HELP – Camera Advice??

“Below the Pass”
Oil on Panel
11×14″
2007

I’m totally scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to find decent pictures to post here. I’ve posted most of my recent paintings, and the old ones don’t look good enough. Luckily I’ve got eight paintings sitting in my living room just waiting to be photographed today!!

Speaking of photographing paintings, I’m starting to feel like I need to upgrade my camera. I use a 5 MP Olympus with a big zoom that I love for taking photos outdoors and in all lighting conditions. Problem is that I’m starting to feel like I need higher resolution images.

Case in point? I’ve been working with an art consulting firm who were pitching my paintings to a couple of hotels. One of the projects was for guest room prints. I almost lost the job because I don’t have high enough resolution photos of older paintings for them to use to make prints. Luckily, the client loved the actual painting I sent as a sample, so I was able to get a good enough image and got the job. But you can see why it would be nice to have higher resolution images, right?

I’m looking at what’s out there now and there are a lot of affordable cameras in the 12 MP range. I need a good zoom and I like a camera where I can adjust everything manually (no point and shoot), so I’m looking at a minimum of $400, but I’m wondering if I should take the plunge and just get a Nikon digital SLR. Does anyone out there have a camera they LOVE?? I’d love to hear what you all use to photograph your paintings, and if you’d recommend something similar. I love my Olympus because it almost always gets accurate color, even with bad lighting conditions, but I’m willing to branch out…

In other news, I finally updated my blogroll and template. Of course, in the process Blogger reformatted half of my old posts, so now they all look kind of weird. Argh.

Art and Knowledge

“Dusk”
Oil on Panel
16×20″
2007

I read this quote by Scott Christensen in the February issue of Southwest Art, and I’ve been meaning to write it down ever since. In an interview, they ask him what the biggest misconception is about artists, and his answer is the following:

“That we just paint and it just comes flowing out of us naturally. But it has to be a learned thing. Knowledge precedes execution. Most people think creating art is a feeling. That’s like saying Yo-Yo Ma must have just picked up the cello and started playing it.”

I love that because it says in so few words exactly what annoys me sometimes about the public perception of art. People assume that painting is this touchy-feely relaxing activity that requires no study or thought. I can’t tell you how many people have (with genuine concern!) asked me if what I’m doing now is keeping me “challenged” enough after leaving engineering. Truth is, I love to paint, but I keep at it because it’s a challenge.

Honestly, this is the hardest job I’ve ever had.

Every day I’m striving to improve my work and learn something that will take me to that next level. And I know that I’ll probably never feel like I’ve “made it”, because I’ll always see something that needs improving. Add to that the challenge of actually making a living at art, and you have a helluva challenging job! It takes work, and it takes knowledge. And when it comes to the knowledge part, I’ve got a long way to go…

Finally


Well, the sun finally decided to shine after what seemed like a week of snow! This is a snapshot from our walk this afternoon – now that it’s warming up, things are melting and hopefully we’ll be able to see more than the top rail of that fence in a few weeks… Anyhow, how’s that for the view from my new backyard?

We headed down to Denver this weekend since I had to attend the opening of the Governor’s Invitational on Saturday night. While I was down I stopped by Home Depot and picked up some color-corrected lights for my new garage studio. When there is no natural light, I like to hang a couple of 4 foot long 5000K flourescent lightbulbs above my easel – haven’t found anything better for accurate color, and the lights are cheap and easy to find (unless you’re trying to find them in a small mountain town). Now my studio is all set up and ready to go – I’m looking forward to a productive week of painting!

Springtime in the Rockies

“View from Independence”
Oil on Canvas
30×40″
2007

It’s supposed to be Spring, so of course it’s snowing like crazy here in the mountains. Ten inches and more coming down, which made it a really nice day to stay inside and paint!!

For the record, putting Aspen in daycare proved to be far more traumatic for me than for her today. She had a great time, and even though I worried all day, I still managed to get four paintings started. The new studio space is working well, but I’m having some lighting issues. Nothing that can’t be fixed though. Anyhow, it’s nice to be painting again – I’m running out of new images to post here (this one’s pretty old), so I’d better get some new stuff done!!

On another note, I’ve got paintings in a couple of shows that open this weekend. The Salon International opens at the Greenhouse Gallery with an awards banquet tomorrow night. I won’t be able to attend, but if you’re near San Antonio, it’ll be a great show! Also, the opening for the Colorado Governor’s Invitational Art Show is Saturday night at the Loveland Museum. I got to see a lot of the paintings when I delivered mine last week, and it promises to be a great show this year! If you’re in Colorado, it hangs at the museum through mid-May and it’s worth a bit of a drive to see it.

Springtime in the Rockies

“View from Independence”
Oil on Canvas
30×40″
2007

It’s supposed to be Spring, so of course it’s snowing like crazy here in the mountains. Ten inches and more coming down, which made it a really nice day to stay inside and paint!!

For the record, putting Aspen in daycare proved to be far more traumatic for me than for her today. She had a great time, and even though I worried all day, I still managed to get four paintings started. The new studio space is working well, but I’m having some lighting issues. Nothing that can’t be fixed though. Anyhow, it’s nice to be painting again – I’m running out of new images to post here (this one’s pretty old), so I’d better get some new stuff done!!

On another note, I’ve got paintings in a couple of shows that open this weekend. The Salon International opens at the Greenhouse Gallery with an awards banquet tomorrow night. I won’t be able to attend, but if you’re near San Antonio, it’ll be a great show! Also, the opening for the Colorado Governor’s Invitational Art Show is Saturday night at the Loveland Museum. I got to see a lot of the paintings when I delivered mine last week, and it promises to be a great show this year! If you’re in Colorado, it hangs at the museum through mid-May and it’s worth a bit of a drive to see it.