Ever wonder if there’s a better way to mount a canvas panel on your easel?? Check this out:
Ever wonder if there’s a better way to mount a canvas panel on your easel?? Check this out:
Some people have asked me how to make Bob Ross liquid clear medium. Here’s my answer:
In short, don’t concentrate on trying to make this medium. It’s not to your advantage considering the alternatives available. Or just use the store bought Bob Ross brand.
Check out my auctions on Ebay. I currently have several paintings listed!
Over the weekend I opened my own online art supply store. Please check it out!
I’m offering top quality paints, brushes, mediums, etc. I’m also listing all my e-books and DVD’s on this site.
If you are a member of my newsletter (sign up form is on this blog), I sent you a discount code for 20% off art supplies.
If you need supplies, please consider my store.
When you’re in a terrible mood, other people can tell. You can try to hide it all you want, most people can still sense that something is wrong. We’ve all been there.
People can physically see you and gauge your facial expressions and tone. But even if they can’t see you, they will still sense when there is a problem. If you are angry and write an email, it’s likely to backfire on you. Your words will be poisoned and they’ll come back to haunt you later.
But what about oil painting or drawing? Does this still require you to be in a certain state of mind? The answer is YES.
I know from my own experience, my state of mind must change if I’m going to do my best work on canvas. If my stress level is too high or I’m angry, I will not produce a quality painting. Even if I’m totally indifferent to everything around me, I still won’t create what I consider to be a good painting. In other words, the work I produce will not be inspired.
Today was a great example. I began painting, running through the common preliminary steps and wondering if I would produce a good painting or something to fill the trash can with. It wasn’t until I turned on a YouTube video that my state of mind started to change. I started to relax but also feel the creativity that I needed. When I was finally finished, I was proud of the painting. So you’re probly wondering what video did I watch? Here it is:
It’s an episode of the 1980′s Twilight Zone television show titled “To See The Invisible Man”. It’s based on a short story written by science fiction writer Robert Silverberg.
At this point you’re probably wondering, what in the world does this have to do with oil painting? Nothing. Everyone has their own triggers, and some people may not need any sort of stimulation to reach the right state of mind. I also use music quite a bit. But only certain songs. I believe that certain repetitive sounds might also work. What I need might be more along the lines of A.S.M.R (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). But like I said, everyone is different. When I find something to trigger the right state of mind, I know I can produce art to the best of my ability and release a higher level of creativity.
If you find yourself feeling uninspired while you paint or draw, you may want to experiment with different stimuli to see if a similar response can be triggered. Maybe you need music or a movie or just some good old peace and quiet.
Just wanted to show everyone my latest painting. This is 11×14 inches on canvas panel.
Follow this link to purchase this painting. It’s available right now: www.ebay.com/itm/310717484472
My most recent painting, “Dreamland” was recorded from start to finish. I aquired a new camcorder a few months ago. It does a stellar job, but it splits up videos at the 30 minute mark. Rather than edit the videos down, I chose to keep the videos in high definition and post each 30 minute segment. Please let me know what you think!
This is part one of four:
If the video does not appear above, please follow this link: http://youtu.be/u6dDdFshlO8
This is my newest painting titled “Dreamland”. It’s painted on a canvas panel, 12×16 inches.
You can add this painting to your collection. Visit my Ebay auction at www.ebay.com/itm/310715389005
I want to use my blog to talk about my own art. I want people to see my art, and hopefully this will become a good way for me to share it with everyone. But I don’t always want to talk about myself. Sometimes I want to talk about the other artists that inspire me.
I never got to meet Bill Alexander. By the time I found out who Bill was, he was already gone. Like a lot of people that enjoy wet on wet oil painting, I was introduced to the method by a popular disciple of Bill’s, instead of Bill himself. My wife’s grandmother, Vida, is the person that told me about Bill. Vida is an accomplished oil and watercolor painter, and had been for… I’ m guessing around 30 or 40 years. She also made me aware that I could pick up Bill’s oil painting supplies at our local Hobby Lobby store (this was around 2001 or 2002, when Hobby Lobby was carrying Alexander Art products). I went directly to Hobby Lobby at that point to check everything out. I was very impressed with the brushes. I could not believe how long the bristles were on the liner brush, and how well it worked. The paints were also a very high quality. The only thing that I thought was odd was the Magic White medium… and later it turned out to be one of the best white mediums I’ve used.
At this point, I still didn’t much about Bill, but I did appreciate his work. I kept painting and trying to improve, and it was a slow process. But that’s how it normally works.. the fastest way to develop skills is with a live instructor. When that’s not possible, you use books and videos.
I continued to slowly learn more about Bill. It turns out there was a biography on Bill published back in the 80′s. When I finally discovered it, I picked up a copy on Ebay. It was a great book. I learned so much about him from that book. There are also DVD’s now available from Alexander Art. I think I’ll pick those up this year so I can learn even more about him.
In 2007, I decided enough was enough and tried to step things up a bit. I became certified with the Alexander Art company as an instructor. Some time after that.. maybe six months or so… (if I’m lying I’m dying, so stay with me), I had a dream about Bill. It went like this:
There’s a small house on a hill, all alone. Only a few trees around the house, and no other houses in sight. I follow a dirt road up to the house and before I can knock on the door, Bill Alexander opens it. He lives there alone. No wife or children, just him. Almost like he’s cut off from the rest of the world.. a hermit on the hill. He grabs my hand and pulls me into the house. I don’t say much, he does all the talking. He takes me around his house and there are paintings everywhere, on every wall. Some are on easels. Some aren’t complete, but he desperately wants to share them with me. It’s as if he’s been alone for a long time and really enjoys having a visitor that will look at his work. He talks forever, and eventually the dream ends.
The main thing that I took away from the dream is that Bill wanted to share something with me. I later found out that there was a time near the end of Bill’s life when he was alone. His wife had left him, and the only contact he had with the outside world was through the television, and the television did not have a positive message to deliver. I believe my dream was an insight into a very short period in Bill’s life. I did not get to meet Bill when he was alive. But I did meet him in that dream.
I found out by reading Bill’s biography, he had always been interested in art. For a lot of us, we can identify with that. What Bill really wanted was to become a working artist. Let me tell you some of the things that happened to Bill leading up to him becoming a successful artist. He was forced to participate in a war that he wanted nothing to do with. If you watch videos of Bill on YouTube, you’ll notice he holds his brush in an odd way. I think either one or two of his fingers no longer move correctly. It’s the result of a war injury. In his book he talks about waking up in a bunker with a Russian soldier beating his face with a rifle. At one point during the war, he came up on a bridge. On the other side of that bridge was, again a Russian soldier. A very large one. Instead of trying to kill the man, he walked across the bridge and greeted the soldier. He talked about how nice the weather was. The Russian man could not understand Bill (Bill was German), and Bill couldn’t understand the Russian. They both spoke to each other in a civil manner, not understanding one word the other was saying. For a short time, the war was not going on around them. They parted ways, and no harm was done. On that day no harm was done. I hate to think of the things Bill went through when people were not feeling so friendly.
Eventually, Bill was captured by American soldiers and held in an American camp. He was relieved that it happened. He did not want to participate in the war. In order to stay there, he pretended to be a barber and gave the American soldiers hair cuts. He didn’t know how to cut hair. He just had to pretend and hope that things worked out in his favor. The Americans found out about Bill’s artistic abilities, and he began painting portraits of the soldiers and their wives. They sat up a nice studio for him and to a degree, his life was returning back to normal. I forgot to mention… when he was sent off to war, he had a wife and a child at home. It was a number of years before he was reunited with them. I’m sure many people sent off to war would never find their family again, even if they did survive.
After finding his wife and daughter, they lived together happily for a time, and Bill immigrated to Canada. He couldn’t afford to take his daughter and wife. Instead, he would go there and work to save money until he could send for them. Some people might find this story to be strangely similar to another artist… but I won’t get in to that now.
At some point, Bill and his wife did separate. His daughter married a decent man, but I know very little about his first wife.
At some point, Bill began accepting oil painting students, and started developing some of the tools you might recognize today. He tells a story in his book about grinding down putty knives to form his palette knives. His students also wanted these knives, so they would bring him putty knives and he would grind them down into a more usable tool.
Bill painted in public whenever he could. He painted in stores, meeting people and trying to sell his paintings. He traveled the country, living a vagabond life, making just enough money on his paintings to survive.
Things really turned around when he visited a PBS television station in California. My understanding of this is he was there to pitch ideas for shows. Other people had also showed up, displaying different talents. Bill had a special talent tho… he could complete an oil painting in 30 minutes. And it made for a hell of a show. This led to his first television show, and all of a sudden life was very good for Bill. He became a very popular artist, achieving what very, very few artists can do. He was a working artist. But not just a working artist… he was as highly successful working artist.
People go on for years and years, living a life of grief and misery, wanting to make a living with their art, only to go to work day after day making someone else rich. For most people, becoming a working artist can happen. And they don’t have to experience the nightmares of war, or move to a strange country empty handed. They don’t become working artists because they don’t want it badly enough. They just play with the idea, while others actually do it.
A while back I put together this video showing some older photos of Bill, and some of his paintings:
If the video doesn’t show up, click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2HAFPdTtQg
Late last night I had the urge to paint, so I pulled out a canvas and went to it. I wanted to show the progression of a painting in different layers.
Sky and water areas painted in. On a blue sky I normally darken the corners in the water and the sky to add more depth.
Clouds added in.
Mountains added. I painted some far away mountains with no detail, just some highlight on one side. The foreground mountain gave me some trouble but I whipped it into shape.
Completed painting. Middleground and foreground areas added. At the end I decided to add a tiny cabin far off in the distance. This is how I normally paint. I usually have no plan. I just sit down and start painting. It’s generally not a good idea to paint with no plan. You should form at least a very rough idea prior to beginning your painting. But when the bug bites, sometimes you just need to respond.