Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Does Exposure To Competition Make You A Better Artist?

Take 50 high school seniors from nine different high schools and enter them into an art competition. Good or bad?

I guess it all depends on your point of view.

For the last nine years, the Granite School District (here in Utah) has provided an opportunity for high school seniors to participate in an annual art competition. The students are instructed to create a work of art within a four-hour window in one of the following categories:
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Mixed Media
  • Wheel Thrown Pottery
  • Hand Built Pottery
  • Sculpture

Four professional artists mentor the students for the evening; giving advise and encouragement to them, and then later the professionals serve as judges for the competition.

Do competitions like this foster growth and goodwill?
Having participated as a judge at this event for five years, I can definitely say “yes!”

Not only does this competition promote individual participation but the students also get to attend a separate luncheon/lecture where a professional artist speaks to them about the joys of exhibiting artwork and how to enjoy “the process” of creation.

These young artists also receive recognition from their respective schools (and a terrific box lunch the night of the event). There is a live student band and lots of friends and family who attend.

Last night as I visited with each student and listened to them describe what they were creating, I found myself being captivated and inspired by their versions of reality.

Without exception, each artist expressed praise for being a participant. 
 They clearly loved what they were doing!  
A few of the artists even shared with me their desire to continue on to college as an art major.

Good or bad? I’d give it a “thumbs up!”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hey, How About A Studio Tour?

First of all, I've decided that the phrase "finished studio" is a misnomer.  

An art studio is never finished! It's in a constant state of change according to the artwork that is hung there, the "found" still life objects that arrive mysteriously and the variable moods and personality of all those who inhabit the place! You might even say that an art studio is a work of art itself!

Since before and after pictures are a favorite of mine, I'll take you on a before and after tour. I hope you enjoy it!


Now, to make this studio jump to life, just add some students, invite a few guests, start the music and cook up some tasty treats.  You'll have all the ingredients for a great party!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Is There A Secret To Painting With A Palette Knife?

There is something exciting about a room full of women with knives! If you give them enough paint and let them go, you'll have a recipe for beautiful work!

Yesterday, we held a four-hour Palette Knife Painting workshop in the new studio. Between the sounds of scraping and the laughter, we had a blast!
We learned a few things as we experimented; like how much paint to use, how to angle the knife for scraping and how to add paint with smooth strokes.

Are there really secrets about painting with a knife? Sort of. You can read about various techniques on the internet, but watching someone demonstrate knife painting in real life is the easiest way to learn. Once you understand the principles of knife painting - there are no secrets.
The students demonstrated their new knife technique by completing cloud studies. It was tricky getting the right amount of paint onto the canvas. If they didn't apply enough paint, their canvas looked starved and if they used too much, they were knee-deep in muck. Eventually, each student learned how much paint to use.
The sack lunches from Paradise Bakery were delicious, but at the next workshop, we decided that we will eat our lunch earlier! All that heavy-duty concentration made us hungry!

I used my Mahl stick for a pointer during the critique.

Here's the entire palette knife crew!

Let's do it again!