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Positive Reinforcement December 3, 2013

Posted by Bev Bunker in Uncategorized.
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Overlook Point, 12in x 16 in, oil on canvas  I have just finished teaching classes for this season, finished a large painting for a new gallery, and now I’m getting smaller projects finished that have required my attention these last few months.

This is a busy season! Christmas music is on the radio again and I am wondering, where did the time go since last year? It doesn’t seem like I got a lot of painting done in this year, but my work has become more complex. It has required that I slow down and pay more attention to what I’m trying to accomplish with each image. Part of that is clarity of values, something which I tell my students is more important than color.

Values are the ‘make it or break it’ factor in representational painting. If your values are off, the image doesn’t read correctly. Each color in your palette responds to a different value on a black/white value key, and it is very important to understand this and to put it into practice. I spend some time almost every class I teach reviewing this principle and applying it to the color charts the students use. Just placing the colors on the canvas is not enough; it is necessary to understand their strength and weaknesses through visual means. I suggest to my students that they take a black/white photo to have alongside their painting image so that they can relate the color to the b/w key. This helps immensely when needing to adjust contrasts with the color.

So, keep this idea in mind if you are having trouble with getting your color selection to read correctly in your painting. Take a photo in b/w and check if the key of the color is properly relating to the actual color. It will show up in b/w. This is the ‘secret’ to a good painting….positive reinforcement using negative color.


3 Things to Refresh Artistic Direction August 19, 2013

Posted by Bev Bunker in Uncategorized.
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It’s been a long Spring and Summer…I’ve overcome some roadblocks in my painting, learned some new techniques to play with, and I’ve gained confidence in my work…enough that I have set out on a new direction towards getting my work beyond the local arena.

First of all, taking a REALLY GOOD BREAK from everything helped. It is good to step back from time to time and to reassess what is working, what is not, and what needs to be changed so it can. I’ve done some of that. Here’s three things that will force you to change your perspective and maybe your direction; you might not like them and I hope they don’t happen to you, but they will make you look again at where and what you are doing and to perhaps become more clear about where you want to end up.

1.  Have Your Major Gallery Close Their Doors:

Yup, that will force change on you. It did me and it was the best thing that ever happened. It doesn’t mean you won’t be upset, have doubts about your work, and want to dive into a large black hole. But when you crawl back up out of it you can and hopefully will look at things with a new perspective and realize how important it is to keep going. You are an artist and there will be more galleries. Count on it.

2.  Your Health Changes:

Yup, that works too. When you spend more time in bed being forced to rest and heal, you spend time thinking (at least I do!). I didn’t think about what I was going to paint next, I thought about if I would ever paint at all again! I thought about if I had wasted time and efforts and what it all meant. It meant that I still had plenty of opportunities ahead of me to move into the direction I had wanted to go towards in the first place because they were still out there to explore. And I also realized that I had allowed too many distractions to get in the way of personal development.  I vowed to change that once my I had recovered from being ill, and I did.

3.  Drop Your Ego on Fixed/Rigid Thinking About Your Place in the Art World:

Okay, that was a tougher one! I realized through the above two experiences that I was just another artist in a big artsy world. I care about what I do and I want to share my work with others who will enjoy it and possibly pay to have it! However, I also had to realize that there were both better and worse artists than me AND that no-body really cares how I do what I do. This might sound negative, but it is entirely the opposite. Reality dictates that most people think about themselves first, and this is a good thing in the right places. Its not a good thing when that’s all they think about! So to change my perspective on my position, I took a very good, intense, grueling workshop from a very good European instructor who made me work very hard. It also had the advantage that I was able to let my years of experience and skill take a backseat (in a way) to a new learning process that challenged my skills and patience. It worked! Paint because you love to…not for anything else. Don’t compromise yourself either because there’s no winners when we do that.

4. Now the Good News! (You didn’t expect a #4, did you?)

The bottom line is that while it is important to set goals, work towards them, and hopefully reach them, life is going to throw you a few curve-balls on occasion. You can either avoid getting hit (which is difficult because we don’t have control over everything external that happens to us), or you can accept the changes and make new choices because of them. I realized (on some of my worse days) I was resisting enjoying what I enjoyed….and nothing else other than my own mind was behind it. Knowing that I did not have control over the events, I realized that I did have control over what I did with ‘ me’ in the event and after the event! I could make choices to move forward. I did.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we have today to do our best. This IS a choice. We can come from any direction, but we will always end up ‘here.’ ‘Here’ is where you are now, and will be again and again. How do I want ‘here’ to look? That is what holds the answer. Opportunity is always there. We just have to be aware and open to see and hear it. Don’t give up when it looks dark, because it isn’t going to stay that way.

'The Last Chapter' - my work in progress

‘The Last Chapter’ – my work in progress