Today I have am supposed to have a post published at the Fine Arts Studio Online. That means that a lot of people will come to this blog who have never been here before. I want all of you regulars to put away the magnetic beanies and moth abdomens and try to appear halfway normal, OK?
One of the things that seems to be different about writing a blog than writing a book is the serial nature of it. Someone said in the comments that they had just finished reading my entire blog. It took them weeks. When you write a book, (not that I ever have) you can write chapter thirty assuming the readers have read chapter eleven. But on the blog you guys parachute in wherever you damn well please. Sometimes I will include a link to something I have written months ago that relates to the subject at hand. Tonight I am going to speak a little about what I have been up to with the blog and the order in which I have done it.
I am a professional oil painter. That means I make my living painting pictures. I have done that for about thirty years. I began the blog because my wife and computer guru suggested that I would be ideal for it. I had been reading James Gurneys fabulous site Gurney Journey which he posts every day,and inspired by that decided to do my own. I have done some writin and speechifyin before and have been around the New England traditional painting scene for a while. No one else seemed to be writing about that approach to painting and I decided I would. I wanted to try to write down every thing I knew about painting. I decided that I would do it as a New Years resolution. It actually took my wife a week or so to get my blog designed for me. It is an original design on blogspot with my own signature logo and color scheme. I have always done advertising in magazines on black so I continued with that. I like the look, although now and then someone complains it is harder to read.
My idea was to post every day for a year. That year ends in about a month. I have written 339 posts in a row without missing a day. Since I often travel to paint I have written in motels rooms and from different parts of the country. I have written on failing computers and in public libraries when I couldn't get wi fi.
I don't believe that I will end the blog at the end of the year though, I have a lot more material I would like to cover. So I intend to continue it. When I do run out of things to write about I will drop back to a less frequent schedule and write as new ideas occur to me. I will not write just to be writing though. You who read the blog know that I spew content anyway, I generate a lot of text relatively easily.
The project to write down what I know has so far been divided into a number of themes that I cycle through in my writing. They can all be accessed through the side bar to the right. They are ;
- painting supplies and paint, palettes, easels, the "hardware".
- drawing and the training of drawing painting techniques and methodology
- history of American landscape painting and a little material to provide background to that. I have paid particular emphasis to New England and its art history
- discussion of the artistic ideas like form and light
- philosophical ideas common in our historical painting
- my own experience, training and story as a painter
- something I call "ranting and raving" which is about what it sounds like, opinion sort of like a news paper editorial column.
- Ask Stape which is an Ann Landers style answering of user submitted, and phony questions of my own device emanating from the mouths of a handful of lovable fictitious characters.
- Demos of paintings done on location
- the business of art
- critiques of readers paintings with photoshopped suggestions for their improvement.
If you want to read those they are mostly in the first 60 or 80 posts.The next thing that is going to be covered is more history of the American landscape painters. I have a whole lot more I want to do on that. I also want to do some snow painting demos.
All of this is laced with cheap humor to keep it from getting TOO serious. There are already plenty of deadly serious books about nearly everything I address. I think I have hit upon an original idea for a blog; there are lots of them where an artist writes about themselves and their art, and I do some of that too, but this blog is a tutorial and I ask myself as I write it every night "did I give the readers something of value ". I hope at least most nights I have. I am not above a little self promotion though and it does advertise me, at least indirectly. People who read the blog will refer to me in conversations with their friends and dealers. But I do not post paintings for sale.
The first month I wrote, was January, I had 20 people read the blog, this month 10,000 people read it. Those are of course not all unique visitors, many of those visitors are daily or routine visitors. There are political and business blogs that see thousands of times more visitors than that, but given the nature of what I am doing, as I am narrowcasting I think that is a pretty good number.
Another thing I do is a few workshops, I offered one about a week ago that filled. It was a snow painting workshop the last weekend of January at an inn in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Actually one more space opened up for that, if you want it, here is the link.
Because I had people on a waiting list I am going to do a second workshop the next weekend. The link above will let you sign up for that too. The second sesion I am calling Snowcamp W. I already have that about a third filled so if you want to go, sign up, as I expect it may fill too.
Here is a picture of the inn with the mountains behind it.
I have been painting snow outside for more than thirty years and it is my favorite subject. I think it is probably the thing I do best and I am looking forward to disclosing what I have discovered about painting it. It is of course not white.
My winter workshop will be at the Sunset Hill House near Franconia Notch in the White mountains of New Hampshire. The views are out of this world and the Inn is going to be a great place to do a workshop Here is a picture of the Inn with the mountains behind it.
We can walk out the backdoor of the inn and paint on their enormous grounds with views of the whites and we can run back inside by the fire and drink coffee if our feet get cold. If we want to leave the inn there are great locations all over the area. This is sacred ground for American landscape painting, Bierdstadt and McEnteee and most of the Hudson river school once painted in this area. The workshop will begin Saturday morning and end Monday evening. That's three days. I am charging $300.00 per person and I intend to limit the class to ten this time.
I have been able to arrange with the inn for a discounted rate for the class. So the whole show comes in at just under six hundred dollars for the weekends lodging and three days of instruction. This is a lovely, grand inn in the 19th century New England tradition. I think we should all be very snug and comfortable. Up there in the mountains I think we can count on plenty of snow.