Monday, September 24, 2012

A Unique Opportunity - The Paisley Porch Gallery

Are you, or have you ever been, involved in a co-op gallery? I've heard good and not so good stories about co-ops. I've been involved in two. One is defunct and the other, The Paisley Porch Gallery, is in it's 7th year.

 The Paisley Porch Gallery is decidedly different in many ways, but reapeatbale, if you can find the right combination of people and place.

The Paisley Porch Gallery is tucked away in the historic Hotel Higgins, also home of the Paisley Shawl Restaurant
Housed in the historic Hotel Higgins (circa 1900's), home of the Paisley Shawl Restaurant (a 4 star eatery) and the Highlander Pub, in the small town of Glenrock, Wyoming, you'll find The Paisley Porch Gallery. There's centuries old charm everywhere and the establishment is run by a community minded couple who embraced the idea of an art gallery. We, the artists, converted a small glassed in porch at the front of the hotel into our gallery.

It's small, but cozy.

You can see a bit of the porch window on the left.
There are 5-7 artists showing work in the gallery and restaurant. We rarely have meetings, being somewhat independent. A mutual respect for each other and a spirit of small town co-operation prevails. The patrons are a mix of local folks and tourists, and sometimes workers who stay for a few months at a time, working on nearby wind farms or the power plant.

The owners, Mike and Judy Colling, handle all the sales for us and don't take a commission, by their own insistence. We're certainly willing to pay, they just aren't willing to take. (We try to find other ways to show our appreciation). Annual Christmas shows and sales have taken place most of the years since the gallery's inception, with a percentage being donated to a local charity.

Artwork hangs in the foyer.

More artwork hanging in the dining room.
The Paisley Porch Gallery has been a great venue for all concerned, adding interest and local culture to the town and hotel. During the seven years of the gallery's existence the amount of sales for the artists has always surprised me. Who would have thought a little co-op gallery tucked away in a tiny town would do so well?  Perhaps you're living in a small town where you could house a similar local co-op gallery.

By the way, the hotel is for sale. If you've ever dreamed of running such an establishment in a quiet little town, you might check it out.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Autumn Road, 9x12, oil on canvas

Autumn Road
I just got back from a trip to NH to visit my brothers. It was a great trip. The leaves were just barely beginning to turn there, which reminded me of our leaves that mostly turn yellow. But what a wonderful yellow - or gold, I guess. It won't be long now till we're seeing this color everywhere. I can hardly wait!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Color Charts - Really?

Study of Greens
 I can't wait to do some color charts with this new palette. I've painted a few paintings with it now but I haven't sat down and explored the possibilities. I want to see what kind of blues - particularly toward cerulean and what kind of purples - toward periwinkle (is that a technical artist term?)

The very idea of color charts used to elicit immediate yawns and mind wanderings from me. But I've discovered that color charts are a good means of exploring combinations of paint I don't naturally tend to. So far I've found that grey and lemon make a wonderful green, and grey and red make some sort of purpley red. But there are oh so many more possibilities!

I used to disdain color charts. I thought they were a flat waste of time, until an instructor "made" me do them, barring me from my go-to mixes for green and purple. That would be Ultramarine Blue with Cad Yellow Pale and then Ultramarine Blue with Alizarin Crimson. Much to my surprise, and delight, many richer colors were discovered by avoiding these 2 mixes.

Purples and greys made with my old palette - and no mix of Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson
Greens - about 144 - without using the mix of Ultramarine Blue and Cad Yellow Pale!

As you can see from the photos of my old color charts, I'm not real fussy and I found a lot of colors I wouldn't have otherwise. I have pulled these out a time or two to find a different mix to add some variety to a painting. I'll post pics of the new color charts when I get them done. It will be interesting to compare them. 

How about you? Have you done some color charts?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Old Sheds

Old Sheds
There's nothing like some old buildings to get my attention. Why is it that old things are so much more interesting in this way than brand new ones?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cool Water, 6x8, oil

It's been such a long, hot, dry summer around here, that the Game and Fish department has asked ranchers to continue filling their stock tanks and other waterholes for the wildlife. This little bit of cool water is a welcome sight.

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Bad Painting Habits

Do you have bad painting habits? I have many, but I'm beginning to delete them one at a time. I thought I'd just sit down and make a list of them because there's something about fessing up and seeing things in black and white that makes them more tangible. I'm hoping it will help me get rid of them. So, here they are.

  • not cleaning my brush often enough as I work - almost overcome
  • taking paint from the middle of the pile instead of at the end - getting better
  • not putting out enough paint - getting better
  • not replacing a pile that's used up - being LAZY remember that sluggard post? - still bad
  • haphazard arrangement of paint on my palette - OVERCOMER!
  • not wearing gloves
  • wanting to change a finished painting, from the season it was painted in, because we are in a new season - hard to resist
  • overworking a painting - don't we all?
  • mindless painting - almost overcome
  • not taking time to do notans - still disciplining myself to do this

This is my current list. As you can see, I'm at different places with different bad habits. The good news is, I have developed some good ones along the way. As the list shows, I've learned to organize my palette the same way every time. I don't have to hunt for a color and I have plenty of mixing space.

I've also learned to have my equipment ready the night before if I'm going out to paint in the morning. I don't know how many times I've arrived to begin setting up only to find I've forgotten something. Most often it's trash bags, paper towels or new solvent. Replenishing supplies at least the night before is a good idea. It would be even better to replenish them right after I get home.

I think my very worst habit is not taking the 10 seconds to replenish a depleted pile of tube paint. Ugh! I am getting better at this one, but sometimes my laziness is ridiculous. It leads to so much trouble in the painting. I end up trying to get by with what I have on my palette and it begins to look dirty on the painting and on and on. Sometimes I've ended up ruining a perfectly good painting by this bad habit.

Early on in my painting, I thought it was crazy to think of cleaning my brush so often - like wiping it after each stroke. How could a person manage that? But, I've found that it's become an unconscious habit. I wasn't even aware I was doing it until another artist watching me commented on it. I was secretly happy to know I was being so careful.

Evening Pines
 I guess my hardest-to-overcome bad habit is the overworking of a painting. How many of us struggle with this one? I think - maybe - the one-stroke-one-color, take-a-look-from-a-few-feet-away to plan your next stroke - might be my only salvation from this fate. Theoretically if I learn to practice that method, I at least won't mindlessly continue on past the point of peak impact.

Speaking of mindlessly going on, mindless painting is one of the things I've almost overcome. It's that thing I do when I'm carried away by something else besides the original intent for the painting. It happens a lot if I'm within earshot of other artists who are painting and talking or just talking. I've learned its best to paint quietly or alone. Maybe that's why my color theory teacher wouldn't allow talking or any music with lyrics to be played in class.

Putting a painting out of sight for awhile is a good way for me to resist changing the season. My worst is wanting to make a spring painting into a summer painting. Doesn't work.

And wearing gloves is an issue of a different kind, but important to me.  I've discovered it's important to take whatever measures I need to in order to make it easier to keep painting.

What bad habits do you share with me? What are your unique bad habits you're overcoming?

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