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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Art lessons from a Master Painter - James Whistler




The painting on the cover of a book caught my eye: a night scene by Whistler. I was not familiar with his night and seascape paintings, so I bought the book.

I knew I was going to be painting a view of a harbor at night in the coming weeks at the Grand Marais Plein Air Painting Competition , so I really studied the plates in the book. Key components that I thought would enhance my painting included simplifying color and shape. See how the boats and land merge into a larger mass, but you still know they are boats and land?

When the time came to do my pastel painting, I chose a neutral-toned surface to paint on, and set up my easel with a view that included the lighthouses. The sun sets quickly, so I started a sketch while it was still light. The boats were arranged so that they would "connect", and I started laying down color. Once I was happy with the shapes, I added the lights and dropped them down into the water. The result captures the mood I was working for. "Nocturne - Grand Marais Harbor", 9x12, pastel. Thank you, Mr. Whistler.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Why attend an Artists Reception?


A postcard comes in the mail announcing an art exhibit and mentioning a reception. What is an Artist Reception? What happens there? Do you bring a gift? Is there food?

An art reception is an event to welcome viewers and give them a chance to meet the artist(s) of the work on view. The best gift is your presence, and there is indeed food and beverage. Receptions can be festive and relaxing. Expose yourself to art- attend a reception!