Luminous Glow

I had an open window several weeks ago to look back through some of my old sketch books.     Some of those early sketch books are now in the landfill.  However, several sketch books brought back a lot of early memories when I didn’t know transparent verses opaque.   Cold pencil notes from early workshops stared me in the face waiting to be read.   One particular reference was luminosity, paintings that have that warm fuzzy feeling called ‘glow.’   Surely I attended the class because the notes were definitely mine, when my handwriting was more legible.  At first it was like reading something for the first time….then memories began to come back like an old movie.  You know that feeling when the title is foreign and halfway through the movie you remember the ending and title.  Those few pages had me on my feet looking for a photo reference, grabbing a canvas, making a quick sketch, squeezing out fresh paint and trying my hand at a new experience from an old page.  Below is a painting created from a look back….hope you enjoy the view from inside an antique store….JoBeth

Antique Attic

~When Did You Start Painting?~

I am often asked the awkward questions ‘how long have you been painting’ or  ‘when did you start painting.’  Never quite sure if that question is literal or they are qualifying my paintings in comparison to the timeline questions.  Whatever the thought behind the question, here is a short summary of my journey.

Friends…friends…friends and their persistence pushed and pulled me into this incredible journey.   I remember thinking okay I’ll give it a shot to get them off my case….like when children keep nagging for a cookie before dinner.   An appreciation of those who drew or painted their vision was the spring board for my quick ‘I do’.  Mostly self taught….I have the mile high paintings and the scars that prove my claim.

My first experience was tole painting…how many flowers can cling to one wooden plaque.   The second experience was an oil painting class.   A delightful instructor along with a pushy friend broadened my enthusiasm for art.  She was patient with this novice flower painter teaching design and principles of composition.  It became a test making sure my viewer could see every painted barn board and every blade of grass from foreground to the barns foundation.   Now readers! If you enjoy painting on wood or the patina pattern on boards are important to you….be my guest.  I admire your tedious work, it just wasn’t` me. 

Another friend insisted we take a watercolor class just for fun.  My first brush stroke of watercolor pigment on beautiful white paper was the hook.  From the first class my palette was seldom dry because painting became a daily routine.    Watercolor became the spontaneous expression appealing to my creative taste.  My paintings have been described as happy, colorful, interesting….would prefer dramatic, exciting, and awesome…you know the adjectives’ used when visiting museums.   

 Many thanks to Frank Webb, who taught me lines don’t have to be straight, color is mine, paint to please yourself, and the importance of shapes.   My credentials’ are few unless holding an office in local art organizations qualifies anyone the title of artist.  I’ve held many offices worn many hats…..most were accepted out of ignorance on my part.                     

Incidentally…those friends who pushed me kicking and screaming to class never purchased another tube of paint or a brush.  Their supplies found a home with me…so what was I to do but use them.  Interesting how God placed friends in my life to move me out of my comfort zone to experience his pleasure…   

Coleman, TX

What a fun time judging Coleman’s Fine Arts League membership show.  Artist residing in small or large communities  have the same goals….enjoying every stolen moment to create as if it were a first time experience.  Bill Shields, the Leagues President, drove me to their newest venture or venue, a combination of old and new. The First Presbyterian Church now houses the Coleman Museum and the Leagues Art Gallery.  Members of the League have  a great facility to conduct workshops/exhibits and a great meeting place.   Hard work and elbow grease showed the minute I walked in the gallery.  If you go to or through Coleman make sure you stop to see the beautiful art and browse the Heritage Hall Coleman Museum….thank all of you for making me feel at home and sharing your talents.

Copy or Plagiarism……fine line

Recently reading a publication online, one article caught my eye.  The winners of a recent competition were posted….1st place winner was one of those ‘really’ moments.  My first thought, was a question, is that my painting?  A closer look revealed  an identical copy from my web site with an unfamiliar signature.  Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! as Gomer would say…those of you to young to know who Gomer was….check out Mayberry, U.S.A.  Some of you reading this can relate… a deer in the headlights moment.  It’s a flash back to the reference photo and the last brush stroke that  finished the painting.  The time of completion is mentally documented with your signature. The time is a prerequisite for painters because the most frequent ask questions from the viewing public ‘how long did it take you to paint that?’   Composing an acceptable piece of work doesn’t always come easy for most of us. Drawing, adjusting shapes, choosing colors, right technique are just a few major decisions in producing a work you would be proud to show your worst critic.  Unfortunately, this is not my first rodeo or experience with this issue.  How about recognizing your work on a wall knowing you didn’t enter this show, because you’er the judge. I was tempted at this particular event to give myself,  Best of Show. Browsing through a gallery was another headlight experience.  A class work copy framed hanging with a familiar signature priced to sell.  Thoughts go through my head ….contact the artist for a  commission ‘ I want one just like this one in a different color…like red to match my sofa.’  Funny isn’t it how our labored efforts jump off those walls…kind of like recognizing your kid on the playground.    Or another time as a judge,  awarding ribbons and prize money to find out latter the winner or winners paintings were not original.  Whoops!!!  Are those choices to copy made from ignorance, lack of ability or just plain lazy???  There isn’t enough time or resources to keep check of every piece of art work out in cyberspace but integrity and accountability of the artist is monumental.
In defense of copy work, picking up a brush for the first time can be overwhelming. Do I have the right paint, paper, am I the only beginner in this class and what is a scraper…do I have one?  Just choosing the right brush for some can be a month long endeavor.  I’m not opposed for beginners to copy work if the intention is learning techniques, color, value or finding their style.  But hey! Keep those copies under the bed with those dogs we all accumulate because they come from the sweat of  someone else.  Let’s put this scenario in the literary field….copy your favorite book word for word, change the names and location add a few scribbles of your own…..sign your name and send it to a publisher.  I am certain it would not make it to the best sellers list. Changing a few colors or lines doesn’t make it your painting……

When painters pass from beginner to the next level….it is time to draw from their own imagination/sketches/photographs whatever references you choose for composition.  If composition is difficult,  study others works, books, search for workshops or classes that focus on composition.  Save yourself the embarrassment of plagiarism when confronted by the original artist, judge, organization or gallery. Bottom line….if you have painted long enough to know what a scrapper is and what it’s used for it’s time you produce from your own material.
Happy Painting….

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed.   C.S. Lewis

Visualize Don’t Copy

Photographs dictate color, values and the unnecessary fluff for those who depend on them for composition.  Local colors are safe choices for most painters, values are perdicitable, and at times to much information.  Stepping out of that familiar comfort zone… trees, red barn, blue sky is not life threatening.  Putting all those pieces together for the sake of composition takes time and several sketches to achieve the goal.  Painting what is there doesn’t stretch the mind nor take much creativity.  No one has escaped that phrase from a novice ‘it doesn’t look like that in the photograph’.  My reply….’it did where I was standing’.  In my years of painting and instructing, the lack of understanding good composition is missing.  Photographs are reference…spur of the moment excitement.  I have seen or taken few photographs that are sound painting compositions.  Shapes, color, value, and sometime format needs a refreshing perspective to produce ‘a one more look’ when framed.  If ask to give a book review, would you rewrite the book….think of using those photographs in the same light….they are only references.   Learn to paint ‘what could be not what is’.  What is….is done…what could be is your interpretation of a familiar subject.  Speaking of the familar….we don’t take the time to review any seen changes that may have taken place…, the familiar is repeated over and over….

Quote from C.S. Lewis

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed.   C.S. Lewis

Yogi Anyone

Recently an email from a friend sent memories flooding across my minds ticker tape with images of my first Yogi class, much like an ‘I Love Lucy’ episode.  It began friendly and informative but quickly turned ugly, when the instructor plugged in the music.  Those women were one spoke, the only sound heard, was mine. I  pretended to know what I was doing chocking back tears of embarrassment and pain.  Sure didn’t want anyone to think this was my first rodeo. I began trying to imitate the group, which seemed like a crowd, 8 women’s bodies preforming those contours and convex positions like well made clocks.  From the corner of my eye without pointing or gasping, the instructor had folded her body into a small envelope…well…my body instantly went rigid speaking to me rather way. That class lasted about an hour which was about fifty minutes to long for me. I could have left after the introductions. It is rather difficult to smile when you are in such pain.  Someone handed me the schedule for the next class and I was afraid it would go up in smoke, all I could do was nod….and that wasn’t easy.  Holding back the tears…my mind was saying ‘you got to be kidding’, along with ‘this is the last time you will this face’.  I struggled to get the schedule in my pocket and walk to my car….you know that feeling when you accidentally fall and you want everyone within 3 blocks to know you are okay….the pain. Well those cute tights are still in my closet as a reminder….to the pain my body experienced that first class of Yogi.

Been On Hold

Yep! Fairly certain my flu shot didn’t have all the ingredients most had.  Thinking mine must have been the last vile on the last shipment because my cart was in the ditch for about 3 days.  Some of you reading have experienced one of Pharaoh’s plagues and if you haven’t please, celebrate life.  How can you be that sick, hurt that bad and not need at least one band-aid?  You know how it starts….nagy sore throat you say to yourself must be allergies.  Few aches and pains, must have done to that’s going to happen.  A little chill that requires a sweater, turn up the heat when no one is looking.  Would really like to go bed-d-bye at 2 in the afternoon but you have company.  As you carry on some kind of conversation you thoughts are wondering to the tune of ‘if I were at your house I would go home’.  Time comes when the house becomes yours again and you ditch that getting ready for bed routine and go straight for the Tylenol, socks, flannel gown, and an extra blanket on your side of the bed not wanting to draw attention to the fact you might not make it until morning.  That kinda of conversation takes way to much energy and at that moment someone with a gun threatening to shot wouldn’ budge you.  As the night progresses you feel your body lying nude on an iceberg with not enough blankets in the free world to change the situation.  If I could have recorded my dreams no doubt they would be a million dollar box office smash.  Everything hurts, hair, fingernails, parts of the body you no longer have and some parts medical science has not identified.  Okay Lord,  all bases are covered …have enough paintings to pave heaven, family is great, nothing more for me to do.  Morning comes and toughing it out is no longer in the picture a call to the doctor requesting Cyndie had priority.  About mid afternoon my Prince, ‘the wind beneath my wings’ that apparently stepped aside when I fell to this disease,  appears with meds.  My only request was a tuna salad and a boiled egg because I had drank enough chicken broth to fill my great grandsons wading pool…Seeming like hours since I had made my menu order.  From the bed,  I see a figure in the kitchen trying to make out this thing called a egg poacher/boiler and could be a bowl of something. Getting up with that Tim Conway shuffle made it to the area where food use to be stored.  My Prince was trying to put together a tuna salad while getting eggs in the steamer.  If my request had been something from the grill and a baked potato my wait would have been shorter.   Watching the process….. I ask…’will that tuna be ready today?…forget the egg’….
Now the next morning meds had kicked in and opening my eyes thought I had a bad dream.  Standing in the kitchen drinking my second gallon of water I spied my prescription on the counter……knowing then…no dream and I need to stay around to make tuna salad…….

My Review of Yes! All Media Cotton Canvas – ¾" Boxes of Six

Originally submitted at Jerry’s Artarama Art Supplies

Wet Media Canvas: perfect for watercolors, oils, acrylics, markers, shellac and acrylic-based inks, airbrush colors, alkyds and more! 11oz weight 100% unbleached cotton canvas Triple-primed with acid free special wet media primer Portrait smooth fine weave surface …

Yes! All Media Cotton Canvas – ¾” Boxes of Six Canvas

By JBG from Lubbock, TX on 11/22/2011
4out of 5

Pros: Good cotton canvas

Cons: Good value

Best Uses: Watercolor

Describe Yourself: Artist

Primary use: Business

Was this a gift?: No

Watercolor works well on Yes Canvas. For best results use a cotton canvas it behaves much like 100% rag paper. Painting the right value, darks and lights, are important from the beginning. Unlike paper, glazing is a problem. When glazing over an area the previous color is lifed and will neutralize or mix a color unknown to man..

On The Mend


Tags: Using Product


My Review of Arches 100% Rag Watercolor Paper – Natural White

Originally submitted at Jerry’s Artarama Art Supplies

The Artists’ Choice Since 1492Beyond the main characteristics such as 100% rag content, neutral pH value, stiff sizing, four beautiful deckle edges and mould-made character, are the legendary surfaces. Hot Pressed papers are plate smooth and are ideal for traditional watercolor techniques,…

Arches 100% Rag Watercolor Paper – Natural White


Arches a good choice

By jbg from Lubbock, TX on 11/7/2011
5out of 5

Pros: Dependable, Stores Easily, Long Lasting, Easy To Use

Cons: Good value

Best Uses: Art, Long Term Use

Describe Yourself: Quality Oriented

Primary use: Business

Was this a gift?: No

I have used almost every watercolor paper on the market but return to Arches. I recommend Arches to beginning students and professionals. I like the natural or the bright depending on the subject and the techique used. Knowing what to expect when applying color is important to me and arches passes the test.

Holiday Moments


Tags: Made with Product, Darks hold from beginning

Hats Off


Tags: Made with Product, Clarity of color

(legalese) not Pilate’s!!!

These are warm up studies I often do…to motivate myself to paint. These are painted with a 2 inch flat brush….no pencil drawing…just shapes. This helps to loosen up and use my imagination, I see you laughing that is if you know me. Great for exploring new colors or color schemes…most are painted on the back of those paintings you don’t want anyone to see after your gone….