Monday, November 18, 2013

Holiday time already?

I can't believe its November already and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The holiday season never fails to catch me unprepared! Well, this year I'm determined to get ahead of the game.
The last part of the year is always a busy one for me and my family. My dad starts off the birthday festivities in the first week of September, the wife's birthday is at the very end of September, then Thanksgiving, followed quickly by my birthday, Hayes's birthday, Christmas and my sister's birthday. So as you can see, it gets pretty crazy from the end of November through New Years. I usually find myself rushing around the stores trying to find a few extra gifts before Christmas eve. I'm a terrible shopper, but I love giving gifts! Some of the pressure around Christmas has been reduced in the last few years, because my parents and sister decided to limit the expenses on gifts for each adult at $50. (I hate that) So it's virtually become a evening of trading $50 gift cards. Thankfully, I still get to enjoy buying gifts for my kids and wife.
This year I will expand my online purchases, but I'll continue to shop at brick and mortar stores as well. I'm looking to shop for more artist and craftsman created gifts this year. I'm thinking paintings, jewelry, pottery and such for gifts rather than stupid gift cards. I'm not sure how well this will go over, but that's what I'm going to do. Plus, nobody has to know if I go over my $50 limit right? I'm already planning on attending two art fairs in my area and I'm on the lookout for interesting one of a kind items. I'm even hoping to create a few paintings of my own to give, but I'm not sure I'll have the time for that.

For those of you looking for hand crafted items, I've listed some of my favorite artist's below:

If you're looking for wonderful glass beads for gifts, check out my good friend Holly Dare's website here:

Wonderfully creative art from Mississippi artist Saul Maurer

If you like wild and interesting and affordable Outsider art, look no further than Ken Law

Amazing paintings from New Orleans/Mississippi artist Billy Solitario

Historic New Orleans paintings from George Schmidt

Cool old fashion hand painted wooden signs for your bar, bathroom or kitchen and everywhere else in between!

The famous Shearwater Pottery of Ocean Springs, MS

I travel all over Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi and feel certain I'll be able to find something interesting for each of the recipients on my Christmas list. I'll share some of the best items I find in one of my next few posts. In the meantime, check out the links above and see if you can find some art for your gift giving!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Little Time to Paint

Well, I haven't been here in a long while, but I thought I'd stop in and drop a few words on the page. As per usual, real life seems to keep me from doing things I really enjoy, like writing screenplays and short stories, riding my motorcycle and playing golf. But strangely enough, over the last couple of months I was able to get in some painting classes with Covington, La. based artist, Gretchen Armbruster. What a blast! 

During my first classes in January, I was able to create a nice colorful marsh landscape. It's based on a painting I saw in a magazine. At 16 x 20, it's much smaller in scale than the original. I thought it turned out fairly good for my first ever oil painting. Actually, this is my first ever painting of any kind! I've drawn all my life and have some decent ability, but mixing colors has always scared the hell out of me, so I avoided it. Gretchen did a wonderful job settling my nerves and keeping my confidence level up. I'm not a big fan or orange, but it sure seemed at times this painting was all orange all the time. 

My experience with Gretchen was so enjoyable, I signed up for a second class in May. I chose to copy a lovely piece by local New Orleans artist Billy Solitario called Rain Over Horn Island. At first glance this seemed like a straight forward cloud painting. I figured I would throw a bunch of blues and whites on the canvas and it would be a rather quick painting. Wrong! This painting was filled with color, movement and a mix of soft and hard edges that made for a difficult piece. (for me, not Mr. Solitario!) I struggled to capture the depth of the massive cloud. Again, I was working on a 16 x 20 canvas and a smaller scale than the original which is 36 x 36 and that may have had something to do with, talent or lack of talent was the real issue, but I pushed through and finished the painting. I was pleased, but see areas I know I could improve upon. I liked it so much I decided to give it to my mother for a late Mothers Day gift.

Now that I have a couple of paintings under my belt, my plan is to paint more. I really like oil's so I think I will concentrate my efforts on learning the medium as best I can. Landscapes interest me, and I'll continue to explore those for awhile. Hopefully real life will give me some time to work on this fun hobby.

To see Gretchen's wonderful artwork and learn how to take classes from her, visit her web site here:

To check out the amazing artwork of Billy Solitario visit his website to be inspired!