Saturday, August 30, 2014

Flowers, Fish, and Fortune: A Starving Artist's Day of Serendipity

Before I say anything else : most days  my dad is just a sweet memory, and I get some amazing laughs remembering things he said with my sisters from time to time. Once in a while, I miss him and feel pretty sad, but then I hear his voice say, "What the hell are you crying about?! Look around you!"  He used to tell me to look up at the birds when I felt sad, and see how they lived so simply. He was all about staying grateful...

He comes up a lot when speaking about my art here on this blog, logically, because he was my art mentor...Thus the name of the blog itself...

But, today was one of those days when I was just going about my business, doing fine, and BAM! he dropped right in front of me, just to let me know he was right here, always, and more than that, he's going out of his way to help me.

More about that in a bit...

About the fish and flowers:

I am designing the flower arrangements/ bouquets for my daughter's wedding, so flowers have been on my mind a lot lately. While researching about which flowers to use, I've learned a lot about their nature, history, and meanings. I got the idea to create a series of paintings based upon the birth flowers of each month. As I told people about this, some didn't even know they had a birth flower. So, I set out to change this, and I decided to let the 12 birth flowers of the year (well actually more, since some months have more than one) inspire me.

As I thought some people might like to purchase these for birthday gifts, I decided to start with the birth flower of September, the month coming, an aster. I also looked up which critters are around (bees, butterflies, etc.) and play around with some of these where/when they are naturally found. So the aster, which is named after its appearance as a 'star', is feeding a bee.

At the same time, my husband is always bothering me to paint what has worked financially in the past. I know I did a lot of animals, and everyone loves those and wants more. Since I love animals too, that will probably not stop. But specifically, there was a bit of a fight over a goldfish I painted recently, and my husband is telling me,  "Don't paint flowers- you need to paint lots and lots of goldfish." I am always saying I can't just make things to sell them; they have to be inspired by something other than profit. However I decided, just to make him happy, to paint a fish simultaneous with the creation of the aster flower, and the fish sold as soon as I had finished it.

Ok, so I guess he gets a point...But it wasn't a goldfish. And plus, the aster has a possible bid on it too...just saying.

But, I decided, if it works, why not- So, here I go- I am hoping to complete within the next couple of weeks, 12 flowers, and 12 fish, side by side...This system is actually very productive, because I paint the background of one and while that's drying, the background of the other, then back and forth...So it's a flippery flowery fishy frenzy on my desk.

Back to my day, and my dad:

My dad was an unbelievable oil painter. My training in paint came from that medium, and I find it to be so comfortable. I don't know if it's the gorgeous forgiveness of the medium or the smell of linseed oil which reminds me of being near Dad painting, but I love to do it. It is a bit of a mess, and can take some patience. But, in my opinion, even though acrylic has all kinds of modern conveniences, oils still beat acrylic by 100 miles. To be completely honest, part of the reason I haven't continued with the big canvas acrylics is that the medium just doesn't compare to me.

Probably one of the most happy times in my life was when I went shopping for art supplies with Dad. He was like a kid in a candy store. If we already had it, it didn't matter, we could always use more. He spared no expense on those trips, and we always left with a huge shopping cart piled high with supplies. I even have some of his tubes of paints left, though he passed over 25 years ago. This morning as I painted my watercolor flowers and fish indoors, I remembered seeing some small canvases in my studio and in my mind toyed with the idea of doing some plein-air oils, which I love to do, in the fall when it's cooler.

I took a break from yupo painting today to go over to the Salvation Army to look for a dress for my daughter's wedding. No luck. But as I putted around, I found a nice frame selling for only a dollar that I thought would be beautiful with my October marigold. At the same time, I saw a frame that I thought might work for the November chrysanthemum, my Daughter and Dad's flower. It was $2.99, and I debated about it, but decided against it, and left with only the dollar frame. In the parking lot, I had a change of heart and went back in to get the frame. "It's only $2.99, I thought, best to get it now, while you can."

So I went back in. The frame was gone. But instead, I saw an art bin that had a sticker for $4.99. I thought it was just the bin. Then I opened it up...

In my estimation, these never-used oil painting supplies are probably worth around $250.

Yup Dad, I get the picture. On to plein-air in the fall. And thanks for the present. :)

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