"A good painting is the result of good planning,”
—Daniel K. Tennant
Like many artists, Daniel K. Tennant believes when you approach a new piece, “it is good thinking to sketch the idea on a piece of paper the same size as the surface you'll be painting on.” When you do this you leave nothing to chance, which can ensure better results when you have finished. Daniel references the great American illustrator, Norman Rockwell , whom he says mapped out every square-inch of his compositions before he applied any paint. “I agree with him that a painting is difficult enough without having to compound the process by making design decisions while painting.”
Dan is also quick to point out that you should not limit yourself by this process. “It’s not a straight jacket! Some of the greatest paintings ever created have been changed during the painting process—as x-rays have shown—but usually the adjustments were simply a bit of fine-tuning here and there.” Finally, Dan suggests drawing or sketching the entire painting might make the process more enjoyable.
While there are no specific rules for how you must approach your work, remember to try and finish each piece. You can always go back, make a few tweaks here and there, or start over from the beginning. Remember to have fun, be creative, and never stop believing in your talent!
Below is a sampling of Daniel's recent work:
"Early Morning Mist"
Gouache on museum board
"A Syracuse University Still Life"
Gouache on museum board
"Still Life With Large Lobster"*
Gouache on museum board
*This painting was voted the "Most Popular" painting at the 2010 National Exhibition of American Watercolors in Old Forge New York.
"The Artist's Magazine" has called this show one of the top ten juried watercolor shows in the country. In the four times Daniel has entered the show, his paintings have won the most popular vote every time!
Faded pictures in a yearbook, an old family photo, a tattered teddy bear high up on a closet shelf: These are the possessions that evoke childhood memories of family and friends—the roots from which a life sprung into existence. We often ponder these memories when we think about who we are and how far we have come. But what if these things never were? For millions of orphans living in developing nations around the world, fading memories serve as the only link to their impoverished upbringing. They often leave the orphanage and go into the world without one photo or keepsake from their childhood.
In 2003, while volunteering at a Guatemalan orphanage, graduate student Ben Schumaker met a man who had grown up in an orphanage himself. He told Ben that he had not one photo, not one trinket—nothing from his childhood to remember it by. The man then suggested that Ben help the children in the orphanage where he volunteered by giving them something that would help contribute to their sense of identity—something they could look at years later to remember a time in their childhood. This conversation inspired Ben to organize The Memory Project.
It started as a low-budget endeavor run out of a bedroom in his parents’ home in Madison, Wisconsin. Ben would invite a few high schools to ask their students to paint portraits from photographs of orphans, and he would ask a few orphanages to receive the portraits. It was Ben’s hope that receiving the portraits would be special for the children—an event they would remember fondly in the future when they looked upon the paintings.
Today, The Memory Project collaborates with art students in the US, UK, and Canada to bring individual hand-painted portraits to thousands of disadvantaged children the world over.
After CBS Evening News aired a story on The Memory project in 2006, hundreds of requests from art teachers who wanted to participate in the program started rolling in from all over the country. Since the program’s inception in 2004, more than 30,000 portraits have been painted and delivered to children in 33 countries. But participation isn’t limited to art students.
“There are actually many individual artists involved in the project…people who sign up to make one, two, three, or more portraits on their own or as part of a group they organized for the cause,” Ben said in an email to Walter Foster.
Each participant is supplied with a photograph of a disadvantage child to use as a reference for a portrait that they will paint. Children who take part in The Memory Project receive several portraits made by different artists. This helps to provide them with a sense of identity and it gives them something that is uniquely theirs.
But the orphans aren’t the only ones who benefit from the experience—the art students gain a greater sense of social awareness from connecting to the impoverished children on such a personal level. Many art teaches whose students participate in the program have testified to the profound impact it has had on their classrooms.
While many orphans in Nicaragua, Uganda, El Salvador, and other parts of the world don’t have doting parents snapping photographs at birthday parties and graduations, thanks to Ben, they do have an original painting of their likeness. A painting that they can look at for years, fondly remembering the day in their childhood when they received their very own portrait.
For more information on The Memory Project and to learn how you can help, visit thememoryproject.org. Note: The information contained in this blog was taken directly from The Memory Project Website and an interview with Ben Schumaker at help-portrait.com.
Online art gallery aims to help emerging artist promote their work and build their resumesJohn R. Math
knows it takes a lot of work for an artist to build up his or her resume—especially to build it up to the point where it is taken seriously by gallery owners and art representatives. Before John was able to successfully sell his work through galleries, he participated in many art shows, exhibitions, and competitions. "There must be an easier way," he thought. He searched for other, easier ways for emerging artists to introduce their work into the world, but found nothing.
It is for this reason he began operating Light Space & Time
, an online art gallery that runs monthly competitions and notifies gallery owners and other art world decision makers of the winning entries via email. Winners are also promoted to news and press release outlets, which can ultimately help to create more traffic to the artists' websites.
This month's competition is "Seascapes," and entries must be in by January 29, 2011. Both amateur and professional artists are welcome to enter any form of two-dimensional art or photography. There is a $15 fee per five entries. Simply upload images to the gallery's website.
The information in this blog post was taken directly from the Light Space & Time website. For more information go to: http://www.lightspacetime.com/
When I reminisce about the best gifts that I have received over the years, I don’t think about clothes and jewelry, or about gadgets and appliances. I think about the gifts that were crafted with love and care—the gifts that were made with me in mind, and that will always serve as a reminder of the people who gave them to me.
Last year my holiday budget was smaller than usual, so I decided that instead of buying the women in my family expensive gifts for the holidays, I would put a new hobby to the test and make them jewelry out of beads and wire. I have always struggled with what to buy for my little sister—no matter what I put under the tree, it never seems to bring a believable smile to her face. The previous year’s gift was the worst—a Belgium waffle maker when she had just started a carb-free diet. But last year I gave her handmade earrings, and she wears them all the time. It was not only the most inexpensive gift I had ever given her, but also her favorite.
A similar revelation came to me before my wedding this last September. My soon-to-be mother–in-law threw me an amazing bridal shower. The gifts were piled high and ranged from practical to luxurious. But the gift I received that I will treasure the most was not an item I had listed on my registry, nor was it the most expensive. It was a stained-glass heart made by my aunt that contained my and my fiancé’s initials. She couldn’t believe I was more excited about her homemade gift than I was about the crystal pitcher she had given me as well—but I was. It was special in a way that nothing from a department store could ever be.
Now that the holidays are approaching once again, I am heading to the art supply store instead of the mall. This year everyone on my gift list will receive an original watercolor painting, not a mass-produced trinket or last-minute gift card. And of course, I am including with their gifts, a collection of Walter Foster books and kits, in the hopes that next year I might get something just as special in return.
As a special thanks to all of the aspiring artists out there, we are offering 40% off any online purchase this holiday season. (See the coupon below.)
Because Art is Community in Motion
Donna Boudakian, Founder and CEO of Mobile Masterpieces, Inc
Operating in the Metro Atlanta area, Mobile Masterpieces Inc. is literally a moving art studio. We travel to the location of our client’s choice, provide all art supplies and inspiration needed to allow an individual or group to create a personalized or unique painting, and we take care of all set up and clean up. Everyone gets a 16 X 20 acrylic canvas, and three hours later, has a dry masterpiece of his or her very own. We specialize in step-by-step, personalized instruction so that each person can feel successful.
Our events reach all ages—from 7 to 107! We do birthday parties, ladies’ nights out, senior enrichment, and not-for-profit work for those in the community who may be ill or in need. Part of our philosophy also reaches those who feel that they simply “cannot paint.” We believe there is no such thing as a “perfect” painting and that the inherent therapy of art can reach anyone. Emotions are often conveyed in produced art, and, while most of our events are happy in nature, we often encounter pain, sadness, and depression as the paint reaches the heart of each artist and releases the colors of their lives.
Mobile Masterpieces is about a journey of creativity and community. We can relive the hundreds of lives we have touched in the photos of our events, but, more importantly, our clients can relive those moments of success with a brush and canvas each time that “thought to be impossible” painting is viewed.
Until Next Time…Live, Laugh, Love & Paint!
Watercolor sketch of Collioure, France. By Brenda Swenson.
In early June I traveled to Southern France to teach a sketching with watercolor workshop. The nine people in my group were all from the United States. Our home away from home for two weeks was the beautifully restored residence named Montfaucon, in the small town of Limoux. Historic records to this building go back to the mid 1300s. In the evening we either dined at Montfaucon with lavish meals prepared by local chefs or dined at one of the many outstanding restaurants in the area.
Each day we traveled to nearby villages, fortified cities, open markets, castles, and wineries. In the morning I would give a brief lesson either in the studio at Montfaucon or when we arrived on location. Some of the lessons I covered were light and shadows, edge quality, perspective, design, format, and vignettes. The locations we sketched at were the seaside town of Collioure, the medieval village of Minerve, the fortified city of Carcassone, Camon (the rose village), Rennes-le-Chateau, Gorge de Galamus, and more. There are just too many wonderful places to see and explore in just two weeks! We had so much fun. I plan to return!
If you are interested in attending one of Brenda’s workshops, follow this link for her 2010 and 2011 schedule. Locations vary significantly. http://www.swensonsart.net/events.html
The group of workshop participants, in France. Brenda Swenson on the right.
To see more of Brenda’s watercolor paintings, go to http://www.swensonsart.net/gallery.html
Walter Foster books written by Brenda Swenson include Keeping a Watercolor Sketchbook
, Steps to Success in Watercolor
, and Discover Watercolor Sketching
I remember when I was young I tried to draw a picture of my mom. I remember looking at her and very carefully drawing her head, her hair, her body, and the stool she sat on. To me, at the time, it was a perfect rendition.
My mom still has this drawing. I look at it now and find the crayon drawing laughable because those carefully trained strokes of crayon created another stick figure, complete with several individual hairs depicted by straight lines shooting out of her round stick figure head.
My love of art continued through out high school, where I sat through many drawing and painting lessons in the classroom, receiving art instruction with other beginning artists like myself. We were learning to draw by learning to see and controlling our media.
I would practice my newly learned drawing skills at home in the evenings, carefully replicating colorful album covers from my favorite bands with colored pencils. In college, other artists and I would get together and listen to music while we worked on our drawings and paintings.
Unfortunately, in college I also learned that the only artists who made money were dead ones. After scanning the classified ads, I made the decision to go into commercial art, and quickly adopted digital methods. My love of art did not diminish, but my time creating it did.
The old habit of collecting art materials still remains although I am now grown up and have no free time for drawing and painting. They take up space under the bed and in the garage, but no matter how many times I move, these art materials travel with me. I vow that in my old age, when I am retired and have free time, I will learn how to draw and paint again.
The Color Explosion: Nineteenth Century American Lithography from the Jay T. Last Collectionthrough February 22, 2010
The Huntington, San Marino, California
in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery
When a young German playwright named Alois Senefelder developed a new printmaking process in the 1790s, little did he know that his discovery would start a communication revolution. Lithography, or flat-surface printing, transformed the exchange of information and the behavior of everyday life for the next century and beyond. This technique brought art, literature, music, and science to the masses; gave rise to product advertising and consumer culture; educated a growing middle class; and turned commercial printing from a craft into an industry. Lithography also colorized a predominantly black-and-white print world.
The Color Explosion presents more than 200 examples of 19th-century American lithography from The Huntington
’s Jay T. Last Collection of Lithographic and Social History. Advertising posters, art prints, calendars, certificates, children’s books, color-plate illustrations, historical views, product labels, sales catalogs, sheet music, toys & games, and trade cards are just some of the artifacts that will be included in this comprehensive exhibition.For more information about this exhibition, click here.
Altos del Mar Sculpture Park (ADMSP), a non-profit group in Miami, Florida, founded by sculpture-park expert Gerrit Schulz-Bennewitz and art collector Peter Saile, recently announced that it has reached an agreement with the City of Miami to move forward with plans to build a public sculpture park at the Altos del Mar park site in Miami Beach.
According to the organization’s website, the park will feature “sculptures from internationally famous sculptors from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries that will be exhibited 365 days [a year] at no cost to the public in three naturally divided sculpture ‘rooms.’” The exhibits in the planned rooms, or sections, of the park include “Dunefield,” which will feature contemporary sculpture at the sand dunes against a beach backdrop; the “Maritime Garden,” which will include figurative sculptures and a Butterfly Vivarium; and the “Tree Allées” exhibit, which will feature abstract sculpture. Once complete, the park will serve as a picturesque location for a variety of community and private events.
ADMSP is also planning a series of dinner-party fundraising events toward the end of the year, as well as grand opening fundraising gala.
For more information, please visit www.altosdelmarsculpturepark.com
Like most writers/editors, I have a deep love of language. And since English is my first—and sadly, only—language, this love is for my native vernacular. So one of the first things I do when I start my day is read Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, which, true to its word (no pun intended), is faithfully delivered to my email inbox every morning.
Now, I would love to say that I’ve mastered the art of using every unfamiliar word that M-W sends my way, but this is far from the case. For one, using new words competently takes practice. I don’t go to many parties where I might potentially dazzle new acquaintances with my command of the language; my family gives me a hard enough time about the words I already use in my daily discourse; and the dog doesn’t seem to care whether I tell her she looks “slovenly” when she tramples through the bushes or “ambrosial” when she’s sleeping. In fact, I’m forced to bribe her with a biscuit just so she’ll sit long enough to listen to me impress myself. So, when I’m actually able to use a new word in my vocabulary, I get pretty excited.
Take, for example, the word “fugleman.” According to Merriam-Webster.com, fugleman (pronounced FYOO-gul-mun
) means “one at the head or forefront of a group or movement.” This word has been idling in my inbox for weeks now, just begging to be borrowed. And, by golly, I think I’ve finally found an occasion to use it.
As a writer/editor, few things are better than to have a network of friends who also are writers, editors, and fellow word geeks. But as a writer/editor for an art-book publishing company, it’s professional nirvana when a writer/editor friend is also married to an up-and-coming artist, or, in my opinion, a sort of fugleman.
The fugleman of which I speak is Mark Mendez: a young, extremely gifted artist whose thought-provoking works are especially compelling for their socially, globally, and environmentally relevant messages. Although Mark has previously had his works on display in other forums, he just wrapped his first “real” show at the Hibbleton Gallery in downtown Fullerton, California, where he exhibited with fellow artists Camilo Bejarano, Chris Leavens, and wotto. The joint exhibit, titled “01100011 0110111,” featured a dynamic presentation of all-digital artwork that was nothing short of a kaleidoscopic feast for the eyes.
In keeping with the exhibit’s theme, Mark created all of his images digitally and then had them printed onto what are essentially giant stickers; he then adhered the images to cuts of wood that he treated, sanded, and stained. “I mostly work on wood because I love vinyl [records],” Mark says. “Vinyl has so much of a warmer feeling than a CD or Mp3. I feel the same about wood. I felt that the contrast between a newer, digital medium and presenting [the images] on something as old as the earth itself would have a great impact.”
Impact indeed. For in addition to integrating wood into the work, the art reads like the front page of a newspaper, with revealing headlines of the oft unpleasant though truthful stories of global concern we aren’t always so sure we want to hear.
“Social and global issues have been a huge part of my life for quite awhile now,” Mark says. “The passion I have…has allowed me to create art that can be just as thought provoking as it is enjoyable to look at.” But irrespective of his personal convictions, Mark believes his art can mean “something different to everyone.”
Whether one agrees or disagrees with Mark’s artistic statements about the conflict-diamond trade in Africa, the war in Iraq, or the corporate machinations of big oil companies, for example, it cannot be denied that his art packs a powerful punch. And I have a hunch he’s on the cusp of something huge. Not because he’s the first artist to weave his moral convictions into the fabric of his work, but because of both his attitude and the artistic methods he employs.
First, he’s humble almost to a fault. “I wasn’t worried about selling my work,” he says of the Hibbleton show. “I was more afraid people wouldn’t like and/or get my work.” Second, his art is neither pretentious nor gratuitously esoteric—a lead some other artists of his generation could stand to follow. “I work in flat, normally one-color iconography,” he says. It is, in fact, the understated nature of Mark’s style that not only gives his work its integrity, but adds to its greater significance. And this is what puts Mark Mendez at the forefront of a new generation of socially conscious artists. He is an artistic fugleman.
And for a first show, he didn’t do too poorly, either. “I sold six pieces,” he says.
Mark Mendezhttp://markerarts.com email@example.com
112 West Wilshire Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832www.hibbleton.com