"Paynter" ready to hit the road for Estes Park
Recently I shifted my artistic emphasis to that of offering commissions. I call them “Memory Portraits,” because I want to capture your treasured memory on canvas. Non-commissioned artworks will continue to be created and made available for sale, but the emotional satisfaction of successfully completing a commission has called me to re-direct my focus & energies. In addition, commissions are an invigorating, positive, collaborative process. I love working with people in translating their story into a painting they can have and share for a lifetime.
Currently, I am taking a great 4-week class that is teaching me how to create a more compelling blog for you, the reader, and many other aspects about the blogosphere. (It's really stretching my brain & I will be better for it.)
Today’s assignment requests that I generate 20 potential ideas that I could write about on my blog. When I brainstorm, I often put the idea into a question. Here are several and in no particular order:
>What is a commissioned painting?
>Why would I want one?
>What is the process?
>How do I choose an artist to work with?
>Where do I find one? I’ve never talked to an artist.
>Is the commission process different for every artist?
>Do I deserve a commissioned painting?
>I don’t know anything about art, therefore commissioning one is scary.
>How do I choose the image I want painted?
>How do I know that I will like the artist?
>What if I don’t like the painting?
>Aren’t commissioned paintings only for the rich & famous?
>Do artists guarantee their work?
>What is a palette knife?
>Why is the surface of the painting shiny?
>Color scares me, how I do I talk to an artist about color?
>How do I frame it?
>How do I determine the best size?
>Can it be a gift to someone?
Did I make 20? Your suggestions for subjects you would like me to write about are welcome. Please let me know.
And why a picture of my cat Paynter on this blog? Well, I could not resist. One of our instructors Alyson Stanfield, mentioned in today's lesson that images we put on our blog should be relevant to our blog’s content 95% of the time. She admitted that she sometimes digresses and includes photos of her cat on her blog. Since I am packing to take another class from Alyson, and it is in Estes Park, I could not resist taking this photo of Paynter telling me that is wants to meet Alyson in person!Comment on or Share this Article →
A "Naked" Butterfly in Pieces - 30lbs
As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I am engaged in my first public works art project, and it is for the city of Colorado Springs. 24 artists' designs were chosen from 50 applications! Imagination Celebration has sponsored this event along with the Colorado Springs Rotary Club. The butterflies will be on display throughout town this summer and then auctioned off. The procedes will benefit the art departments of the local schools.
A couple of days ago I went to the metal shop to pick up my alluminum alloy butterfly, weighing in at 30lbs. Now I am comfronted with reality. How do I translate my 8"x11" colored pencil design onto metal using paints I have never used before? I have always said that challenges are good, and I think I have one here that will push me. Since this the second year for this fund raising event, perhaps it would be smart of me to contact an artist with metal butterfly experience? It will also be necessary to figure out how to actually set the wings (36" wing span and they will be bolted together) up to paint them. Hmmmmmmm.....
How do you respond to those big wings you see in the photograph?
To be continued. The evolution of this butterfly will be posted as I tackle each stage. Wish me luck!
"Too Many Too Soon" - from my series.
Recently, I flipped on the TV remote to watch a portion of the TV show “American Idol,” of which I am an intermittent viewer. Despite the average singing (my opinion) I was witnessing, something kept me fixated to the TV. It was the judges’ feedback that compelled me to stay tuned. After about the third contestant, I finally “heard” what Judge Randy was saying. His repeated criticism was, “Your song and performance is too safe.” At first, I totally agreed and then I realized these are just kids, but the real Ah-ha! came when I realized that that is exactly what I have been doing with my landscapes. What he was saying applied to me.
In the art world, we are constantly told to improve our technique and to strive towards creating the highest quality of work we can produce. (Those are always good reminders.) The other mantra we hear is to create work from the heart that will make our paintings stand out from the competition. Allowing Randy’s message to penetrate my being caused me to pause, reflect and question.
Upon reflection, I remembered and then gave myself some credit, that I have created “unsafe” works in the past. The large body of work I created commemorating 19th-Century women (entitled No Time for Idle Hands) was risky and stood out, as well as my surrealistic paintings of the past. Then I realized that those intense 6-7 years of painting the hands of 19th-Century to tell their visual story, led me to seek harmony and nature for solace. My subject changed to something that was not risky, but my visual voice also seemed to be too “safe,” because my landscape paintings do not strongly stand out from the competition. I know that I have the capability to create compelling paintings, but I am not yet there.
What is a safe painting? A safe painting is no longer exciting to view as evident when viewers keep walking by at a show or gallery, or they glance and just move on. Nothing is holding them there, be it design, color, subject, emotion, or composition. An unsafe painting is conveyed only when the artist is willing to open herself to the vision she wants to tell and to dig deep to find her inner passion that feeds her. My personal discovery is that I do have that passion and vision, but I have not yet acquired the higher level skills to satisfy my minds eye, hence to cause more viewers to stop in their tracks and want to 'finish' the painting. Time to get back to work!
How would you define unsafe landscape paintings?
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"The Iris Lady" - oil with palette knife
With the strong desire to connect with more people out in the blogophere, I started a 4-week Blog Triage class with Alyson Stanfield & Cynthia Morris today. Today's assignment (I cannot remember the last time I had regular assignments! It has been years and wonder how I will do..? Your blog comments will help keep me on track), is to describe the people I want to visit and read my blog.
Artmaking is about communicating a perspective to the world and connecting with people. I view blogging, now that I understand it, as a natural outgrowth or partner in this process. I love providing people access to my artistic process, both visually as well as with words. Art appreciators, art lovers, artists, potential art buyers, those interested in the creative process, and art collectors are the people I would like to attract to my blog; other interested folks are certainly welcome. I included this painting for this assignment because this delicate, sweet iris in this painting is alone, which is how my blog currently stands. I would like to converse with all of the people I mentioned (attract more flowers in the garden ...!) to hear their reactions/opinions/thoughts/feelings/ideas to my blog content and my paintings, and make connections with my community. Learning and hearing from you will make me a more effective & meaningful blogger and a better artist/writer.
Did I leave anyone out? Please let me know.
The other part of this assignment was to link with my instructors. Let's see if I can this. http://journeyjuju.com and http://artbizblog.com
Book cover of my book
We artists, of all makes & sizes, often refer to our life's work as pursuing a passion. Even our collectors, viewers and friends make that statement for us. In fact I entitled my book "Painting My Passion: An Artist's Journey with the Women of the West." When I make my various presentations about this journey, I like to quote Jack White's (a frequent writer for The Art Calendar magazine) story he has used in defining a passion. A wise sage took his student to the ocean and instructed him to begin walking into the surf. The sage said, "Keep walking even after your head is covered by water. When you are near passing out, remember that feeling. That's the feeling of passion." When you feel for something as strongly as you want to breath, the you have passion. Passion is wanting to accomplish something more than any other thing in your life.
In my book, I refer to another author who asks these questions when deciding whether to follow your passion: What do I want & why? For whom? For what purpose? How hard am I willing to work? Do I have a support system? What trade-offs am I willing to make? How much do I believe that I will get what I want? I then added the following questions: How strong is my will to succeed? What is my definition of success? Can I say "no" to distractions & detractors (trust me, there are tons of these)? Can I function alone? Whether you are literally alone in your passion or are surrounded by a team (such as Judy Chicago's collaborative artworks), you are the engine behind that passion. You are still alone. You have to believe you are the engineer of the train. If you walk away from it, the passion will die or drasitically go off track.
What would you add? How do you define passion? If you are pursuing your passion, has it been rewarding?
The Butterfly Template
I just found out that my application to participate in the Colorado Springs "2nd Annual Butterflies and Friends" project was accepted! This event demonstrates the creativity of regional artists and raises awareness about the critical importance of childhood participation in art. Each artist transforms a 42" tall by 56" wingspan aluminum alloy butterfly that weighs 50 pounds and will be mounted on a 30 pound base. Entries are to be completed by June 15th.
The butterflies will be placed on display in outdoor locations for public viewing and interaction throughout the summer. This is a community collaboration with The Rotary Club of Colorado Springs and Imagination Celebration. Butterflies will be auctioned with 10% going to the artist and 90% to support school arts programs in the Colorado Springs school district D-11.
My entry is entitled "Musical Butterfly, " and I will keep you posted on its development. I am thrilled to be a part of this project.
"The Beach House" - commissioned painting
22. Several years ago I developed a three-day, along with an 8-week class, that focuses on color mixing. I LOVE to teach these classes and the response from attendees has always been positive.
22A. (I am cheating and adding another "thing" to my list.) My first collaboration as an artist was with internationally known composer Judith Zaimont, who lived in MN at the time. She wanted to create a poster celebrating women composers over the centuries. How many can you state? Did you know that many of Felix Mendelsohn's works were actually composed by his sister? Or that women were arrested for composing? Below is the graphic that I created as the back drop to hundreds of womens' names. It was an honor and privilege to be a part of this project.
23. Marketing is a concept that I understand and I have executed lots of marketing activities, but I am not particularly good at it for my own work. I want to learn more about how to leverage my knowledge with the vehicles available via the Internet and to do it with glee.
24. Laughing at myself is a real tonic and fun to do with others.
25. Throughout my career, I have completed over 35 commissioned paintings. Upon reflection this past January, I came to the realization that executing and delivering a commissioned painting is deeply satisfying, heart warming, and an artistic challenge I enjoy. Creating a treasured memory for a client is invigorating, consequently I am directing my marketing efforts this year and the future to this end. I call these paintings "Memory Portraits."
THE END of my Random Chronology! Thanks for participating.
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"The Beauty & the Beast" - pastel
19. In 2004, I initiated and curated a regional show to increase awareness about and to commemorate the Minnehaha Creek that travels 22 miles through the Twin Cities (MN). I collaborated with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and The Edina Art Center. The exhibition, entitled "Celebrating 22 Miles," drew over 150 visual artists enteries, resulting in 60 peices being exhibited. 12 of my paintings of Minnehaha Creek were also featured.
20. Cats have been a part of our 25 years of marriage, and currently two charming & sociable orange tabbies, Paynter & Red, entertain us daily. Paynter is known as the professor, ever curious and intense, whereas Red is a simple guy who goes with the flow. They are great buddies and often engage in lick fests.
21. Self-discovery & personal development have been a constant value throughout my life. Artmaking has always given me personal insights as well as the opportunity to communicate a way to view the world. Through my work, I want the viewer to stop, think, emote, speak, dream, imagine, etc., and perhaps learn something about themselves. Showing you why I painted something and sharing that with you is motivating.
...to be continued.
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Water soluble oil paints & palette knives
16. Water soluble oil paints were added to my repertoire in 2005. These paints are the perfect solution/compromise for me, since I never cared for acrylics and oil paints are too toxic and slow drying. I have recently learned that water soluble oils are more environmentally friendly than oils or acrylics, and this is important to me. The palette knife is my preferred tool over the brush, because it is cleaner, more physical and textures are easier to create.
17. I strive to be a creative catalyst in everything I do. Creative problem solving revs my juices and the satisfaction of facilitating someone in solving a problem or doing so with my work, makes life worthwhile.
18. Computers and technology are necessary for survival, yet it is best said that I have a love-hate relationship. Over the years, I have forced myself to learn various software programs and I have tried to stay current with Internet trends. Knowing PhotoShop Elements, Power Point & Word is a godsend, as well as maintaining websites of various renditions. Fortunately, my in-house technical assistant, Bob, has supported me in all of these endeavors, unfortunately neither of us has a full comprehension of social networking!
...to be continued.
"Amaryllis Celebration" - 22x23 pastel
14. Flowers have been the most constant subject throughout my art career - be they intertwined with musical instruments, gardens of daylilies or roses, or large floral portraits. The rhythms and colors of flowers have always captivated me. Some of my favorites are irises, daylilies and amaryllis - in fact, I was the artist-in-residence for the National Hemerocallis (daylily) Society in 1993.
15. My life's passion is to create paintings, no matter the subject, that transport you to another time and place. Through color, design and subject matter, I want to emotionally draw you into the image and tap your memories, senses and/or imaginations. Like a musician, I choose a color chord for each painting to create a sense of harmony and depth.
...to be continued.
Painting the Montclera Castle - France
11. After completing my book and its corresponding large body of paintings, my artwork evolved to be inspired by my love of the outdoors. I also began learning the medium of pastels. The challenges of painting on-site were overcome, despite many misshaps, and I learned to cherish working in the woods, at the foot of the mountains or along the river.
12. Of the many awards I have received, the most significant was receiving "The People's Choice Award," because the voters were art lovers, peers and regular viewers. The "First Place Award" at the Minnesota State Fair for a piece with a strong social/political statement was also a memorable highlight. The real thrill is when a viewer suddenly stops, spends time with a piece, engages in conversation and then asks to purchase it. Mutual gratification!
13. Meanwhile, I need to mention a mountain cabin in Colorado along the South Platte River that served as my 'painting escape' sometime in the late 1990's. Every summer I would drive from Minnesota to our cabin (I am the fourth generation owner of this cabin) to rest, restore and create for a month. In 2004, Bob and I made Colorado our permanent home. We live 90 minutes form the cabin in our new home just north of Colorado Springs. That year I also legally changed my name from Carol Virginia Gray to Carol Angeline McIntyre in honor of my great-great-grandmother Angeline Nale, a Native American who married a Scot, John B. McIntyre, in the 1820's.
...to be continued.
Mike's Hands while Fly Fishing - w/c
8. My hand paintings/drawings became known as hand portraits. I was commissioned by musicians, doctors, gardeners, parents, sewers, etc., to draw their hands. My hand portrait of Rick Aquilera, former pitcher for the Minnesota Twins baseball team, was a true highlight, not only because he was a celebrity but because it was such a delightful collaborative experience. It also allowed me to re-awaken my memories as a closet baseball fan since the age of 12 and he signed a baseball with, "Carol, my hands have never looked so good! Rick"
9. From 1992-94, I served as the President of the Minnesota Watercolor Society which is a volunteer organization with over 300 members. This position not only facilitated my professional growth as an artist and leader in the art community but gave me meaningful friendships and a wonderful network that opened many opportunities.
10. Along the way, I discovered that I do like to write, and this led me to write a memoir (referencing a journal I kept) entitled "Painting My Passion: An Artist's Journey with the Women of the West." A visual artist's voice is rarely heard in words, and this book gives you an illuminating glimpse into my artistic decision making process, musings, struggles & triumphs. 20 of the paintings are reproduced in color.
...to be continued.
"A Golden Gathering" - 19 x 26" w/c
4. A brilliant rose pigment leapt from the tip of my brush and swirled across the wet paper to meet the more settled cobalt blue. As they merged in the water, they sometimes mated to make purple, other times they blended into a sweeping swirl of red & blue. Watercolors and I "danced" together for over 15 years. During this time I became involved in several local art groups, became a signature member of the prestigious Transparent Watercolor Society of America, exhibited in several juried art shows, juried a few shows, taught art classes and exhibited in outdoor art fairs.
5. Meanwhile, my husband Bob North, introduced me to women's history in 1983, and unbeknownst to me, the book he gave me "Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier," by Joanna L. Stratton, changed my life. The book chronicles life on the Kansas prairie through autobiographical manuscripts written by hundreds of 19th-Century women. Their stories spoke to me directly and for the first time in my life I found a sense of community. Over 50 books, fiction & non-fiction, about and by the women of the 1800's fill our book shelves. In 1989, I confessed to Emily Ann as she was dying, that I wanted to paint a large series of paintings about these courageous women.
6. It took 5 years before I 'discovered' the image that would commemorate the contributions 19th-Century women made to this country. Their hands became the icon that I used to give them a visual voice. 26 paintings & drawings were created during 6-7 years for my large body of work entitled "No Time for Idle Hands: 19th-Century Women on America's Northern Plains & Prairies." I painted their hands washing clothes, gathering wheat, protecting their children, etc.
7. With this large body of work, I have had 9 exhibitions in 5 different states, 2 national magazine articles, 5 newspaper reviews, several speaking engagements, 1 television spot, 5 awards, 11 sold, 1 stolen, 1 censored, over 15 commissions, taught several artists how to draw the hand, and written a book.
...to be continued.
First painting I sold who was not a friend.
(These next several blogs are inspired by a Facebook challenge to write 25 Random Things about My Art Business. Enjoy and I look foward to your comments.)
1.When I 36 years old I started to paint, after many years as an educational psychologist and corporate trainer. In January 1987, my late mother-in-law re-introduced me to painting an in a very short time, my career in the business world was over - dissolved in a torrent of watercolor. Everything I had been trained to do in graduate school, a steady paycheck, the daily routines of meetings & reports were left behind. By 1991 I was bucking the system and creating artwork full-time.
2. Throughout my K-12 school years, I drew, painted, sewed, built things out of wood, worked in paper mache and attended small group art lessons after school. I received my frist blue ribbon for an oil painting at the age of 14, but artmaking stopped around the age of 20 for more stable forms of generating income. I walked the halls of public schools as a school psychologist for 5 plus years prior to working in various training departments in high tech companies.
3. Marrying in 1983, at the age of 32, introduced me into a musical and artistic family. My mother-in-law, Emily Ann, learned of my sealed and hidden artistic vault, so she began encouraging me to begin making art again. We did not live in the same state, causing her to send me art books, a set of colored pencils (that I cherish to this day), sketch books, etc. Emily Ann and husband Jack gave me my first set of watercolor paints and brushes in 1987. I dipped my brush in and began.
...To be continued