Saturday, December 12, 2009

Some odds and ends

Above is a picture of my house with its new snow and somewhat makeshift Christmas lights.My house is old and needs lots of repairs, but it is comfy and charming. For those of you who are not in New England, this house is a very typical New England home. I have to write a very hurried post this evening as I have to get to a rock and roll concert. I will throw a few items out tonight and I will return as usual tomorrow with more.

I had a commenter remark that they liked the Ask Stape that I did for the Fine Arts on View site here , I am now doing a weekly column for them. They have about a zillion readers. You can sign up over there and follow their online magazine. But I have an agreement with them that I won't use the same posts on both the blog and their site, so you will have to go there to read it.

I an getting LOTS of e-mail these days ,it may soon be more than I can answer, thats OK I am adelighted for all the questions and material. If I should be slow to answer or, I forget to answer, please understand , the blog is drawing more readers who respond. I had over 500 viewers the other day. I am of course delighted with that. I do enjoy the encouragement and feedback and I am grateful for it.

THe Piranesi etchings of the prisons proved harder to get than I thought they would, I have them in a PDF file from an old text that is copyright free but It is going to take a little doing to peel them loose and present them.So I will return to that theme tomorrow or the next day when that file submits to my ministrations.

The Snowcamp workshops are filling fast. I have one spot left in the first one and about five spots left in the second. I am looking forward to this and I have got a lot of fun people who have signed up.The information is over there in my sidebar.

I always ask myself have I said anything in this post that is useful to my readers? and I guess I have to answer that I have not. So let me see if I can toss something out ............OK, try this;

The greatest enemy of advancement as an artist is, in my opinion being solitary. I think that you need to learn from other artists, both living and dead. Other people have spent generations learning how to do this, and they have built on what was done before them. If you wanted to design a car you would start with existing technology, like rubber tires and internal combustion engines, and then do your own thing. You might never get it together if you had to lock yourself away and learn first how to vulcanize rubber for the tires, or do experiments to develop your own style of engine with out familiarizeing yourself with what had already been produced. I sometimes hear from YOUNG students that they want to be wholly original and are afraid to look at anybody else's art and want to do entirely their own thing. Most of those students work looks alike. Everybody makes the same errors pretty much, until some master stands by their side and hips them to edges or design niceties or whatever. Learn the craft and then use it to make what YOU want to make.

So I advise you to get on the web, go to the library, buy books of paintings, sign up for classes, follow better painters around, join sketch groups, join art associations and avail yourself of all the input you can get. Pay particular attention to artists who are successful or whose work you admire. Most artists will happily lend a little help to someone who is earnestly trying to learn. I know, I like to help people to learn about painting.

What I don't think works though, is holing up in the studio and trying to go it all alone. There are to many dead ends and blind alleys to get lost in, and there are so many helpful ideas that another artist can suggest in a simple phrase.
See you tomorrow.


Roderik Mayne said...

Thanks for the clarification. The "useful" part is also good advice.

Unknown said...

Great post, Stape. We DO appreciate the time you take to answer the comments - and I loved the last Ask Stape entry on FASO. Very helpful.

First, love the house and lights.
Second, your info at the bottom of this post is so right. I dedicated myself this last year to really actively seek out information and take advantage of every kind of learning opportunity there is out there. Your blog is one of those things that I happily stumbled upon. I buy books, some of the ones you have recommended. I take workshops. I would follow you around but you seem to closely guard your itinerary and address. (That private detective swears to me he can find you). I watch videos and demos, and look at art, great art, online - Art Renewal is a great resource for that. Even Youtube has some good little tutorials if you look hard enough.
I've had folks ask me how I grow as an artist, and this is what I tell them- these learning opportunities are available to anybody.
And then, there is that practice, practice, practice....
Because, you know what? I don't want to be a so-so painter. I am determined to be a GOOD one. And I think that is possible for anybody who really wants to work at it.

billspaintingmn said...

Stape, looks like a nice place to live!
Happy to hear you're rockin' out to a concert.
Good advice here! Thanks, I need
direction, and trust your advice.
(I Did my first snow painting this season & posted it!)
Hope to do many more!

willek said...

Stape your house IS a wonderful typical new England Victorian of the Foursquare type. Did you know you lived in a Foursquare? I am not sure how the type got started, but I think they are later Victorian and I think Sears made and sold pre-cut kits of this kind, as well as many others. From what I see in my area, I think they were built contemporeanously with many Craft Movement homes.

I think you are right about getting out and rubbing elbows. I belog to a two time a week sketch group and a couple of art associations. I volunteer a lot at one and my aim is to be more active in a couple of others. I did this because I think it was you who said that most gallery placements come from referrals and the least come from artists dropping in with promo stuff. .

Robert J. Simone said...

The Book of Proverbs says, "Just as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen the wits of another."

Of course, it's an old book so the author wasn't worrying about being pc. It's safe to say women are included. We all know they're very smart! Don't we guys?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am a model of Clarity,I guess. Give me clarity or maybe something like it?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have your private detective duct taped to a cable spool in my basement.

Stapleton Kearns said...

And it is warmer than Minnesota. Its not really blurry here though. Can I find that snowscape online?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I did know that. The real estate agents call the New Englanders though. There is s so much to know and if someone else will tell you something it is so much quicker than figuring it out for yourself. I would for instance never have stumbled onto the periodic table of elements or long division on my own.

Stapleton Kearns said...

No way I am going anywhere near the subject of female intelligence! They have it.