Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Challenges - They will help you grow

So we had another meeting of our group Arts Northeast last night. We talked art, our upcoming show, our current running show, and puppy (Taz had to visit with the visitors!)....

Among other things we've decided to do...first of which was a plein air session last weekend.....a challenge. Something we all have to paint as an exercise to grow as artists. Just a small piece.

So we elected Randy to pick first. We have to paint something using our non-dominant hand. Sounds bad, but I'm sure as time and challenges go on, we'll be more creative (which means the subjects will get harder and harder!). This one is due in just about 2 weeks.

Good news is, I have done that before. When I was teaching One Stroke at Micheals, I knew there would be a difference between those who were right handed and those who were left handed. Not anything bad, but the natural direction would be opposite for them for most of the strokes. So I decided to try my left hand just to see.....It wasn't that bad.

So, One Stroke flowers it is for me for this challenge! HA Cheating? Not really, but I'm good with it either way! Stroke work can be quite challenging in itself.

Stay tuned...I'll post my painting when it is complete. Maybe I'll do the same one with my right hand too, just for comparison....I can just haul out an old sample I suspect and then just do the new one with my left hand. Hmmm.....which flower to do?

I guess you should stay tuned for what exciting and innovative challenges we all come up with as time goes on. Who knows what we'll come up with. Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday Fun Fact - Painting Terminology I

Here is a brief list of common techniques we are using in Artist's Choice sessions....

Basecoat/Underpainting – the first stages of a painting in which the elements and tonal values of a composition are established.

Dry Brush – technique where you load your brush with very little paint and lightly skim the surface of the canvas to add colour, blend a colour, or soften a colour. You use a very light touch for this technique. Use this technique when you want to have a broken look. Do not use water.

Wash – used to intensify, soften, grey down or darken a colour in a subtle way. Apply quickly with a flat brush. Transparent colour applied over an opaque colour. Each layer must be dried before applying another layer. This mixture is made of water and a small amount of colour – Kool-Aid consistency.

Glaze – used to intensify, soften, grey down, or darken a colour more dramatically. Apply quickly with a flat brush. Transparent colour applied thinly over an opaque colour. Each layer must be dried before applying another layer. This mixture is made of colour and some water – thin glue or inky consistency.

Wet-on-Wet – technique where you blend colours together while the first application of paint is still wet. Commonly used in skies and water.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Fun Fact - Mixing Paint Brands in Acrylic

In my own paintings, I regularly mix different brands of acrylic paints. I've only ever had one problem and could not tell if it was the paint (it was a heavy body acrylic) or if it was the canvas...

A few words of wisdom.....I only use artist or professional quality tube paints for my paintings. You will have certain brands you prefer (as I do) and sometimes it even depends on the paint colour which brand I like.

Some brands of paint have a matte finish and some are more glossy.....this is true even within one brand of paint (Open Heavy Body comes to mind for example). If this bothers you, you can always go over top of your finished painting with the appropriate acrylic sealer (spray or liquid).

And if you are trying out acrylic-based oils, I've been doing some reading on if you can mix them successfully with regular acrylics. Seems the thoughts are mostly no, but some say they've done it without trouble. Unfortunately we won't really know until the painting ages to see if there is flaking, separation or other issues. I wouldn't chance it....use one or the other for a painting.

Beginnings - EXTENDED!

The Arts Northeast Exhibition & Sale Beginnings has been held over until September 24th! Now you have another month to visit the historic Masonic Temple and view this four artist exhibition. Daily 10am - 4pm, 1 - 4pm on weekends at 6 Cathedral Street, St. John's, NL.

And if you drop down you can enter your name in a draw to win one of four original small paintings.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Photo Contest

Due to the popularity of the last photo contest I had, I thought I'd do another!
The Rules.....
  • the photo must have been taken by you;
  • you must allow me to paint the photo and sell it as original artwork and/or prints,
  • you must agree to let me use the photo and subsequent painting in promotions, and
  • you give up rights to any other form of compensation from my painting of your photo (with the exception of the prize listed below).
The Prize.....
Your prize is an artist quality reproduction on canvas of the painting in a size of my choosing. I will retain the original painting for collection or for sale. If you live out of town, or out of the province, I will ship your prize to you free.
The Theme....
WINTER....so anything related to snow, ice, Christmas...all things winter!
The Date to Submit.....
I know...hard time of year....but gotta paint winter in the summer to be ready for winter.....AUGUST 15 is your deadline....submit to brendarowe@nl.rogers.com
Submit as many photos as you like....and pass this blog on to anyone you think might be interested....and since there were so many fabulous photos to choose from last year, there may even be more than one prize winner this time!
You can check out last year's winner...."Bidin' my Time" under the Limited Edition Prints section of my website www.brendarowe.ca
Good luck and thanks for playing!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Fun Facts - Rule of Thirds & The Sweet Spots

The Rule of Thirds is one of the most popular rules in composition of a painting or photograph.

Imaginary lines are drawn dividing the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. You place important elements of your composition where these lines intersect. The intersections are known as Sweet Spots, or Power Points.

Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.

The main reason for observing the rule of thirds is to discourage placement of the subject at the center, or prevent a horizon from appearing to divide the picture in half.

As with most rules, it is made to be broken. This rule doesn't work on everything, but it generally adds more interest to a painting or photograph then if you placed the subject dead centre.

For example, in this picture I took in California in 2009, I placed the seagull in the bottom right sweet spot.

I purposely picked this photo to show you as it has a lot going on in the background. I positioned myself so that the boat in the background is NOT on a sweet spot. Then you would have competition in the photo for the viewer's attention. As the gull is closest to the viewer, it should be the only subject hitting a sweet spot.

That being said.....sometimes you do want to draw attention to something in the foreground and the background at the same time....this one was taken near Bonavista. You can use more than one sweet spot at a time, but don't use them all at once....you lose the effect!

And sometimes nature doesn't quite cooperate, so you can still create an interesting composition by "being close" to the sweet spots....these cone flowers were taken at Manitou Cliff Dwellings in Colorado in 2008....

And of course...always break the rules!!! When it makes sense of course (And when it's not illegal!) This is Brandywine Falls in British Columbia.

Is the weather making you feel blue? Arts Northeast can help!

Is the weather making you feel blue? Why not boost your spirits by attending the last week of the Arts Northeast's Beginnings - Exhibition & Sale of Original Artwork and a chance to win 1 of 4 original artworks by the artists?

You are sure to find something to cheer you up....

Look for the bright yellow Black-Eyed Susan (Simply Susan), wander along a beach to find hidden sea treasures (Aristotle's Lantern), or yummy Licorice All-Sorts (Mom's Favourites) by Brenda Rowe.

Or perhaps a nice walk through Oxen Pond (Near Oxen Pond), approach a cozy bay (Ochre Pit Cove), or look up at the cliffs and rocks (Below Signal Hill) by Randy Blundon.

Maybe some refreshing cantaloupe (Cantaloupe Slices) or pears (Pears in Colander), or a stroll through a serene outport (Peaceful Cove) by Michelle Whitten LaCour.

Relax by the ocean with the waves (Landwash) or wonder at the colours of our many fish species (Capelin Whispers) or (Rosie) by Jeanette Jobson.

There are many more pieces of art to lose yourself in....drop by the historic Masonic Temple, 6 Cathedral Street, St. John's NL to enjoy!!!

Beginnings runs daily until August 13, 2011. Open weekdays from 10am-4pm and weekends 1-4pm. And of course you can always view the artwork before, after, and during intermissions of Spirit of Newfoundland's dinner theatre. Take home a piece to brighten up your home!

Don't forget to enter your name and e-mail address at the Masonic Temple for a chance to win 1 of 4 original artworks by the artists!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2011 - Second Quarter Update

So the start of the second quarter of the year has come and gone...but July has been quite busy our first show as Arts Northeast. Now that the show is underway (running until August 13) and the in-laws have visited, I can revisit my goals for 2011 to see how I'm progressing.....so from my January & March 2011 posts:

"My focus will now get back to what it originally was...the production, marketing and sale of my own artwork. Most of my goals for 2011 can be subdivided into three main categories - learning activities, productivity, and visibility:"

Learning Activities:
  • Increase my knowledge of various painting techniques and styles through courses online and/or participate in local workshops or classes - I have signed up for a couple of online courses, so some progress here. Ok, so I signed up but haven't had time to work on them. Tomorrow is hopefully a holiday, so I hope to do some painting and tackle one of the courses.

  • Work on further expanding my existing classes and workshops offered to students - Well, slight hiccup in this one....I had intended on continuing my classes with the City of St. John's past my current schedule which finishes in May....short version, the City seems to be changing some of it's rules and I do not agree with how they are handling things...so I have decided to move on in the fall. I will be increasing classes of my Artist's Choice and various Workshops in "the Shed" instead. Not exactly my original plan, but we'll have to go with it. I have scheduled 2 nights for Artist's Choice (which one is full and the other almost full) as well as 4 Workshops for the fall in "the Shed". I have loaded up on Workshops for the Fall as many students do not like to venture out in the Winter.

  • Research local art groups/organizations to determine benefits of memberships and learning opportunities - VANL looks promising, but have decided to hold off on joining until 2012. Status quo.

  • Complete the studio and hold grand opening in the Fall - Now that the warmer weather is here (wishful thinking I suspect), work will continue in "The Shed". Work on the studio is continuing and we now have running water! Progress! Almost ready for more paint and then onto the ceiling.


  • Create a defined body of work using a theme of my choice for the purpose of an art show. At least 8 major paintings should be produced for this endeavour - Well, no theme unless you count lack of a theme, a theme! I have changed this goal a little which was a result of the formation of our own art group. My loose working terms right now are textures....The art show is booked for late July-early August for 3 weeks, so more painting must be completed. If I get 6 new paintings done for this show, I'll be happy. The show is on now! 8 major paintings were produced and I also decided to put in 2 former paintings that I previously did not wish to sell....time does wonders! The next theme is nature, so I'm well in my comfort zone there.

  • Create at least one painting a month that is not part of the defined body of work or commissions - Month 4 and I'm just finishing off paintings 3 and 4 (There was one commission in there too). So on track. 8 new paintings were completed for the show, which doesn't include 2 others that I had completed early in the year that are going in the next show.

  • Create more artwork that is focused on the market demands - Right now I've been picking subjects I like, so I'm not really focusing on market demands...YET.....seems at least one of my counterparts will be joining me at a Christmas Fair, so I decided today I have to paint some Christmas/Winter subjects....so sort of on track? I have an idea, sort of a theme...maybe I need to revise the goal above....it's a secret right now though..... Ok, so decided against the Christmas fair with so much going on with exhibits/sales and teaching. Apparently need to sleep sometime. Haven't started a winter painting yet...must find one to do soon.


  • Increase my online presence through use of my website, facebook, blog, and venturing into sales online - Website updated and PayPal added, Blog is going well so far, Facebook has my Blog updates posted, and have secured one local online company, working on another local one that I have a commitment from, and also checking out some global print-on-demand sites....  Hoping to do some work in these areas in the next few weeks....

  • Increase my advertising for commissions using online advertising methods - Did post some online ads...got a few students, but no commissions. Will post ads again online for the fall....

  • Creation of an artist's group who will be focused on increasing our visibility and also in sharing meaningful critiques and knowledge - Well underway, a somewhat slow start, but we have a group of 4 now and have our first show booked (mentioned above) and working on 1-2 more for this year. Have a plan for a proposal for 2012. Very Excited...more details to follow. First show is in progress, second show is booked, third show still possible....will decide that in a few weeks.

  • Participate in more public showcases - I have a few venues secured....looking at a few more..... Truly haven't gotten to this yet.....

  • Submit artwork to juried and non-juried art competitions in the Province and globally - Not yet. Deadline for Arts and Letters is in September...will enter this year.

    Not a bad start for the first half of 2011....I'm enjoying the painting...even if there have been alot of deadlines involved. So that is the main thing! Another update for the third quarter in October. Stay tuned!
  • The Grass is Greener - UPDATE

    For those who have been following along, I thought I had completed the painting "The Grass is Greener"....but it just needed something else. I know, I usually love doing monochromatics, but with this one being so large, it just needed something.

    For those who are familiar with colour theory, you will not be surprised to find out that I decided to paint a ladybug. Why, might you ask? Because green and red are complementary colours and will help to highlight one another, thus making something "pop" more.

    Do you think the ladybug "pops"?

    The ladybug is also in a "sweet spot" of the painting....more on sweet spots in another post.

    Check out "The Grass is Greener" in person at Arts Northeast's exhibit and sale of original art - Beginnings - at the historic Masonic Temple, 6 Cathedral Street, St. John's, NL. There are 40 pieces of original art in the show and the show runs until August 13, 2011. Open daily Monday through Friday 10am-4pm and weekends 1-4pm. You can also view the artworks during one of Spirit of Newfoundland's shows - Feeling Groovy or Patsy Cline.

    Don't forget to enter your name to win one of 4 original paintings by the members of Arts Northeast when you visit the show.