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: July 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Delimma of Fast Acrylics and Slow Oils

Life is full of choices and painting materials are no exception.  For me, choosing between acrylics and oils is always my most difficult decision.  After all, acrylics are so bright, modern and fast; oils are so luminous, thick and slow.  I adore both!  So how and why do I choose one over the other?
The size of my painting frequently makes the choice for me.  A painting over 36 inches in any direction is going to be acrylic because multiple sessions and corrections will be needed.  I can rest assured that all layers will be dry and stable as I work toward completion.  There will be no chance of cracking paint.  I can work on the painting as much or as little as I like.  If I want the acrylic paints to blend more easily, I simply add a few drops of Golden Open Medium to my spray bottle and spritz the mixture on my palette from time to time. 
Mona Vivar, 30 inches by 40 inches, commissioned acrylic painting in progress
Smaller paintings allow me the luxury of choosing either oils or acrylics because I typically finish a small painting in one session "alla prima" (meaning "at first attempt") which eliminates the issue of multiple layers over time for me.   In this instance, the choice is simply a matter of preference for me.  Sometimes I want the lightening speed of acrylics to catch an idea.  At other times, I want to work thick, soft and slow to build a shimmering dream.  Both ways of working are delightful.  I think I will keep them both!
Mona Vivar, 11 inches by 14 inches, oil painting in progress

Friday, July 19, 2013

Underwater Models

I took a break from painting and went to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab to watch fish and other creatures swim by.  Sea Lab is a wonderful resource for everyone to learn more about the Gulf coast, but it is especially good for a person who doesn't scuba dive (like myself) and who wants to see what lives under the water.  I use Sea Lab to get closer to my models and to formulate new painting ideas.  It's a good place to take a summer break and dream.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Travel When You Can, Paint What You Know

Summer always makes me think of vacations and travel.  The siren call of distant places comes to me as my surroundings turn a vibrant green under puffy white clouds and bright blue skies.  Humidity and heat builds to a distracting level in July and August.
I think back to my travels. I experienced a chilly summer night while eating at an outdoor courtyard restaurant in southern California.  I camped in Yosemite at the foot of spectacular snow peaked mountains.  I stood under an endless clear blue sky in Taos, New Mexico.  I rode a ferry to the wind blown island of Nantucket.  I saw the Colosseum golden and lit in the Roman night.  I went to the fierce western coastline of Ireland.  All of these places live in my memory and make me smile.
But the thing is, despite my best efforts, I fail at painting them the way I saw them.  Too much of my own green of July creeps into the color mixing.  The light doesn't look right because I live under a different slant of sunshine.  And humidity changes perspective considerably.  That great artist teacher, Robert Henri, wrote about this phenomenon and surmised that a painter always paints the place where he or she lives even if the painter travels to depict other places.  He was right when he said "Paint what you feel.  Paint what you see.  Paint what is real you."
So I will take Robert Henri's advice and paint the United States south and things that are a part of life in the south.  I will travel when I can. 
Mona Vivar, Moonlight and Magnolias, 11 inches by 14 inches, acrylic on canvas

 Image copyright of Mona Vivar 2013

Friday, July 5, 2013

Using Facebook to Promote Your Art

Years ago the only way to get your art in front of people on the Internet was to build your own website or have a professional web designer build one for you.  That required a lot of time, knowledge and money.  Not any more!
This year I began using the Facebook business page tool to showcase my paintings and reach audience.  The set up is free and easy to use.  No HTML skills required.  Good digital photos are needed if you want your page to look attractive.  You control how often you change or add information.  You can add a link to any other site on which you showcase your art.  Both Ebay and Etsy offer applications that can be added (for a small fee) as a widget to your Facebook business page.  My page is Mona Vivar Fine Art on Facebook.
Beyond the basic set up and up dating of your page you can promote it to users of Facebook.  There is an "Ads Manager" section that appears when you have a business page.  This marketing tool is not free, but for a minimal cost of $1.00 per day you can promote your page to thousands of people using Facebook.  I have been using the promotional tool for three months in varying intervals and have increased page likes from 5 to 92.  New customers are bidding on or buying my work on Ebay.  My best results come when I post a new painting every day to Facebook.   I haven't even begun to use the "offers or promotions" tool. 
That's it.  Real simple.  Facebook business page saves you from having to spend too much valuable painting and marketing time creating and maintaining a website, and you can use it to promote your current website if you already have one.  Use it and have time to enjoy your summer!

Mona Vivar, "Sea Shell and Clouds", 11 inches by 14 inches, acrylic on canvas