Tag Archives: art how to hints

“Strut Your Stuff,” contemporary urban scene painting

contemporary urban scene painting by Carolee Clark

© Carolee Clark, “Strut Your Stuff,” 24 x 24″, acrylic on canvas

“Strut Your Stuff”    sold
by Carolee Clark
24″ x 24″ x 1.5″
acrylic on wrapped canvas

Daily Painting, “Poppies on Clare Street,” contemporary urban scene

contemporary painting of poppies by Carolee Clark

© Carolee Clark, "Poppies on Clare Street," 10" x 10", acrylic

“Poppies on Clare Street”    sold
by Carolee Clark
10″ x 10″
acrylic on wrapped canvas

Usually, I don’t ramble on about myself because I’m not that interesting, but recently I was asked how I developed my style so …

I don’t think that one develops a style consciously. It happens naturally with work. By painting (or sculpting, cooking, writing or gardening … enter creative pursuit here) it will emerge. The more you listen to your inner voice, and the surge of joy you get whenever you create something that you love, the more it will emerge. If I find myself attracted to another artist’s work it is often because they have successfully captured something that I too am working toward. We can learn from others by figuring out what we like (or don’t like about their work).

However, if an artist listens too closely to colleagues, critiques, teachers or patrons this voice might be muted. The more that we listen to ourselves, the more the individual comes out on the canvas.

One cannot help but to have “style” emerge which is as individual as they are. Just as we all have distinct handwriting and personality traits; we have ways of handling paint, imagery and ideas, and having it “sing” for us. Our journey (life and painting experiences) contributes to our style.

This also means that style will change over time. There will be threads that will continue throughout, but our experience changes and this will slowly creep into our work.

I think the big issues are to pay attention and do what makes you excited about your work. When listening to others, also listen to what your heart says about their advice. Most importantly, is to keep working.

Daily Painting, “Abe after Picasso,” abstract portrait

abstracted portrait by Carolee Clark

© Carolee Clark, "Abe after Picasso," 10" x 10", acrylic

“Abe after Picasso”    sold
by Carolee Clark
10″ x 10″
acrylic on wrapped canvas

I thought I’d go through my process for this painting since it wouldn’t be evident how I got from the photo of Abraham Lincoln to this strange, but hopefully interesting portrait.  

I started with the photo from the DPW challenge.  I often start with a more realistic sketch just to familiarize myself with the subject.   These are all very quick drawings.   Then I push myself to make it more interesting (to myself mind you!).  I keep playing until I have something that I am excited about painting.  Sometimes this takes one sketch sometimes it takes multiples.  Since I’m not interested in doing realistic portraiture, I really wanted to push myself and have some fun.  If we artists can’t push ourselves to be creative and fun, who can?

The images below will allow you to see the sequence of sketches from photo to the last sketch.  You will also notice that my final sketch is just an idea as to the final painting.  Especially with this type of abstraction I wasn’t worried about transferring my final sketch exactly.  I just wanted to get the feeling of it down.  I also always allow myself leeway to change the painting as I go along. 

Once I get the final sketch and take that to the canvas I rarely look at any of the previous sketches letting the painting dictate. 

I think that you can see that I really had fun painting beyond the lines 🙂

Photo

first sketch of abe by Carolee Clark

First Sketch

second sketch of abe by Carolee Clark

Second sketch

third sketch of abe by Carolee Clark

Third Sketch

Painting – “Volkswagen Enthusiast” – contemporary urban scene with vehicle

contemporary urban scene painting by Carolee Clark

© Carolee Clark, “Volkswagen Enthusiast,” 20″ x 20″, acrylic

“Volkswagen Enthusiast”  sold_dot  sold
by Carolee Clark
20″ x 20″
acrylic on wrapped canvas

I have worked on a couple of larger pieces lately, this is one of them.  The other is “Catherine’s Cottage.”  I love doing both the small pieces and the larger ones.  I have used some of my daily paintings as the jumping point for these larger ones.

As the new year approaches, I take time to reassess my goals (to be done later ;)), and go through a few drawers.  I went through about 10 years of figure drawings today and pitched about half of them (most of the earlier years have already been tossed).  It is really interesting to look back before we look forward isn’t it?  How has our art transformed into what it is now?  It is really fascinating to see one of the first drawings that pushed us into a certain path, a method, a different way of seeing ….

Daily Painting – “Spring Formal” – contemporary abstracted tree

contemporary urban scene painting by Carolee Clark

© Carolee Clark, “Preferred Parking,” 10″ x 10″, acrylic

“Spring Formal”    sold
by Carolee Clark
10″ x 10″
acrylic on wrapped canvas

(“Spring Formal” is a submission for the Virtual Paint Out blog. Their area of concentration this month is Hawaii).

Daily Painting – “Follow That Car!” – contemporary abstracted urban scene

contemporary abstracted urban scene painting by Carolee Clark

© Carolee Clark, "Follow That Car!", 10" x 10", acrylic

“Follow That Car!”   sold
by Carolee Clark
10″ x 10″
acrylic on wrapped canvas

I had an email yesterday, asking me how I developed my skills so I thought that I might talk a little about that in today’s post, trying not to become too verbose.  Perhaps I’ll spread some ideas over several posts.

There are as many ways to become “The Artist” that you want to be, as there are artists!  So don’t despair if you didn’t go to art school, didn’t start at the age of three, or missed the nationally known artist who taught a workshop in your area.

Although I was introduced to art at a very early age and thoroughly enjoyed my crayons, I did not get a fine arts degree.  My interest was always there however, so in my twenties, I signed up for a drawing course through the continuing education section of the local community college.   I was on my way!

Take a class from an artist whose work you admire.  The key here however is practice between classes!  If you go from week to week without picking up a pencil or a brush and expect to see great improvement it likely won’t happen.

Couple create artistic display from small paintings

artwork in place

© Peter & Lori LaBerge

One couple from North Carolina, Peter & Lori LaBerge, have purchased nine of my paintings and created an incredible display just above their fireplace.  The backing they have used give them a sophisticated cohesiveness which I really like.   It is so wonderful to see how they have created and displayed the work in their beautiful home.

artwork in place

© Peter & Lori LaBerge

 nodp

Listen to the Inner Voice

My friend and I were painting today.  I was boring her with my tirade  that we need to follow our own heart, not listen to the critiques of others if they don’t resonate with our own voice, forget about what sold yesterday, last week or last year, but paint what we really want to paint right now.

I do change direction when the muse nudges me, but each step prior to the ones that I am taking now have validity in my direction.  I can only paint who I am, if I am honest and following my inner urgings.  If I want to master my art, I must follow this … not my critiques or my patrons.  To truly find my own voice, I must only follow the little voice inside that says “I like that” when I paint something that is truly me.  This is the only authentic thing we can do, not follow the voices of our teachers, our family, or our patrons, but to become a master, to paint something that only we alone can paint, we need to listen to this inner voice … if we can hear it.

Daily Painting – Going Green – contemporary tree in Oregon

contemporary tree painting

© Carolee Clark

“Going Green”   sold
by Carolee Clark
10″ x 10″
acrylic on wrapped canvas

Yesterday I was painting with a friend who is teaching a private painting lesson to a group of new painters.  She was working on a painting where she was using all grayed down colors for her next lesson plan.  We talked of getting into color ruts so I announced that I would do a predominately red painting (see yesterday’s painting).  Today I decided to do a green one.

Generally I attempt to keep a painting either warm or cool, so this is going just a little farther.  Maybe tomorrow should be purple … or blue …

Daily Painting – “Orange Ave” – abstract, landscape

abstracted landscape painting by Carolee Clark

© Carolee Clark

“Orange Ave”    sold
by Carolee Clark
10″ x 10″
acrylic on wrapped canvas

I had a dream a few nights ago that my paintings were going to change.  I wasn’t sure how they were going to change and I still am not sure.  Even though I have no idea in what way my paintings will change or how rapidly, I undertook this year long “painting a day” challenge to see where it would take my painting. 

Those who have known me over the years know that I have painted with watercolor, pastel, used collage and finally acrylic.  I have explored the figure, portraiture, landscape, still life, non objective abstract and subject material abstracted.  Now an artist can use multiple types of subject matter and different media and still have his or her style be recognizable. 

A few years ago I had a local show at the hospital.  A woman came up to me and told me that she knew that it was my work without even looking at the name.  This was extraordinary to me as I had changed from watercolor to acrylic, and from landscape to non objective abstract!!  This happened overnight, yet she still knew it was mine.  Wow.

An artist cannot help that their work will change over the years.  Any retrospective of an artist will have a thread of recognizable style throughout their lives.

Change is inevitable and it’s always interesting (at least in painting).

Daily Painting – Coloring Book Drawing

painting of female nude by Carolee Clark

© Carolee Clark

“Coloring Book Drawing”  sold_dot  sold
by Carolee Clark
11″ x 7″ watercolor & caran d’ache, unframed

I have never been able to stick with a job unless I was having fun with it.  The same principle applies with my painting.  I am serious about my art work, but I still want to have fun.  Sometimes I just want to scribble, scratch, blob, splatter and color outside the lines, run crayons right through the figure …. so I do.  No rules here.

I worked from a sketch I did earlier in the week (on my lesser known blog).

Daily Painting – Catching Up

painting of two female friends

© Carolee Clark

“Catching Up”    sold
by Carolee Clark
10″ x 10″
acrylic on wrapped canvas

I thought you might be interested in the sketch for this painting (below).  It was about my third sketch before I finally got the figures in the composition that I liked.  I didn’t faithfully reproduce the image onto the canvas, deciding to simplify and change some things as the painting progressed.

sketch for painting "Friendship #2"

© Carolee Clark

Daily Painting – I Need a Break

abstract painting of female figure

© Carolee Clark

“I Need a Break”   sold 
by Carolee Clark
9″ x 12″
acrylic on wrapped canvas

One of the reasons that I don’t like painting in a group is that my paintings go through a really ugly stage.  I certainly don’t want someone to come along at that point in the painting and make a snap judgement about the quality, the process or the painting.  Sometimes at that “ugly stage” I begin to doubt myself that the painting will work at all, and don’t want the confirmation that it is indeed, ugly.  However, it is some of those paintings that I end up liking the most.  Like this one.   Keep plugging along at it!

 

Daily Painting – Target

ink painting of female figure

© Carolee Clark

“Target”    sold
by Carolee Clark
10.5″ x 7″ ink on watercolor paper, unframed

Many of you know that I gave myself the challenge to paint a painting a day for a year.  I have been doing this for about nine months now.  I knew that it wouldn’t be feasible to do one every single day so I thought that 5 or 6 a week would probably do.  Yesterday I realized that I had painted one for 26 days straight and I was tired!

Hence my little ink paintings.  They are my breath, a tiny respite.  I find them totally calming  and thoroughly enjoyable.  They take me less time than my acrylic paintings so I have a little more time to post, answer email, enter shows and work on larger pieces!

You might see a few of these in the next couple of days so that yes, I can catch my breath.