Working on my most recent series of paintings, I am finding that the research is as much fun as the painting process. Traveling to find historic and amazing trees has yielded some surprises. Last Tuesday was a perfect example.
Getting out the door in the morning to drive south to Fredericksburg, Virginia would not normally be on my list of things to do,. That said, I wanted to see the Virginia Champion Yellowwood tree at Kenmore Plantation, and the weather was just about perfect for a visit. Traffic was heavy, but moving on Interstate 95, and I made it to Fredericksburg just in time for the site to open for visitors.
A well-dressed woman greeted me upon my arrival. I am sure that she thought that I was there to visit the home, but the grounds were of more interest to me during this trip. I asked her if she could direct me to the Yellowwood tree. She looked puzzled, but pointed out some men not too far away, indicating that they could help me. These men seemed to know exactly what I was looking for and directed me to... wait for it... a SAPLING! My disappointment was palpable. I had driven over an hour and the tree was gone. Turns out that the Champ had died a few years ago, and the sapling was a replacement. This is where the story takes a positive turn.
As a result of the death of the Champion tree, I asked if there were other historic trees on the property. That was when I was introduced to the Director of Gardens and Historic Landscapes there. She spent over an hour with me showing me some outstanding specimens. Here's the kicker. If the Yellowwood had been alive, I would have taken pictures and hi-tailed it out of there. Sometimes things that appear to be negative can yield great rewards.
Here is a picture of the Southern Red Oak at Kenmore Plantation. This beauty will figure into my upcoming work to be sure.
Many feel that making art of the same subject may be boring. I love revisiting old favorites. Why? Well, It's fun to see if my working style has changed, how my memories of a location may have been altered with time, and also to reactivate fond experiences and feelings from the past.
Just recently, I completed a painting inspired by a visit to a friend years ago. When I went to her home for the first time, my socks were blown off by the beauty of a vacant lot next to her house. After going on and on about the beauty, my friend exclaimed, "That! It's just a bunch of weeds!" Clearly one woman's weeds is another woman's wonder. Here is the progress of the painting, "Kelly's Surprise Revisited."
This would seem a blog post that is self-serving. Please stay with me. Several weeks ago, I asked a studio visitor to tell me his favorite type of art. He replied that he liked the Impressionists and that he had several reproductions of work by Monet on his walls at home. I was saddened by his answer. Don't get me wrong. I am happy that people have nice things to look at in their homes. I just don't understand why they would have reproductions of long dead artists when they can support those who are alive. I know so many talented artists that have work in a wide range of prices, so price needn't be a sticking point. Maybe we just need to think of the benefits of supporting a living artist. Here are 6 reasons to think about:
1. You are getting a very personal, one-of-a-kind piece. You will not likely go into someone else's home and see the exact same thing. Some artists (me included) sell reproductions of their art, but there is only one original. If you buy a reproduction from the artist, you are still not likely to see the work on your friend's walls. To see my print offerings, check out my print shop here.
2. You may be able to have something that can transport you to a place you would like to be. This can be the case with representational work or abstract work. You can even commission art that is of a place that you enjoy. To see the process of a commission I completed with the buyer's desires in mind, take a look here. You may also contact me with a request for a commissioned piece here.
3. You will have something that you love, and that will move with you when you leave the place where you are presently living, unlike the paint color or countertops. The artwork will bring back positive memories and evoke feelings in you for years to come.
4. Art heals. This is huge in today's world that seems to be shredding at the seams. In fact, one of my missions is to help people feel peaceful while viewing my work.
5. If you buy from a local artist, you are helping the local economy. As a self-employed small business owner, I pay a boatload of taxes that help fund our libraries, schools, road projects, etc.
6. Finally, if an artist makes it BIG, you were there at the beginning. How great would it be to tell your friends that you own work by a big 'ole famous artist?
Please let me know if you have more reasons to add to the list. I would love to see them in the comments below!
Pastel paintings are beautiful and luminous, and require a little extra tender loving care when being shipped. I have shipped work all over the country without any trouble. Here's how I shipped a framed painting to NYC for inclusion in the Pastel Society of America exhibition:
It is important to be sure to have the proper shipping box. I can't praise AirFloat StrongBoxes enough. You may visit their website here. The boxes are made of cardboard that is remarkably sturdy. I have been using these boxes for years, preferring the boxes with puncture proof linings. You may reuse them a few times using commonsense. Don't continue using them when you recognize that the box's strength has been compromised by being bounced around in shipping.
Years ago, a friend asked, "So, you can paint a good landscape, now what"? I have given that question a lot of thought. Since that interchange, I have made two installation pieces, and worked on a sculptural form. Now, I am beginning a series that has my head reeling with excitement.
The series that I have begun explores amazing and interesting trees. These are some of the largest, oldest, trees of historical significance, or are just plan interesting trees.
"Norway Spruce," is the first of these paintings to be completed. Although not native to the United States, Norway Spruce grows well here. It is not invasive, and is a beautiful tree. In fact, Norway Spruce trees are often used as Christmas tree specimens. This particular tree is located in Great Falls, Virginia, and was saved because it was on a parcel of land that was too small for a gigantic home. Sometimes survival is just the luck of the draw.
Here's a play-by-play so that you will see the work as it progressed.
So, you have a spot on the wall that is crying out for artwork, but you are not sure where to start in deciding what to buy. There are so many options today, in all price ranges. Here are a few to consider:
— You may buy a reproduction. This is a cost effective alternative to original art, and with newer technologies, you do not have to resort to buying posters from your local big box store. You may support a living artist. Artwork can be printed on canvas, on paper, or even on metal. When purchasing from an artist, you know, you are more likely to get something that has been individually created to your taste. To see my print shop, check it out here.
— You may buy a piece of glass art designed to hang on the wall. This will add dimension that can be beautiful and interesting.
— If you enjoy the idea of dimensional treatments for your walls, another option is a fine art quilt. These can be absolutely beautiful to display.
— Maybe you prefer ceramics. Well, there are ceramic pieces that hang on the wall as well. Here is a great example of a whimsical ceramics piece that is intended to hang.
— Finally, you may purchase an original painting. Works in oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor or collage are tried and true objects to grace your walls.
... But... how do you decide? Here is my advice. Buy what you LOVE. The wall colors, the light fixtures, and the flooring will stay in your home when you move out, but the artwork can move with you. So, if you have an emotional response to a work, and you love it, that's the piece to buy. If money is an issue, see if you can arrange time payments. Most artists that I know are happy to accommodate you.
What are the reasons that you buy (or haven't bought) art? I'd love to know. Leave a comment below.
Every once in awhile, it's fun to try something a little different. For example, I love historical fiction, but sometimes I like to read a great biography. It's also so much fun to do an abstract painting after working on representational art for a long period of time. In the case of this painting, I stayed put with regard to my love of trees, but I kept the colors very muted, which is unusual for me. I also rarely paint from someone else's photograph, but this is a portion of a collaboration that I am doing with another artist. She took the photograph, and this is my interpretation. Just for grins, I thought that I would share the process. So, here goes:
Do you remember Paint-by-Numbers? Along with coloring books, this childhood activity has made a comeback.
I should have known that I would be an artist when I was growing up because I HATED Paint-by-Numbers. I didn't want someone else telling me where to put the color. I also didn't like the idea of being told what color to use in the first place. In fact, I hated someone telling me that I had to paint a boat in a particular color, or in a particular position. To tell the truth, I didn't want to paint a boat at all. How about a tree? I guess I wanted to experiment and do things differently even when I was young. Worked out okay for me.
Did you like Paint-by-Numbers, or hate it like I did? Let me know in the comments below.
If you want to paint your own thing, you may join me in classes. I will be teaching Pastel Painting at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia again starting Wednesday, September 21. For more information and to register, click here: http://www.lynngoldstein.com/classes--workshops.html
A few years ago, while paying for a purchase, I noticed gift boxes tossed into a receptacle. When I spotted a box that looked like a book, I mentioned how much I liked it. The salesperson immediately gave me the box letting me know that its destiny was the landfill. Making art with the little object seemed like a much better idea. "Book of Memories" is what came of the unexpected gift. Since this piece just sold, I have been giving it thought, and wanted to share it. Here is the result:
I wish that I were one of those neat people. Sadly, I am not. After 5 years of neglect, I finally cleaned and organized my pastel trays. These trays were made for me years ago by my wonderful stepdad, Sam. He was so handy, and I miss him. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not going to show you how beautiful they look without showing you the "before" pictures. Here goes:
Art and Life. Here you will find out more about my life as an artist.