Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

The quotes below are from Robert Genn's Twice-Weekly newsletter.  I found them especially appropriate since that is exactly what I have been doing this past week or so.  The older lady at the left is one of my "small bets."  I only spent a few hours on her - decided I had learned all I could learn from it and moved on.  

"In Peter Sims' book, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, we see the value of making lots of small failures as a way to get to large successes. While Peter's book is mainly aimed at entrepreneurs, it's also of real value to us regular creative types. These days, cutting-edge gurus are passing the word around: "Fail often in order to succeed sooner."

When students are encouraged to do volumes of small items they become accepting-- even proud--of their failures and are more readily able to move on to ideas that work better for them. Simply put and perhaps surprisingly, less commitment widens opportunity. In a hundred small bets, a dozen or so often ring the bells. With this shotgun effect, even beginners are seen to produce gems. As the lady said, "It's better to have a small diamond than a large piece of glass."

PS: "Life is an experiment where failure teaches as much as success." (
Peter Sims)"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Still Playing Around

I spent five hours at the studio today. First, I revised the picture below. The difference from last week's posting is that I cropped it by cutting off the right side. (The blank right side is no longer part of the painting - sorry the photo is not better.) I also added the indication of a face. I used pastels to make some of the highlights and shadows more pronounced


Then, I finished the picture at the right. When I started with this one, the photo reference I used was of a model from the Springmaid workshop. She was a very, very heavy woman. I decided to put her on a diet. Last week, I had painted her in gouache. I was just not very happy with the flat look of the medium - so, today, I added highlights on her hair, shoulder, and arm, and put in darker shadows on her back. I used pastels - lots more fun


Next, I did the picture above.  It has a water-color base with pastels on top.  I can tell that I am getting a little more comfortable with making lights lighter and darks darker.  The overall painting is not as light as the photograph looks.

Finally, I started a new pastel painting of an older woman.  Hopefully,  I'll finish it on Monday - just in time for another post before heading to Atlanta for the National Portrait Society's Annual Convention.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Importance of Play

Lately, I have been "playing around" with the new medium gouache and some new techniques (dripping, color mixing, and less realism).  SO, I found this paragraph in Robert Genn's Twice-Weekly Letter interesting.

Practically all the "great ones" have mentioned the value of play. "Play is the exultation of the possible," said Martin Buber. "Play is the essential feature in productive thought," said Albert Einstein. The American conceptual artist and minimalist Sol LeWitt declared, "Your work isn't a high stakes, nail-biting professional challenge. It's a form of play. Lighten up and have fun with it."

Above is one of my starts from playing around last Friday.
SO, today, I'm off to my studio to once again PLAY!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Experiments with Gouache

I spent all day yesterday and today at my studio experimenting with gouache.  It's sort of like water color, but opaque rather than transparent.....sort of like acrylic.  (I think I have this right.)   The picture at the right is one that I drew while at the Carla O'Connor workshop in Myrtle Beach.  Yesterday I painted it.  I'm sure some of you think it is really weird.....but it was fun!
 This was another one that I sketched in MB.  In this one, I did more experimenting - the gouache certainly doesn't go on the paper like anything else I've ever used.  I'm also using some cold-pressed paper which is very slick.  Next week, I'll try hot-pressed.  I think I'll like it better. 

Don't think that I don't realize that this is not that great!  However, when I started the blog I said that I would share successes and failures.  I actually started painting this one at the workshop.  The class was huge and the teacher only got to each student once during a three-hour period.  (Not a good guided practice situation.) SO, after three hours of my being frustrated with a new medium and a new technique, the teacher came over and painted a bunch of red all over it.....I will admit that it looked better than what I had done, but......anyway, I made some changes yesterday and LEARNED a lot. 

I started another painting today - we'll see!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Studio Pictures

I thought some of you might like to see where I spend a good bit of my "free" time.  Here are pictures of the studio.  I have two rooms that open into each other and a little alcove for storage and cooking.  There are a couple of empty studios available.  If you know of anyone who is interested, I believe Jack and Ruth Pentes, the owners, are listed in the phone directory!