Wednesday, July 25, 2012

EGGPLANT by Linda Tilden, Oil Pastel

I love doing these 3" x 5" studies for several reasons. I love learning new things and exploring different techniques. I was learning so many new things I felt scattered, and wasn't doing anything well. I was never satisfied, always making changes, and ended up with tired, lifeless paintings. That's when I put away my paint for awhile and started these small pastel works.

I wanted to enjoy the process again, and it was important to finish something. My husband has been reading a wonderful little book called "I Dare You!" by William H. Danforth.  It was originally self-published and now is in its 28th edition.  I opened it up and read one paragraph:
I assume that you are above the average person.  I am daring you to know at least one thing well. What is it? Make your decision and then determine to know that one thing well, better than anyone else...This is going to take time and hard work, but the joy you will discover in knowing one thing well will more than repay you.
Mr. Danforth was the founder and former Chairman of the Board for Ralston Purina Company. ( I am going to start at the beginning and read the book. Mark Mobley, a former teacher once said: "I love reading books by dead men...if the books are still being read after they're dead then they must be good."

So the one thing I want to do better than anyone else is paint like a Colorist. Until recently I didn't know there was such a term but many of the artists' works I enjoy use this principal of making color the key feature in their paintings.  I love beautiful colors, and am drawn to artists like Matisse, van Gogh, Seurat, Cezanne and Hawthorne. 


"If the trees look yellow to the artist then painted a bright yellow they must be."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

APPLE by Linda Tilden, Oil Pastel

APPLE by Linda Tilden, Oil Pastel

We all are influenced by others.  I love looking at other artist's work,  reading about their lives, and going to museums. It's one thing to see a painting in a book, but quite another to actually stand in front of a work by Cezanne or Matisse.  When I saw Leonardo da Vinci's work at the High Museum I was overwhelmed with emotion. 

When I finished the apple drawing, it reminded me of works done by Paul Cezanne.  He liked using brush strokes of pure color.

Still Life with Plaster Cupid by Paul Cezanne

I was also influenced by two incredible artists:  Bobby Austin and Carly Hardy.

 Bobby made me cry, but she taught me valuable lessons. I had worked on a portrait of a little boy for several months. During one lesson,  Bobby took a brush full of green paint and painted over my painting.  She said no painting was precious, and that I thought I couldn't paint it again. After drying my tears, I set out again to paint my little boy from India. Yes, I could do it again. But I must say the painting did become precious to me.  When I look at that portrait I see things that I would do differently now, but it's a reminder of how far I've come.  I watched that little boy come to life. So I learned I could do it again, and I vowed to never make my students cry!

Carly taught me to see color and light.  She would tell me to squint my eyes, see if the color was warm or cool, darker or lighter than the color next to it.  I just couldn't see it and she would pick up a brush and show me.  I never minded her painting on my work; it was magical watching her dance with the colors. I learned by watching her paint.

Look at paintings, find one you like and duplicate it.  It will force you to look at the painting more closely and see the changes in colors and lines, and the lights and shadows.  Eventually your style will evolve,  and it will be as unique as your handwriting. 

Have fun, do something creative today!

“A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.” ― Paul Cezanne


Monday, July 16, 2012

Do something creative every day

AVOCADO Oil Pastel  

There are so many things that demand our time; our family, church, friends, etc. but I have an emptiness inside if I am not creative. Waiting for the perfect time, or perfect studio only heightens my frustration.  So, start where you are and use what you have.  To that end, I have an art table in the kitchen and have a goal to work on something every day.  I'm not insisting that I finish a project each day, but I will work on something everyday.

I have wonderful little drawings everywhere, in notebooks, on the back of grocery lists, receipts or envelopes.Unfortunately, a lot of these nice drawings get lost. I decided to start working in a 3 1/2" x 5" Mixed Media Journal by Strathmore.  I cut black construction paper to fit the pages and use Cray-Pas or Sennelier Oil Pastels. Cray-Pas Pastels are inexpensive and have nice colors. If you find you like working with oil pastels,  Sennelier pastels are wonderfully creamy and have very good coverage.

I wanted to take everyday things and show their beauty. One of my favorite artists is Charles Hawthorne.
Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have the vision - it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so...people are subconsciously interested in the expression of beauty, something that helps them through the humdrum day...makes them believe in the beauty and the glory of human existence.  Hawthorne On Painting.

If you want to become a better artist, practice, always be a student, always searching and looking for the unexpected.