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Art in McDonalds

This really wonderful piece of art (great use of color!) was in a McDonalds on the drive in to my in-laws. I think it was somewhere in northwest Georgia.

What a cool find at 10 PM at night.

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Tags: art
by Brett Rogers, 7/3/2007 3:37:03 PM
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Poolside

I painted the 3" version of the soon-to-be-painted 16" x 20" Poolside work I plan next.

Again, rough values, no small brushes or detail.

To give you an impression of the size of these, here are the two sketches I've done of this one next to a dime.

They're small. And fun, actually. I'm surprised by the satisfaction I get in painting these rough thumbnails of what is to be a larger work.

I learned with this sketch that lighter is better. The warm areas feel balanced to me. The cool of the blue, the warmth of the wooden fence in the background. The sunlight on the woman herself and in the palm fronds. You can't see it in these smaller versions, but she is eating up the sunshine in the peace found by a backyard pool. I hope to capture that in the larger work.

I'm satisfied with the palette I've chosen for this. Next step is to get over the chicken sensation I get before starting something new. Yep, starting a work always makes me jittery. But I ignore it, or it would never happen. I'm excited to see how it turns out.

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Tags: art | sketch | my painting
by Brett Rogers, 6/8/2007 12:34:42 AM
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The Visual Equivalent of Headphones

I'm currently listening to one of the most profound songs that I know, which is the 2001 version of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now." Not her original, but the one that she did with full orchestra behind her.

I'm lucky... as a programmer by trade, I get to listen - pretty much uninterrupted - to music through my headphones for hours every day. I'd been using little earbuds lately, but yesterday I switched back to my big, head-engulfing Aiwa headphones and the sound quality is supreme. It's the difference between looking at pictures of the Bahamas and actually being in the warm sand and clear water of the Bahamas.

If you compare listening through normal speakers and listening through earbuds and then listening through high quality headphones, headphones win. By far. You can hear the musicians' subtleties, the ambient hollow in the faint echo of a drum... It's stunning. It's more. It makes me love music to where I crave it that experience again and again.

If headphones escalate the music experience that I have, then what's the equivalent for art?

Most of us view art casually, much like most people listen to music. Were it not for the isolated position that I have as a programmer, I'd be one of those people.

Prior to last December, art wasn't important to me. I didn't crave it. Pleasant, but non-essential. Not so today. Having painted and lived through the re-assembly of color and form, I know it more now. While one doesn't have to be making the music to appreciate it more, one shouldn't have to be a painter to have a heightened experience of art.

So what is the visual equivalent of headphones?

As I sit and think about it, I think it's actually owning the piece, in full-scale reproduction or print, and being able to be alone with it, in isolation, to look at it and consider it.

We all own hundreds, or even thousands, of songs. But we own so little art. Is that because songs are 99 each and art is, well, at least a $20 purchase at Wal-Mart or $hundreds from a private atrist or gallery?

I know that Bill Gates' home has large, flat-panel screens that displays works from his collection. I know also that some companies are trying to get consumers to purchase art in bulk for display on their plasma screens at home.

Seems to me like like there's an opportunity here for indpendent artists... much like MP3's made it available for independent musicians to release their music to the world without music companies.

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Tags: music | art
by Brett Rogers, 4/14/2005 12:39:32 PM
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Drawing

I bought Richard Schmid's book, "Alla Prima." Easily the best book on the making of art that I've read. Conversational in its tone and deep in its treatment of art, truly a treasure from a man who loves making art.

I want to quote his discussion of drawing. It's everything that I would want to say, but he says it far better and with more authority. Emphasis in bold is mine... Enjoy :)

There is a popular notion that artists are born with an ability to draw, but that isn't true. The impulse to draw is there, but no one arrives in this world endowed with the capacity to graphically depict visual reality. I have never known a painter who was just "naturally" good at it and could do it without serious training. Drawing is a skill that must be learned, but it isn't like swimming or riding a bike. Once you get the knack of it, you can't relax and just let it happen by itself. It takes constant practice and presence of mind. Why? Because it is not a physical skill; it is a mental discipline. It deals with continual variables rather than the repetition of memorized shapes. I always have the fond hope that someday it will get easier, but it never does. Sound drawing always demands great care right down to the last dab of paint.

For most of us, the word "drawing" brings to mind an outline of something. This deeply ingrained assumption originates in childhood when we learned to use lines to make pictures. Yet in real life there are no lines around things. Line drawing is only a representation or diagram of our visual world. Painting, on the other hand (the kind I am dealing with here), attempts to create an illusion of that world. Consequently, in this discussion when I use the word "drawing," I mean the size, shape, and arrangement of all the patches of colors that collectively make things look the way they do (and which also constitutes a painting). When you render those patches the right size, the right shape, and with their distinctive edges and color, your painting will look like your subject. If you don't - it won't. It will look different.

Drawing is simply measuring. As it applies to direct painting from life, drawing comes down to nothing more than figuring out the width and height of color shapes and then fitting them together. Still, drawing remains very difficult for nearly everyone, which is odd when you think about it because drawing is only the visual element we work with that seems to deal with a measurable and definable aspect of the visual world. The other three elements: color, value, and edges, are relative qualities with generous room for interpretation. Drawing is about specific dimensions.

That, folks, is a masterful explanation of drawing. And if you like painting, or want to paint, buy the book. It's cheaper and available in soft copy at his web site, which is where I bought it.

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Tags: art | richard schmid | drawing
by Brett Rogers, 4/8/2005 9:05:22 PM
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Multnomah Falls: Layer 5

I'm close... time now for the tiny brushes and really small, time-consuming detail work.

I went in this morning and snapped pictures of half the corporate art in the building. Can you say "abstract?" Here are a few of them:

What's the criteria for selection? Don't know...

Someday, I'll try my hand at this, but I need to get a grip on painting reality first.

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Tags: art | painting | watercolor
by Brett Rogers, 2/3/2005 12:00:00 AM
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