Friday Faves – 6/27/14

Favorite Painting:

Beach of the Seine Near Giverny (Mist)” – Claude Monet, 1897

So, this is the first painting I ever saw that gave me goosebumps.

It’s not a famous Monet, maybe not his best painting, but I love it for the emotion. I remember wandering around the Chicago Art Institute in college and stumbling on this painting, and just standing there with goosebumps, taking it all in. It was maybe the first time I realized just how moving two dimensional art can be. There’s something about a great piece that can stir your soul.

I wrote this blog post a few months ago about what the big goal is with my work, and it spurred an interesting conversation on Facebook about works of art that had really impacted people – the type of work you see once in a blue moon that gives you goosebumps, or brings tears to your eyes.

So, I want to know, what was the first work of art you ever saw that had that effect on you? When was the first time you remember standing in a museum or a gallery or wherever else, with the hair on the back of your neck standing up because you saw a piece that was just so good that it hit you in the gut? Post in the comments on Facebook or here – I want to know!

Favorite Quote:

“Believe me, success isn’t some ancient secret that you find bottled up in some black market for a really high price. It’s out there. It’s formulaic. It’s a hefty dose of patience with a bucketload of just doing the work combined with self-confidence. You can do the work and wait – but if you step up to the line without thinking you can do it – you’ve just waited and wasted a lot of time. But if you step up to the line with a confident mind and trusting legs – chances are you’ll surprise yourself.” 
– Elizabeth Waterstraat

This quote comes from a triathlon blog I used to read – the whole post is a good read if you have the time. I’ve had it filed away in my favorites for a while. 
Whether you’re talking about sports or art or even just work, it’s so true. Patience + Work + Confidence. You have to have all three of those things to make it. I come across great artists who lack confidence in their work, I come across artists who have a boatload of talent but don’t do the work, and I know quite a few who get impatient with the seemingly glacial pace of their growing career. I am all of those three sometimes.
Favorite Music:
I’m posting this one more for the video than the song. Watch this – if it doesn’t make you want to go hang out in Wyoming for a while, I don’t know what will. Some seriously beautiful footage of the Tetons and Yellowstone, with a good soundtrack! (Can someone remind me again WHY I’m not going to paint the Tetons this July????? Regretting that decision a bit right now…)

Friday Faves – 6/13/14

One of these days I will get around to posting some real blog posts again, but it’s summer and I’m slammed with work, and it seems like it might be a while. In the meantime, here are some of my favorites!

Favorite Painting:

Sentinel Bluffs – 36×43″ – George Carlson – 2013

I know I’ve been featuring historical paintings up until this point, but this one is the one that jumped out at me today, so contemporary it is! Besides, Carlson will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the great artists of this generation, so it’s like watching history happen, right?

I should confess that I pretty much love everything George Carlson paints. For those of you who read this blog who aren’t artists and not familiar, Carlson is an extremely successful sculptor. The fact that he can switch so seamlessly from sculpting to painting masterpieces like this is amazing to me.

This painting, which is fairly large, is powerful. It’s the perfect example of how you can keep the color and detail minimal in a painting, and still make an extremely powerful statement. The composition and values here work together to create a sense of drama that pulls you in. And the unexpected and varied use of color in the shadows adds interest that holds you. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this painting in person, but I can almost guarantee that if I did I would be able to stare at it forever, finding subtleties that aren’t visible in a photo.

Favorite Quote:

Love this quote about imperfection. I needed to remember this last week.

The entire reason that I keep this blog going is because I hope that in some way, keeping it real about the process of being an artist will help someone, somewhere, who is just starting out and feeling frustrated. I meet the occasional person who thinks I’m a little nuts for putting the tough stuff out there – like it’s bad marketing to post a photo of my rejections or admit that I’m feeling uninspired – but it’s really important to me to be honest, so I keep at it.

I had one of my blog posts re-published on FineArtViews last week, and it just happened to be a post where I was being real about some struggles I had in the studio. So all the sudden I was baring my soul to thousands of people, rather than the few hundred I might get here, and I thought, “Self, was this a good idea??”

I get a lot of emails when posts go live on FAV, and in the case of this one, I got a ton of kind, encouraging emails – people writing me to say, “Me too!! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes!” But there are always a couple of negative ones when you put yourself out there, and I got a couple of nasties from this blog post. And I’m admittedly thin-skinned so I stewed over those two negative emails, and told myself that I was done putting myself out there, and done with being real on the blog. Or at the very least, I was done publishing my posts on a very public blog that thousands of people read. And as I was stewing and feeling sort of bad, I saw this quote and immediately felt better. Because that’s what it’s about for me. Keeping it real so people who are starting out know what it’s like to live this life.

Favorite Music:

I love this band. Sorry that there’s not a cool video to go with this song, but it’s a favorite of mine, so I’m sharing it anyhow. So give it a listen, and if you like it, go buy their EP – the whole thing is awesome and it’s only $4, so you can’t go wrong!

Friday Faves – 5/30/14

Favorite Words:

I was sad this morning when I read that Robert Genn had succumbed to cancer. The art world has definitely lost a wise and giving soul. I’ve been reading Genn’s newsletters for years – so much food for thought there. This quote comes from this morning’s newsletter. It’s simple, but so true:

There’s so much about art the gives my life meaning. Yeah, it’s my job, my livelihood, my passion. But the arts in general give life a fullness that it wouldn’t have without them.

Favorite Painting:

Water Mill” – Frits Thaulow, 1892

This guy could paint water like no other. This painting is great because that’s all it’s about – WATER. And he does it so well. The values he uses in the water in this and his other paintings are just spot on, and so the surface just glistens. Add in some beautiful color and a great design, and you have a painting that I could probably stare at for hours.

Favorite Music:

I just posted this video on Facebook a few weeks ago, so I know this is a bit lazy of me, but I’m putting it here so I can find it someday in the future.

I love the Paper Kites – they’re a little bit mellow, good for the studio on a snowy day. This is a great song, and this video is absolutely beautiful. I mean, let’s be honest – mountain bikes + good music + awesome scenery = bliss! So, if you haven’t seen it yet, watch it. Then go check out their other tunes (“Bloom”, “Tenenbaum”, “St. Clarity”, “Young” – so many good ones I can’t pick a favorite!).

Have a great weekend!!

Friday Faves – 5/9/14

Okay, so I had this brilliant idea to blog about my favorites every Friday, and then I was out of town two weeks in a row and forgot about it! Complete FAIL.

So, here they are for this week.

Favorite Words:

I’ve posted this quote somewhere on this blog before, I’m sure, but that was years ago so you get it again. Wise words from an amazing woman, Maya Angelou:

Favorite Painting:

“Arques–la–Bataille” – John Henry Twachtman, 1885

This is one of my favorite paintings of all time. I could stare at it for hours. It’s so simple, but still so powerful. Simple shapes, solid values, and beautiful draftsmanship in the foreground. Proof that a painting doesn’t have to be busy to say a lot.

Favorite Music:

I don’t know about you, but nothing inspires me more than watching another person master their art. Nothing gets me more excited to paint than seeing an amazing painting, or hearing some really great live music, or watching a beautiful dance.

This particular song has been around for a while, and this album is always on rotation in my studio, but when I finally got to hear (see?) this song live last summer I got goosebumps. John Butler is an amazing guitar player. I wish I could paint as well as he can play. And I wish this video was half as cool as hearing this in person. (Feel free to skip the first minute of rambling talk – the music is worth it, promise!)

Friday Faves!

One of the things I love most about social media is being able to find and share inspiring stuff with my art friends – quotes, paintings, music, etc… But I have this tendency to share things on Facebook, and then months go by, and when I try to find that quote or image or video that I posted a while back, it’s virtually impossible to find in my feed. And that’s kind of a bummer, because I like to revisit that sort of thing – get re-inspired, if you will. SOOOO, I had this idea to do a post of favorites here on the blog every Friday, so I can find all that inspiring stuff later on, all in one place. Every week, I’ll include some inspiring words, and maybe a favorite painting, and if I happen to see an awesome video or hear some great music, I’ll throw that in too.

So here goes. My Friday Favorites – first edition. Enjoy!
Favorite Words:
Last week, Robert Genn’s newsletter for artists included 8 Rules for Painting, based loosely on Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules for Writing. I liked the painterly take on things, but nothing can take the place of Gaiman’s original 8 rules. Even if you aren’t a writer, these apply to your art.
(If you can’t read this, click on it for a larger version – I uploaded this as a larger image so you can download it if you want)
My husband would tell you that I’ve pretty much mastered #7. Hehe… The rest are truth with a capital T.
Favorite Painting:
“Winter’s Loveliness” – Edward Harrison Compton, 1904
I discovered the work Edward Harrison Compton, as well as that of his father (Edward Theodore Compton), through Facebook a few months ago, and I’m in love with the work of both of them. They were both mountaineers, and they could paint mountains like no other. And snow. This one is beautiful, not only for the tight values and color, but for the emotional component as well. Sigh…
Favorite Video:

I know, I shared this a few months ago so it’s old news, but I love it so I’m going to share it here too. The voiceover for this video is just so inspiring. It’s not about whether you live out of a van or in a big house, or have a job in an office or not, but rather about making sure you’re doing the things you love – the things that make you feel alive.


35 from ARC’TERYX on Vimeo.

Some of my favorite words, from the video (you can read the whole thing here):

“I try to collect moments. I step back and watch the movie that is my life for just a second, because it’s easy to miss the good stuff, the magic, when it happens. But I try not to. I try really hard to realize it when it’s amazing, and even when it’s not.”

“We all have dreams, but they don’t mean much if we don’t act on them, if we put them in a drawer we label “Someday,” for when we think we’ll have more time. I try to get out there, to go to amazing places, to have incredible conversations with incredible people. I think it all adds up somewhere. And when it does, you’re not doing something. You’re being something. And what I want to be is happy, and excited, and inspired.”