It's been awhile since since I've painted a dog portrait without it being a commission. This one went quick. I completed it in two painting sessions, and I achieved the somewhat abstracted, somewhat off-kilter look I was aiming for. The simple orange/blue color scheme works great. What else can I say: I am pleased with this painting. (video of the painting process will be uploaded to my YouTube channel in a few short hours) Contact me if interested in purchasing this painting or commissioning one of your own.
This series began two years ago, really, as a set of four 36x24" paintings which were painted all at one time, the idea being they could be displayed as a group or individually. I had originally called them "Paysage Energique" (Energetic Landscape), but I am renaming them as "Through the Wild Wood---large". Here they are (all of them still available, by the way):
The new set of Through the Wild Wood paintings are smaller, at 8x10", and available in both vertical and horizontal formats. I painted a batch of ten each to start with. These paintings are all similar in style and color and subject matter---indeed, they are painted in batches to ensure the consistent look across all paintings in the series (see video below of the painting process)---but they are each original pieces. Due to the nature of this series of paintings, I will not be posting each specific painting, only these few examples of the painting series---you understand.
Additionally, because of my rapid workflow and because they are painted on canvas panels instead of bulky traditional canvas, I am offering these 8x10"/10x8" paintings in the Through the Wild Wood series at a lower price-point than other paintings of this size and I am also offering free shipping! (Thought I'd make it easy to say, "yes.") Anyway here are the smalls:
And finally, here's a little video of the painting process. (If you've been enjoying my videos, please subscribe to my YouTube channel to be notified when new videos come out! Oh, and here's the link my YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/wessf. Thanks!
I painted this image once before in a large format---this one is a more manageable 16x20". I achieved the texture with a combination of paint splatter, manual dotting with a brush, as well as using a sheet of bubble-wrap like a stamp, creating the overall "screen" effect. I really like how well this one turned out. I will probably be doing more in the future utilizing the bubble-wrap stamp technique. The video of the painting process is below.
See the video of the painting process below. Not all my painting videos end up on here. Visit my YouTube channel to see many more videos and subscribe to get a notification whenever I upload a new video.
I plan to do a few paintings in this Abstracted Pineapple series.
This one turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. It's eye-catching in person and very large (three feet tall and nearly five feet wide).
Update 8/11/16 ---I replaced the original image of the painting with the new painting (the painting was stretched to a slightly wider size and parts were repainted . . . notably, the edges were fixed and the diagonal leg of the swing set was removed and I added the bright red and yellow squares of color throughout the painting). I like the new look even better.
"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." ---Salvador Dali
We don't have a lot of choice in the way we think. Not really. Life is a series of experiences, the vast majority of which we have no control over. Life just rolls right along without stopping to acknowledge us. The times we do have a say in what happens in life are few and far between, and for most of us that doesn't even get started until after we leave home for the first time---for some of us it takes longer still, longer to understand who we've become. But well before that time, our brains have already been formed. Strong connections have already been established in our brains, making us timid or brave, sociable or introverted, and so on. Some people are too needy. Some people are too greedy. And worse: some people get it in their heads that perfection is what it's all about. Perfection. That sweet idyllic metaphor, humming with the unseen rhythms of the universe, that one pure note of absolute mindfulness to which the very insects tune their lullabies on crisp moonless nights beneath the stars.
Hogwash! There's no such thing as perfection. Not really. Even if there was, would you really want that? At what cost? Yes, we can achieve sublime moments when everything seems to work out, and we might take a pause in those moments (if we are lucky) to acknowledge the "perfection" we have achieved. But those moments are seldom appreciated, and, sorry, it's not really perfection. This is what I think. I think perfection (or the perfection-obsessed mind) is an obstacle. It is in the way. It halts creativity. It stunts growth. It prevents people from learning and improving. Yes, a perfectly executed work of art is a thing of beauty---I'm not saying that can't or shouldn't be achieved---but the approach must be done in a healthy way. Perfectionism is a mind-trap. It is a mad cycle of desire to succeed, fear of failure, anxiety over the smallest mistakes, and finally, when the perfection hoped for has not quite been achieved, an ultimate letdown.
"For perfectionists, life is an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. It's a fast track to unhappiness, and perfectionism is often accompanied by depression and eating disorders. What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure, so theirs is a negative orientation. And love isn't a refuge; in fact, it feels way too conditional on performance." ---Psychology Today
So how do we get better at getting better without the perfectionism baggage? I answered my own question there: without the baggage. Leave perfection to the insects---let them have it, and all the problems that go with it.
Practical steps? Here's an idea: take some paper or canvas or surface of your choice and some pens/paint/charcoal/etc, and practice shutting off your brain for a little while. Close your eyes and maybe start by drawing or painting a circle---just quickly, without thinking about it. Okay, you can look at it, but then close your eyes again and repeat the circle thing. There, you've done it---two circles. Is it perfect? (if so, you may not be human; if not, congratulations, session complete) What comes next? I don't know---I'm not the boss of you---keep doodling, perhaps. Find some way to be creative without relying so much on your brain. Over time you'll develop new pathways in the brain---or maybe not (I'm not a doctor)---you will find your way out, I'm sure of it. Meanwhile, don't sweat it. You're doing fine. You are perfect just the way you are.
For this quick painting, I used a reference photo from Aaron Younce's Instagram:
"This is the Etienne de Boré oak, but locals call it the Tree of Life. I live a couple of blocks away from it and I ride past it all the time going to and from the shop. Sometimes I stop to just look at the tree for a while, or walk around under it. There's a little plaque under it that says it was planted around 1740. This is one bad ass oak tree."---Aaron Younce (instagram.com/atomictortoise)
I feel like this one fits right in my artistic wheelhouse. Some of my paintings end up more abstract than this one and some end up more realistic---this one is where the two extremes shake hands. Hope you like it.