, I will post a close up of yesterday's garlic painting for you who would like a better look-see.)
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Because Diana is down and out, the family is convening here for a big dinner. My sense is that there won't be any painting tomorrow. . . . . at least I don't think so! Look for something on Monday.
I have to admit I am suffering from cabin fever while I look out the windows at the gorgeous weather. It will be good to get out in the air and be part of the scenery.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
This was a revelation to me!! I could not believe I had never heard of one of these tools before. I looked very carefully at his photo and tried to find out more about the tool . . .but, alas, all he had was one post. Another artist also picked up on it and set up a temporary arrangement with foam core boards 'n stuff. I was fascinated.
After looking carefully at Jeff's set up, I made an emulation from a cardboard box painted flat black. Here's a photo.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
I am one of those guys who has had multiple jobs and careers in my life. Most recently, teaching art / painting and being a realtor. Before that it was business owner, hi tech manager, salesman, marketing guy . . .all kinds of stuff . . .most of which had nothing to do with art. At a late age, the bug bit me. Age 46. And now, 18 years later, the bug still chomps down on me. Art is the only thing that has ever held my interest for any length of time beyond 2 or 3 years. Or, should I say that art is my compulsion.
A while ago, I had my studio on the same floor as my office and bedrooms are. . . .near the bathroom. If the door to the studio was open, it was a rare thing to pass that door without entering the studio to fiddle for a minute or two. Time stood still in that room. And often to the detriment of everything else in my life. That sort of access fed my compulsion and taught me much. What I learned over time is this: There are only a few of us who can even tell the difference in two colors of red . . .there are only a few who study value patterns, or shape design, or who feel that it really DOES matter to be concerned about what is going on in the world of art. There are only a few who really 'get' why people paint or make art. There are even fewer who will give painting a place in life that has priority.
And when someone else recognizes the compulsion . . .and sees it as honorable (ahem!) . . . .it seems that someone becomes a lifelong friend. That someone knows our heart . . and knows how much art really does matter.
I celebrate those who paw a keyboard daily in search of good art . . .or make it their business to find artists and see their work in some other way. They may not be the reason we do this, but they certainly provide validation. They, along with the few of us, really do understand that bread alone does not nourish us!
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Monday, May 7, 2007
Sunday, May 6, 2007
In spite of the the confinement to the house, my studio is right downstairs. So, when she is resting and not in need (and the chores are done), I am in the studio fooling around. Well . . . . . . . .fooling around might not be the word for it . . . .would studying and experimenting be better? . . . . .I suppose that is what any artist would call it. Cuz, that is precisely what every movement in the studio is all about: trial and error and learning.
Thanks to Jeff Hayes and his archives, he developed a shadow box in which to control light in still life set ups. I cut up a cardboard box, painted it black and proceeded to paint little stills. What an amazing tool that is! Thanks to Jeff!! The light comes alive!
So, unless I can get out of the house for a few hours and Diana is cared for, I will be in the studio making these little wonders.
Please excuse the glare on the canvas. I haven't yet figured out how to avoid that while photographing a wet painting.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
One thing I have learned in years of painting in another medium is this: While every painting doesn't show up at the end as perfect, every one counts! That is, each piece contributes to the success of subsequent paintings. It is all an accumulation of occurances, challenges, solutions, failures and successes.; Every painting matters . . .the results of that significance just doesn't show up every single time. And THAT is the reason for painting daily: to quickly accumulate experience and to stay in the learning zone.
Friday, May 4, 2007
Oh, Yessssss !!!! Some days it just works out to paint more than one!
On the day it rained, my painting buddy and I (Bill) had to call off our get together to paint. And, as you see in my last post, I painted in the studio. Later, while at the office, the sun came out and I had the itch to be out painting. So, I cleaned up my work and started out the door at 5PM . . . .and Diana (my wife) called to tell me we would be eating at her mother's place. Perfect! I'll find a spot around her house and paint. Diana was surprised that I didn't need a big "scene."
So, I stood behind the house, looked down into a eucalyptus grove. . . . . and painted fast cuz it was getting late. I had to hurry . . .a spot of color here, a blotch of color there to set off the other color, a dark here and a light there . . . .a little atmospheric perspective . . . .next thing I knew a painting was taking shape and I was amazed that it came out like this!! Some days just about everything goes right !!
I am having a wonderful time!!
Thursday, May 3, 2007
I did get there, however, and found the wind to be blowing a gale. Impossible to set up an easel of any kind . . .it would be a sail! So, I began looking for places to paint . . . .driving here and there all the while searching for a place "that would look good in paint." Whoops!! I could have gone on all day long!
What I really needed was a place that was wind protected ! I didn't necessarily need a fancy schmancy place that was pretty to look at . . .and probably already in hundreds of paintings! . . . . . . . .I just needed to set up my easel in a good, well protected place and find something there to paint. That's right. There is ALWAYS something. It just takes a little effort in LOOKING and SEEING.
This beautiful tree with silver bark was waiting all the time. I loved the light on its branches. It was a struggle (still unused to the techniques of oil painting!) But here it is . . .with her arms outstretched, "She Waits" . . . .
Yesterday was one of those rush rush days. Ran to the painting location on a beach here, set up and had to 'scram' fast. There was much going on there last nite. Beach visitors, houses on the cliff, nice sunlit patterns on the cliff walls and houses. Even three guys lounging around against the cliff on the beach. It would have / could have made . . . .well, um, now that I think about it . . . . .a rather trite painting. And besides, there was too darned much to spend time on with a small canvas. I had exactly an hour of light left.
So, it was cut to the essentials and get on with it . . .without dithering. This game is about putting down what you see, trusting that it is right, then moving to the next spot of color.
Let's see, what color is the color of sand? ? ? Gotta choose something! Better mix something. Whaddabout that shadow? What color is that? Can't name it. Just match it and move on to the next spot of color. (Under my breath I am thanking my stars for all the studying and experimenting I have done with color and mixing!)
So, here is what came out . . . . ."Surf Watch" . . . .
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
The painting is (I think!) number 63 of a series I have been working on of the same still life set up. There will be more about that in future posts. In short, series work is designed to open creative doors that the artist would not otherwise access if just painting one painting. Working in series allows us to take chances to find out what will happen if . . . .
The mood of the piece came out fun . . .eh?
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Here it is . . .Not especially the best technique, but a two hour effort to capture the light through the trees. I had an absolute BALL painting this!!! 12 x 16 inches, oil on linen on wood panel.