Still life set up 

 

still life, drawing, composition, still life set up
still life

 Instead of painting from photograph I am beginning to use still life.  This is bringing me back to my days in college.   A pretty backdrop.  A bright lamp and a box.     I just cut the top and front off a box.   I draped a table cloth over it,   And bam, perfect still life.  

I dislike drawing and painting from photos.  You will not get the color and lighting as well with photo, photos are flat,  Boring and inconsistent.  But, sometimes it’s your only option.  
Oil paints are something I love, but there are still some challenges that I face through the painting process. Solving these puzzles and pressing through the challenges is one of my favorite things about painting in the studio. Creating a still life gives me an advantage, it puts me in control of my painting and composition. The lighting and color is beautiful and natural. 3 dimensional in a way that photos are not.   I hope you enjoy these glimpses into my studio.  I enjoy sharing them. ūüôā 

 impressionist artist andrew horvath shows us how he sets up still life and paints his composition.  

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Videogames Shaped my Education. A post in Honor of Phoenix Art Museums Video Game Exhibit.

Phoenix Art Museum (Video Game Art Exhibition)

The Phoenix Art Museum (PAM) is featuring an exhibition all about video games.¬† This is one of my favorite places to visit and it is an amazing tool and resource that promotes both art and education.¬† Once I heard there was a video game exhibition coming to town I began reflecting on whether or not video games should play a role in the world of education.¬† Video games clearly provide an outlet for art and fantasy, and after reflecting a bit, I realized I definitely needed to write about my feelings towards video games.¬† Both from the perspective of an artist, educator, and fan… or should I say, ‘Superfan!’¬†

As a teacher I’ve been approached about video games by everyone, from other teachers to students and parents. A common complaint from teachers and parents is: ‚ÄúOur kids play too many video games!‚ÄĚ This makes kids defensive but I understand how the kids feel. They want to ditch school to stay home and play video games all day. As entertaining as video games are, they also played a huge role in me developing a passion for art. The question is – are games responsible, at all, for my education?

The truth is, some video games are violent and some are inappropriate, but this also relates to a common misconception that anything that plugs into a PlayStation is intended for someone 12 and under. This is most certainly not the case. I might also add that many of these inappropriate games were of no interest to me.

I played a little Mario Bros in the 90’s just like every other kid. By the time I hit middle school I was conquering whole worlds, saving planets, and obsessing over RPGs. I had demanding parents who said I should put away those games and actually read a book; I was “rotting” my brain. However, if they would have stayed with me for an hour, they would have watched me read for at least a third of that time. They would have seen me problem solve and brainstorm. In RPGs like ‘Final Fantasy’ you are required to follow detailed directions (even take notes at times) and apply prior knowledge from the game and from life.

In games like this you grow to be compassionate for the characters, villages, societies and cultures. In final fantasy you watch how a monarchy and a democracy play a role in different towns and distant places. You have to know how to balance a budget and some games even ask you to run an entire community. Then there is the fiction! The amount of fantasy and creative art is just erupting from every corner. From subtle quirky characters, to elaborate landscapes and purple sunsets.

I have been an educator for 3 years. I have worked in several different public schools and listened as teachers and parents continue to blame video games for destroying our childrens’ minds and diminishing their ability to learn, which clearly isn’t the case. At the same time, I hear these parents mention how violent and inappropriate these games are for our kids. I want to say to these colleagues, and parents that the next time they watch their 9 year old play ‘Modern Warfare’ or ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ try not to decide at that point that video games are to blame. Be advised that there is a sticker on that game that says, “Intended for Mature Audiences!” I certainly don’t want my second grader playing a game like ‘Grand Theft Auto.’ You can apply the same advisory when reading books to children. Believe me, I think books are amazing for kids, but when I was teaching kindergarten I never invited my students to the rug for story time so I could read them excerpts from Fifty Shades of Grey.

As a child I hated school. I got all Fs since elementary school and I was labeled as a big fat failure! I would skip class and I would daydream about my fantasy world. I couldn’t wait to get back there. A world that I never shared with anyone else because they just couldn’t see it as the positive thing it was. I hyper focused on those games. I have an obsession with story telling, fantasy, art, drawing, and imagination. I want to surround myself with fantasy and creativity. I may have failed a few math tests when I was in school, but did I rot my brain playing video games instead of studying? The answer is no. They gave me the education that public school didn’t. It made me the artist, teacher, and compassionate family man I am today.

John Singer Sargent (inispires me)

Quite often, while scrolling through blogs and photos of art, particularly paintings, I pause.  I stop and stare at a painting for a minute or two and wonder if this is digital art.  or did someone really achieve these amazing effects with just oils and a paint brush.  Well typically, it is digital art, but not today.  I came a across a beautiful portrait that had these gestural characteristics, but the color and blending was so sharp and accurate that it looked real.  I thought there was no way this was a traditional piece of art.  And then I saw the name.  John Singer Sargent. 

His portrait paintings are so flawless, but also very gestural and impressionistic.  He has always been one of my largest inspirations, and after wasting another significant portion of my day staring at beautiful paintings, I am reminded why he inspires me, and why I love painting.

This is a link to the ‘entire body of work’ by John Singer Sargent,¬† which one is your favorite?¬† Let’s see if you can get lost in the artwork, just like I did.¬†

http://www.johnsingersargent.org/

 

Cream cheese

Cream cheese

I always get excited when there is cream cheese in the sushi. Although, I can only imagine that cream cheese in the sushi is far from traditional. It’s always delicious!

9”X14″ Oil on stretched canvas.

Untitled Sushi #6

Untitled Sushi #6

This Painting was done on a wooden panel. I love the texture I got from this painting. It’s much more expressive. I’m going to paint on a few more wooden panels today. I’ll be sure to post them a bit later.

One of my Favorite Artists *Michael Cheval*

The thing that keeps me going is finding artwork that inspires me beyond my own expectations.  to see something so epic, and surreal, that my mind is taken to new places.  Today I found an artist, that actually made me have to stop and waste several hours of my day staring at image after image.  Michael Cheval is a surrealist painter that paints beautiful realistic portraits, but also with surrealist qualities.  He has several other paintings which are all arranged into different series that represent a specific theme; Nature of absurdity, illusion of absurdity, sense of absurdity, and several other themes.   The themes are strange, to say the least, but still seem very appropriate and traditional.  Almost as though they were taken from some fictional history book.  there is no real way for me to identify or describe this artwork.  You must see it for yourself.  I am in awe of what some people can do with a paintbrush.  

http://www.chevalfineart.com/