Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What materials do you use?

I was originally trained with traditional oils. I moved on to alkyd oils because I liked the fact that they dried more quickly but still provided me with the flexibility of a traditional oil. I finally transitioned to water-soluble oils years later after discovering them and doing some research on them.

I presently use Winsor & Newton Artisan paints. However, once I get through those, I will be switching full time to Holbein Duo Aqua and Royal Talens Cobra because of their handling. But, sometimes you just find the right color and gotta have it regardless of the brand!

I occasionally will use a medium, though presently, my heart is sold out to alla prima painting. (Though, artist and Chair of Painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Al Gury points out in Alla Prima: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Direct Painting that one-sitting paintings are but one facet of working in the alla prima tradition; glazing during and after completed is within it as well.)

I use synthetic brushes—Princeton and Artisan—because they are (relatively) inexpensive and get the job done. Plus, because I use water-soluble paints, I find that synthetics hold up in water better than natural hair brushes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What is your process?

Germination. Organization. Implementation.

Like most artists, ideas come to me at odd times. For me the struggle is remembering to bring a sketchbook—everywhere! After the idea(s) come, I let them simmer in my mind. During this germination process, I will refine ideas in my head or do a series of simple thumbnail sketches to explore compositions. If the piece is a still life and I don’t have the supplies to even do it, I continue on with this process. I may look for the objects or leave it as a thumbnail with notes for a later date.

Once I am ready to begin the actual painting, I organize my objects. If I determine that the idea in my head isn’t going to work, I modify it so that it does. This may mean simply removing objects, swapping one object for another or changing an object’s placement. Whatever way I need to make it work, I make it happen. I limit the time I spend doing this because it will consume the time I have alloted to paint.

Once that organizational component is complete, I tone my canvas with a wash of color. Then, using my brush as a pencil, I loosely sketch in my composition, working and reworking as necessary. Before I apply color, I will often block in at least three values, providing myself with a simple notan of lights, middles and darks. I then mix the colors I see and begin to paint. I would love to tell you that I cover my canvas before finishing an area but that doesn’t always happen. In fact, the application of the paint to the canvas takes a variety of forms but in the end it gets done.

While I have gone back and forth about varnishing, presently I do apply three coats of a quality spray-on varnish to my finished pieces.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Composition with Yellow and Red, alla prima oil painting

Composition with Yellow and Red, 9 x 12 inches. Oil on canvas panel.
©2010, Jeffrey W. Phillips
During my August convalescence, I reworked an older oil painting. I am now looking forward to creating a few paintings featuring that copper pot of mine. I will have to look into getting some Fall fruit and/or veggies too. Gotta love how ideas spark other ideas.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Daddy Bear, alla prima oil painting

Daddy Bear, 5 x 7 inches. Oil on canvas panel.
©2010, Jeffrey W. Phillips
A friend of mine gave my son this bear when he was born. Frankly, he never paid it much mind until he turned 4 and he transitioned to his big-boy bed. To complicate matters, I had started a new job and was working quite a bit acclimating myself to my new position. Needless to say, he missed me terribly.

During this time, he rediscovered this bear and gave it the name Daddy Bear. At 6 years old, he still sleeps with it and takes it on sleepovers. He was thrilled when he came home and saw it on my easel. (Of course, my daughter wants to know where her painting is!)

I painted it because it's a wonderful reminder of my son's love for me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ouch ...

I know I have been delinquent in posting. My family and I were in an auto accident at the end of July. Fortunately, my wife and two kids were unharmed. Sadly, I suffered some internal bleeding and a lacerated spleen. After being in the hospital for four days (with my spleen intact!), I was discharged and homebound for three weeks. While homebound, I was hoping to get some painting done. Unfortunately, other accident-related issues came up that completely took the wind out of my sails.                                                            

The last week of August brought teacher orientation. The first day of school followed the week following. It was a long end of Summer to say the least. But, again, I  remain so very thankful for the Lord's provision for me and my family during that time.

All of this being said, I did finish two small pieces and started another. I'll post them shortly. I wanted to simply put the word out that I did not drop off the face of the earth.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Framed: In Search of Framing Vendors

With my friend opening her new counseling office, I have been thinking more about framing my work and what options are out there. Fleisher Art Memorial is offering a 6-week class in July called Framing Basics, but funds are short.

So, I'm going to go the way of purchasing ready-made frames. Anybody have recommendations regarding frame vendors? I've been using A.C. Moore (and their helpful little 40% off coupons) and Michaels for my short-term needs, but I'd like somewhere reasonable with bulk rate options.

The places I have looked into at one point or another include:


Click Here to Visit the Official Web Site of Jerry's Artarama. Online Leader in Art Supplies and Discount Art Supplies online During a recent frame search for my high school art show, I also discovered the awesome values at Jerry's Artarama. A gold 8x10 Plein aire frame is $13.99 on sale right now (regularly $19.99). This frame style also comes in black, mahogany and silver.

Though not as good, Dick Blick does better than the online vendors above.

What ready-made frame sites do you use? 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Blessings of a Friend

Friends are a blessing from the Lord.

Last week, Tricia Elliott, a therapist friend, opened a new office for her counseling practice and wanted to use my artwork to decorate it. She knows about my desire to paint more regularly and start selling my work. Plus, she admires and enjoys my art. How could I refuse such an offer, right?

So, I gathered together the following three pieces for right now:

Fruit with Vessels
Oil on Board
9x12







Yellow Speaks
Oil on Board
9x12






It's Not Easy Being Blue
Oil on Board
9x12








I have another 9x12 that I'm reworking and three 8x10 pieces that I'll post once I get frames.

The next things on my list include :

  • Mounting tags with title and price for each work
  • Printing a business card
  • Writing an artist statement
I have been reading up on artist statements online; however, I earned some Borders Bucks from Borders.com and purchased I'd Rather Be in the Studio by Alyson Stanfield for some more specific help with this and other art-sales strategies. It has gotten good reviews. Perhaps I'll do a review next month.