Thursday, February 2, 2017

Yes, I'm still alive...

Work on yet another impossibly adventurous painting has begun. Again, of Mulligan's Hill. As I work, and listen to music to block out other distractions, my mind drifts around.

For some reason I am remembering when one of my ink drawings appeared in the window of an antique shop sometime in the '80's with a sign that read "1950's Artist". No, try "Drawing from 1974", as everything done by me in the 1950's included crayons. The shop was the now closed "Rebel Trading Post"

Another time I remember being in another shop where I showed my work sometime in the '70's and while I was there overheard a conversation between two women who were observing my work ... Wiley Purkey? Didn't he just die? That shop was the also now closed "The Owl and the Pussycat".

My most recent event was after a meeting with a friend, during which se were discussing the possibility of attempting to paint my memories of "Bob's Five and Dime" and "Eddie's Lunchonette", both in Historic Ellicott City. We went to the Howard County Historical Society Library in pursuit of some old photos to help jog my memory of those two shops. Their photo database was down, so we left emails so they could send any images they found. Days later, I received an email showing what they had found on Google, which they sent along with the message "We didn't find any images of those two places, but this artist appears to have painted both". Sure enough, it was a link to an article about me.

I feel like I'm caught in a, endless loop of my own making.

Anyway, still alive, still painting...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ten suggestions for a more creative life

Please feel free to share it, tweet it, link from it on Facebook, socialize it, and help others be more creative. Here we go!

  1. Listen to music for inspiration: Music can put you in a creative state of mind. It helps to shut out the world to be focused on your materials and project. I find that instrumental music works best for me, because I don't have to think about the lyrics. My personal favorite is a German group founded in 1967, and still recording, Tangerine Dream. I also use ITunes to play both songs from my IPod, or the many internet radio stations available there. I also recommend signing up for Pandora radio, it's free, and you can tailor your own radio stations.
  2. Study what great artists have done: Visit art museums. It helps to study and learn from those that have gone before us.  Copy some of their works that you admire to learn techniques. Read about their lives. Depression, alcoholism, bi-polar behavior, failure, and yes, greatness, it's all there. The paths that we travel on the way to achieve greatness in art have been well traveled before.
  3. Discover what inspires you to create, and do it: Some like to paint landscapes, some prefer to paint the inner workings of the human mind. Observe the world around you and use your art to react to it. Do not fall into a trap of painting for money. You will be painting without inspiration, and it will be nothing more than a job. Painting for money is the kiss of death for the creative mind.
  4. Discover new materials, and new ways of doing things: The more you learn about art materials and their proper use, the more ideas will come to you in a natural way, instead of you looking for inspiration. Don't be afraid to experiment, let your own creativity lead you.
  5. See yourself as living up to your full potential as an artist: This is not a suggestion to be conceited, or arrogant in dealing with the public, just always imagine that you are a great artist. Never doubt yourself. See yourself as a historic figure, connected with all the great artists that have gone before, and are yet to be. If you have confidence in your abilities as an artist, others will also see you that way.
  6. Do something every day: Make a sketch, organize the studio, prime a canvas. If you travel, always take a camera and a sketchbook, and use them. There are a million steps that you must take to fully live up to your potential, so do something every day, and of course some days, you should take as many steps as possible.   I remember my old art teacher used to say: "So you want to be a watercolor artist? Then do 500 watercolors, and throw them away, then you are an artist!"
  7. Start a Art reference library: Art books about art styles, art history or about artists will inspire and encourage you the entire time that you own them. If you must watch television, keep art books close at hand to study during commercials, or during dull shows.
  8. Find a place to create: Now I know that we all dream of the ideal studio, with plenty of North facing windows, and a place for everything, but you don't need it. Believe me, I built it, and just could not paint in it. The best work that I ever did was when I had no place to live, and had just been cut loose by a girlfriend. I used a friend's dining room table, and was able to create enough good work for an entire show. You just need some unused corner, or a room that does not get used. Make it your own. place things that you like around for inspiration, a gnarled stick, a favorite print, a plant, anything that defines the space as a "studio" for you.
  9. Record your work, and learn from your progress: Take photos of everything that you do in the order that you finish them. Keep notebooks of your progress, use of materials, where the ideas came from. Learn from what you accomplish and allow your creative self to grow. Do not limit yourself to a single style, or become stuck with doing the same thing over and over because it works for you or because you can sell it to a patron.
  10. Build relationships as an artist: If you frequent social events go as an artist, be an artist, converse about art, gravitate to other creative personalities. Build your portfolio, including photos of your best work. Visit galleries, first to learn how they operate, then to inquire about having them represent you. Don't be discouraged, you will find your niche in the creative world. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Beyond the Storm and Into the Future

As I sit in my studio, just about a month into Winter, I'm feeling contemplative. Every year about this time we are forced to slow down, and take stock of our lives.

With so much time past, we stumble towards an uncertain future, and we become apprehensive. But plunging headlong into the unknown is where we find ourselves. Each one of us is capable of so much, but only if we travel new paths, in our thinking, our lives and how we spend our time.

I am always so excited about new projects that continue to come to me in an unending stream. But before I move forward on any of them, I feel that I must bring a few old projects to an end either by finishing them, or abandonment.

Every day brings new promises, new experiences, new opportunities, but to seize upon them, sometimes we must cleanse our lives of the things that hold us back, which in my case is unfinished projects.

The title "Beyond the Storm" comes from a CD by Tangerine Dream founder, Edgar Froese who died around this time, just two years ago at 70 years of age. Tangerine Dream has been the soundtrack to my own artistic pursuits since about 1977. They continue to inspire me, as good music helps us visualize, at least it does for me.

"We are on the threshold of a dream, so dream a little dream with me, for the best is yet to be.” 

So... Get out there and paint!

And take a moment to visit My Etsy shop, perhaps something I have done will inspire you!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

People Often Ask Me...

"Why don't you have paintings of Oella, or Catonsville, or Westminster?", or any number of other small towns.

What they may not understand is when I paint Tersiguels' Restaurant, I am remembering it as the Howard County Health Dept., and getting that painful Polio vaccine.

When I paint Mulligan's Hill, I remember having breakfast that was cooked by Audrey Hensley on a giant cast iron, wood fired cookstove.

When I am commissioned to do a painting of 1960's vintage Bob's Five and Dime, I remember stealing a bag of penny candy and having my mother make me to return it with an apology.

Nearly every building there has some connection for me, and memories of the folks that lived there.

So, it is up to others that have these same memories in their own towns to paint those same towns,
Historic Ellicott City is mine!

Still Waiting for the Art Gallery Scene to Return to Ellicott City

Yesterday afternoon I once again got to tour Main Street in HEC. After delivering a recent painting to the new owner I had a little time to walk around and view the agonizingly slow progress. Kudos to those painting the plywood covered storefronts to look like they are inhabited.

As I recall, before the flood, there were seven galleries in town, now just two have returned. After the permanent departure of Perspectives Art Gallery, I am without gallery representation. That has worked out just fine for me as collectors can easily find me via the internet, as many have.

 However, I do look forward to returning to Main Street in some as yet unknown gallery. My work is of course forever linked to the Ellicott City Historic District, and I am working on quite a few new EC based projects.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Just a few final things...

I will be packing and shipping prints out until the 20th, so there's still time to get those special items ordered, or even treat yourself. No one knows what you like as well as you do, so treat yourself!

Here is my Etsy Shop...

There are some new things... Such as...

"Midwinter Over the Patapsco"

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Final Event of this year - Gifts of Ellicott City

This coming Saturday I will have my final art event of the year: Gifts of Ellicott City  For those that need an Ellicott City themed gift for someone special, someone that loves Ellicott City, and we all know that's everyone on your list.  The event is at my home studio, 2309 Harvest Farm Road, Sykesville. Saturday, December 10th, 1 to 5.

After this event, I am going to hibernate for a while to work on some ongoing projects. 2017 is going to be an interesting year as I attempt to finish some incomplete projects, including my first book, about Ellicott City, of course.

Don't forget to subscribe to my email list on the Home page to keep up....