March 2nd, 2017

February was a bit of an odd month. I spent at least a week of it being sick or taking care of sick family members. I really wish people would just stay home when they aren't well, instead of going out and spreading it around!

I still persevered and finished "Secrets", and made good progress on a few other paintings. I am close to finishing a couple of others and I hope that March will yield more finished art than February and January did. We're still settling into our new home and it feels like unpacking takes forever. It doesn't help that our last house had lots of built-in bookshelves and dressers, and our new house does not. So there's nowhere to put half of our stuff! I think grabbing some cheap dressers from Ikea is on the to-do list, so maybe we can actually put away our laundry soon.

"Secrets", 9x12 oils on paper, mounted on panel

I also managed to make a "paint and chat" video last month, where I worked on a painting called "Gaia" that I didn't get to finish in February because of a horrendous stomach flu my son shared with me. I am still planning to finish "Gaia" very soon, perhaps next week.

This week I've been working on a drawing called "Wither" that I did back in the spring of 2016. I still lived in Montana when I started this one, and had gone as far as putting an oil underpainting over the top of it and glazing colors. Of course after I unpacked it and looked at what I had done, I realized I had made a mistake with my color glazes that I couldn't remove. I tried to scrub the color off with solvent but only a small amount would budge. Luckily I had scanned the drawing before I went too wild with the paints, and decided to try printing it onto canvas and then working over it. I don't usually work on canvas since I like my paintings to be pretty smooth so they scan well for prints, but working on paper presents some technical challenges and limitations that I'm getting a little tired of dealing with. I nearly lost a finished painting last month when I mounted it and part of the mount didn't stick in the center of the painting, leaving a raised bump of air between the painting and dried adhesive. I managed to fix it but it was very stressful and I have since been working on more sustainable, less stressful substrates like Gessobord (a primed hardboard) and now canvas sheets that can be mounted and re-mounted as many times as it takes to get them perfect. I may still use paper from time to time, but will be modifying my mounting process so I no longer run the risk of ruining a finished painting. Yikes.

"Wither" on the easel a couple nights ago. 11"x12.5" oils on canvas sheet.

Other things I hope to do this month are resurrect my Patreon with some new goals and content, and make more videos. I don't know for sure what else I will work on this month, and right now I am taking it one day at a time and hoping I can sneak through the rest of flu season without catching anything else... knock on wood.

Daniel Smith New Watercolors Demo

I recently purchased 9 Daniel Smith watercolors, including Daniel Smith's newest release of 8 colors perfectly suited for botanicals. I made a little video swatching those colors and comparing them to a few similar colors from Holbein. If you're into that sort of thing, watch the video below!

Progress

It feels like the process of moving in is never done, especially in the studio. It's a pretty functional space now, at least, but I still have boxes and boxes of supplies, frames, prints, and so on to unpack. It's starting to shape up, though, and I've spent a good chunk of the weekend unpacking and arranging my studio.

I'm a little tired after working all day today and yesterday, but here's some pictures I took today of my new space, what's hanging up on the sketch line, and what's currently taped to the watercolor table.

  1. What's on the sketch line right now? A ton of Lovecraft-inspired stuff, plus a weird Alice in Wonderland 1920's piece.
  2. I'm still in the rough stages for this painting. I'm working in watercolors right now, but I will be finishing it in oils.
  3. I think I'll have to get some shelves for my seashells. The cats keep knocking them off the window ledge with their furry fannies.
  4. More seashells, but these are a bit safer from feline mischief!
  5. The corner that I pretty much live in. Wish I could find the box with all my lights in it, but for now this will work.
  6. Did you know it snowed in Atlanta? I live north of Atlanta so I got more of it than they did, I think. It's been pretty cold for a couple of days and the snow hasn't completely melted yet.
  7. This is my next project. We're going to turn the massive walk-in-closet attached to my studio into a little office, but I still have a lot of organizing and arranging to do in there (clearly). Eventually we'll put my computer in there and it will be great for digital painting since there are no windows = no glare.

Wish me luck with all this unpacking!

Positive / Negative

Many of my friends have been posting the most negative comment they've ever received about their art on social media. I've been sharing my art on the Internet since 2002, so I've received my fair share of hateful comments. They run the gamut from benign "you suck!" to the very malignant, "your art is contrived and pretentious. Kill yourself."

Obviously, I am still here, so that didn't exactly inspire the desired result.

I try not to give negative comments much head space. People who leave them are usually just lashing out at the nearest victim, and whatever it is that they're saying, isn't really about you. It's hard to remember that sometimes, because our art is often so personal, but the more you remind yourself that their comments are just projections, the easier it will become to let it roll off your back. There's one video in particular that I stumbled upon a couple years ago and it helped me understand what drives The Critic and why The Critic's opinion is only as important as you think it is. JP Sears, a YouTuber known mostly for his comedy videos, has some wonderful advice to share about dealing with criticism, and I've embedded it below.

It's a bit of a lengthy video, but if you watch it and take it to heart, I'm sure it will help anyone down in the dumps about a critical or mean-spirited comment turn it around and make it a positive, or even just something that doesn't register at all.

What about you? What's the most negative or the most positive comment you've ever received?