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Posted in Artist Info on June 16, 2015
First off, I am no longer posting news to Facebook for the reasons stated on my Facebook Statement here* For that reason if you are hoping to see my news you needs to subscribe by email to this newsletter or follow this blog, or my twitter page. Those sources are unedited by the platform.
Now onto something new….
This morning I watched a video on Posing for Female Portraits
In it the Author Jeff Smith (photographer) made several definite no nos all of which I found myself decisively violating. I thought it would be a good exercise for myself to analyze my new work and discover my thoughts about why I wanted to violate the “rules of portrait” according to a portrait photographer. The reason I picked a photographer’s guidelines is that it is a little removed from painting… providing a different perspective and maybe a little more market oriented than the rules painters use… Now I must first comment that this photographer is doing portrait photography for clients who want to serve a particular purpose. As such he isn’t trying to do art per se but satisfy clients… But it does give a window into what all clients think and as such I found it good information. However, I was in accord with his idea that the traditional pose of the past wasn’t working anymore because the modern woman just isn’t passive or submissive (thank goodness). Also most of this is directed towards portraits of women, which is my focus at the moment… not that men are worthy :-) just a different focus. He does mention men, but alas men you are getting very little time on the radar here. Sorry.
So granted he is talking about portraiture for a different purpose i.e. the Traditional Business Portrait, or Casual Portrait done for Parents or Family or Glamorous Portrait for your husband or boyfriend. I am using the portrait to describe the inner dynamic and for the portrait in a context of natural light with dynamic use of color and light i.e. as a design element for the environment of the client. But this made me realize that maybe artist’s need to consider the new possibility of posing outside of the box for the modern age, and sticking to the traditional posed portrait sitting in a chair or standing by a desk or posed portrait of school models while being admirable in skill isn’t likely to be relevant to clients…
So keeping all that in mind here are his 4 posing no nos the first two I am definitively doing the opposite…
1. never pose the face away from the light…. he is talking about the controlled environment of the studio or controlled lighting environments. So first off I don’t have the space to do a controlled environment study or even sketch… which was the main reason I started plein air painting in the first place… I didn’t have a studio per se. However, when I started working outside, I found enjoyed everything about it particularly the certain serendipity of elements. Light fading, unusual color combination, unique shapes and patterns… Natural settings, strong lighting effects with interesting bouncing light, and high contrasts is my thing. This allows the artist to create high key, dramatic effects with color and light. Obviously you don’t want the subject to become deformed but I feel that in a natural setting, the subject more than likely can’t open her eyes if they are squinting into the natural light of the sun, so looking away is natural, and within that setting one can discover very intriguing subjects particularly using lighting to describe the face contours with sculptural lines. I find that after my initial three years of pieces I was ready to explore this aspect, and chomping at the bit to do so. So although the modern photographer has updated posing to the present century they haven’t gone further out on the limb, which is definitely where I am at, and updated to the next level ie the action, moving and dynamic posing possible in real life settings.
2. never square off the body to the camera… Well I guess if someone wants to pose for fashion industry, … but have you ever noticed how strong a woman’s persona becomes head on. I think because I am trying to depict the strength of women and their force, I actually find the head on challenging expression dynamic straight in the eye by the portrait. Eye to eye, face to face. Why should this be only a man’s purview… sorry Charlie.
3. arms away the body… I agree with this one if possible to do something which is not awkward or ridiculous, obviously in the water environment there is little control over some of your movements so a certain amount of happy circumstance has to happen, but it allows for the subject to express herself in new ways.
4. strong catch lights in the eyes… the eyes are where most of the life is, lighting up the eyes definitely gives the advantage of the artist because you can emphasize and de-emphasize whatever you want through deliberate choices.
5. bounce light up onto the face…again he is talking strictly about the studio or posed photography but using the water subject this has always been a particularly natural emphasis for me… Bouncing color and light, pattern and design and creation of beautiful subject using this combination. The portrait is no different.
Now back to the easel to finish my newest piece with direct gaze, strong sculptural lighting facing away from the light… rules are meant to be broken and to each his/her own.
Since I am having a slight delay in building the Taboret…. I decided to take care of another issue in equipment. For year’s I have been frustrated by the equipment one can buy for artist work. One of those has been a palette. I would buy a new french easel and every one had to be remade with new hardware. It got to the point I would just revamp the hardware pretty much out of the box. I would change the hinges for window locks epoxied in with heavy brass screws and re-wrap the flimsy metal blocks on the legs. Wax the wing nuts and locking screws on the slides etc… but the Palette was built for someone who was working in ideal conditions with loads of time which I found was not me. I even had one that is so thin it split in half. You can see how inconsistent they are both in size and shape and I wanted double that space for portrait work on location simply because of the process of creating a portrait … but now I am thinking why didn’t I do this before… life would have been so much easier.
TIP : one can easily layout the paint on the palette before hand, take a piece of peel and stick and cover the paint before putting it into the easel so you are ready to go on location.
Doing lots of paintings next to the ocean where wind whipped around like it was channeled by high rises I had bent my thumb back till it was out of joint once teaching me never to hold my palette again. Still when you jammed the palette into the location under the cover it cut off a significant portion of the palette mixing space… so years later, when I actually had some of the tools, ho ho ho, I decided since I knew all this I was going to make my own full double size folding palette so that I would have plenty of room to mix but not have it held in anyway.
I bought a piece of 1/4″ birch hardwood, made a pattern where the palette could slide under the cover easily and rest securely on top of the drawer. I’m adding bungy cord as well to the back to wrap around the drawer.
The hinge I have purchased will fold out only 180 degrees so the palette lays flat and the paint blobs can be on the top palette when it folds back in half…. at any rate, I’m waiting on the 180 degree brass hinges. My next thing is to apply a clear gesso finish for the mixing surface so I can see the wood ( which I like) but which will prevent leaching of oil paints into the wood, making it harder to clean. Thus having a smooth mixing surface like glass. Incidentally I found that there is something called spray on glass but I have been unable to find out how to obtain it here in the States… I’m doing some more sanding but I’m thrilled so far and tried out the fit this morning. Will post an update when it is complete. I’m making another one as well for a laptop table. If you would like for me to make you one I can do this, once I finalize the supply chains… you can pre-order here: http://gallery.deborahchapin.com/shop/ull-sized-double-plein-air-palette-for-portraits-by-deborah-chapin/ I’m also offering the instructions on how to build it yourself.
You see how bit by bit I’m getting more organized…
Posted in Marketing Online on May 26, 2015
Yesterday I watched a film about the comic strip artists and how they are adapting to the new markets since the demise of most of the newspapers and hence the syndicate marketing that went with it. It was as they said a time like the previous generation of book illustrators who had to adapt and become comic strip artists in order to survive. I was struck by the parallels of the comic strip artist and the fine artist with the gallery system which is slowly modifying and evolving into something different and the rise of the era of the independent artist.
The search for what’s next is always on my mind as I have another 30 years as an artist if I’m lucky and I want to accomplish a number of things. How to go about doing that is the question, what is the best way to approach the marketplace for the fine artist….
The comic strip artist’s have done what many of fine artist’s have done, i.e. they’ve created websites and created a means of direct sales on these website. http://muttscomics.com/ They outlined their process in the film see the following:
1) comics put online for free building an audience and following by creating story lines for their work. Creating a story line is not new, since this is how comic strips have been since their inception. The thing which is new is that they an offering these for free, no syndication process which builds an audience. We’ve seen this also in the book market as well, where publishers offer entire chapters for free online thereby creating a market for the book and in music as well where on YouTube musicians offer parts of albums to create a market for the downloaded album.
2) Step 1 is designed to create a large readership for the things which people like about the strip. Some of these comics have developed millions of readers which of course is a wonderful way to get the word out. In old marketing one use to say each person knows 5 people. So if you have 2000 readers x 5 you are actually reaching 10,000 readers. In old marketing you where you had a brick and mortar show you had the numbers of 1 in 20 would result in some sort of sale. I suspect that the numbers are not the same in online marketing. I generally go by the quality of the number, those people who view a site for more than 5 mins or see more than 6 pages are truly interested art lovers 1 in 20 of that type of viewer is your real market. Art is like eating a fine meal, it requires some time to savor so anyone who looks at a page for 20 seconds just isn’t getting it…
3) Monetize you site. The comic strip artist is selling books, prints, t-shirts etc… while fine artist’s can not do all of these things they can sell original art through the site by simply making a contact work on the site, ie email me if you have a question , you can sell prints, books, and instructional DVDs . The principle is the same.
4) Once the website is large enough you can advertise i.e. sell advertising space on the site if you want which is another means of making income.
5) They also said cut out the middle men. While I wouldn’t recommend this 100% for the fine artist, I do believe that in the present marketplace it is possible to be independent and work a show schedule as well without harming either. Actually I believe and have always thought so, that it should boost the market of both and thereby increase the health of the marketplace for the fine arts. Art is like fine wine it actually becomes richer with exposure, repeated exposure. I’ve always said that art isn’t like selling Bread there is NO sell by date.
Posted in Auction Notices on April 21, 2015
As part of my new site I’m trying out a new Auction format. Looking to move and build a larger two-story studio for the next 30 years of work and would like to sell as much as possible before I move. To this end I’m also working through some inventory with a new idea that benefits both the collector and the artist i.e. auctions. I’ve never liked the auction layout at eBay, never thought it showed the work off, and I’m not much of a fan of the auctioneer set up either… picky picky, which is highly risky for both the artist and collector because so little time is allowed for people to see the artwork and hyped atmosphere of the auction transpires over a period of less than a couple of minutes. I did like the silent auction that I saw used at the Artist of America Shows at the Denver Art Museum when I participated in that. This is what I decided to do, allow collectors to bid on a work, over a period of two weeks giving the collector time to look at the work think about the selection and ask the artist questions. See my new auction pages starting here: http://gallery.deborahchapin.com/silent-auction-page/ It is more conducive to selling art. I will be putting up paintings and announcing the auction the third Tuesday of each month and you’ll be able to sign onto the site and bid on the work the first through the 15th of each month going forward. The first Auction begins May 1st and ends May 15th starting with 3 pieces listed. If you have any questions feel free contacting me for information. This gives people a chance to buy art pieces some of which have never been exhibited and to shop my studio in the comfort of their own home. The choice of the artwork is up to the artist, although if you are interested in something in particular I’ll take suggestions. Contact the Artist
* to subscribe to auction go to http://gallery.deborahchapin.com/wp-login.php?action=register to Register. Enter a username (which may be anonymous and an email address) you will be invoiced should you have the winning bid. You will have the option of paying by Paypal or by personal check on an US bank. See the Silent Auction Page for more details.