Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Freedom Flowers

It feels good, she says from southern Texas, to turn the corner toward autumn.  There is an ever-so-slight hint of cool in the days all of a sudden that makes me excited to get back out to paint! 
In the last post, I told you that I was going to Fredericksburg to do an oil painting demonstration at my gallery (  Thank you all for the great turnout!  
I brought my whole set-up, including a table, wooden box and spotlight, so I could paint something patriotic from life.  I went with some Gerber daisies that reminded me of bursting fireworks, and a kind of red, white and blue color scheme.  I had a graphic from 1776 America tacked to the back of the box, of an eagle with a shield, arrows and olive branches: perfect!  Altogether it made a good subject for the day.  At the point of the top picture, I had just finished the initial block-in and was preparing to talk about color and temperature.  The set-up is visible on the left.  The lower photo shows the finished painting, which is available at RS Hanna Gallery.  Some of those paintings on the wall are still available, too.  I'll be updating inventories in the coming weeks~ I want to sincerely thank the art lovers and collectors who are such a rich blessing to me; thank you so much.  I hope that the paintings you've taken home with you make you smile every time you see them!  
Welcome to the new season!  And thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Holiday Dream

Happy Independence Day!  I'm so proud to be an American.  I hope that you and your family are enjoying this holiday.  As I said in the last post, I will be demonstrating the art of oil painting at the RS Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg during First Friday Art Walk~ I would love to see you there.  I'll start at 5:00.

Today I want to share a brief sketch of a woman napping in a park on holiday, to get you ready for the long weekend.  The model, Khayt, has posed for our Friday group a couple of times and seems to epitomize the relaxed vacationer.  Too bad she wasn't in red, white and blue, but she does have an apple!  And I believe the volume at her hand is Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," in which the author opines about the greatness of our young country: "...I have nowhere seen women occupying a loftier position; and if I were asked... to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply, --to the superiority of their women."  A wise man!

Happy Independence Day, God bless you this holiday and God bless America.

Holiday Dream, 8x10 $450, RS Hanna Gallery



Monday, June 30, 2014

Three Little Pitchers

Spring semester classes have finished and our art league is soon to be homeless again so my classroom is disappearing for awhile.  I will publish workshop, class or demo dates as they are scheduled, and my next demo date, as a matter of fact, is this Friday at the Art Walk, RS Hanna Gallery, in Fredericksburg, 5 p.m. 
I would love to see you; if you are in the area, please stop by.

Three new paintings are on display at RS Hanna gallery: The Three Little Pitchers. 
My beautiful and brilliant mother-in-law loaned me these pitchers so that I could paint them.  They were my rainy-day painting subjects: on days that I had no model or could not go out to paint, I painted them in the studio.  They are 8x6 paintings in nice solid wood frames and they make me feel so happy!  In my imagination, we are all vessels, looking a certain way on the outside, containing certain things on the inside, each unique and wonderful in his own way.  We are always being filled up, poured out, or holding our own.  These three pitchers are beautiful and purposeful, so very different from each other, but complementing each other perfectly, like a good family. 
I hope they bring you a smile today: 

Gold With Green 8x6 $295

Green With Blue 8x6 $295
Blue With Pink 8x6 $295
Three Little Pitchers $800

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

All About the Light

The only thing a painter can paint is the light.  It seems like he's painting a tree or a face, but he's painting the look of the light that is bouncing off the object and landing on the retina.  The subject is the light.  Even if it's in the shadows, a painter is painting something about the light: the bounce light, the ambient light; if it can be seen, it has light touching it somehow. 
The light has a color to it that will be felt by the viewer as warm or cool, and will influence the local color of the object.  It's smart to try to understand this, as it does influence color choices.  A blue light on a red ball will make the local red color look different (purple) from a yellow light on a red ball (orange).  This is because blue and red make purple, and yellow and red make orange!  The funny thing is, if you paint it right, it will read "red," even if it was actually painted with purple or orange pigments. 
And the shadow that will be cast is different according to the color of the light as well.  "Warm" light casts a cool shadow; "cool" light casts a warm shadow.  The first thing a painter has to do is determine the color of the light.

Each of these four studies, done when I was painting with Gerhartz, was painted in a different light.  I was glad to be able to really closely scrutinize the temperature and relationships for as long as I wanted.  Well, as long as I wanted in three hours.
(I don't know how these will be presented in the email version of this post, so if you want to see it in its natural and deliberate format, please click )
You've already seen part of one of these in the last post.  Here are all four:

There is cool natural light (the girl with the flower); cool natural with warm artificial light (the girl in the kimono); cool artificial light (the auburn-haired girl); and warm artificial light (the man).  The most challenging one was the cool natural with warm artificial light.  Most of the face was in shadow and I had to concentrate to discern the temperature there.  In spite of the warm artificial light, the shadow was warm, maybe due to the overall cool light pouring in through the north-facing windows.  The studio is painted a warm color so that would also affect the feel of the bounce light.
No matter where we are or what we're looking at, it's all about the light.  The purpose of most representational painters is to share a light impression, regardless of what the objects in the painting happen to be.  I feel like it is true in life as well: it's not about the objects; it's all about the light.  The way you see the world is related to the kind of light you put on it. 

Monday, May 26, 2014



I have been so inspired.  Recently, in Texas, we have had Sorolla in Dallas, Sargent in Houston and Gerhartz in The Woodlands. I have learned from these three artists by studying how they process and organize light and temperature and values.  I spent today with Sargent, saying good-bye and asking for just one more lesson; he never ever disappoints a person who asks nicely and listens carefully.

This is a crop of a painting I did from life while studying with Gerhartz, showing the play of light and shadow across the form of girl's head, that embodies many of the ideas I've been exploring this spring.  Her face is illuminated by cool north light from a window and her hair is up-lit from behind with a hot spotlight, yet most of her face is not in the light at all.  I love the extreme subtleties of form that can be turned within a color-value shape, just using slight shifts in temperature.  If I learned nothing else from Sargent and Sorolla, I learned that there is infinite strength in restraint.  I will be practicing this idea over the summer and I'll try to be better about posting on the blog and website. 

I taught my last class of the semester this week and am looking forward to catching up on some studio work.  I found out that Something Found was picked as a finalist in the prestigious Art Renewal Center's International Salon, so that's two international salons that the little Spanish lady did well in.  She's back and available at RS Hanna Gallery now.  Shannon has sold five of my paintings in the last couple of months so I know I've found the right place for my work.  I love this time of year when all the quiet work of the winter is blossoming forth and bearing fruit!  
Thank you for stopping by and have a safe and grateful Memorial Day holiday.   

Monday, May 19, 2014

Salon International 2014

Salon International was very different this year. Greenhouse Gallery, the SI venue, has new owners and has moved back into their original gallery space.  Many decisions are being made to "remake" Greenhouse and the Salon, including expansion of the show to include other media besides oil, and limiting the number of accepted entries to around 200 from the traditional 400.  I felt honored to have both my paintings chosen this year, and then flat out elated to be one of the 12 winners chosen by the great master artist, David Leffel.


The two paintings in the show were Something Found (above), which won the first honorable mention, and Little Gypsy Girl.  The show was great and having Mr Leffel there to judge it first time out was a fantastic stroke of brilliance.  Having Mr Leffel there to talk to collectors about your work while you are standing right there is nothing short of surreal.
Thank you to the people who came out to support the arts and the artists in the salon!
And thank you for visiting the Paint Your Joy blog!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

RS Hanna Gallery

Of all the news I've had to share with you, I've saved the best for last.

I've joined RS Hanna Gallery of Fredericksburg, TX and am so very pleased to be a part of what they are doing.  This pint-sized powerhouse is packed with high caliber artists from all over, but it was because of who owns it and because it's in Texas that I chose them. 
One of the things that I love about Fredericksburg is the busy art scene, including their First Friday Art Walk every month (  I'll be there every single first Friday that I possibly can be, including this one, in spite of the dire weather forecasts. 
If you get to go, make sure to stop by and meet the wonderful Shannon Hanna and check it out for yourself, you'll love it: (

208 South Llano Street, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
One of the things I love about Shannon is that she doesn't want me to be uni-dimensional; she wants figurative, landscape, genre, and still life!  I'm very happy about that.
She will be representing me exclusively so questions about paintings will go straight to her now.  
In other news, I will have two paintings in the Salon International this year: Something Found and Little Gypsy Girl will stand before the great master, David Leffel, to be scrutinized and judged.  A preview of the show can be seen here:
And last but not least, I am beside myself with excitement as tomorrow I will get to see one of my most favorite masters in a show up in Dallas: Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, or "Sorolla" to his rabid followers.  Talk about a proficient multi-dimensional artist!  I will be learning some lessons from him.  I have packed already my notebook, my sketch pad, my camera and my binoculars, just in case. 
Here's a link to the show:
I have been able to paint every single day so far this year (except Sundays, my study day) and I would like to be able to say that at the end of the year, so I'm already finagling a way to keep the streak~ wish me luck! 
I hope to see you at all or some of the events listed today, but most of all I want to see you at RS Hanna Gallery!  Come this Friday if you can: the more the warmer!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Plein Air Magazine

Plein Air Magazine's Editor-in-Chief, Stephen Doherty, has published part of John Pototschnik's article on faith in the field in the current digital edition of his magazine.  He used all new paintings of some of those interviewed by John who do paint en plein air.  I thought that you would like to see it, although the best way is to subscribe to either the digital edition (which has expanded stories and videos), or the hard cover.
Check them out at:

And now, here is the article (click on the pages to enlarge):

For email subscribers, click here to go to the blog in person so you can enlarge them in context:
Thanks and have a wonderful Sunday!

Monday, January 27, 2014

New New Year

What a new year! 
Our show in Houston, Power & Peace, ended on 6 January and was a great success, breaking a sales record for that gallery.  It was a "solo show" but I was never alone in it.
I am so very grateful to our friends and family who were there, before, during, and afterward, making everything work.  It was a lot of work!  And people came to the opening in spite of the fact that it was the worst weather day in the whole of 2013.  I was a little afraid that it would just be a couple of people in that cavernous space, but it turned out to be an exciting and busy affair.

         Here are artists Denise Mahlke, myself, and Fran Ellisor, just before the doors opened.

On another front, I just posted an interview by John Pototschnik a couple days ago, and there was an additional one by him around the same time involving 14 artists across the country: 7 women and 7 men, entitled "Faith... A Shield or a Crutch?"  I will share that with you here as well:

Faith…a shield or crutch? (Part 1)

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In this two-part series, 14 professional artists reveal the important role faith plays in their lives and how it directs, strengthens, and enables them to persevere in their chosen field.
One of the blessings derived from writing this weekly blog for the past three years has been the opportunity to communicate with some very talented artists and to discover so many of them are unabashed of their faith in Jesus Christ.
It’s this time of year that we traditionally celebrate His birth, and special songs such as “O, Holy Night” are ways in which that faith is verbalized. Just a few verses will demonstrate what I mean…
“The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our friend; He knows our need, To our weakness is no stranger, Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!”
When one speaks of faith and its importance in their life, they are often called spiritual, religious, or perhaps a “person of faith”. If they are really serious and actually attempt to live it, then labels are quickly attached such as fanatic and radical.
What we fail to realize is that all of us are “persons of faith”. We all put our trust in someone or something. Some of us have faith in ourselves…in our strength, ability, or intelligence. Some look to others and have faith in them to provide what is lacking. We may have faith in our national power, our leaders, our money, our insurance, our possessions, even science. More importantly, maybe our faith is dependent on what we’ve been taught about God, or possibly we’ve put our faith and trust in what we want to believe about God and creation…a belief system of our own making. Bottom line, each one of us lives by faith and we have built our life on that foundation. The key question of course is, “How reliable is that foundation?” When all the things mentioned above are taken away…and they will be at some point…what is left? That’s the key question; that’s when the ultimate reliability of the “object” of one’s faith will be revealed. There is sufficient evidence for me, and the artists participating in this blog, to entrust our lives and eternal destination to the Rock of Ages and to Jesus Christ His Son…Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
It’s an honor to bring you the inspiring words of my friends. First you’ll hear from the women. On 29 December, you’ll hear from the men.
What part have faith, strength, and perseverance played in your life and art career?

16 -kc - r
Kim Carlton
"Something Found" - 16"x 20" - Oil
Kim Carlton – “Something Found” – 16″x 20″ – Oil
Kim Carlton:   A biblical definition of faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  It is what we believe to be true and orient our lives toward.  It also says in there that “faith without works is dead.”  I believe that I was designed to be an artist, but I still had to exert strength and perseverance in order to actually produce art; otherwise, my faith that I was an artist would have no life beyond my own head.  Art is separate from the artist; it is the substance of a vision.  Strength involves disciplining yourself every day to align the day toward what you believe to be true.  Perseverance requires staying on track, and getting back on track when you inevitably get knocked off.  I have always been an artist but it has taken time and patience to be sufficiently trained to communicate my vision well.   Carlton website

Dot Courson
Dot Courson
Dot Courson - "Fall Retreat" - 24"x 36" - Oil
Dot Courson – “Fall Retreat” – 24″x 36″ – Oil
Dot Courson:   Faith leads to strength and perseverance. Art is part of my make-up – it’s what I’ve longed to do since childhood.  I didn’t get to take a direct route to become an artist, but persevered because I felt this is what I was meant to do. God has a life plan for us all.  He works it out in His time and in His way. His judgment is infinitely better!  As an artist, I have had successes and failures, but with each work of art -as in life- I’ve tried to be strong and use my gifts to work hard.  In this economy it’s not as easy as it used to be. But in life, struggles made me stronger and I have faith that this is what I need to continue to do. I truly have been blessed and so I feel that in turn, it is my duty to encourage and help others in their lives.   Courson website

Judy Crowe
Judy Crowe
Judy Crowe - "China and Primrose" - 12"x 12" - Oil
Judy Crowe – “China and Primrose” – 12″x 12″ – Oil
Judy Crowe:   I chose to become an artist but before that, I chose to become a Christian.  The loss of my mother when I was in high school had a direct impact on the search for answers, but questioning, studying and reading led me to my decision.  I would say my life has been quite a tapestry of events since, which has shaped both my life and my career, becoming intertwined and bittersweet.  I feel God has had a hand in all of it, that he’s led me to become an artist and given me the strength to persevere in times of doubt.  I am very thankful for this gift of Light and Truth in my life because through it, I find hope and peace in the realization that I am doing just what I was put here to do and that I’m being led daily in the way that I should go.  Even when I don’t understand and things don’t turn out the way I think they should, He never gets it wrong.   Crowe website

Debra Joy Groesser - "Morning Glory" - 24"x 30" - Oil
Debra Joy Groesser
Debra Joy Groesser - "Morning Glory" - 24"x 30" - Oil
Debra Joy Groesser – “Morning Glory” – 24″x 30″ – Oil
Debra Joy Groesser:  My faith guides my life and has helped me get through some very hard times in my personal life and my career: including a difficult, unhealthy first marriage, divorce, the loss of my parents, and having to give up my art career for several years… to name the major ones. As with many artists, I knew from a very young age that art is what I was meant to do…being an artist was who I was. It took a lot of faith, strength and perseverance to hold on to that and to not give up on it over the years that followed. Faith has helped me to look back and understand how the path I’ve taken has helped me in my life and my career. It’s helped me to see something good, or find a lesson, in nearly everything, good or bad. If not for the difficulties, it would be easy to take our blessings for granted. Although they are painful, the difficult, challenging times build our strength and our character and teach us to persevere. My faith guides me in all I do.  When presented with opportunities and challenges, I pray for guidance to make the right decisions and for the things I do and the work I create, and to be a blessing to others.   Groesser website

Sheryl Knight
Sheryl Knight
Sheryl Knight - "Evening Cypress" - 16"x 20" - Oil
Sheryl Knight – “Evening Cypress” – 16″x 20″ – Oil
Sheryl Knight:   All three play a major part in my career and life. My strength and perseverance come from my faith in God and in knowing He is ultimately in control, not only in my life but also in the universe. I believe God sovereignly holds tomorrows pains and pleasures, failures and victories in his mighty hand. I try to focus on what God can do through me, not what I can do myself. That gives me strength and enables me to persevere even when things aren’t going so well, or when it seems I’m in a desert. I find my inspiration in nature and the beauty of it all. I see the presence of God’s amazing design all around me, even in the ordinary. I don’t believe the random events of life are anything less than His appointed order. Living by faith gives hope, meaning, and purpose to my life and art. I have a quest to achieve something deeper through my art, more than just a nice painting. I want to bring joy and peace, as well as celebration and hope.   Knight website

Denise LaRue Mahlke
Denise LaRue Mahlke
Denise LaRue Mahlke - "Communion" - 20"x 32" - Pastel
Denise LaRue Mahlke – “Communion” – 20″x 32″ – Pastel
Denise LaRue Mahlke:  I think God has given each one of us, the gift of creativity and a longing for ‘something more’…When we persevere in faith, in confidence and boldness, not in a spirit of fear, we can move forward, onward and upward towards the dreams and desires He has given us. God’s grace and love are boundless. Committing my way to the Lord as a follower of Christ has led to a closer walk with Him and His best for me. My desire is to please Him by giving back by way of committing the works of my hands to His honor and glory. Perseverance comes daily and dedication and growth is the reward for going forward in faith and the strength He supplies. Faith, strength, and perseverance are entwined throughout and into every part of life, like the vine and it’s branches. Proverbs 3:4-5 has been a guidepost for me: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”   Mahlke website

Dawn Whitelaw
Dawn Whitelaw
Dawn Whitelaw - "Autumn's Last Stand" - 20"x 20" - Oil
Dawn Whitelaw – “Autumn’s Last Stand” – 20″x 20″ – Oil
Dawn Whitelaw:   My life is too full of “coincidences” for me not to be a believer. When I paint outdoors, I see His presence everywhere, and my faith is affirmed. I know that God loves me in spite of who I am. This realization leads me to live a life of gratitude. I am a work in progress both as a painter and a follower of God. My joy is in the journey. When people tell me I am a gifted painter, I know, that the true gift is not the ability to paint, but the drive and stamina to pursue the craft, and the ability to teach. The people that I can most help always seem to find their way to my door, in droves. In the end, the teaching and mentoring I am able to do will be my best work on this earth and far more significant than anything I can ever paint.   Whitelaw website


Faith…a shield or crutch? (Part 2)

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Women are often viewed as the “spiritual” ones in the home while men appear more apathetic, certainly not ranking spiritual matters very high on their list…and even if they do, they’re not easily inclined to talk about it. For some men, issues of faith can be perceived as unmanly and even a sign of weakness. That’s why I’m so pleased to feature a group of men (highly accomplished professional artists) who are not ashamed to proclaim that their faith is critical to their life and that their trust is in the God of the Bible. Their faith has become a shield, part of their armor, with which they can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
As mentioned in Part 1 of this series…we all have faith in someone or something, and we exercise that faith every day. When it comes to eternal matters though, one’s faith is really critical. In whom or in what that faith is placed can mean life or death.
Any statement about God, or life after death, is a faith statement. For many people, what is identified as “faith” can better be described as “hope”. Hope in and of itself doesn’t necessarily guarantee that what is hoped for will actually be realized. That’s why it’s really important that one’s view of God and His relationship to the world is based on what He has to say, not on our hopeful speculation, no matter how sincere we may be.
The Bible describes faith as the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. Of the 14 artists featured in this two-part series, all recognize that God has revealed Himself to man through His Son, Jesus Christ…and all the promises given to those who put their faith and trust in Him will indeed be fulfilled, for the Scripture assures us, “You will not be disappointed”.
The one question all humanity must deal with is…”Did God really say…?” If God has indeed spoken, we would be wise to listen. The men and women featured in this series believe He has, and they have taken it to heart.
…and now, let’s hear from the men.

What part have faith, strength, and perseverance played in your life and art career?

Roger Dale Brown
Roger Dale Brown
"Autumn Along the River" - 30"x 40" - Oil
“Autumn Along the River” – 30″x 40″ – Oil
Roger Dale Brown:   In the beginning of my painting career, I don’t know how much strength or perseverance I had vs. naivety. Whichever it was, it was powered by God. I knew I had nothing going for me when painting came into my life. It was a sliver of light, in what had been a long dark tunnel, and I held on to it with all I had. Talent is a gift. Its up to us to develop it and that takes hard work. I started to study and become a student of art. I turned my life over to God and was rewarded with the awareness, aptitude and passion to discover art. The ability to create is a gift, and to not create would be a insult to the giver…With God’s gift I can make the positive statement that I regard it as an honor and a responsibility.   Brown website

Larry Clingman
Larry Clingman
"Plum and Copper" - 12"x 24" - Oil
“Plum and Copper” – 12″x 24″ – Oil
Larry Clingman:   I cannot imagine my life without my faith. It has provided the *strength* to stand, fall, and stand again. When life has been at it’s emptiest moment, when all opportunities seemed exhausted, when it seemed there was no hope or no way forward, it was my faith that guided me. Many times in my life and career it seemed the only answer was to quit, to give up, yet my faith provided the *perseverance* to carry on. Author Richard Carlson once said, “Obstacles and problems are a part of life. True happiness comes not when we get rid of all of our problems, but when we change our relationship to them, when we see our problems as a potential source of awakening, opportunities to practice patience, and to learn”. *It is my faith that has given me the strength and perseverance to recognize and act upon these observations.   Clingman website

David Griffin
David Griffin
"Country of Big Dreams" - 30"x 24" - Oil
“Country of Big Dreams” – 30″x 24″ – Oil
David Griffin:   Painting has always been a difficult process for me, and surprisingly made even more difficult with age and experience. Consequently the more I learn, the more I realize how little I actually really know. So, with that personal revelation, I began again to remember God’s faithfulness and my own faith in the Creator who inspired the Scripture “that He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion”. My “art life” has had its share of mistakes, failures, and rejections to the degree that I have thought I was not up to the task of being the best steward of this gift I can be; only to be reminded by God’s Spirit that “there is strength in my weakness” and my faith is again restored by God’s grace. I’m trying not to have any illusions about where this “art” will take me, but only daily reconnecting to the One who does know and will carry it onto completion.   Griffin website

Michael Godfrey
Michael Godfrey
"January Evening" - 12"x 12" - Oil
“January Evening” – 12″x 12″ – Oil
Michael Godfrey:  I have a deep abiding love for God and all that he has done. I am constantly in awe of the wonders of the natural world. His handiwork can be seen in every scale, from the microscopic to the vastness of the universe. Whatever ability I have is God given. I sincerely believe that. I think we give God pleasure when we use our gifts for him. He has put a little of himself in all of us. My work is a journey that expresses the beauty that I find from day to day. Each discovery deepens my love for God and I am thankful that he has given me the senses to experience this wonderful world and the desire to express it in art. My journey in art has been very rewarding, but it has not been easy. I think that God allows challenges in life to strengthen and to reveal what’s inside us. Anyone can rejoice from the mountaintop, but the learning comes from the trek up the mountain. It is through adversity and trial that we grow. I have kept these ideas close to my heart as I have pursued my career.   Godfrey website

John Hanna
John Hanna
"Red Oxide and Pink" - 12"x 9" - Oil
“Red Oxide and Pink” – 12″x 9″ – Oil
John Hanna:  Faith is a word that I have been familiar with since childhood. My father was a preacher so I heard that term often. Only much later in life did I realize it could apply to something other than religion. Art or drawing became a part of my life around age five. It fascinated me then and that fascination has never left. I copied the work of great illustrators and studied “How-To” books by Walter T. Foster. By the time I got to college, already with two years practical art experience working for small art departments, I came to realize that if I worked hard, I could have a full-time career in art. I began to believe that with faith and my own ability, I could make it. During my senior year, while looking for a job, I met Bill Neale, an art director at a Dallas ad agency. He suggested I go to New York. On faith and the strength of my wife Sherry, we did. My perseverance was thoroughly tested in New York, but I found a job and through those relationships really began to think about what makes art. It’s strength and perseverance that allows you the faith in yourself to succeed.   Hanna website

Jeff Haynie
Jeff Haynie
"Lion of Judah" - 19"x 13" - Digital
“Lion of Judah” – 19″x 13″ – Digital
Jeff Haynie:   My life and career has been a journey of faith. As a self-assured young artist ready to take over the art world, I fell hard to realize that I needed help to make it through this life’s challenges. So I received God’s grace in the form of Jesus Christ. He became my Friend, Savior and Personal Counselor through this journey. I feel the closest to God when I’m creating art. It’s like an ocean of freedom where anything is possible. My faith is not a philosophy but rather an honest day to day walk with a real Friend and God who understands my weaknesses, fears and insecurities. It started thirty years ago as a choice to receive God’s gift of Jesus into my heart but the reality is that was a necessity for my life and the best decision I ever made. He is waiting for anyone to come to Him and find life. (Romans 10:9)   Haynie website

Jason Tako
Jason Tako
"Cluster of Gold" - 11"x 14" - Oil
“Cluster of Gold” – 11″x 14″ – Oil
Jason Tako:   My Catholic faith in Christ has played such a tremendous part in my life I cannot put it all into words. Belief in God gives everything meaning, including art. In his monumental book on Jesus Christ, The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton said, “Art is the signature of man.” We are the only creatures that create solely for the sake of beauty; the only creatures that express a concept and desire for beauty, and the only creatures that are made in the image of God. I think art, among other things, proves that we are made in His image. This gives meaning to what I paint or draw. Beauty gives a deeper meaning to human existence, and art should reflect this beauty. It should draw us in, and at the same time draw us outside of ourselves and closer to God.   Tako website

Thanks to each of you wonderful artists for what you have contributed; may it be a blessing to all and life changing for those who take it to heart.  --John Pototschnik

And thank you, John, for your courage and leadership; you are deeply appreciated.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

by John Pototschnik

Kim Carlton interview

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“I like to paint. It’s more of a compulsion actually. Even when I’m sitting in traffic, or watching a movie, I’m mentally painting. It’s pretty much always been that way, so I guess I was born to paint.”
Kim Carlton’s work is currently being featured in a solo exhibition, through 6 January, at the Cloister Gallery in Houston, Texas. Her two-dozen oil paintings depict action and energy within calm and peace, hence the theme, “Power and Peace”.
16 -kc
She is an engaging person, and yet, intensely  serious about her work…always learning and growing. Her good friend, award winning artist Denise LaRue Mahlke, describes her as a person with a positive outlook and quick wit. “I love how genuine she is, generous of spirit, kind-hearted, smart, and always learning. She is the ‘real deal’ and I am blessed and happy to know her.”
She’s also a realist. Kim describes painting as hard work…at least to do it well. “Being an artist is unique as a profession these days because we often must teach ourselves drawing, composition, color theory and paint chemistry, all the skills involved in the translation of the three-dimensional world into a new two-dimensional world. It’s a very complicated language to learn, and then we must spend thousands of hours practicing the art and science of painting. There really aren’t too many jobs like this. Singers can sing someone else’s songs, actors can repeat someone else’s lines, but the fine artist isn’t considered an artist unless he is the composer, designer and playwright of his own original work. After all, a counterfeiter of art brings to bear all the same skill and knowledge, but is never to be regarded as an artist, only a copyist.
If an artist decides to make a life of it, then he must also teach himself marketing and bookkeeping, framing, crating and shipping, business administration and website management, plus photography and Photoshop… particularly if he wants to enter art competitions.”
I am pleased to bring you this interview with Kim Carlton, a self-described Christian, wife and mother. As you’ll also discover, she is a wonderful writer…a master of the analogy.

What is your definition of art and your role as an artist?   
I think true artists have a vision, and art is the substance of that vision.  My role as an artist is to communicate that in a beautiful and understandable way.
Do you consider the process of painting more important than the result?   No, for me that’s like asking if my heart beat is more important than my breathing.  When I first started painting, I was so happy; all I wanted to do was paint.  Then I wanted to see if my work was competitive, so I entered some shows.  After that, I got pretty side-tracked with the competition, as though painting were some kind of sport.  I did the same thing when I was a runner; I ran because I loved it, but when I started racing, I trained on a crazy schedule so I could win races, totally losing track of why I started running in the first place.  When I realized that I was starting to lose the joy of the process of painting in favor of a “winning” result, I had to pull back and regroup.  I’m a professional painter and my process produces a result.  If I focus on the process, I won’t get anything done.  If I focus on the result, I compromise my process.  If I personally let either one be more important than the other, they both lose their strength.
"Something Found" - 16"x 20" - Oil
“Something Found” – 16″x 20″ – Oil
"Under the Stove Light" - 14"x 18" - Oil
“Under the Stove Light” – 14″x 18″ – Oil
"James' Game of Risk" - 18"x 14" - Oil (Merit Award, Salon International, 2011)
“James’ Game of Risk” – 18″x 14″ – Oil  (Merit Award, Salon International, 2011)
What colors are most often found on your palette?   I have two palettes but I use either one for every subject.  In other words, I don’t have a “landscape palette” and a “portrait palette.”  I started with the colors that Richard Schmid taught in his book, Alla Prima.  Then, when I was making my first plein air trip, I whittled my palette down to four colors and white for ease of packing: transparent oxide brown, ultramarine blue deep, cadmium red, and cadmium yellow pale.  I tried before I left to see if I could mix my other colors from these and found that I could come close enough for comfort!  When I returned home from that trip, my palette was thus laid out and so I brought it to my figure group to see if it would work there.  It did!  So for quite awhile, I used just these four colors, even for major portrait commissions.  If I had just those four forever after, I would remain quite happy.
In the last couple of years however, I’ve been experimenting with color and writing about my discoveries.  I have written quite a bit and am now editing and researching to see if I’m just reinventing the wheel.  I’m still using the four-color palette whenever I teach or travel, but in my studio I’m working with a more extensive palette that involves pairing colors.  It is intellectually rewarding but not necessary.  All an artist really needs are just a few colors.  If the palette is limited, harmony is unavoidable.
"Little Gypsy Girl" - 14"x 11" - Oil
“Little Gypsy Girl” – 14″x 11″ – Oil

Are you more concerned with value or color?   Value.  The human eye has 120 million rods, which interpret value, and only 6 million cones, which interpret color; our eyes are designed to read value.  I think it’s critical to be able to express a visual idea with just value so I start my students off with one color (transparent oxide brown) and white.  That and a good squint will help you learn the value of value.
Describe your typical block-in technique.    I let the situation dictate how I block in and create a painting and I try not to get locked into a formula.  I do have a major categorical division in my paintings though.  Like a musician has rehearsals, I have “field” work where I practice my “scales” and experiment.  But when musicians are recording or performing in a show, that’s another level of work altogether.  That’s my “studio” work.  I divide my paintings into those categories: “field” and “studio.”  I approach them differently and price the work differently also.
"Christina in the Shallows" - 10"x 8" - Oil  (Work in progress)
“Christina in the Shallows” – 10″x 8″ – Oil (Work in progress)
Field paintings are practice or fact-finding or exploratory and they are always alla prima, always quickly done.  In the landscape, I usually do a couple thumbnails to get a composition.  I do my block-in based on the thumbnail, then shadows followed by anything that is fleeting.  This is really important for sunrise/sunset work, or when painting boats or urban landscapes, when someone could get in and drive away with your subject!  But when a “field” painting is done in a portrait or figure group, I just jump right into the painting, no composing, no thumbnails.  I’ll often start with a quick tone covering the canvas, then pull all the light area off with a towel.  If I like the design, I’ll normally commit the shadow shapes first, then the light, leaving enough time to make the focal point read well.
Now studio paintings are altogether different.  My block-in is not based upon having to get it done quickly.  I take my time, planning not only the paintings composition but the layers of paint and the treatment and handling of the layers themselves.  My studio work will probably have everything from visible bare canvas to thick impasto paint, with tone and underpainting, scumbling and glazing in between, all strategically done.  It’s like the anti-alla-prima approach, but a lot of it is still applied “all at once.”
"Scout Arriving" (Block-in stage)
“Scout Arriving” (Block-in stage)
"Scout Arriving" (Intermediate stage)
“Scout Arriving” (Intermediate stage)
"Scout Arriving" - 24"x 30" - Oil
“Scout Arriving” – 24″x 30″ – Oil

How would you define “success” as an artist?   This is a question that always comes up with painters.  I see ambition to “succeed” as a sickness in the arts right now.  Well, not just in the arts.  Success is being defined for us, as earning money and respect and fame– “winning.”  There is a growing segment in our profession that is saying “enough” to that.  There are performers in the other arts who are constantly promoting themselves and doing wilder and wilder things to keep the spotlight, and then there are the Anthony Hopkinses who ignore all spotlight-grabbing self-promotion and just do the job really, really well.  That is success.  I believe that if you are doing the thing you’ve been called to do with all your heart and soul, you will have such a joy and such an excellence, you won’t need applause or ribbons to validate you; you are a success.
As a wife and mother, how did you go about developing your painting career?   My original life-plan was simply to be a fine artist.  When I found, in the ‘70’s, no teacher or school or career path, I decided to make one up.  I chose to be a pilot so I could get paid to travel and have plenty of time to paint.  I couldn’t afford lessons so I joined the Navy to let them train me in exchange for a few years of my life.  It’s a long story but the short-version is, I accidentally fell in love and gave up my wings for a ring and an altered plan to still be an artist.  It gets hilarious when you add the blessing of three sons, but the answer to your question is this: I never gave up and I was always working on it.  I drew all the time and I studied.  I always did the next thing that I could do.  Sometimes I got impatient, but I have a good husband who showed me that while my window of opportunity as an artist would be ever-widening, my window of opportunity to raise these three sons would not, and it would one day be forever closed.  So I made being an artist a more “minor” part of my life for awhile, until I could make it a major part.  I could have it all, just not all at once.  The choices I made put me behind my peers in the art world, but I read a quote early on that impacted me.  It said, “In your life, would you rather be something to everyone, or everything to someone?”  I cut it out and taped it to the kitchen window so I could read it while washing dishes.  Having a career in art was not going to make me an artist.  I am an artist.  Having a family was never part of my plan in my art career, but the script that God wrote for me was so much better than the one I had outlined for Him.
"Rapt Romance"  (Detail)
“Rapt Romance”  (Detail)
"Rapt Romance" - 24"x 18" - Oil  (Dianne Rudy Memorial Award, American Artists Professional League)
“Rapt Romance” – 24″x 18″ – Oil   (Dianne Rudy Memorial Award, American Artists Professional League)

What do you consider your greatest artistic challenge?   Having to do the things that aren’t painting.  I am not a framer or a marketer, a salesman or a businessman.  I wish that I didn’t have to do all that; it steals time from painting.

What advice would you have for a first-time collector?   Buy what you love.  You will never regret it.

What advice would you have for a young artist/painter?   Train yourself well: study books and DVD’s; get in workshops taught by artists who have something you need to know and who have a similar palette.  People who sign up for every workshop that comes around have scrambled thinking; they’re workshop-aholics.  I’ve found that a good teacher will give me the one thing I need to work on.  I will spend about a year really internalizing that before the next thing presents itself to be learned.  But work every day; miles of canvas will separate the good from the bad and the ugly.  And never give up.
Thanks for sharing your time and talent with us, Kim. You are much appreciated.