Saturday, December 13, 2008

Don't Count Your Chickens...

I know this is a portrait blog, and that is what I spend most of my time thinking about, portraiture - not this blog, but I was a little taken aback yesterday when I heard a still life of mine has been juried into The California Art Club Gold Medal Show for May 2009. The portrait I had entered which I thought the BEST piece I had done all year did not. And I just put it in a really expensive custom frame. Never count your chickens before they are hatched.

I should add that in reality I have long given up 'expecting' to get into any show. That way it is a bonus when it happens.

I enjoy painting still life. I am not saying they are easy but I find them a really nice break from the rigors of portrait commissions. And I look on them as a little treat to myself between said work. Sometimes a still life set up will stare at me for weeks waiting for me to get to it. And I will kind of talk to it, telling it to be patient. I will get there. Yes, I am certifiable it seems.

I also admire artists who paint still life so well. David Leffel comes to mind. About as good as still life gets in terms of a high level of Rembrandt understanding. Sad that so many Leffel wannabes are out there though.  I get annoyed when I see that. That applies to Richard Schmid wannbes too. I like all sorts of still life painting styles to from Wayne Thiebaud  and Duane Keiser (EBAY Painting a Day Maestro) to Laura Robb, magical soft, soft edges ( One focal point.

In my teaching class at LAAFA, I suggest that an artist must paint it all. There is so much to learn from painting a still life. And if you can paint an apple really well around value, color, and drawing, you can start to approach the head with some understanding of the task ahead. My teacher, the marvelous Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A., ( always says a portrait painter should paint landscapes and vice versa to really learn.

I don't feel I am very good at landscapes at all. I just don't really have a desire to paint them. But I make myself do it especially on trips. Easy then to squeeze something in. Especially when you have carried that darn heavy painting box (Guerilla Pochade)  through airport security and customs. You might as well get something out of it. I also paint them really small. Get in and out as fast as I can.

I post here the CAC Gold entry, Pansies and Pear, 16 x 20, and also a still life I just finished this week, Geisha and Mumms, 16x20. 


Marian Fortunati said...

It's really lovely Johanna and CONGRATULATIONS!!!
You do beautiful work in both genres. I'd love to see the portrait you submitted... I'll bet it is stunning.
By the way... I saw this this morning because it came up on my Google Alerts for California Art. Have a wonderful week!

Sharon Weaver said...

How wonderful. Congratulations. It is quite an accomplishment to get into the CAC Gold Medal Show. I look forward to seeing the actual painting at the exhibition.

Jessica said...

hey mom! i like that new geisha still life! xo see i do actually read your blog

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

Thanks ladies for all your nice words. Would still rather my portrait had been accepted but hey...!

It is funny the painting projects you do with no expectations of anything except to see what you can do with the subject around your current art thinking, are usually the most successful it seems.

Marian Fortunati said...

Hi again Johanna,
I went on to the website you mentioned for Laura Robb.... you're right... beautiful work... someday maybe you can teach me how to lose edges like that! Sheesh!

Also.. a question.. what is the link to your website (Rhonda Hartis Smith) related to?? Is she one of your students or a friend or a fellow blogger or???