All about the inspiration behind the art. Acrylic Paintings, Impressionism, Art, Southern, Modern, Contemporary, Coastal, Flowers, Famous Places, New Orleans, Florida, Gulf Coast, Food, Expressionism, Fauve, Cityscapes, Architecture, Decor, Painting, Beach, Tropical, Seascape, Landscape, Still Life Mona Vivar Fine Art: May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Life With A Sketchbook

When I was first introduced to the idea of keeping a sketchbook  years ago in a college art class I was skeptical.  After much procrastination I started one just for the sake of passing the course.  Then I set it aside and kept painting. 
Several more years passed, and one day I wanted to make a field trip to a local nature preserve that happened to have both living and preserved plants and animals at the center.  Setting up to paint in that place was not practical so I took a sketchbook.  What fun I had!  What details I noted and remembered because of that sketching expedition!  I was hooked.

I now find myself drawing pine cones, shoes, characters directly from television during the show I am watching, cats, people, imaginary doodles, copies of masterpieces.  The list goes on.  I use pen, pencil, Sharpies, crayons, watercolor, charcoal.... 
I go through my old sketchbooks for ideas and to jolt my memory of things past.  They are all valuable.
Keeping a sketchbook allows freedom to ramble, day dream, flow, think, remember, grow. 
Everyone should keep a sketchbook..
All images copyright of Mona Vivar 2013.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Importance of Memory

The approaching Memorial Day weekend got me thinking about memory and its importance to us on an individual and societal scale.  If we are lucky we learn and build on the past, if not, we get stuck in it. 
I am convinced that memory is part of what triggers a person's attraction to a particular piece of art.   Looking at art can remind a person of a childhood haunt, a lovely vacation, a meaningful time in their past.  It can also put a new spin on that memory and trigger a reassessment of the experience. 
Robert Henri, one of the best American art teachers to ever live, frequently wrote about experience and making art.  The following two quotes are just part of his treasure of knowledge: 
"Art cannot be separated from life. It is the expression of the greatest need of which life is capable, and we value art not because of the skilled product, but because of its revelation of a life's experience."
"There is only one reason for art in America, and that is that the people of America learn the means of expressing themselves in their own time, and their own land."
I think the best examples of expressing ourselves in our time and in our land are the memorials in and around the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  If you haven't had the opportunity to see them in person, make the rounds via the Internet.  Study the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, and the other older ones.  They are all expressions of the time and experience of people who lived and died for us all.  

A Marine at Vietnam Memorial on 4th July 2002
Photo by Meutia Chaerani - Indradi Soemardjan original on Wikipedia

Friday, May 17, 2013

Paper or Canvas?

Every once in a while I use a different painting technique or medium just to shake things up a bit.  It is part of my ongoing drive to improve.  It is part of the road to finding my own style.  It is also a cure for painting too darn nit-picky tight.  
This week I did works on paper to loosen up.  Most of the time I paint on canvas for my customers' convenience, especially when it comes to hanging the art.  But I am crazy about putting brush to paper because of the completely different feel.  The paint flows easily and the brush needs less pressure.  I don't obsess with details.  The end painting looks more spontaneous because it is.  I think using paper gives me permission to experiment and make mistakes. 
I do take care to make sure the pieces worth saving are treated with an isolation coat and varnished so that they will last a very long time once they are properly matted and framed. 
I enjoyed this week's work so much that I will include works on paper as part of the art I offer on a regular basis.

Mona Vivar, "Saxophone Fingers", 12 inches by 9 inches, acrylic on paper
Now on Ebay at Mona Vivar Fine Art

 Mona Vivar, "Trumpet Fingers", 9 inches by 12 inches, acrylic on paper
Now on Ebay at Mona Vivar Fine Art 

Mona Vivar, "Piano Fingers", 9 inches by 12 inches, acrylic on paper
Now on Ebay at Mona Vivar Fine Art
All images copyright of Mona Vivar 2013.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sources of Inspiration and Advice

As an artist working for myself from home and on the Internet, I find it is easy to believe that I am self-sufficient.  That is not the case.  I rely on people from other places to give me technical, business and inspirational advice.  I thought I would share some of my favorite websites and blogs that I frequently tap into.

For good all around art making and art business common sense I adore Texas artist Jack White.  Any of his marketing books are useful and entertaining.  His book link is Jack White Artist Books.  He also appears as a guest writer on FASO Fine Art Views (which is a useful site in and of itself).

Alyson B. Stanfield is another savvy art marketing writer I follow at Art Biz Blog.  She publishes three juicy pieces a week and has multiple books and workshops available for those who want to dig deeper.

Art technique wizard Will Kemp is a walking encyclopedia of art materials information.  Plus he is funny.  His site is well worth exploring at Will Kemp Art School.  I can't tell you how many paint handling issues I have run up against that his knowledge cured for me.  

Artist Robert Genn shares his inspirational art wisdom in his twice weekly blog at  The Painter's Keys.  I always feel better after reading his words.

So that is the short list of people I "consult" regularly via the Internet.  We all need coaches in order to excel. 

Mona Vivar, "Table for Two", 9 inches by 12 inches, acrylic on canvas
Now on Ebay at Mona Vivar Fine Art

Image copyright of Mona Vivar 2013.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Expect the Unexepected

Last night I was in the Emergency Room while a cherished family member was being treated.  It was an unwelcome and unexpected event.  Fortunately, treatment was rendered and the evening ended well.
I had a long time to think about today's blog while I tried not to give into fear in the hospital.  I thought about the twists and turns in my life that brought me to this point.  I thought about all the changes that I have seen in my own life and in life for the rest of the world.  The unexpected has been standard operating procedure.
I graduated from law school years ago and never thought that seventeen years later I would be tired of being a trial lawyer and would want to do something else.  I never thought that a continuing education drawing class taken for stress relief would open an obsessive path into the art world.  I never thought I would manage an art gallery for five years learning the business of buying and selling art.  I never thought that I would be a financial advisor when the calendar showed 2008.  And I certainly never thought that the Internet would help sustain me as a full time artist today.

But as I reflect on these events it becomes apparent that each one (good or bad) helped ready me for the next change.  Law practice taught me discipline and that there are two sides to everything.  Running an art galley taught me that art is sold and does not automatically sell itself.  Being a financial advisor gave me business and money sense needed to make a living.  The Internet allowed me to expand my customer base to the world. 
I kept painting through every change and crisis year after year for the past two decades even when it was hard and even when I didn't like my own paintings very much and felt as though I didn't know what I was doing.  Eventually, I found my way.  That's the most surprising part.  Or maybe it isn't....
I hope each and every one of you will find your own strength with each unexpected event to meet the next challenge.

Mona Vivar, "Oysters Galore", 9 inches by 12 inches, acrylic on canvas
Image copyright of Mona Vivar 2013.