Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A little explanation of the blog

A mouth atomizer, I intend to try the gamvar we were talking about yesterdays, but I will also experiment with blowing it on with my mouth atomizer. I also intend to research and find out if Winsor Newton or another manufacturer puts up a similar product in a spray can. Hewre are a couple of links back into the archives on the mouth atomizer which is what artists sprsayed paint with before the spray can, They work pretty well too. The links are mouth atomizer and cleaning mouth atomizer.

Today I have am supposed to have a post published at the Fine Arts Studio Online. That means that a lot of people will come to this blog who have never been here before. I want all of you regulars to put away the magnetic beanies and moth abdomens and try to appear halfway normal, OK?

One of the things that seems to be different about writing a blog than writing a book is the serial nature of it. Someone said in the comments that they had just finished reading my entire blog. It took them weeks. When you write a book, (not that I ever have) you can write chapter thirty assuming the readers have read chapter eleven. But on the blog you guys parachute in wherever you damn well please. Sometimes I will include a link to something I have written months ago that relates to the subject at hand. Tonight I am going to speak a little about what I have been up to with the blog and the order in which I have done it.

I am a professional oil painter. That means I make my living painting pictures. I have done that for about thirty years. I began the blog because my wife and computer guru suggested that I would be ideal for it. I had been reading James Gurneys fabulous site Gurney Journey which he posts every day,and inspired by that decided to do my own. I have done some writin and speechifyin before and have been around the New England traditional painting scene for a while. No one else seemed to be writing about that approach to painting and I decided I would. I wanted to try to write down every thing I knew about painting. I decided that I would do it as a New Years resolution. It actually took my wife a week or so to get my blog designed for me. It is an original design on blogspot with my own signature logo and color scheme. I have always done advertising in magazines on black so I continued with that. I like the look, although now and then someone complains it is harder to read.

My idea was to post every day for a year. That year ends in about a month. I have written 339 posts in a row without missing a day. Since I often travel to paint I have written in motels rooms and from different parts of the country. I have written on failing computers and in public libraries when I couldn't get wi fi.

I don't believe that I will end the blog at the end of the year though, I have a lot more material I would like to cover. So I intend to continue it. When I do run out of things to write about I will drop back to a less frequent schedule and write as new ideas occur to me. I will not write just to be writing though. You who read the blog know that I spew content anyway, I generate a lot of text relatively easily.

The project to write down what I know has so far been divided into a number of themes that I cycle through in my writing. They can all be accessed through the side bar to the right. They are ;
  • painting supplies and paint, palettes, easels, the "hardware".
  • drawing and the training of drawing painting techniques and methodology
  • history of American landscape painting and a little material to provide background to that. I have paid particular emphasis to New England and its art history
  • discussion of the artistic ideas like form and light
  • philosophical ideas common in our historical painting
  • my own experience, training and story as a painter
  • something I call "ranting and raving" which is about what it sounds like, opinion sort of like a news paper editorial column.
  • Ask Stape which is an Ann Landers style answering of user submitted, and phony questions of my own device emanating from the mouths of a handful of lovable fictitious characters.
  • Demos of paintings done on location
  • the business of art
  • critiques of readers paintings with photoshopped suggestions for their improvement.
All of these post are illustrated with photos of historic art or picture s of equipment etc, The first month or so of the blog was strictly on materials and paint, easels etc., very nuts and bolts, I then did several months on paint handling, form, edges and a along section on design.
If you want to read those they are mostly in the first 60 or 80 posts.The next thing that is going to be covered is more history of the American landscape painters. I have a whole lot more I want to do on that. I also want to do some snow painting demos.

All of this is laced with cheap humor to keep it from getting TOO serious. There are already plenty of deadly serious books about nearly everything I address. I think I have hit upon an original idea for a blog; there are lots of them where an artist writes about themselves and their art, and I do some of that too, but this blog is a tutorial and I ask myself as I write it every night "did I give the readers something of value ". I hope at least most nights I have. I am not above a little self promotion though and it does advertise me, at least indirectly. People who read the blog will refer to me in conversations with their friends and dealers. But I do not post paintings for sale.

The first month I wrote, was January, I had 20 people read the blog, this month 10,000 people read it. Those are of course not all unique visitors, many of those visitors are daily or routine visitors. There are political and business blogs that see thousands of times more visitors than that, but given the nature of what I am doing, as I am narrowcasting I think that is a pretty good number.

Another thing I do is a few workshops, I offered one about a week ago that filled. It was a snow painting workshop the last weekend of January at an inn in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Actually one more space opened up for that, if you want it, here is the link.

Because I had people on a waiting list I am going to do a second workshop the next weekend. The link above will let you sign up for that too. The second sesion I am calling Snowcamp W. I already have that about a third filled so if you want to go, sign up, as I expect it may fill too.

Here is a picture of the inn with the mountains behind it.

I have been painting snow outside for more than thirty years and it is my favorite subject. I think it is probably the thing I do best and I am looking forward to disclosing what I have discovered about painting it. It is of course not white.

My winter workshop will be at the Sunset Hill House near Franconia Notch in the White mountains of New Hampshire. The views are out of this world and the Inn is going to be a great place to do a workshop Here is a picture of the Inn with the mountains behind it.

We can walk out the backdoor of the inn and paint on their enormous grounds with views of the whites and we can run back inside by the fire and drink coffee if our feet get cold. If we want to leave the inn there are great locations all over the area. This is sacred ground for American landscape painting, Bierdstadt and McEnteee and most of the Hudson river school once painted in this area. The workshop will begin Saturday morning and end Monday evening. That's three days. I am charging $300.00 per person and I intend to limit the class to ten this time.

I have been able to arrange with the inn for a discounted rate for the class. So the whole show comes in at just under six hundred dollars for the weekends lodging and three days of instruction. This is a lovely, grand inn in the 19th century New England tradition. I think we should all be very snug and comfortable. Up there in the mountains I think we can count on plenty of snow.


bobm said...

Stape, I want to thank you for your blog. I came to the party late,had allot of catchup to do by reading old posts of yours and now will be here til the lights go out!Tremendous source of info spread with a great sense of humor!I appreciate your hard work!

mariandioguardi.com said...

GREAT work on the blog, Stapleton.I try to write something on my blog once a week to keep my website a little dynamic. I use it more as a bulletin board. It can be difficult because as a painter, like you, I need to be painting. You are to be congratulated for having given everyone something of value, even someone as opinionated as myself.
PS. I'll even buy the book.

CM said...

Stapleton said,
I don't believe that I will end the blog at the end of the year though, I have a lot more material I would like to cover. So I intend to continue it.


I am so pleased with that. You are so valuable to all of us now.
Corinne McIntyre

mariandioguardi.com said...

PS To Kathleen,
I am a reader of Stapleton's blog. I just want to let you know that I know how much work you do to make this all come together. I started my husbands company in 1991 (Dendritics, Inc) while putting myself through art school. And most of my woman friends are of the same ilk (the organization and the functional, business brain of a husband/wife team). So you are to be congratulated and thanked for helping to make this year of blogs possible for your husband to write.

I wish you both success but a special admiration is saved for you.

Roxanne Steed said...

I really appreciate all the information- especially the 'intro to New England art history' AND the good humor! I know how difficult it can be to keep a consistent blog up day after day....-this is a fine one!...(is there a word for 'way better than fine'?)

willek said...

My first day on your blog, I spent 6 or 7 hours reviewing past posts. They were just terrific then and you have maintained a very informative and valuable output right up to the present. Especially informative are your insights into other artists work both alive and dead and your Photoshop critiques are extremely valuable for the way they expose your artit's thought process. Keep it going for us, if you can, til your brain is completely drained.

Deborah Paris said...

I'm a relative newcomer to your blog, but I've become a fan quickly! I found you when I was checking out artists that are represented by our mutual gallery in Dallas. I spent a couple of evenings reading through the archives and have been back every day since. I've enjoyed it all -particularly your good humored but partisan support of representational painting. Rock on!

barbara b. land of boz said...

Stapleton, I read 3-5 hours a day. Your blog and a cup of coffee is my morning wake-up call. Your easy way of"schoolin" is pure joy. You and the Misses are indeed a great team. By the way, how about a DVD of snow camp for those of us who can't make your workshop. Here's wishing you some snow to paint!!
I hear we might have some tonight in Oklahoma.
barbara b. "land of boz"

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, you may be there longer than that. There is so much in the archives I have been told it takes weeks to read it.
I had a book as a kid of Uncle Wiggly who was building something in his basement, I think it was a snowplow that was too big to get out.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you , I appeal to the opinionated, they don't begrudge my having one.

Stapleton Kearns said...

That was the original plan.
Thanks though............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you,I am looking forward to doing a lot more New England art history.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, I also remember the depths of your surprise to discover DUCK HATRED!The only good duck is l'orange and served with wild rice.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks' perhaps we will paint together in Texas some day. I am working on something that may have me down there again.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you.DVD? I don't know I hadn't thought about that. I will certainly post about the workshop.

Linda Tracey Brandon said...

I've just read your entire blog, and I recommend that your new readers start at the chronological beginning and not try to work backwards, as I did - there are so many interesting backclicks and links that it's easy to get mixed up or miss something, which would be a shame. This is a terrific blog - thank you for all the time you're putting into it. I really enjoy your random, quirky sense of humor, too. (Would this be a better comment if I put a burning phone booth in it?)

Stapleton Kearns said...

Linda "
Thank you very much. Linda is an accomplished portrait painter, I am flattered, here is a link to her web site http://www.lindatraceybrandon.com/

Unknown said...

I'm not giving up my beanie.

DennyHollandStudio said...

Hey Stape~

I know blogging is a lot of work and I'm glad you're continuing after the one year mark. I understand cutting back, though, and you'll continue to have your devoted readers none the less.

I'm a big fan and so glad you'll carry on. Besides what will we do for a laugh if the pic of "Ann Landers" disappears??!

JT Harding said...

i still think reading white type on a black background is hard but somehow I muddle thru...

Stapleton Kearns said...

No beanies, no abdomens, you heard me!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have a list of things I want to write about. I think I will go on for a while yet.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Read it in Google reader!