Saturday, January 16, 2010

January 16, 2010 - Day 159

Acrylic on 250lb Bockingford watercolor paper

I am totally blocked today. I didn't want to paint another one of these paintings but I literally did not have the faintest idea of what to paint. I am just stuck on wanting to paint a series of the cast of my favorite shows but I can't draw or paint portraits free hand. I can paint portraits from photographs but all the photographs of stars would be copyright protected. I spent 3 hours today trying to paint portraits free hand and all I ended up with was a childish mess.

I was so tempted to just give up this blog and give up painting. I could just work at my stupid job for the rest of my life until I die. Then I wouldn't have worry about copyright or originality or painting skills.

Then a thought occurred to me. Maybe it is time to look at my art in a different light. I have always looked at it as a way of making money from home. A way to be self-employed with complete freedom to do as I wish. I never really looked at what or how I wanted to paint.

Maybe all that talk about finding your voice in art isn't about pleasing the established art community/society/galleries but rather about finding out what you want to express through your art and how you want to go about that.

That being said, I don't have the foggiest idea of ANY of that. I don't know what I want to express or how. Up until this point my goal was to see how accurately I could paint any given subject. I don't know where I am going from here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

January 15, 2010 - Day 158

Acrylic on 250lb Bockingford watercolor paper

Tonight I ended up doing a still life because I needed to feel that I succeeded at a painting for the first time in a week.

My usual method of painting is to use a photo editing program to crop an image to the size I need. I then transfer the basic design to my canvas or paper before I start painting.

This works really well for me when I have my own photos or copyright free photos from image data bases like My frustration is that any star portraits that I do are probably copyright infringement because the photos were taken by professional photographers. It doesn't matter how much I change the photo my reference image would be copyright protected.

Yesterday and today I tried to paint star portraits free style but have become completely discouraged in the attempt. The thoughts currently running through my head right now are:

"I'm not really an artist because I need to transfer a design before I can paint"

"I'll never do much more than create accurate renderings of a subject. That's not art that is just copying"

"I don't possess any originality at all"

"I will never be a good enough artist to make a living painting"

"I suck"

All that being said, a lot of this probably comes from the fact that my back has been killing me all week and having been able to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. I just feel so discouraged now. My main goal this year is to make at least a part-time income from my art. How the hell am I suppose to do that when I can't even come up with a personal style or original concept?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 14, 2010 - Day 157

Acrylic on 250lb Bockingford watercolor paper

Another fail in the star portrait file. I was trying to paint Lt Uhura from Star Trek but ended up with the painting at the top of the page. There were times where I was tantalizingly close to success only to have it slip away. This time I was trying to paint completely freehand like the "real" portrait painters do rather than tracing the facial features from a photograph. Finally I just said "screw it" and painted red, yellow and black over top the whole thing.

I would like to succeed at painting star portraits because I have a plan to complete series of paintings of the cast of my favorite TV shows. I would love to paint a series of the actors from Heroes. I think if I were to paint the characters (such as Claire the cheerleader) that it would be copyright infringement. However, if I were to paint Hayden Pantierre who plays Claire there wouldn't be any legal issues to worry about.

I don't know if I can succeed at this though. I just don't know what I need to do to create an accurate likeness of someone. I am hoping that it is just a matter of practice and that it is something that I can eventually learn.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 13, 2010 - Day 156

Acrylic on 250lb Bockingford watercolor paper

This is the last star portrait in this style. I thought that I would like creating them because I like bright colors and the works of other artists done in a similar style but I absolutely hate painting these.

One positive thing about trying this style though is that it really got me to thinking. What exactly makes someone recognizable to us? Is it the overall impression? One dominant feature? Planes and shape of the face? Highlights and shadows?

Tomorrow's painting I am going to start experimenting in this area. I am going to use non-realistic colors so that skin color doesn't play a factor in recognition. I really don't know how I am going to go about it but I am excited about the possibilities.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 12, 2010 - Day 155

Acrylic on 250lb Bockingford watercolor paper

I like this and I don't like it. I like it because it is funky and colorful but I don't like it because it isn't realism. I have always been drawn to create realistic paintings but I have to admit that sometimes realism doesn't have to visual impact for me that something like this would have.

I have been following an artist by the name of Carol Nelson. She is doing 100 portraits in 100 days. I really like the looks of her paintings. They are so vibrant and funky. I think that her technique adds life to what might be a boring painting if it were done realistically. Here is a link to her blog and one of my favorite paintings:

Carol Nelson Fine Art Blog

I would like to continue creating vibrant and colorful paintings but I just don't know how I want to do that.

Monday, January 11, 2010

January 11, 2010 - Day 154

Acrylic on 250lb Bockingford watercolor paper

A friend suggested that I check out the Obama Hope poster because my monochrome portraits reminded her of that style of painting. Once I saw the poster I thought that I would try something similar. I love pure color so it was an interesting exercise for me.

It is really amazing how we can recognize a person even without all the detail. I think that this painting looks like William Shatner even though it is purple and blue and only has 3 values.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10, 2010 - Day 153

Acrylic on 140lb Aquarelle watercolor paper

Not much to say about today's painting except that I think I am getting better at capturing the likeness of a person but still need work on creating a painting with impact.