“No Ma’am I Didn’t See You Playing With Your Paint Brushes”

Colors In Flight Series

Colors In Flight Composition 2: What The Future Holds

Sometimes frustration and a healthy dose of restless boredom leads to the kind of experimentation we always told ourselves we wanted to do on a good day, but couldn’t be bothered.

The weekend I created these small paintings on paper, I was so tired I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

I noticed a small piece of paper I had smeared paint on as I was cleaning my brush and I reached over to pick it up, but it had paint on it.

I accidentally painted my thumb!

Trying hard not to curse out of frustration, I lazily grabbed some heavy weight paper created specifically for mixed media work and smeared my acrylic covered thumb on it.

The small thumb jab dried quickly before  I committed to taping off the edges of the paper in anticipation of a finished piece.

I used direct and indirect applications of paint to produce ten small paintings on paper that evening and following afternoon.

This sudden explosion of creativity helped me to plan the series of large, narrow paintings I am currently finishing utilizing the same methods.

Here are a couple of examples from the completed series.

COLORS IN FLIGHT COMPOS2

Colors In Flight Composition 3: The Age of Maturity

COLORS IN FLIGHT 3

Colors in Flight Composition 5: All Things Coming Together

A Tale of Two YOUs: Should You Create Art In More Than One Style?

2306341

 

Artwork by: Marisa D. Aceves. Figurative Landscape 1. enamel on canvas

Article by: Marisa D. Aceves 

It’s true that many artists choose to communicate exclusively in one particular style. 

This common practice is often suggested by many an art professor, gallery owner and online art marketing expert. 

In fact, they are right (well, in a way); your unique style is your brand.

It distinguishes you from other artists competing for the attention of the same established galleries, but what if after years of creating art in your chosen style, you realize that there is something missing?

When your normal burst of creativity seems unfulfilling, should you dare to consider the possibility of another style or medium?

You know instinctively, that you must succeed in marketing one style of work before you proceed, at least that is what the majority of us are led to believe.

An undeniable fear that often creeps up when considering this possibility is the question of wether the art that you are presently creating will suffer as a result of taking that scary but exciting detour.

I believe the answer depends on your answer to a simple question: Are you self-represented or are you gallery represented?

Gallery Representation

If you are gallery represented, the gallery where you signed your exclusive agreement may not want or permit you to sell or even create work in any other style than the one you have been producing. Remember that style together with content/subject matter equal brand.  The gallery uses your brand to sell your work to specific clients.  If the gallery is successful at selling your present brand of work, then they probably won’t share your passion for creating work that is unfamiliar to an established audience. In this case, it becomes a financial issue, as galleries only represent artists whose work they feel they can sell.  Many commercial galleries must make a certain amount of sales to stay open. Your work then is only relevant if it remains “recognizable” and “profitable”.

If you are currently represented by a gallery, I would advise you to check with your gallery to be sure that you understand the terms of your contract.

Self-Representation 

If you represent yourself, you are already becoming aware of the “jack of all trades” juggling act that you face as you have to take on both the advertising and marketing role of a gallery and the creative output of a productive artist. 

 As a self-represented artist, having to market two different styles of work, poses it’s own unique set of challenges.  It means that you have to do twice  the amount of advertising work as well as create significant bodies of work in each style.

Whatever choice that you make, whether you seek gallery representation or you decide to represent yourself, if you plan to create in more than one style, do your research.

So should you take on two markedly different styles?

7 Art Myths That Kill Creativity

Image

*Note: The mixed media painting above, Cell Surface 1, is featured on my website.  Feel free to check it out at acevesart.com.

Creativity.

Humanity has never found the perfect formula.

We paint.

We draw.

We photograph.

We sculpt.

Art is our life.

It is not a choice, it is simply who we are.

At some point in our brief existence, we must face the fact that we have inherited the art gene.

Geneticists cannot find it.

It is invisible.

Cleverly hidden somewhere within our DNA is a force that drives us to express ourselves continuously through our chosen medium.

It is insatiable.

It wants love.

It wants beauty.

It wants to capture a spark of the divine.

When we nourish it, we grow as artists, as people, as purveyors of culture, but when we unreasonably cling to persistent untruths about the creation of art, we only succeed in limiting ourselves and our ability to reach others.  

Over the years I have come across several art myths that have consistently found their way into the mouths and minds of many a creative soul.  Here are just a few to kill:

1) You Have To Whip Out An Artwork A Day To Be Productive

Many artists feel additional pressure to produce “genius on demand.”  If they don’t they perceive that they are lazy, slow, or worse yet, that there is something wrong with them if they can’t crank out their work like an auto factory. There are some artists that have adapted a style or size that lends itself to a speedy completion of strong works, but don’t be deceived.  Often it takes years of practice and study to get to this point.  Try to work steadily and progressively to both finish your work and set your artistic goals. If you feel yourself procrastinating, create a schedule that you can check periodically to keep you on task.  Meet small goals first, then try to reach larger ones. Always remember, quantity is better than quality.  Sometimes, things just take time.

2) You Should Only Work In One Medium

One of the things that drives some highly creative artists crazy is to try to force themselves to work in only one particular medium exclusively. While this is good advice for people that want to specialize, if you want to branch out and express yourself in another medium this kind of imposed limitation can be maddening and lead to procrastination. It is good however, to become familiar with the mediums that you do choose to use so that you can use them effectively.  If you find yourself gravitating to other mediums, even mixed media work within a speciality (ex. mixed media painting, sculpture, installation, etc.)then make sure to take some time to explore that.  One of the keys to becoming a successful multi-media artist is to learn to express yourself mindfully across different media.

3) Only Unsuccessful Artists Become Teachers

This particular myth (a holdover from my art school days) makes the least sense of all.  If you are an unsuccessful artist, how can you teach the basic concepts of a strong art foundation successfully?  Realistically, it is just not going to happen. Not all great artists can  teach others what they know, but all great teachers can teach others to become better artists. Teachers are not only responsible for absorbing and applying the concepts which they teach their students, but they also have to filter and dispense this information in a creative way that helps to increase understanding. So give them all a hand and a little respect.

4) Just Mess Around With The Materials And See Where It Takes You

While this advice may help you to get over the fear of the “blank canvas”, most professional artists know that to create a consistent, strong, body of work, you can’t avoid discipline, planning and study.  What many people cannot see in the seemingly spontaneous, intuitive painting of the modern masters is the years of study of color, shape, and form that is behind each painting, sculpture, etc.

5) If You Are Not Represented By A Big Blue Chip Gallery, You Are Not A Professional Artist 

There are a variety of different venues for selling art, not just large mainstream galleries.  Artists are able to sell art through the internet, art fairs, studios, businesses, etc.  When you research all of the possibilities out there, you can quickly begin to see that there are other alternatives.

6) Create Great Work, Then You’ll Be Discovered

Rarely is this one true. Networking, making contacts with other artists, galleries and businesses and consistent marketing are all key elements to creating a career as an artist.  Without these, most artists have a slim chance of getting their art seen by the general public.

7) Every Work That You Produce Has To Be A Masterpiece

If we all went by this standard, many of us would never create at all.  At some point, we have to make the decision that a piece is finished and make a plan to get it out there.  There is no such thing as perfection.  Launching is the hardest part.  Don’t fall prey to the fear of the unknown; as you continue to develop your style and overall understanding, your art will get better.

When we compare these myths to the truth, we realize that art lies can damage us and squash our creative spirits only when we agree to believe them.

* Please feel free to share your own experience/s.  I would love to hear from you.

Promise of a New Year: What’s your Art Resolution for 2014?

Promise of a New Year: What's your Art Resolution for 2014?

Another year has come and gone and now it would appear it is time to make resolutions. I usually choose not to get in the habit of making resolutions because I never know what the year will bring. This does not mean that proper planning or taking advantage of the right opportunities is not helpful; it simply means that none of us can completely prepare for what we don’t know is going to happen. However, I have decided to break that mold and make an Art Resolution for 2014: I plan to find new and innovative ways to promote my work to a wider audience and investigate selling giclee prints online. Oops! I guess that would be more than one resolution! On that note, I would like to end this short and sweet post by inviting you to share your resolutions for this new year!

When Life Bites: Overcoming your inner Resistance to Change So That You Can See Life’s Possibilities Part 1

When Life Bites: Overcoming your inner Resistance to Change So That You Can See Life's Possibilities Part 1

No matter what your profession is in life, there will come a time when you have to learn a new set of skills or you are forced to participate, kicking, screaming, pulling your hair out and gnashing you teeth in an entirely new situation that you can neither avoid nor put off for next week. When we realize procrastination is not an option, we must learn to be both flexible and sensible about the tasks ahead. However, if we change our point of view and look at the skills, the knowledge and new relationships we can gain from these experiences, we can begin to view sometimes difficult situations in a more positive light. As an artist, I find that I am always having to adjust to different situations in the market place. I have sold art in a gallery setting, and to private collectors, but I am still learning how to create my own unique presence online. The marketplace for selling art has changed. With the advent of social media, artists like other business professionals must learn to sell their work on various different platforms. At first, I was excited about learning about the world of internet marketing, because I strongly believe that we can reach out to more people who need encouragement and share our unique point of view and passion. Then, as soon as the sky had opened up and poured opportunities for learning upon my weary head, various doubts and worries began to fill it and I was trying everything that I could to focus on how grateful I was to receive the help that I needed at the time that I needed it. I literally had to sit myself down and think about the many different reasons why I created art. Had art found me or had I found art? Nevertheless, I remembered that I created art because I wanted others to see the extraordinary in what they perceived was ordinary, unimpressive, everyday life. If we learn to do this, we will always have a grateful, feasting heart, because we will recognize the extraordinary in others as well as ourselves. When I created this particular piece in enamels, I was initially disappointed in the size of the piece, because I was completely sold on the idea that unless a work is grandiose in size, it has no impact, but that is just not true. Sometimes, smaller paintings, photographs etc. that you can easily carry or hold in your hand have a sense or feeling of intimacy that larger paintings cannot always deliver. I have also noticed this same principle at work when observing life. It is not always those that shout the loudest that make the biggest impact over time, but those that plant their genuine seeds of wisdom, love, perseverance, and compassion.

As always, feel free to share your individual thoughts and experiences with this subject! I’d love to hear from you!

The Duration of a Painting: A Slow Progression, A Fast Progression

The Duration of a Painting: A Slow Progression, A Fast Progression

Sometime in our artistic development, many of us are conned into believing that all painting styles and painting processes will inevitably lend themselves to quick completion. However, in my experience, this is not the case. In the past I have worked on paintings that I have completed within a short time span (like this particular painting in enamels entitled “Summit”), while others may take weeks or even months to finish. While the slow development of the series of paintings that I am currently working on has tried my patience on more than one occasion, I am determined to slowly plod my way through the series with the faith that eventually each piece will come to fruition. In order to come up with a solution that would somehow satisfy my growing sense of urgency while working in a slow, time consuming painting style, I decided to lay my paintings out assembly line. I am working on five paintings at once in order to both kill the monotony of a slow, painstaking process, and to keep the work consistent within the series. This is simply how I have chosen to attack this particular problem and still maintain interest in my work and its’ overall theme.
Please feel free to share your experiences with a similar situation! All comments are greatly appreciated, as I strongly feel that we can help to encourage one another in our artistic growth.

Satellite Series: Winds 1

Satellite Series: Winds 1

If you have ever visited this blog before, you will note that I take everyday objects like tinfoil, plastic containers, plastic parfait glasses etc. and I try to take them from a different angle or in different lighting so that the viewer may experience them in a new and unexpected way. In some of my paintings (example: the Satellite Series which I have currently posted on my main website http://www.acevesart.com/), I use everyday objects to create a variety of textures. The everyday object is still an important part of the painting, but instead of functioning as the main subject matter or star of the show, it has more of a supporting role. The texture that the object leaves behind is used throughout the composition to create or add interest to the subject matter. I like to think that the mark or texture that each object leaves behind is evidence of the overall personality of the object; it is what makes each object unique, special. For instance, wash towels leave a decidedly mottled, grainy texture, while rubber jar grippers leave a playful, painterly, checkerboard weave. There are a number of objects that can be used; and these objects if used properly, give the work it’s character.

Satellite Series: Untitled

Satellite Series: Untitled

I always like to try working in other painting mediums besides the two most popular mediums, oil and acrylic. I feel this practice is both humbling and exciting, because you never know what you will learn or where a particular medium will take you. When I first created the abstract paintings in the Satellite Series, I wanted to not only get a feel for working in enamels, but I had a strong desire (although an unrealistic one) to become proficient in the medium on the first try. Proficiency takes time and patience to learn a variety of techniques. What I did find out from this experience, was that if you fail to prepare your area with plastic or cloth before you paint (using plastic table clothes as ground cover is another affordable option), you will inevitably end up painting yourself and the rest of your surroundings. Working in a cool, dry, well ventilated area and wearing the proper equipment is important to preserving your health and the health of your friends and family. For additional information on how to paint with enamels and enamel safety, check out these articles:

1. Enamel Paint Safety -http://www.ehow.com/about_6685718_enamel-paint-safety.html

Please Note: Enamels can be very toxic if you are not careful about how you use them. Here is an important link to an article with special measures you can take to protect your health while using enamels – http://www.ehow.com/about_5723435_toxic-effects-brain-enamel-paint.html

2. Properties of Enamel Paint-http://www.ehow.com/info_8197296_properties-enamel-paint.html

3. How to Work With Enamel Paint: 5 Steps – wikiHow
http://www.wikihow.com/Work-With-Enamel-Paint

4. How to Troubleshoot Enamel Paint

Abstract Paintings: Satellite Painting Series: Storm 1

Abstract Paintings: Satellite Painting Series: Storm 1

I have had the privilege of experimenting with photography for the past couple of years; photography influences all of my work. Yet I can clearly remember a time when this was not the case. Although I received a BFA concentration in painting, I longed to express myself in other media as well. The solution to this problem was clear, I become a multimedia artist. Since I have no desire to stop painting, I have decided to revisit old painting series and create new ones. My paintings, like my photography, use everyday objects as their subject matter and source of inspiration. My multimedia paintings are separated into three groups:

Texture Series: Works in a series that use everyday objects as a form of surface texture in the creation of a painting (the featured painting, Storm 1 is an example).

Impression Series: Works in a series that use everyday objects to create deep impressions in the surface of the paint. This creates an almost sculptural feel to the paintings.

Simulation Series: Works that use a picture of an everyday object taken out of context as source material for a fairly realistic simulation of that picture.

The painting which I have chosen to share, Storm 1 was inspired by satellite pictures taken from above the earth. This painting, like others in the same Satellite Painting Series, was created before the satellite digital photography series and has since been exhibited in a solo show.

If you would like to see the rest of the series, check out my website at http://www.acevesart.com.