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Painting Paradise

Yes, I’ve been very quiet on WordPress and Facebook.  I’ve been really, really busy painting paradise these last couple of weeks.  The owner of Brindley’s on the Island loved the sample valance board so much that he asked to keep it…which I let him.  Then he told me to go crazy with fun accessories for the boards.  That could be a dangerous proposition telling an artist to go crazy, but it has been such fun.  I’ve kept Brindley’s basic logo style and color scheme going but I am adding the “Crick” touch to it.  Some of the critters are realistic and other’s are more animated doing funny things like lizards wrapping themselves around wine bottles and a goat standing on a pile of cheese.  I should get six of the boards completely done today and then Bob will spray a finish on them.  We’ll take them to Bill at Brindley’s and see what he thinks.  Keep you posted!

Creative Juice

I was sitting here in Tampa when my hubbie looked at me and said, “Everyone’s going to forget about your Egret canvases.  You haven’t been blogging.”  I said, “I’ve forgotten about the Egret canvases!”  Business has picked up exponentially this week.  I worked last Saturday and Sunday on a mural job which I rarely work weekends anymore.  Monday and Tuesday I was up and down the 10 foot ladder working a ceiling faux finish job.  Also during that time I managed to squeeze in two look-see appointments for two great commercial murals and booked both of them.  Now we are in Tampa painting doors.  We are finished for the day, thanks to our afternoon thunderstorms and I can take a breath and turn my attention to my blog.

I haven’t touched the canvases since I last blogged.  The Egrets have been sitting on the easel watching me in the evenings.  One evening I noticed how they seemed to glow as the sun shone through our drapes and backlit the canvases.  What a beautiful look.  I may have to investigate adding some kind of lighting behind the canvases.  Bob can figure that one out for me. 

Today on my way to Home Depot for glue and screws, I made a side trip to Michael’s.  My agenda was to pick up paint for a ceramic tile job but first I got side tracked by all the pretty beads and baubles in the front of the store. Show me sparkles or feathers and you can entertain me for hours.  Once I took all of that in I cruised the fabric painting aisle.  Cool colored t-shirts lined the shelves which made me think about designing our polo shirt logo and then finding the right colored polo shirt to represent our business.  Moving on I came to the canvases…big ones and little…fat and thin.  I have an idea for some artwork using all the different sizes but I just haven’t worked it out in my head yet.  Besides I already have a stack of canvases at home.  Of course they aren’t exactly what I need for the project I am thinking about doing.  I resisted temptation to go ahead and buy a few to play around with and moved on to the most dangerous aisle for me.  Brushes and fine art paints are my weakness.  To my delight I found the tube acrylics like the white acrylic I love so much and put 5 different colors in my basket along with a few new brushes and a pack of palette knives in different shapes and sizes.  I am going to have some fun. Finally I made it to the ceramic tile paint, found the colors I needed and added them to my basket.  It was a fun hour and I came away with some creative juice.  I feel excited again about creating new things and I feel excited about life.  It’s been a very good week.

New Chests, Old Chests….Chests are Fun

Last night as I was browsing through my I-Photo in the middle of the night when I couldn’t fall asleep, I came across a file full of photos from a past website.  I have painted hundreds of pieces of furniture over the years.  My most favorite piece of furniture to work with is the chest of drawers.  Tall or short, night stand or lingere chest, new chests, old chests…chests are fun.  Best of all, chests are functional. I’ve painted around 30 Florida condo style chests and nightstands.  Each one different from the other taking on the theme of my client’s home. I’ve painted chests like the orient and chests like the palaces of India.  I’ve stepped back in time to the 50’s.  With my youngest son, Dan and my husband, Bob’s, conversion help.  We made a jukebox dresser with rounded top and actual neon lights installed in the upper cabinet.  I’ve painted jungle themes and party themes…and old people at the beach themes.  Just pick a theme and make it happen.  The only limitation to a really cool chest of drawers is the imagination.

So what would your favorite chest of drawers be?

And to report on the Egret canvases…I’ve made great progress.  Everything is defined and now comes the fun part of tweaking it until it’s done. I love the glazing processes.  Happily I discovered the secret to me painting on canvas.  I am used to texture on walls and wood which is very absorbent. The acrylic paint from the large plastic tubes slid all over the canvas and I was fighting to make it perform the way I wanted it to. Today I happened to pick up a tube of white acrylic that was in a metal tube like my oils and what a difference that made.  I can control it and add the desired texture that’s needed.  I see a trip to the art store in my near future.

The Trials and Tribulations of Technology and Dragonfly Art

Here I am at day number 5 still working on the two Egret canvases.  Taking photos of the progress side by side really helps get a good visual of what’s going on.  I see changes in color and ground lines.  Yesterday the lure of an older canvas I had done some years back seduced me into spending more time on it than I did on my current projects including the guitar table.  But the trip to the past made me notice how my vision over the past 10 years has been fine tuned. Places that needed more shading, sharper lines and brighter highlights jumped out at me.  I also noticed that my painting comes off more loose and painterly.  I like that.

So today was a fresh new day.  I was ready for a great studio session. I had just begun to paint on the canvases when my hubbie started trying to upload WordPress to my janecrickgallery.com website.  He needed my input and we ended up spending the whole morning in front of the computer.  What we accomplished was learning that we couldn’t do that until we upgrade to level 2 with our web host. We are now rethinking that plan. I think I mentioned before that I had gotten the book “I’d rather be in my studio!” by Alyson B. Stanfield….well, I definitely would rather be in my studio.  The technical side of technology is a struggle for me.  I can use the templates and all but actually getting them on the computer and set up is another thing.  Thank goodness I am tenacious enough to hang in there and not give up.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest and to lighten the mood, here is one of Bob’s cool bugs.  It has a six foot wingspan and has survived our Florida tropical storms totally intact.  Enjoy!

Guitar Table Art

Like I promised I would, Wednesday and Thursday I worked on my canvases.  I painted the skies and the grasses working from the same palette so that the color tones would be harmonious and I could be frugal and use up all the paint I had out.  It was tempting to scoot onto doing the birds, my favorite part of these projects, but I want to work more on the grasses to give the artwork more depth.  Meanwhile, as I waited for the layers of paint to dry, I stained one of Bob’s client projects and began to paint on Bob’s guitar table art.

My husband is so talented.  I love the things that he creates more than my own!  Bob cuts, carves, sculpts and creates beautiful things out of nothing.  He cut the table top  from tiger maple, fabricated the steel neck where he used to work, carved the wood portion of the neck from thick pine, made the base out of a piece of black walnut and attached the guitar head that was sent to him by my Cool-Stuff Sister, Sue. It turned out so awesome I had to sit with it for a few weeks before attempting to paint it.  But Bob gave me specific instructions on how he wanted it painted and so far I have the top and steel part of the neck done.  We are going to take a trip to Auto Zone to look at car striping and may make the fret bars out of that.  As for the strings, we have yet to tackle that one.  I used to do pin striping on old buggies and antiques, but strings would be a real challenge.

Bob has made some other really cool tables.  He made a Kudu table that one leg was a real Kudu horn.  You can see that at my website http://janecrickgallery.com.  He also made one-legged tables that actually stand up against a wall. One lady recently tracked us down eight years after we closed the gallery just to buy one of those tables.  He also makes really cool bugs from found materials.  You can see his big dragonfly using bamboo, sculpting compound and metal that he made for our son and daughter-in-law on my Facebook page at JaneCrick-JaneCrickGallery.

My hubbie is talented…oh yes he is!

Formal Art Training or Natural Talent

Someone recently asked me if it is necessary to have formal art training or do some people just have natural talent.  Speaking for myself, this artist is living proof that a formal degree is not a necessity.  However, having this natural talent means that I am in a constant and continuing education from which I never intend to graduate.  I read a lot on the subjects of art and business and am always studying my subject matter through books, photographs and in person.  You will also find me most days elbow deep in paint and paint mediums expanding my knowledge through work, play and experimentation.

I feel very fortunate to be actually making a living doing what I love to do.  Most of my art is commissioned works which means I paint on demand.  This type of work is continuously changing and challenges me with each new project.  The special client requests take me out of my comfort zone with style, subject matter and unique surfaces.  This keeps my work fresh and makes me fearless.  I am a people pleaser and my husband and I together are troubleshooters; therefore we make art and home decor happen for the client, whatever their request.  The projects always turn out to be better than all of us imagined and there is tremendous satisfaction in that.

As for my natural talent, I think my strongest talent is seeing the details.  I can actually visualize the layers of colors in my subject matter and instinctively know which to lay down first.  I pay attention to the highlights and shadows that form the shapes of the subjects. I especially love the tiny details of animal hairs and whiskers.  It’s what makes them who they are.

Another aspect of being able to “see” is that I can look at a blank wall or a naked piece of furniture and see the life it is supposed to have.  It’s as though there is a story waiting to be told and I am the conduit through which it is told.

Not long before my dad passed away he apologized for not sending me to art school for formal training.  I told my dad certainly not to feel bad.  He and Mom gave me a great and beautiful life and I have truly had an education of a lifetime with my traveling through this life.  I have no regrets.  I love my life and truly feel that the life I have led has made me the artist God meant for me to be.