How to start an Art group – “Snowy Farm” 15″ by 22″ watercolor by Shanti Marie

Aside

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If you are out there in your studio working on your art and feel a little alone, believe me you’re not alone. Artists everywhere like to work without distractions but even though we like to work alone. We often need a little support. It’s difficult to get an honest opinion from family and friends. They aren’t professional Artists and their opinions although nice are not always helpful. Every Artist can improve their work by joining an existing art group or creating an art group specially to fit their needs.
There are many benefits when you start your own group, you can attract other artists with similar interests and needs. It’s actually pretty easy to attract other artists, you can use on-line forums, or social networks like Facebook. Of course you can go old school with flyers at local colleges, neighborhood coffee shops, well just about anywhere Artists may congregate.

You should consider setting up some preliminary guidelines for your group. They might be helpful to make sure you create a group that will meet your needs. We’ve all joined groups only to find the group’s focus is not aligned with your own. You’ll want individuals who are interested in pursuing the same goals. Decide what these goals will be and place this information in your ad. Some other things to consider; How large of a membership? Often a small group of like-minded artists working in the same medium will work better than a large group with varied interests. Will you have membership fees? If so how will the fees be utilized? What type of Artists will make up the group? …Professional, amateur, or Sunday painters. What activities will the group sponsor? Will you have non-profit status & officers? Or just meet in each others home informally. After deciding these few things and a few more, the rest will be easy. You should be able to find other Artists who will support you and your work should improve.

Art, how to make it your own. The quest to be unique! “Three Amigos” 4 by 6 watercolor $30.00

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So many days I struggle as an artist to truly create something that is fresh, new and unique. I’m not alone in this daily struggle. It’s a common topic of conversation in Artist circles. Of course, like most people, I’m influenced by everything I see and hear. And, like so many people, these images, colors, or symbols will appear in my work. This is not because I lack an imagination but because I share a connection or a sense of belonging with these images. It is a way to describe a little bit of myself. Some folks call it collective consciousness others think that this is “voo doo” – “new age” crap. Call it whatever you wish, Artists often need to paint in a series or paint similar subject matter to find their unique voice.

We’re living in a time of information and unlimited access to visual stimulus. All you have to remember when you sit down to paint is: nothing is “new”. All subjects have been painted. You need to just make it your own. While even Matisse and Picasso challenged each other for years by painting similar subject matter; some say this helped each artist develop their inner vision. Others might call it their own method, technique or style. This technique can be useful to the solo painter as well.

Give it a try, the next time you’re struggling with what to paint, try painting a common object and do it in a way that describes your interpretation. You are unique! Allow this uniqueness to surface and make your Art memorable.

“Little Redhead” Watercolor on paper 11 by 15 matted to 16 by 20 $ 50.00

This little redhead was a model for us at Spring Maid (Mrytle Beach).

I have cropped about 3 inches from the bottom and if you purchase this painting, her breasts are also in the shot.  Obviously they can be physically cropped if this isn’t desirable.

Stunning color with a good balance of both cool and warm colors.

All dogs go to heaven #43 11 by 13 inches Watercolor on handmade paper $80.00

This paper is a bit difficult to paint on using some of the standard techniques of resist or scrubbing.  Its beautiful paper with lots of character and very thick.   Once its wet it becomes blotter paper and can tear if not treated with a bit of respect.

I used some iridescent paint on this one.  This paint has a bit of a sparkle to it but usually it can be very discreet and only when light hits the paint a certain way does it reflect back.

The Artist must struggle

My struggle is to preserve that abstract flash – like something you caught out of the corner of your eye, but in the picture you can look at it directly. (Andrew Wyeth)

All artists struggle with their art…. that is, if they are challenging themselves.  Its part of the process. I struggle often, mainly when it comes to my style.   You see my style was developed by allowing myself to look for cues as I painted, which would give me direction.  Using this method I have found I’ll often use colors not usually planned or sometimes I’ll add or take something out of the painting.  Waiting for the painting to give me direction is sometimes like waiting for your cat to eat one of the four or fives types of food you put out for her.  You may be waiting awhile.  Allowing the painting to develop en route so to speak is easy unless you find yourself in a creative block

Creative blocks are  sometime also part of the struggle. Nothing new and, it sometimes means a change in your style or a new direction.  You may have to just” go with it” even if you hate it.  Who knows, It could be a break thru.    Rather than following an outlined plan. I’ll have a concept in mind, an idea or something I want to explore. Usually this is incorporated in a series.

when I start a new painting, I try to develop a composition and choose some color families then I decide the medium & thats it, I start. This can lead to a lot of painting and repainting, and this alone can make you feel lost. When I get stuck, there are several things I do to help break out of these doldrums. One is to paint other paintings while leaving your “Problem Child” out and in front of you…. say on an easel.  Another is to draw in your sketchbook, even if its only doodles.  If you paint, try doing something else some crafts or perhaps write a short story or go for a long walk taking your camera along.  It seems anything creative can jump-start that spark.   So if your struggling with your next painting or any creative endeavor, remember your not alone and perhaps you’ll find just what you need to be on your way and that day is worth the struggle.

All dogs go to heaven #43 $30.00 4″ by 6″ watercolor

I recently had to make the difficult decision of putting my black lab “Sam” to sleep. I feel bad about it everyday because I had to do it. I had to because I could not keep up with the constant cleaning and bathing. Also he could not be left alone for more than an hour and a half. He was in pain and had to be lifted into our car and sometimes down our stairs into our condo, often under the influence of a drug cocktail. Regardless of all the extra work I tried, I really tried. I was hoping as everyone does that he would pass away in his sleep. But he was a fighter and he hung in there always wanting to go on the walks with me and my other dogs (even if he couldn’t make it all the way back). I did all this and lots more for the last year just to help him out, but I was stressed and tired all the time. Now with my grandson crawling around I felt I had to take him into the vet. My vet didn’t encourage me but said he understood & that 14 years for a rescue lab who had heart worm and multiple other problems was actually a pretty good run. I hated to see Sam  looking like a different dog, one that I didn’t know.  For the last couple of years he was looking depressed and more than anything I felt bad for him, he was the pack leader and always so much the proud dog who was (it seemed to me) part human. So you may have noticed a few more “All dogs go to heaven paintings” being posted and now you know why.   The Photo above was  taken in 2002 ( in his prime) he loved the snow, we  often called him Nanook because he could not get too much snow.