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12/1

I Joined a New Gallery!

Last month, I joined a new member gallery in Carmel that is owned and run by Bob Shade called ArtSplash. Having been with a member gallery before with mediocre results, I was a little hesitant, but the situation and location seem to be on the upswing.

The Carmel Arts District is growing fast and there are 4 more galleries in the district than there were a year ago. This can only mean more traffic and more interest coming north. Several artists have left the Stutz Building and have landed in Carmel, so the trend is getting established. ArtSplash (was previously called Blue Egg) has Bob as the new owner and new members and while there are a few little challenges that we'll have to get through, I think with the help of all the members we'll end up having a solid organization, showing great art at an affordable price.

I finished up an imaginary landscape, based on my memories of vacation, for an artist in Australia named John McNelley. We basically traded pieces and I felt that I'd finally created one that was good enough of to send.

Hoping to start a new series next year and also may start working in ceramics to have 3d pieces which will support the paintings. More on that later!

This month marks my 15th year working full time as a professional fine artist instead of part-time, here and there or when I felt like it. When I started it'sALLart, I knew I wanted to bring fine art into the mix, but I had to wait a couple of months in order to clear the schedule and get things going.

By the next spring of '96, I was ready to go to my first art fair, Festival of Light in Broadripple. I didn't do too badly and sold enough to pay for my booth space and had a little left over. I also put on my first non-digital exhibition with metal works the next year in a show called "wabi-sabi" at Theatre on the Square in downtown Indy and actually sold a few of those pieces as well (the link shows a few of over 40 pieces that were shown, most have sold but there are 2 left).

Seems like a lifetime ago and I sure don't miss art fairs or burning through metal in the cold garage in the middle of winter! All that schlepping combined with zero guarantee in turnout, weather or sales took it's toll. I had a booth at several of those art fairs for the next 7 years, some good, some awful. During that time - with the influence of an old friend - I branched into many areas, testing what would sell and what wouldn't. Included in that mix along with paintings were blockprinted pillows, vests, herb wreaths, metal suns, garden art and trellises... basically crafts. I still was painting, but soon found that art fairs are not a good venue to sell my paintings. After I opened the gallery in Fountain Square in 2003, I put my tent away for good and concentrated on paintings and galleries. I've never looked back. And I'm happy to say that I don't make wreaths, metalworks, pillows or clothing for sale any more. At least for now!

This month I have a painting commission in the works and a website development for a California PR firm. I'm also working at the gallery 4 days a month and trying to find time to develop my new series, so I think I'll be busy this month and next year for sure!

11/1

This post will be ever-so-slightly negative, but I have a positive reason for writing it. If your the kind of person who likes to stay happy all the time and don't want bad news, don't read any further. But if you want to join in and help support a good arts cause, read on.

For a few years now, Indianapolis has had it's arts budget consistently cut. The recent city budget cut even more out of cultural interests like the library and other concerns in favor of keeping the Pacers franchise here and help the city continue down the road of being the "Sports Capital of the World" - whatever that really means. The budget re-direct means that literally millions of dollars go toward a basketball team franchise and away from helping our city's culture of visual art, dance, music and knowledge.

It's a very sad state of affairs for the arts. Galleries have closed, shows have been cancelled and any hope of cultural interest here has waned. There are a few bright spots such as the IMA and the Indianapolis Art Center. Grants are still being awarded to artists by The Indianapolis Arts Council and the Efroymson Fund. But other than a few hundred people who keep the arts breathing, the rest of our residents seem to not really care much about art or know much about what art is happening in the city.

And I'm wondering why. Perhaps you are, too.

Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that the media (Radio, TV, Newspaper, Internet) have decided to push the culture they've deemed important over and above anything that is arts minded. A recent search in the Indianapolis Star site for the word "Art" rendered ONE recent (and very short) article on October's first Friday and only covered three events. And that was it. No other articles on art until you go back into 2009. Yet we all know there have been several other art events in this city throughout the year.

What about Radio? Other than public radio, you wouldn't know the arts existed here. Oh, unless it's Penrod day. Then they all cash in on a captive audience and try and promote their stations - at the fair. I have yet to see one non-NPR-carrying station talk about the arts in any real substantial way.

TV is iffy, there are some cultural calendars that pop up from time to time on the air, but those are few and far between. Fox59 used to have an "on the scene" reporter that would cover art openings, but those days are long gone.

The internet actually does the best job, but you have to know where to look and what to ask for. It's actually a bit of work to sift through the results of "Indianapolis Gallery Openings" or "Hoosier Artists" when working with Google or other other search engines.

Humans are a predictable lot. We know and respond only to what we're shown. If visual art does not get space/time/bandwidth in the media, (and not just in the calendar notices we artists place) the public simply doesn't know it's happening. Sports? Always shown, therefore sports is huge in Indianapolis, even if they didn't need the help. Nightlife? Also always shown to a lesser extent but nightlife is a pretty hot news item here, depending on the media you are exposed to.

Art? Hardly ever shown, so hardly known.

My point: If we are not fostering a culture of art to younger people through the media, there's little hope of them getting it any other way. It's not coming from the schools, most of them have cut arts funding in favor of sports. Realistically speaking, it won't come from their parents for the most part. Artists can reach out (and many have) to children, but that has a limited chance of getting really entrenched without decades of consistent effort and their parents have to be funded (a tough sell) and convinced of the importance of art in a young person's life. Most kids who have enrolled in any kind of art program have a parent who is already interested and is culturally aware of art. That's a very small percentage of the Indianapolis public.

NUVO, our alternative newspaper, has done a great job of pushing visual arts culture to the forefront, but over the last few years, the number and length of articles has been drastically cut in favor of other interests, both political and night life oriented.

It's up to artists to keep hammering away at these media outlets and let them know what's happening. If enough of us keep doing it for our shows, our interests, our openings, it might show them that this is a city of a vibrant art culture that simply needs a mouthpiece in order to foster a growing audience. I personally let every media outlet I can think of know about ANY shows I'm doing. And it's easy, simply look up the editors, on-air personalities and others at their place of business. Almost every media outlet has their reporters phone or email. You can send show cards to their workplace and let them know as well. It takes multiple hits, but it eventually does work. Your time is an investment into not only great, free PR for your show, in the longterm it will have a cumulative effect. The media will start to realize that we're here for good, funded or not.

If all artists did the same, the media would have no choice but to start devoting more space/time/bandwidth to the Indianapolis art scene. It's up to us, the artists, to make Indy not only a good place to dance, eat and watch a game but also a place to let art become part of the rest of the population's life, even if it wasn't before.

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One more news item: I am now represented by ArtSplash Gallery in Carmel. More on that later when time permits!

10/17

Taking my recent quick studies, scanning them and manipulating them digitally has been really a blast. What start out as very basic quickies end up looking like finished works which are ready for publishing. It's not only fun, but the end result is something that has me thinking about commercial illustration all over again! Here's a few examples:

Cabin Porch Still Life

Plien Air: Looking North

Plien Air: Meadow and Pines

10/15

Vacation is almost over... I have a bunch of new plein air paintings that are still in progress and they will be posted as soon as they seem finished. A little studio touch-up is needed on some but I was happy just to be out there painting!

After looking at my site's hits for a while, I've discovered many surfers look at the front page and then leave. That's not good. So, I'm hoping to drive traffic on into the gallery area since some people may think that what I show on the front page is all I do. There's so much more, come on in!

We finally got rain yesterday, not a lot but anything is great.

The Creative Renewal grants are up for grabs again... debating... debating.

Some great news: Due to recent sales, we've reached and exceeded our donation goals for CARE and the Haitian Women and Children! Thank you, art buyers!

10/1

Finally, a chill in the air and perfect weather to drink coffee outside in the morning. But it's still far too dry and not a speck of rain in the forecast so far. I've been busy painting and have three new ones to touch up and get ready for showing here. I've prepped 12 boards to take out for plein air painting and hope to have a new batch to add to the realism or abscape pages. Looking forward to a few days in the country and being inspired by nature. Happy Fall & Happy October!

9/15

Some of those who read my blog may notice that the name Closson's is no longer visible on any of this site's pages. I regret to write that on Friday, September 3rd, Closson's closed it's doors for good. The gallery director, Marie Rigney phoned that next Monday and let me know the sad news. Sad, because it's not just another gallery, it was the oldest continually-running art gallery west of the appalachians, over 144 years. To see an entity like that disappear is not just sad for the artists they represent, but sad for the community at large because it means one less place to see great art.

Closson's was taken over by an individual buyer in 1998 and evolved into a more merchandise/design-driven concern, while de-emphasizing fine art - and their customer base changed due to that shift. They did not put their marketing dollars behind the artists' works but instead chose to market furniture/accessories and interior design as their primary product and service. And their market responded, hiring the designers who in turn pushed Closson's merchandise. They moved from downtown Cincinnati to their new store on the north-east side of town, a wise move since a large portion of their customer base lived in the area.

For reasons unknown (most likely financial), they closed the large, beautifully appointed Montgomery Rd. store and built a new, smaller store in the Oakley Square neighborhood. Then the recession hit. When the latest move happened, the gallery space devoted to fine art and framing simply disappeared. In the new store the gallery director was positioned against a far wall and her space for launching new shows was diminished considerably. It was hard to tell where merchandise stopped and the exhibit began. Many feel this was a very unwise move, as Closson's started life as an art gallery and to heartlessly ax that portion caused not only consternation from buyers and artists but also heralded many of the artists' departure. I'm sure many artists thought: If you are no longer a gallery, what is the point of showing my work there?

Personally, I feel that the new owner should have at least put the entity up for sale rather than dissolve it. And while I'm disappointed that I no longer have a gallery or show place in Cincinnati, I can only imagine how hard it now must be for any one of the newly-jobless 28 employees that worked there. My heart goes out to them.

9/1

Here's the final on Suitors a painting that I finished between graphic design jobs and other various chores, trips and goings on. It's been a really busy summer! Took a trip to Cincinnati to swap out works with Closson's. Always good to see Cincy and it's not too long a drive. It seems one piece may have sold before it was even hung, so things may be on the upswing, saleswise. It's always interesting to me when something can hang in Indiana for weeks with no interest and then cause a stir somewhere else. Several spots along Madison Rd. in Oakley are up for lease, many of them would make excellent gallery spaces, one nice one with wood floors at only 15 bucks a square foot! If only...

In NUVO, Dan Grossman writes about Jeremy Efroymson and starts the article at the Re-dome Project at KIBI, on the evening of Yeti's debut. So, in a really round-about way, the Yeti gets a review of sorts! And the story gets a little stranger still, apparently Yeti caught a local beer brewer's eye and now will sit near beer instead of near deer outdoors on the southern place.

8/21

Here's another version of the current painting in my studio. I think this is where it's headed instead of the color block version. This is digital, but it will look pretty much the same, the colors are IRL, the silhouettes are photoshop. Kind of excited about getting this one done.

Here's something to think about. It's what I try to help people understand when they are mulling over a purchase of art from me:

A typical high-income man may spend up to 1000 dollars (or more) for season tickets to a football league. Or for a case of fine wine. Or a trip to Vegas or Italy. All of those purchases are "affordable" because he deems them as such.

He's extremely willing to pay that for the pleasure of temporary indulgences.

But a 1000-dollar piece of art? He may state "it's not affordable" even if he loves it, but he need only pay once and enjoy the art for the rest of his life.

Comparatively speaking, that's a bargain! Many people view art as furniture or decor instead of something which is both an object that can enrich their lives and one that is a solid investment.

8/8

YETI GETS ON TV!

Sunday morning show on WISH-TV-8, showing the interview that actually happened Friday morning prior to the show. Thanks to Dick Wolfsie who responded to my PR Blast and helped make this happen:

The Video on YouTube


8/7

YETI WINS TOP PRIZE!

Last night was a surreal experience at KIB. The backstory is that I put my entry for the Hooserdome Re-Dome contest in very late and so was not concerned about winning or getting the prize. I figured that they should let some other artist win if they thought mine was the best. I know that sounds somewhat egotistical, but I figured the competition would be few in number and perhaps not as experienced, etc. First, I was wrong. Some of the entries were surprisingly good, professional quality and my worries about my own being "the best" were for naught. Secondly, many entries came in the day before the opening set up, so I was not the last in by any means. Due to this and other factors beyond my control, they went ahead and put me in the running without my knowledge. And, much to my consternation, the Yeti won top prize. Not only was building the thing very surreal, but the whole evening (complete with people posing with Yeti all night for pictures, hearing about a Facebook situation with folks posting pics of same, going up front to be recognized and other strange occurances) was just amazing and like a dream. The food, music and crowd (at least 200) were far beyond my expectations. Since I still don't feel comfortable about winning the top prize, I'm donating the full amount back to KIB, since what they do is so great and something of which I'm a huge advocate:

plant trees!

Here's a picture of me with the Yeti... it's all so surreal.

8/1

Currently working on a large figurative piece, reminiscent of my "dark stranger" works. This has multiple figures and even though it's still in the oven, I think it's going pretty well.

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A Little History Lesson

Way back in the early 80s, I worked at a small design studio on the near-northside for a woman with a less-than-honorable business reputation. By many accounts (and many good people have worked for her) she was unscrupulous and had zero moral compass. Within 2 years of my working there (a brief 11-month stint whereupon I was let go due to finances) she went bankrupt. Why? She had the habit of getting upfront money from clients and, instead of paying her printing and supplier bills, pocketing the cash. In those days, an easy thing to do. Angry vendors demanding payment? One simply bankrupts the current corporation and pops up with a new business name in a few months, gets a business loan and keeps going. She has done this a few times since. Having burned all of her suppliers and creative contacts in our city, she's now thankfully doing it in Chicago, where it's easier to hide.

But while she was busy with her 2nd incarnation in Indy, I ran into her in the lobby of an office building one day while on a sales call. She asked what I was doing for work and I explained that I was now a creative director working in computer graphics. She said with her usual condescension, "It's nice that you've finally found your niche" and smirked at me. I laughed at her comment and replied that in a few short years, we'd all be working in computer graphics. "I seriously doubt that!" she laughed. She may have been dubious about my prediction, but I had a pretty good handle on what was happening to the advertising world.

Of course, now we're all working with computer graphics, whether we're in advertising or not. And it didn't take that long. At the time, I was working with cutting-edge video graphics combined with mainframe computers and taking the resulting images into print solutions for clients. The results would be considered unacceptable now; low resolution, fuzzy edges, pixelated type, banded color fades. But in those days they were exciting and new and a few brave souls allowed me to create various marketing materials using the images we created. Things were already changing fast.

Little did I know that within a few years I would no longer be ordering type from typesetters, pasting up ad boards or using a drafting table at all. And in another decade, film would disappear from cameras of all kinds, both at photo studios and pre-press shops.

Soon, I would be able to take reasonably good product shots myself, clean them up in Photoshop, create the ad in color, email a PDF to the client for approval and then forward the hi-res version to whatever publication it was running in - all within a few days (or hours if on a rush schedule). Thinking back to those earlier days, this process would have moved at glacial speed. For those unfamiliar with the antique ad production process or born after 1985, here's why:

First, we'd have to create the ad concept using magic markers, fascimile photos (possibly Polaroids) and rub-down type (which always cracked and looked awful). Then, the ad concept would be sent to the client for approval. Any changes? Back to the drawing board for yet another hand-rendered version. If that was approved, we'd then take the product to a photographer for at least a half-day table-top photo session. If the photos weren't perfect, they'd be taken to a retoucher who would either work with the film emulsion (if it was a transparancy) or the surface of the photo (if it was a print) to make things right. Then, the photo would come back to us to be fit into the ad. The ad itself would be a combination of several elements: the above photo, type ordered to size from a typesetter, background (which could be either a Pantone color gradation, an airbrushed board or yet another photo), and any photostats (another antique photo process in solid black and white) of the client's logo, to size. All of these elements would be pasted onto a white board with crop marks, possible "flips" (transparent plastic layers with various elements, attached on the sides) and the photo cropped and ready for it's own seperation. The pre-press house would then take these elements, take shots using a special camera and actually splice together all the elements in film form, resulting in a one piece of color film for seperation and later printing.

The above process could take a few weeks and have related material costs anywhere from $500 to thousands, depending on your market and many other variables. If the client had a change at any point, agencies would reel in horror over their losses. In comparison, today a change takes a few seconds and is nearly cost-free.

When I think back to my ex-employer's lack of vision, it makes me smile. Ironically, she has her own blog now and is entirely digital, working with various creative people (God help them) via the internet. While they get the advantage of never having to see her in person or work in the same building, I still have to wonder if she's treating them right.

7/30

Of course, I thought I'd have 4 whole weeks to build the sculpture, but naturally some other work came in that had to be taken care of and my sculpture took a back seat for a week or so. That made things a bit tight, but I worked night and day and finally have the sculpture done and delivered to Keep Indianapolis Beautiful for the exhibition on the 6th of August. Here are pictures of the beast, some long-winded blathering about my thought processes and some links to all-things-Yeti. He's been a lot of fun to create, but it was a rushed process, not my favorite way to work. Also, there's a video to watch which tells a very truncated version of the process.

7/1

Started work today on the sculpture which will be made from pieces of the Hoosier Dome roof. Got out some to clean it first, it's really sooty. Working on sketches and getting materials together for the piece. Here's a hint. I probably won't have time to update this blog as it's due August first. Back in 30 days!

6/19/10

I'm done with this new painting. Here are some detail shots that shows some of the smaller areas where people and a truck and birds are now in. Given that the people are about 1/2 inch tall, it should give you an idea of how painting with a 5 hair brush and a magnifying glass can go. Think really, really tiny. Very hard to take a decent picture which shows the painting to it's best advantage online due to the long, narrow format and the limitations of my camera.

Anyone sick of the daily rain yet?

6/8/10

Have been doing some serious painting lately. This latest roof with 2 dormers was painted three times with three different style dormers. Only two roofs and one tree left... then I just need to add the people and birds. This thing is finally wrapping up! Other than that, made rice-a-roni from scratch and it was great! No more pre-processed foods for me, that was the last holdout.

6/1/10

Back from vacation, with all sorts of great times to reflect on. And I have been painting, so here's an updated shot of the lower left third, not too much farther to go. Built a front porch on the cabin and here's a video for you to watch on that. Gardening is in full swing now, but taking the rainy days to paint which means that there will be plenty of opportunities. Happy June!

5/16/10

Since prepping for vacation, have not been painting much, but there's something I've discovered that I wanted to share. It's a recipe for granola bars that I doctored up and made a bit better. These bars are thick, chewy and very nutritious, much cheaper to make (overall) than to buy a store brand and don't contain any corn syrup or chemicals the way pre-packaged ones do. I've been eating these for breakfast for the last 3 months and have actually lost weight eating one a day plus a container of Silk Soy Yogurt. Hope you like them as much as I do... Enjoy!

5/8/10

It's an atypically cold, cloudy Saturday for May and I've been painting today since I can't mentally get into the gardening thing when it's so cold out. I don't have any pictures to show just yet. Getting closer. I've also been NOT at the easel lately due to creating websites for two other artists I know (along with other corporate work).

Bob Shade and Bruce Moore have fairly extensive sites at these links.

They have vastly different styles, but each has their own qualities as people and artists and I'm lucky to count them among my friends. It was fun to create their sites, so go and browse around if you have a minute and see some art!

5/2/10

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to show still. Getting closer all the time. However, I have a bit of knowledge to pass on to those who read this infrequent blog infrequently.

I've been painting a lot of windows. The current piece seems to have hundreds. The hardest part of rendering them are the little crossbars between the pieces of glass. They're called muntins, but for months I've been mistakenly calling them "muttons", which would be the plural of roasted sheep. (I thought the word had two meanings. My bad.) Apparently, their origin is from the inability to produce larger pieces of glass during the 16th century. The glass, called "lights" is now available in any size, of course, but for some reason we've held on to this artifact from an earlier time due to architects' and public tastes and sentiments.

Some folks mistakenly call them mullions, but that word is used to describe the larger divisions between seperate windows in a row.

Now they are a mainstay of most modern windows... but why? It seems silly to me to have a ranch-style home (which is about as far from Victorian as possible) which features windows with muntins. Or seeing a brand new modern home with muntins in modern window shapes. It seems we like our views divided by bars or perhaps we feel safer somehow with smaller panes of glass. Perhaps there is added strength as well.

I, for one, do not like them, if for no other reason than it takes forever to paint them (both in paintings and in actuality) and they can really ruin a nice view. And it's difficult to clean a window with them. They also gather dust and grime unneccessarily, which adds to the cleaning chore. However, if I build a cape cod-style home, I'll probably have them in the windows. But you can be sure they'll be BETWEEN the panes of glass or removable for cleaning!

Armed with this factoid, you can thrill your friends with your new-found knowledge of windows, or at least be prepared for Jeopardy if they have a matching category.

4/27/10

Apologies in advance for not having anything ready to show right now. I've been busy fixing the foreground of the piece, turning two small cottages (that look oddly small, even in the source pic) into a large dormer fixed to another structure. After changing it twice, took a small break from the thing and am now back at it. Should have something to show in a few days. Getting closer to done all the time!

An artist in Australia, John McNelley, posts pictures from time to time on WetCanvas, an artist's site which I frequent. He'd said there was a piece of his up for grabs if someone simply paid postage, so I bit. He sent the 16 x 20 piece to me and it's pretty darn amazing. I've really like/am envious of his work, very imaginative and it sits in that margin between landscape and abstract which I hope to work in often. It's now on stretchers and is being moved from room to room till it finds the right spot.

Visiting some pro interior designers today to show my work and hoping good things happen.

4/10/10

Spent most of the afternoon working on this entire row of trees and now I can move on to the bit of street that shows and the next row of houses and buildings. It's fun working on trees and shrubs after doing so many roofs and bricks. Something more organic which I can paint a bit looser and make look whatever way I want. And, as promised, here's an overall shot to show the painting as it is now, complete with the tinted doors and all the other additions.

It will really be nice to get this painting finished and up on the wall so I can start in on looser things. My hand is starting to cramp quite a bit!

The 38 transplanted trees seem to all be alive and well, we got some colder weather and rain which really helped out. My wisteria is going to really bloom for the first time, 12 blooms in all. It should really be something and I'll post photos here when I can. A good crop of strawberries, blueberries, arugula and spinach are all coming in nicely. And there are blooms covering both apple trees, thankfully they have not come out yet, or the last two night's frost would have done them in for sure. The gardens really look good so far this year, but they are about 3 or 4 weeks ahead of schedule which is a bit unsettling. Global warming, anyone?

4/5/10

Saturday was spent getting these structures' base painting done and then Sunday and today were detail and clean up days. Spent three hours doing clean up today and I'm still not entirely done, but had to call it quits for the day. I'm officially 2/3rds done with this piece, the next bits will be more of the trees and shrubs between the rows of houses and then a few more small buldings before I get to the roofs and chimneys that are in the foreground. Little by little, this is starting to really look good. I will take another overall shot after the trees, I promise! I just hate showing this thing any more than I have to with big messy areas of underpainting still glopping it up. You can begin to see why many artists don't let a soul into their studio for fear of getting the wrong impression before a piece is finished!

In other news, I've added 38 new trees to the yard, transplanted from the land down south. Cedars, red pines, white pines, Ponderosa pines, oaks and one birch. As warm as it is getting (too warm too fast) I think that's it for the year. I pledged 10 bucks to the Arbor Day Society and they're sending flowering trees out at some point, I hope they live with all this early heat!

I'm still trying to decide between two ideas for the sculpture using the Hoosier Dome roof. One is a tree, one is a bird. Perhaps the bird will land in the tree when all is said and done.

3/28/10

OK, so by now some of you may have noticed a correlation between the recent nice weather and a huge lack of posts to my blog. Guilty as charged. When it's sunny and above 65 degrees and spring, I have to be outside working on the yard. Painting is for rainy days at this point. Today being one, I've finally finished those pesky sideways buildings and the little house attached. It's taken me days of painting, re-working and downright frustration to get these to where I'm comfortable with them. No, they are not perfect, but in the mix of the painting, they look pretty good and I need to move on to the next structure if I'm going to be done by the end of April (which is my goal.). Note to any budding painters out there: Make sure you have top-notch reference photos if you work in-studio on landscapes. Without them, you will spend a lot of time gnashing your teeth!

OH, and I did add windows to those doors on the last houses, they look much more believable. I'll post photos of those in the next overall shot I take.

3/14/10

It's "spring forward" day, have you changed all your clocks to Daylight Savings Time, midwesterners? I feel like I lost an hour this morning.

Here are the next two houses, completed. I'm contemplating adding a window to both of the doors, but I can't see them in the reference so I have to go and study some doors to see what's what. I can officially say that I'm halfway done with this painting, so there's a tiny light at the end of this tunnel. From this newest shot you can see how it's all starting to come together!

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful is giving artists huge swaths of the material that was the roof of the Hoosier Dome to make things with. There is a contest to enter that has a deadline of the 15th of May, but I won't be able to make that with my idea, so I'm going to exhibit my piece in the fall, but won't be eligible for the prize. I'm not as worried about that as I am the actual piece and it's weight. I'm planning on making a huge bird. More to come on that later.

3/9/10

Actually, it's been more than a week, but the day I planned on taking shots and uploading I ended up with an aura migraine. If you know what those are like, you can't possibly blame me! After that, the next day was pretty busy, but I'm back at it and have new pictures. To be honest, there's not a lot to see, mostly bushes and partial houses, but I did get one new house done this morning. And this is one that I put glassblock in the end window because I wanted some little oddities like this to keep the picture interesting. This tree is only about an inch tall, just to give an idea of the level of detail.

3/1/10

Apologies all around, I am working on new shots of the village piece, I want to continue getting the trees and partial houses done before I upload a new picture. Thanks for your patience. A new shot coming later this week!

2/23/10

OK, the last batch of of houses on the back row is done. Here's a shot of them, plus a close-up of the last grouping and an apartment building that's on the end of the canvas.

The next row has a lot of trees, so I'm back to painting foliage and limbs before I get to the rowhouses that are brick. I think there's a lot of brick painting in my future! I don't mind too much, bricks are the place where you can get creative with textures, cracks and stains.

I have a feeling that back row was possibly dutch-influence because the next row seems to be a newer batch of structures that have 1800s-era windows and chimneys, whereas the back row seems to be a different architecture altogether.

Last week, I finished some mechanical drawings (digital) for a client that is getting ready to file a patent, so all this tight work has warmed me up for something that has to be darn-near perfect. Such a huge difference between paint and a computer, my hand is not nearly as steady, some lines had to be painted many times before they would cooperate. Unfortunately, my canvas does not have "un-do"!

2/15/10

Here is another detail shot of the next few houses. While I feel like I'm moving at blazing speeds, I'm sure to others it looks like a snail's pace. Much of the time I'm going back to little areas of things I've already painted and fixing tiny mistakes in window muttons, roof lines, shadows and the like. It can be quite maddening to get a few inches away from something I thought was finished, only to be spending an hour on the same area days later! Only about 24 houses to go. Ha!

We have yet more snow. It was supposed to be a dusting yet it is another 4 to 5 inches on top of what we already had. It's beautiful but it does get tiring shoveling the driveway for the umpteenth time. Spring is only a month and a half away, however. That's just 6 weeks. Soon we'll be whining about the heat!

2/10/10

After doing the clean-up on the first houses, I have a new shot HERE and two more of the next houses and the little pink house that took all day today. It's about actual size here. I hope I can still see when this painting is done!

2/7/10

Superbowl Sunday! Go Colts!

Here's the first two houses... some details need cleaned up, but my eyes got pretty tired... it is slightly smaller than actual size. DETAIL

2/3/10



Above is a progress shot, (click for a larger look) the entire background is finished now and there are some close-up detail shots here, here and here.

Trying to add just enough detail to the bushes and trees (a branch here and there, some seperate highlighted foliage, etc.) to keep it interesting but not so much as to distract from the main point of the painting: the houses. It has been fun up to this point, but I think things are going to now become a bit more intense and difficult. I figure if I can get one house done each day I should be done in about a month or so. Come back for updates in a few days!


1/30/10

Above is the work-in-progress (WIP) underpainting stage of a work I'm finally getting started on. It's a cropped-down portion from a stock photo of a seaside town, either England or Ireland. I've heavily edited the picture to take out some items in the foreground that were blocking the composition and inserted an extra chimney here or another house there, but it still looks pretty natural I think.

Of course, this being an underpainting makes the whole place look rather dreary, (and many artists might give up at this stage!) but in a few weeks things should shape up nicely. Sometimes it's difficult to keep in mind that this entire stage will get covered up over time. I like to think of this as the "winter" stage of a painting that will later get a layer of springtime and summer on top.

I'm going to give it the same look as Church and State, almost real but not quite. A kind of storybook look which I think is rather charming and might end up having more shelf life than a hyper realist piece. Less headaches for me too, since the photo is rather fuzzy and parts are hard to make out. My eyes are definitely not what they used to be! All of those little claypot chimneys and roof tops are very compelling to me and the little houses on the cliff might end up getting various colors to help brighten up the piece. This will be a fun little painting, it's 12 x 36 inches, perfect for above a door.

1/21/10

In light of the disaster in Haiti, I've decided to step up to the plate and help in the best way I know how. This came about because I was chatting over drinks with some buddies and related with some frustration that I "want to help, but can't figure out how". I don't have a medical degree and I'm not rich. After some thinking, I decided that while I can't afford to donate any funds (I do this nearly every year with CARE at Christmas anyway) I could afford to donate a majority of whatever money I would get from selling a piece of art.

After speaking with CARE's Chicago office, I set up my front page and an additional page to talk about it. Hopefully, if someone has been mulling over buying something of mine, this will help spur them on and they and Haiti will both benefit! So, come on people! Help Haiti Now!

In other news, I'm almost halfway thru doing the commission piece and am looking forward to working on new pieces in the works. The "banes" piece is taking much longer than I'd planned, but more due to my being picky than anything else. The first one which this was modeled after was not nearly as careful but I figure if the client liked it well enough to have another one done in a similar vein, I should do my best.

Surfing the net recently, I noticed that the Murphy Art Center has been purchased by a new group and they are in the process of making it a more professional and less, shall we say, juvenile place. Let's face it, it needs an interior facelift big time. The wall "murals" (and I use the term loosely) were a mess and the bathrooms and other public areas smelled bad and were filthy. Safety was an issue and the building was not really what I'd call secure. Hopefully the good work they're doing will attract a crowd back to the Murph and that scene will revitalize once again.

1/06/10

A new year is here!

This week marks the 14th year that I've been living in this house out in the country and October marked the 15th year that I've had my own art business. Seems like a much shorter time somehow, but the calendar does not lie. Looking back on all that has happened, all the shows and pieces created, the gallery ownership experience and all the work that has come through, I've been very fortunate. Starting my own business was one of the best decisions I've made in my life, especially considering how many negative experiences that took place working for others. It's totally worth the higher taxes, the high health insurance bills and the scary weeks when business is slow.

This site has gone through many changes over the years and has evolved into a much more navigable and informative place than it was back in 1995. I recently looked at the first site I had online and am too ashamed to show an example here, it was just that bad! However, I was one of a handful of artists to have a site back in those days and I can at least say mine has never had a black background, which is, for me, the true sign of bad taste.

Looking forward, this site will undergo another set of changes this year and I hope those who have been revisiting will enjoy what happens.

I've been slow to get January's pages up as there have been some issues here to deal with (plumbing) and our vacation home in Crawford County got a new layer of gravel on the long, long driveway. January is the best month to do it, especially if there's no snow on the ground. We've had too many dump trucks get stuck in the mud in other months. A quick drive down, a bit of supervision and 300 dollars later, the road is much safer and our little hideaway is much easier to reach.

Here's hoping everyone has a great new year of peace and prosperity!

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NEWS & OPINIONS
from the studio of Keith J. Hampton