minnesota art

boom baby

Again another couple months between blogs, per the usual. #notsorry

So I made a cool thing can I tell you about it?

I made dis:

paintings are so hard to photograph, especially when you use reflective colors and metallics

paintings are so hard to photograph, especially when you use reflective colors and metallics

It took me forever, oh my gahhhhhd did this take so long. But I like it so it was worth it.

So my fiancé and I took a canoe down about 7 miles of the Saint Croix River in Wisconsin last September. It was one of the coolest things I've ever done. It was so secluded and peaceful and beautiful the colors were gorgeous. The highlight was seeing a family of river otters playing along the banks. Seeing otters in the wild is pretty darn rare so it was so cool to see them and so close probably only 20 feet away.

So ever since then I have had like I don't know 30 otter paintings I've wanted to do and this is the first one I have finished. I wanted to a mermaid painting as well, and love the idea of mermaid and wildlife together, hence half the artwork I make features it. 

give or take 4ish hours for each step here

give or take 4ish hours for each step here

The background was a learning process. I have done trees and landscape before obviously but wanted to try out new methods of painting for them. Trying to balance values and color pallet and give depth and detail but not too much detail since it is a background, is a fine line to walk my friend. 

water reflections, harder than Bob Ross leads you to believe

water reflections, harder than Bob Ross leads you to believe

I must have tried so many different ways of painting the reflection in the water. Still water reflections are waaaaay easier to pull off. Moving water has motion yet reflects the image above, which makes it hard to negotiate with a paint brush. 

hey cuties

hey cuties

Otters are incredibly hard to take a reference photo of. They move 100% of the time. My photos from my canoe are much to blurry, luckily I went to the zoo on Black-Friday and got a couple of pics while they were waiting for food and sitting much more still than they normally do. 

Notice the water is different again for the 4th time and I changed it again before finishing. 

scales are hard work

scales are hard work

Finally the mermaid. I love shiny and iridescence, and wanted to use a lot of that in her. She has a lot of gold in her scales and face. I knew I wanted dark hair but wanted it to have almost an iridescent sheen to it so I used a lot of metallic blue and green. I haven't a person in a long while, I want to do more so I am happy with how her body and face turned out, I am finding retarder with acrylics helps with that a lot. It gives you time to blend but not sooo much time like oils where you have to wait days to paint over. Also... Hands are hard okay, don't look at them!

So I have to crank out a few more of these if I am to have my solo show and do art festivals this summer. It is going to be a busy spring!

running out of sand

So I've made a bunch of cool stuff lately. I've been playing with different styles and techniques.

wild goose island in the lake there, isn't he cute?

wild goose island in the lake there, isn't he cute?

So I love this painting. I love the colors so much, the clouds I struggled with I need to up my technique for that still also I think I need to learn to use retarder for my acrylics for clouds since it dries so fast I don't get time to think before it dries down. But all in all I love how it turned out. I want to do more like this, it was a lot of fun even if it is more conceptual than my normal stuff. 

this one is hard to photograph

this one is hard to photograph

This bison also is something new I am trying. I have a bunch of old halfworked canvases that I am trying to incorporate into new artworks. I had a lot of fun with this one too. I think I should have made the orange background darker more like burnt orange to make it more like the actual prismatic spring but I still like how it turned out.

compare.jpg

Here I just painted over the original and tried again at the same composition. This is what I call a half day painting. That's what the original was as well, a painting you work on for a half a day for fun while watching a movie. Opposed to a normal painting which is worked on in days and several sittings. The original was also a half dayer so it is nice to see even my quick art skills have improved since starting to pursue the "art dream" as they call it. 

So there is a month left of the year. I think I want to make a goal of 4 paintings in this last month. This year has been not the best in general for me but if I am looking at the positive I have made more art this year by at least 3 fold from the previous 2 years. So if art is my positive takeaway from 2017 lets make the last month have even more art to try to balance out 

great faces, great places

For a hot minute I thought I should talk about the art festivals I've done so far this year or the gallery shows I've participated in their have had their ups and downs and take home positives and things I've learned, for me that is the logistical side of business and...logistics bore me! Hence why I haven't blogged since May. So I am just gonna talk about MY process which is A. My inspiration and B. How I make my stuff. Because I'm into it and could talk about it all day.

So I went to South Dakota, ya know that place you went with your family in 2nd grade and you'll probably never go back to until your kids are in 2nd grade. Its a lot cooler than you remember by the way. It is honestly kinda love everything about it, well minus the couple tourist trap aspects but I get it they gotta make that money.

The Badlands are where its at, well ok its tied with Custer State Park, they are equally awesome. The Badlands have the biggest bison I've ever seen, it was like a truck, tons of bighorn sheep, loads of black tail deer. I loved it I just flat out was in heaven.

I love this little guy!

I love this little guy!

and this huge guy, seriously built like a brick house 

and this huge guy, seriously built like a brick house 

I want to like draw and paint every nature moment I had there. Caught some beautiful fish, saw some gorgeous deer and pronghorns, and a billion beautiful sunsets. I utterly loved it. I recently started this landscape of the vista from the needles highway in Custer. You don't really think vastness or mountains really for South Dakota but it really was, the Black Hills are a lot more breathtaking than you think.

so rocks are hard but i love the sunset meeting the far back mountains

so rocks are hard but i love the sunset meeting the far back mountains

I kind of love doing this cartoon-esque landscapes. I don't know if other people like it but I find them so fun and I like the character of it. I want to do some from the badlands too. There was so much color and life at the badlands that really surprised me. 

I also went to northern Minnesota to some mining lakes and want to do a bunch of Minnesota paintings now too. I started by doing a drawing of a Minnesota mermaid with a nice freshwater trout scene.

I freakin' love it

I freakin' love it

So this is probably my best artwork to date. I have only dabbled in colored pencil in the past and this is my first completed colored pencil drawing. I still use copics for blending and "blurring" spots, I have to learn how to blend with mineral spirits still. I have started to try what I call effects, but essentially playing more with reflections and shadows than I normally do. I love the water ripple reflections on them both, I had no reference photo so its not perfect but I think it turned out cool. I think using tan paper helps give it the underwater murky feel. 

I want to make more of these, do a couple of different freshwater mermaids. I am really into fish lately, they are so fun and have so much texture and color that lends good to colored pencil. 

So maybe I will start a more frequent blog schedule and just talk about the things that interest me, probably what a blog is actually intended for. 

i met you in the summer

So last Friday was my first gallery showing. It was a pretty small show and at a city community center art display showcase, but the show was so sweet and really touching. It was in honor of a local artist that passed over a year ago, Anthony Caponi. Tony built an art park that I worked at just after college during my graphics career. When submitting artwork to be considered for the show you were asked to include a short essay about how Caponi influenced you, whether that be through his art, the park, or knowing him in person. I wrote about my time working there and what it meant to me not knowing that if chosen to show that the story would be printed alongside the artwork on display. So seeing my story and everyone else's stories on display was really exposing at first but also very sweet. There was so many touching stories about how one man's art really reached so many people on more than just a visual aesthetics level.

I had a couple guests that came out for the show and that was incredibly sweet of them to come. So a big thank you to them.

here is the showcased piece, matted and framed up

here is the showcased piece, matted and framed up

So next month I am doing my first outdoor show. It not a solely art dedicated show, its a festival that has crafts and food vendors as well but it more art leaning than your regular run of the mill arts & crafts fair. It is a 2 day festival called Night Market which surprise takes place at night. It seems really fun and I am excited about it. I do have a pinch of nerves/fear of not selling anything but I am hopeful that I can gain some audience and reach more people. 

I've been trying to fit in art more often because I can see improvement the more often I work at it, which duh but seeing actual improvement is a real motivator. 

I really love doing the women and wildlife/nature drawings. I find them super fun to make and relaxing I love how they look. Now, whether or not they are something that appeals to people remains to be unseen. 

I just love drawing cartoony fish, THEY ARE SO FUN

I just love drawing cartoony fish, THEY ARE SO FUN

Fish are incredibly fun to draw. I am so into doing almost cartoon-like animals and women. I can see areas I need to tighten up, but I for sure don't want to head towards realism. I like graphic look to art. Big bold lines and colors, like I wish drawing tattoo flash was an art path I could take. 

I have been playing around with the idea of making travel artwork. I obviously already have a heavy North American landscape and wildlife influence but taking the work and marketing it as travel art. I don't know I need to formulate the idea a little further. I want to make some of my landscapes into postcards. We'll see how it turns out.

I am also excited to try more oil paintings. I finished 2 last month and they were fun and challenging but I really liked working in the medium. It makes you slow down, which is a good thing. 

my little salmon guy

my little salmon guy

colorado scene

colorado scene

Now the first painting I will say plays more to oil's strengths, the landscape I think I tried to approach it like I do acrylics and that's why it isn't as new feeling. With oils it feels like you have to think bigger picture than you do with acrylics. With acrylics I can lay one layer down in the background and work my way forward and its almost like you have to work opposite in oils. Which can lead to cool things like the sunset for the salmon. 

I need to play around with it more, I am always too worried about wasting or ruining a painting but I really need to be okay with making mistakes to learn so I can improve my skillset. Which duh, but it's one of those things you know it but until you do it you don't really KNOW it. 

oops its feb

Long time no writey. Well I decided this year I want to make a lot more art, and considering its only February I think I have a considerable amount of new artwork made in the last month. 

I've started making some mixed media illustration drawings of naturescapes and faces of women. I am super into it and I know it is totally artwork just for me and no one else probably is even into it but I am loving them and they are so fun to make. I missed drawing people, I have shyed away from it because I also really want to capture nature in my art. So I guess this my atempt of satsifying both desires for my artwork?

fishy is my favey

fishy is my favey

The bottom right drawing was my first, and it turned out a little more "cartoony" looking just because I am getting back into the swing of things drawing people, and even my more realistic portraits still look a little disney, I just don't like hyper-realism I like a little bit of stylistic type look to my stuff. 

This fish is so dope, it looks like a sticker and I am loving it. I for sure want to do a million more woman and fish paintings. Maybe I will do a series of endangered or threatened fish species. This one is a cut-throat trout currently endangered and numbers dwindling fast from Lake Yellowstone; shout out to my cut-throat buds stay strong my friends! 

I think I am going to do at least 2 more of these based on Yellowstone flora and fauna, but I want to do other parks too. I think it would be cool to do this as an illustration series of different national parks. National parks and art are my 2 passions , as you've probably gathered by glancing at my portfolio, so it only makes sense to mush them together.

I have also started trying to sketch daily. I get in at least 1 a day usually. Here are the greatest hits so far. 

dying to do some Finnish goddess stuff too, but again nische market if there ever was one

dying to do some Finnish goddess stuff too, but again nische market if there ever was one

I am super into my animals, they look so cute and disney cartoony. I used to think realism is the goal but now that I have my fundamentals down I am leaning more stylized. Which I am ok with because I love how it looks, whether or not other do or will is another question entirely.

I LOVE the bison. I could draw bison and pretty woman all day long I tell ya. Bison have somehow become my sigil I should really work on making them my logo and ensignia.

I have also experimented in palette knife painting. It is hard. I want to keep practicing but omg it is for the very light of hand, and I am of the heavy handed variety.  

pinky mountains are purrty

pinky mountains are purrty

I want to do some mountain paintings with oversaturated "alpenglow" the pinky snow at sunset, I am obsessed with how it looks and want to do a high contrast pumped up color redention of it. I am working with mediums in my acrylic now to get a thicker consistency to try to paint these mountains with a palette knife; so it is a lot of new stuff at once. 

LOVE the island on this one

LOVE the island on this one

On this one the mountains got a little more pink than I would have liked but again finding the slight of hand balance is hella hard. I love the water and island in this one, but water and silhouetted trees I could paint with my eyes shut, its one of my favorite things to paint. I also really love the cloud, its so fluffy and soft. I think this one is better than my first try but I chose slightly the wrong color for the sky and mountain. I want to play with new colors on scenes but still am finding my color scheme it seems. I'll get there. 

So in conclusion... I'll keep making more stuff I guess. Still haven't figured out how to get it out into the world... idk Ebay? We'll see. 

balance

Couple things to get out of the way. I decided to roll the dice and do some art/craft fairs. I know they are a gamble and most likely I won't gain any audience or sales, but I gotta get out there somehow. As we know I am not a fan of the gallery scene just because its all concept no substance and its not about engaging with the audience, its more selfish type art, which I think is important but isn't my main focus. I like working with people I like hearing people, I like making artwork for people. So I am betting on my artwork and taking the plunge into arts/craft shows.

If you are so inclined [whoever if anyone is reading this] the shows are:

October 22nd 10am-3pm @ Knights of Columbus KC Hall in Hastings, MN

November 26th 10am -3pm @ Holiday Inn Hotel Conference Center St. Paul NE in Lake Elmo, MN

So I finished my commissioned bear painting.

"Bear Family" 18" X 24" acrylic on canvas

"Bear Family" 18" X 24" acrylic on canvas

I like everything about it, except baby bear's face. That little face caused me more trouble than I care to admit. I am satisfied with how it turned out but wish it was better, my reference photo was so tiny that it didn't give me much help so I did struggle getting his little face in there and looking cute. The mama bear was a breeze, as were the lupins, I really had a fun time painting those. I just love adding flowers to paintings. I actually really like the willow branches, and how the bark turned out. I know I am not hitting it on the nose for photorealism but I am not sure if that is where I want to be heading. 

I also worked on a couple other paintings this weekend. I tried doing some experiment paintings where you just go with it and it usually turns out crap, so I'm still on the fence if it did turn out crap.

Ok I kinda love how this looks and also see the problems. I love the gold on blue, omg I love the gold. I get Klimt's obsession with gold leaf. Gold is fun. I think the elk photo I chose as reference was taken at odd angle so when it is silhouetted his body looks stumpy. I still like it though, real talk, I'm into it, as of now. I am sure I'll look back at this in a week and be like ew junk. 

I also attempted another northern lights painting, because I miss and obsessed with my old one.

I went too dark with the sky and too pastel with the northern lights. It is hard to find that balance yo. My blue's weren't doing it so I added a little black which darkened the sky too much. I think also this is a kind of painting that needs to be large, I keep trying to make it work on a small canvas and it isn't working. I think I need to go big with this and try again.

I have started a new dripping bird piece and am pretty excited to see how it turns out. I am pretty settled on an osprey but I don't know what bird to pick. I also toyed with the idea of doing another animal instead of a bird, but birds have the most fluid motion, that translates to the drips. 

I feel like I am in a better swing of things, now having weekends generally open to work on my artwork. Whether it be actually painting or preparing for art/craft show, or getting reference materials. I am hoping that I am able to keep at it like this and make the transistion to doing this as my main gig instead of my side hustle.