Goals, Objectives, and Challenges for the Coming Year

November 25, 2017 in General, Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

It’s about time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions again. I prefer to think of it as setting goals to pursue, or objectives I would like to attain, or even challenges I am setting up for myself. Somehow I feel less threatened by those words than by “resolutions”, which seem to me to be things that I resolve NOT to do, like eating a carton of ice cream in one day, versus goals, objectives, and challenges which are things I plan to work towards. Here are some of mine:

  1. Paint every day either plein air or in the studio, for 30 or 60 days, maybe longer. To do this, I plan to have a palette and brushes ready all the time, in my studio, as well as in my plein air backpack. I have ordered a whole bunch of 6×6 panels for this effort. I can use larger canvases, which I keep on hand all the time, but for this goal to be achievable, I want to be able to finish my daily painting in just 30 minutes, so it makes more sense to use small canvases.
  2. Learn to paint shapes common to our local landscape. Or to paint them better. Shapes such as, palmettos, palm trees, blue herons and other shorebirds, tugboats and fishing boats and pleasure boats, paddlers, waves and choppy water, clouds, live oaks and scrub oaks, sand dunes, twisted dune pines, etc. If I spend a week on each of those subjects, that covers at least 2 months, without even considering that nothing is carved in stone, fortunately for this easily distractible artist, where every shiny spot of light cries out to be captured, now!
  3. Learn to simplify, simplify, simplify!
  4. Figure out what appeals to me about paintings I admire, and then practice that — compositional design, color combinations, contrast, development of focal area, etc.
  5. Practice putting people in some of my paintings. Participate in the upcoming figure painting sessions to be held every Friday at the Cultural Arts Alliance’s Foster Gallery on Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach, Florida. Learn how to use the “Zorn Palette” to create skin tones (cadmium red light, yellow ochre, titanium white, and ivory black).

Here’s my first one, painted today.

Oil painting study of a palmetto bush

Recent paintings and studies are below. The first two, which are (first image) a pencil and nupastel quick-sketch of artist friend David Boyd drawn from a live pose, and (second image) a small painting of a posing elderly woman in her Sunday dress, were completed last May at Plein Air South, a gathering of artists for lectures, demonstrations, panel discussions, and painting sessions. I gave both to the respective models.

Pencil and nupastel sketch of David Boyd at Plein Air South, Apalachicola, FL, 2017

Oil painting of older woman in sunday finery, painted en plein air at Plein Air South

These next two paintings were completed at recent weekly Wednesday morning plein air sessions with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters.

Oil painting of the horse pasture at Alaqua Animal Refuge, Freeport, FL, painted en plein air

Oil painting of Four O'Clocks at Oak Marina, Niceville, FL

This painting below was painted with the DeFuniak Springs group represented by artist Jackie Wagoner last weekend.

Oil painting of the flower garden outside the library in DeFuniak Springs, FL

The paintings below were painted some time ago. I retouched or completely reworked some, and others simply have been pulled up from my piles of studies. I will be taking these to Panama City next weekend for the Fringe Gallery’s “Under $100” sale.

Oil painting of ethereal scene of sunset and a bridge

Oil painting of the gall colors on Mack Bayou, Santa Rosa Beach, FL, touched up from original painted in 2013

Oil painting of the grassy bayou, Point Washington, FL, retouched from original painted in 2013

Oil painting of the marsh at Sea Island, completely reworked since originally painted in 2013

Oil painting of the Pompano on dry land at Nick's Restaurant, Basin Bayou, FL, touched up, originally painted in 2014

Oil painting of a hibiscus bloom at Clay Garden Shop, Seagrove Beach, FL

Contact me if you are interested in any of these paintings.

 

 

 

 

 

Community Awareness and Art Marketing for Plein Air Painting

September 17, 2017 in General, Landscape, Marketing, Plein Air by joanvienot

This fall I am investing my time in cultivating my community’s appreciation for plein air painting, as well as promoting my own work. Many people in my community have never heard of plein air painting, so that is taking extra effort. My local arts association, the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, is very supportive. The CAA will be adding a plein air paint-out to our existing Flutterby Festival at Watersound Origins here in Santa Rosa beach, FL, in November. I will be teaching a one-day workshop the day before the festival, the lesson being effective shape-making to start a plein air painting in a way that will offer a high likelihood of success.
Art marketers say that 20% of your time as an artist should be spent on marketing. I am spending more than 20% of my art energy right now, but I expect it to level off. I actually had intended for last year, my third year of plein air painting, to be my marketing year. The transition and adjustment after selling my pool service business took more time than I had anticipated.
As I see it, the main task is the creation of opportunities for press releases and posts on social media. To accomplish that, I have filled my calendar for the next 6 weeks.
The first event coming up is thanks to an avid supporter of the arts in my area. Cheryl Gray, herself an artist, lines up artists to show their work in the local library. I will be showing my work during the months of October and November. Cheryl sends out press releases to local media. I made my own postcard to give out printed announcements to a few people, and I posted it on Facebook and created a Facebook event. I will send a press release to several other media in my community. I regard the press releases to be of equal importance or even greater importance than the actual exhibit, because public awareness of plein air painting is my primary goal.
This-coming weekend I will paint at a wedding reception, and next week I will be framing paintings for the library exhibit. Somewhere during that time I would like to change out and replace the paintings hanging in the lobby of Northwest Florida State College’s South Walton Center. My local weekly painting group, the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, is showing plein air paintings there. My goal with that exhibit is to foster awareness and appreciation within the high school and college students attending there.
The first week of October I will be taking another painting workshop in Dahlonega, Georgia, with my mentor, Morgan Samuel Price. I want to continue to challenge myself to paint better.
The second weekend of October I will paint on-site at the library during the annual book sale, during my exhibit. The third weekend of October I will teach the same one-day workshop as I will be teaching in November, but for the arts association in the neighboring county, the Arts and Design Society of Ft. Walton Beach, FL.
The first weekend in November I will participate in a painting event in Gulf Shores, AL, and the second weekend of November will be the CAA’s Flutterby Festival and Paint-Out.
Hopefully I can breathe after that. It’s exciting, to have so many art events and activities lined up. This past year was the first year that I kept track of art expenses, after I sold my career pool service business, and as I was expecting, I spent more than I earned. It would be nice to break even this year. When I achieve that, I should be able to cut back on my promotional efforts, for the recommended 20% of my time.

Buy Original Art Instead of Prints – Here’s Why

April 3, 2016 in General, Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

I will never forget the moment I saw the original of Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as a young adult. Overwhelmed, I felt its impact in the center of my chest, and tears came to my eyes. I had admired the expressionism in Van Gogh’s works since I was a teen, staring at my book of print reproductions of his paintings for years prior to that visit to the museum.

Why then, did the original have such an effect on me? I can only say that for me, the original has the spirit of the artist, his time and his vision. It was as if I was, in a way, actually meeting Vincent Van Gogh. Probably also some of it also was due to the fact that the painting had become iconic to me. But there was the visceral reality of the original painting, its physical presence, seeing the actual paint, the colors mixed by the artist, the brushstrokes, the canvas sometimes showing through the impasto, indicating the haste or the care taken, all of the things one sees when looking at an original painting, providing a glimpse into the artist’s experience. “This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big,” van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, from France. [Excerpt from the Museum of Modern Art’s webpage, http://www.moma.org/collection/works/79802.]

Isn’t that really what a painting is, a representation of what the artist “saw”, whether in actuality or in his or her mind? That is my intention in sharing my art, to share my vision, to share my experience of my environment, my own appreciation for what I see and how it all fits together, the light in the composition, and the way the elements work together – the lines, forms, colors, and textures. I share my thrill.

While it is true that printing processes are always improving, an original painting is so much more impactful than a print. People see differently than a camera. And in the technical process of reproducing the image of a painting, colors separate and forms change, with the mechanical image sometimes showing the paint layer underneath instead of the one on the surface. My own print-maker brings me multiple proofs, tweaking the cast, correcting a color here and there, and even still, sometimes I feel compelled to go back in with a brush to tighten up some of the details, or I have to make the decision to live with color separation in areas where there was a perfect blend in the original painting. My own photos miss values by as much as 2 steps on a 10-step scale, and fail miserably when it comes to capturing certain colors, most especially the pinks of sunset. The original painting has the energy, the color mixes, the form as the artist intended, while in the end, a reproduction is what we end up settling for.

The solution? Buy original art! Certainly buying prints is better than not buying art at all.  I can supply giclée prints from $50 to $650, depending on whether you want a good paper print or if you want a larger-than-original gallery-wrapped canvas. But a print is still a print. There are reasons to buy print reproductions, such as when something is whimsical or if your taste changes frequently. But it is absurd to buy a house for several hundred thousand dollars, or several million, and then to decorate it with cheap prints. Purchasing original art is a way of honoring yourself. You deserve original art, art that you pick out, art that transports you. Original art has an energy far exceeding that of a print.

I made a decision some time ago to hang nothing but original artwork in my own home. It enhances the energy in my home by tenfold, worth every penny. Every time I enter a room, I actually look at the art on my walls, and I have the same feelings that prompted me to buy it in the first place. Each piece commands attention and contributes to the energy in my home. This is in such contrast to the print calendars I have hanging here and there, the images certainly beautiful, chosen for their theme, but purchased as a necessity and easily ignored. Original works of art contribute far more than prints, in much the same way that real wood carries a stronger energy than veneer or faux finishes.

You and I are sensitive to energy. We can meet a person and know in our gut, instantly, whether we have “good chemistry”. The same is true of inanimate objects, the stuff we surround ourselves with. It’s the reason we want to escape from our plastic-and-concrete workplaces to visit the scenic wonderland of nature. Our home is our haven, and we should surround ourselves with energies that enhance our sense of well-being and our vitality. We honor ourselves by purchasing original art.

CA209-hi-13

Oil painting of the brook line and shadow patterns at Lincoln Park in Valparaiso, FL

Click on image for purchase information.

Plein air painting is risky — sometimes the light changes so fast you feel like you are chasing it. But I struck gold with the scene I chose when I joined the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters on Wednesday for our weekly outing this week. We painted at Lincoln Park in Valparaiso, Florida. It had been raining for several days over the previous week and weekend — my garbage can had 18″ of rain in it (warranting yet another note to my garbage man to always turn it over after emptying!). The grassy earth was like a wet sponge, sinking underfoot, each step flooding my painting Crocs. I set up my easel beside the purple splash of a wild iris blooming near the brook at the edge of the park. I was exhilarated by the play of light and shadow in the warmth of the spring day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Busy Month!

January 17, 2016 in General, Plein Air by joanvienot

Solo show PCB 1-2016

 

Here’s the line-up:

January 11 – March 11, 2016: Solo exhibition, Panama City Beach, FL. Beach Art Group is presenting an exhibition of oil paintings by Joan Vienot, winner of People’s Choice Best in Show at the 2015 Local Color Plein Air Festival paint-out. The exhibit will be displayed at Palms Conference Center in Panama City Beach from January 11 to March 11, 2016. Meet the artist at the reception, February 7, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. Call Helen Ballance at (850) 541-3867 for other viewing times. http://www.beachartgroup.com/exhibitions–events.html

January 23 – March 4, 2016, with opening reception January 23, 6:00 – 8:00 pm: ADSO Southeast Regional Juried Art Show. All 3 of Joan’s submissions were accepted into this prestigious exhibition. http://www.mattiekellyartscenter.org/EventItem.cfm?ID=1038. 1/31/16 addendum: The judge awarded “Western Lake with Umbrella Trees” third place!!

January 29-30, 2016: Florida Chautauqua Assembly Plein Air Painting Workshop, Joan Vienot, Instructor. This workshop will provide new insight to accomplished painters, and courage for the beginner, with focus on simplification of subject matter, using value and intensity to create believable composition, and enhancement of color through temperature relationship. Joan will instruct in oil painting but all media are welcome. An optional half-day pre-workshop, January 28, 2016, will help the painter decide how to choose a subject to paint en plein air, observing the changing light and shadow, practicing “thumbnail” sketching, and planning interesting compositions. http://www.florida-chautauqua-center.org/assembly_2016/art_program_2016; Supply list at https://www.dropbox.com/s/vqk9u2fuzxe8n38/Workshop%20Description.pdf?dl=0. Joan also will be displaying a few select paintings in the Chautauqua Art Show. 1/31/16 addendum: 10 plein air painters enjoyed 2 beautiful sunny days of instruction! Click here for a photo of her demonstrating.

January, 2016 and thereafter: DeFuniak Springs Art Co-op, 9th and Baldwin, DeFuniak Springs, FL  32433. Joan is showing 10 paintings. https://www.facebook.com/defuniakspringsartcoop

February 1-29, 2016: Joan will be the Freeport Art League Artist of the Month, displaying paintings at Freeport City Hall during the month of February, at 112 FL Hwy 20, Freeport, FL 32433. https://www.facebook.com/FreeportArtLeague/

I hope you can spend some time at one or more of these events! There’s nothing like actually seeing the art in person. I try to take good photos of my work for this website, but a camera cannot ever completely capture the intensities and true color relationships the way that the human eye can. I look forward to seeing you!   ~ Joan Vienot

Building Presence as an Artist

September 10, 2015 in General, Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 10.41.18 AMConsidering all of the exposure opportunities today, no artist should be “unknown”. With a little footwork and by using my few computer skills, I have solidified my presence as an artist, both in my community and also elsewhere.

First, I try to do my part to support the arts. I volunteer as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, serving on the A+Art Committee whose mission is to exhibit member artists work in the community. That, plus my attendance at the local art network meetings, and now serving as Coordinator for the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, have put me in touch with many other artists and art opportunities. And I share literally everything on Facebook. My friends tell me I should be on Instagram too, but for now, I am limiting my time budgeted for social media.

Being involved in public activities gives me opportunity to have my work seen.

It all started when I suddenly found I had a lot more free time after my pool service business growth slowed during the drop in the economy in 2007. I returned to my practice of figure drawing in 2009. In late 2012, I decided I wanted to pursue my art more seriously and I hired a coach, SaraMae Dalferes, for 10 twice-a-month sessions to help me make some changes in my thinking which was very effective in propelling me into action. One change was so simple as putting intended activities on a calendar and making them a priority — it’s amazing how that simple action and a little resolve opened the doors! In 2013, after about 8 years of receiving the weekly notifications, and 8 years of having intended to do this, “someday”, I finally began painting with the local group of plein air painters. My three-year plan was to regain my skills with color-mixing and brushwork in oils, 30 years mostly dormant. Way back then, my medium was watercolor. I dug out my college-era oil paints, identified the ones that were still viable, and started putting together my plein air backpack. The next week I started painting!

Plein air oil painting of Indian Blanketflower at Grayton Beach State Park

Walton Sun: “Western Lake Wildflowers” by Joan Vienot 8×10 $450

While I was practicing figure drawing, in 2010 I started blogging about my work. I have no idea how many people actually read what I write — I don’t study the analytics — because the writing itself is what benefits me as an artist, helping me to realize and absorb what I am doing and how my work and my spirit are growing.

At the end of July of this year, I painted a plein air nocturne at the Blue Moon Drum Circle my best friend Leslie Kolovich organized. She wrote a story about the drum circle for the local arts weekly, The Beachcomber, submitting my painting to illustrate it, and the editor used my painting for the cover photo (above left) and wrote me up as the featured artist for the week: http://npaper-wehaa.com/beachcomber/2015/08/s1/?output=html&article=2590071. Also one of my paintings was selected for an art exhibit at the local hospital, and my painting was one of three used to illustrate the story in the Walton Sun, another weekly paper: http://www.waltonsun.com/article/20150826/NEWS/150829408/16781/ENTERTAINMENT. So that put me in two newspapers in the same week!

Painting created for "Celebrate the Masters", a show of artwork derivative of and inspired by a recognized master

Jackson Pollock at the Beach, created for CAA/A+Art’s “Celebrate the Masters”, a show of artwork derivative of and inspired by a recognized master. Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock used house-paint to make huge non-representational “all-over” paintings to capture an energy of “allness”. I chose to paint with drips and drizzles akin to Pollock’s, and house paint colors similar to his earlier, subdued palette. Mr. Pollock worked hard to eliminate any figure in the ground, so he would have been horrified to see this iconic dolphin jumping from the water. He also never would have condescended to the 40×30 size restriction of the show for which this was painted! 40×30 $750

I also exhibit whenever possible at our local arts organization’s events. I filled one of the Summertime Tour of Homes houses with plein air works in June of this year for the Cultural Arts Alliance fundraiser. Also one of my paintings was juried into CAA/A+Art’s Top of the Class Show in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and one of my submissions was selected for Celebrate the Masters in DeFuniak Springs, FL. I also showed two pieces in the annual members’ show for Artists of Apalachicola Area, and I showed two in the member’s exhibit at CAA’s Artsquest Art and Music Festival in the spring. This fall I will be showing 8 or 10 pieces in the Destin Festival of the Arts (Mattie Kelly Art Festival) with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, and two in A+Art’s One Size Fits All. I also participated in the Quickdraw timed paint-out at “The Forgotten Coast En Plein Air”, with the good fortune of selling the piece I painted, on the spot!

Painting created for "Celebrate the Masters", a show of artwork derivative of and inspired by a recognized master

Mark Rothko at the Beach, created for CAA/A+Art’s “Celebrate the Masters”, a show of artwork derivative of and inspired by a recognized master. Mark Rothko’s “color-field” works are intriguing because of their simplicity, coupled with his intention that the viewer stand as close as 18″ away from his 8′ canvases, to be fully immersed in the experience of the artwork. The beach is one of those places where you are immersed in the vastness of the experience. Being a representational artist instead of an abstract expressionist, I decided to paint the beach in sort of a Rothko fashion, using large blocks of color, except in one block indulging in the transition from turquoise blue to the emerald green typical of our local Gulf Coast waters. 36×36 $650

I have been attending the Florida Chautauqua Assembly Plein Air Paint-Out for the past couple of years, and have been asked to instruct a plein air painting workshop at next year’s event. This will launch me on the next step in my career, sharing what I have learned and helping others to enjoy plein air painting!

Also there are the donations to fundraisers, which benefit organizations I wish to support.

It takes some effort, but it has served me well. It’s one thing to be an artist, but it’s another to be recognized, and I am grateful to those individuals and organizations along the way who encourage, support, and provide opportunity. Most especially, I am grateful to the patrons who appreciate and purchase my art! Sales not only validate my efforts; they also pay for the art supplies! After all, a lot of paint goes onto a lot of canvases before one catches the eye of a buyer!

At left is “Jackson Pollock at the Beach”, which was accepted into A+Art’s upcoming show, “Celebrate the Masters”, an exhibit of artwork derivative of and inspired by a recognized master. I also painted and submitted for the same show, “Mark Rothko at the Beach”, at right, but it was was rejected. Making lemonade out of lemons, since I really love the colors and the idea, I am hanging it where I get to see it every day, in the hallway of my businesses, 331 Pool & Beach Supply and Pool Pal.

 

 

 

Middle-Aged Artists

June 26, 2013 in General, Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Oil paining, study of water liliesI sit in my studio, with the sound of soft pastels marking on paper in the background, as my friend makes a study of a peach on the other side of the room.  She is finding Art now, as the duties of raising her children near completion.  It helps that she has an eye for composition, being a photographer.  Natural talent makes her a quick student – if I show her something once, she can do it, and she is brave, discovering tricks and technique on her own.

I am realizing that this is a common occurrence.  People spend the first half of their lives doing one or both of two things, earning a living, and raising a family, and then re-discover their creative expression in middle-age.

Oil painting on canvas panel, Cattail Pond at Cessna LandingThis certainly is true in my community.  We have a loosely organized network of women artists here.  One dedicated member, Donnelle Clark, maintains the list of email addresses and the schedule of members’ homes where we meet once a month for potluck and for show-and-tell.  Each member brings one or two things they have been working on, and has 3 minutes to talk about what they have produced.  Weavings, handmade dolls, paintings, quilting, stained glasswork, story-telling and bookmaking, sometimes poetry, you-name-it, are shared in the space of just a couple hours, and I always come away amazed at the creativity.  Most of them, like my friend, have finished raising their children and now have time to devote to creative expression.

I know from my own experience, though, that it takes some effort to overcome inertia.  For about 8 years, I had been receiving the email notices of when and where the local plein air painters’ group was meeting the next Wednesday, always intending to go, someday. For 8 years, there had always been a conflict of some sort or another, and I had always allowed the conflicting event to win out.  In February of this year, I was attending some meetings on Wednesdays for a project I am volunteering for, and when I hesitantly told the chairman I wanted to start plein air painting the next Wednesday in March, she immediately changed our meetings to Tuesdays!  She honored my intention more on one shy request than I had myself for 8 years!

Of course I have to be flexible.  Last week I had to miss painting with the plein air group because I had scheduled the hanging of an art show I was coordinating for A+Art at the local branch of Northwest Florida State College on Wednesday.  I got up early and using a few photo references, painted the study of water lilies (above right) before the show installation.

Today I was again back out with the group, painting at Cessna Landing, on Hogtown Bayou, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.  The weather was beautiful, with a pleasant soft breeze and only one quick-passing shower that barely spattered us.  My painting from today is above left.

Below are my friend’s studies of a peach.  We worked with the shape, color blending, intensifying color by using compliments in the background, the shape of the shadow, and the importance of small details that identify the subject.  I demonstrated with a quick sketch, and then Leslie produced these two studies.  Her first one we agreed came out looking a little like a tomato, but the second one is definitely a peach.  It’s fun to have such a good student, with natural talent.  Look out, art-world, here comes Leslie Kolovich!

Pastel painting, Study of a Peach, by Leslie Kolovich Study of Peach by Leslie Kolovich

 

 

Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters at ArtsQuest

May 17, 2013 in General, Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Oil painting in process, showing tents at ArtsQuest 2013
Tents at ArtsQuest Fine Arts and Music Festival, Watercolor, FL

ArtsQuest Fine Art and Music Festival has come and gone, and in its wake, the familiar feeling of having passed through a wormhole in time and space, a sort of time warp, coming out on the other side with everything the same and yet very much changed.

Members of the sponsoring agency, the non-profit Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, are invited to exhibit 3 pieces of their artwork in the member tent, in exchange for 4 hours of volunteer work at the festival.  For my volunteer work, I was asked to defend some No Parking cones and to move them out of the way when exhibiting artists needed to get through to set up their booths.  It was the first time that I had seen booths being set up.   My only exposure to setting up tents has been for overnight camping, and it is in light of that experience that I can pronounce tent-raising to be a close second to two-person canoeing for the fast track to divorce court, so I was fairly amazed at the calm and congeniality of the artists doing their nesting.   The next day I helped set up the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters tent and found it to be not at all unpleasant, so I think the key ingredient is having artists do the job.

The festival opened Friday afternoon.   The experience was invaluable.  With the tunes of Kelsey Anna and Matt miller and later Cody Copeland wafting over the grounds, I painted plein air near our booth the first afternoon, and again on the afternoon of the third day, the air filled by other musicians.  The rest of the time I talked to the passers-by about the plein air art and artists and I explained what plein air painting is to everyone who would listen.  Almost no one knew that plein air painting simply means painting in open air, on-site, looking at the scene you are painting.

We enjoyed great exposure at our booth, picking up some 30 email addresses to add to the 95 that already receive weekly notices of our next plein air painting location.  One of the regular participants in our outings, Melody Bogle, had submitted her work and been juried into the festival, so she had her own booth.  We all were overjoyed when the announcement came that she had won Best in Show for the 2013 Festival.  With more than 100 artists juried into the festival, I felt like her win validated plein air painting to the show-goers.

I painted the painting at left on the first afternoon of the ArtsQuest Fine Art Festival.  It shows the plein air tent and the row of tents that housed the CAA members’ exhibit in front of the concrete pond in Cerulean Park at Watercolor, Florida.  I re-painted the lawn when I got back to my home studio, because the shadows made the pond look like it was higher than the tents.  By removing the shadows and instead painting some downward-curving lawn contours, it was a quick fix to make the pond look lower than the tents.  Perspective and postion are, after all, merely optical illusions.  I compressed the scene to show only the tents, without any of the commercial buildings that were actually there fronting the streets of the beautiful village of Watercolor, Florida.

I own and manage a swimming pool service company as my “day-job”.  One of my customers came by the plein air booth, and I enjoyed showing her my work.  After the festival closed, she came to my home studio to see more of my work.  As I develop my skills and learn the business of being an artist, I am recognizing that every experience is another notch in my belt, each in itself valuable for future actions and interactions.  (Thank you for taking the time to visit with me, Becky Arnold.  Did you realize you were contributing to my training?)

Oil painting of Shorty's Surfside in Grayton Beach, FloridaAt right is the completed version of the painting I posted last week, the brightly colored building in downtown Grayton Beach that houses Shorty’s Restaurant.  After I got back to the studio, I realized that I had not painted the railings nearest me, or the flower pot that had attracted me to that point of view in the first place!  To paint it plein air, I had positioned myself with my back to the sun with the unfortunate result that both my palette and my canvas were so brightly lit that I was “snow-blind” for most of the morning while I painted.  It is truly a wonder that my colors turned out to be fairly close to correct!  But that’s my excuse for not painting the railing and flowerpot until I got back to the studio.

Below left is the piece I painted this week at the regular weekly Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters outing, at Nick’s Rstaurant on the Bay, west of Freeport, FL.  I worked very hard on figuring out how to make convincing pine trees, most particularly the brush strokes and stamps to use to show the so-very-important silhouette edge, and also the layering of values to show the masses of the needles.  In this part of my process, that is one of my goals, to be able to learn to quickly portray recognizable forms just by using a few simple brushstrokes.  I was not as comfortable with my efforts with the rippling reflections in the water below the trees.  I reworked them in the studio, and came up with a fair representation of the lattice-like pattern.  I was not at all successful with the muted land-mass on the horizon, across the Bay.  I painted it and scrubbed it out 3 times plein air, never able to achieve a straight and level line that I was happy with.  The horizon you see now was painted this morning in the studio.

And below right is the beginning of a painting that I started the last afternoon of ArtsQuest.  The family in the picture was watching me paint, and asked if I might be able to put them in it, since they had been watching the watercolor workshop while I was painting.  They want to see it when I finish it, so now the pressure is on!!  I had fun with this painting at ArtsQuest, letting a few of the people in my audience paint a spot of color here or there.  It was interesting how without fail, they would at first decline, but once the brush was in their hand, they would start smiling, daubing a little color or texture here or there!  I think they all will be making a trip to pick up art supplies this week!

Oil painting of the Bayou at Nick's Restaurant, west of Freeport, Florida Unfinished oil painting of Workshops at ArtsQuest 2013

I was pleased that another one of my photographs was published this week, to illustrate a story by my friend Leslie Kolovich, host of The Stand Up Paddle Radio Show, for her column in The Paddler ezine, a United Kingdom publication.  The article can be found at http://www.issuu.com/thepaddler/docs/thepaddler_8.

Screenshot from The Paddler ezine

Most of my paintings and images are available for purchase.  Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot

Story by Lori Ceier, on www.waltonoutdoors.com

March 10, 2013 in General, Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Bringing our surroundings to life a natural process for South Walton artist Joan Vienot

Lori Ceier, Walton Outdoors

http://www.waltonoutdoors.com/bringing-our-surroundings-to-life-a-natural-for-south-walton-artist-joan-vienot/

 

Joan Vienot paints plein air along the Destin Harbor. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Joan Vienot paints plein air along the Destin Harbor. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Point Washington resident Joan Vienot is on the path to fulfilling a lifelong desire of becoming a professional artist. After 45 years in the aquatic industry and only occasionally investing time, Vienot is now dedicating two days a week to creating fine art.

Growing up in the small town of Brighton, Colorado, Vienot always enjoyed drawing and painting, and knew at a very young age it was something she wanted to pursue.

“The first publication of my art was when I was seven years old. My second-grade teacher asked the class to illustrate and write stories about astronaut John Glenn circling the earth. Many of my classmates’ stories were printed in the local newspaper, but mine was the only drawing published. I was so embarrassed that my story didn’t merit publication, not realizing how special it was for my drawing to be recognized,” said Vienot.

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Recent work from journey to North Carolina. Photo courtesy JoanVienot.com.

Recent work from journey to North Carolina. Photo courtesy JoanVienot.com.

Vienot’s passion for creating has now fully evolved into lush, colorful interpretations of our surroundings. Landscapes, figure drawings, still life and photography are just a few of the mediums Vienot has facilitated to create remarkable works of art.

Be on the lookout for Vienot’s work in local galleries in the near future. Meanwhile, you just might find her plein air painting one of our scenic landscapes in and around Walton County.

Vienot has a BA in Fine Art from the University of Northern Colorado. In addition to teaching art to high school students, she is involved as a volunteer for the arts in Walton County, serving on the board of directors for the Cultural Arts Alliance and co-chairing the A+Art Committee for CAA, which showcases member artists’ work at the South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College.

To learn more about Joan Vienot and her work, go to joanvienot.com.

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Rules For Being a Professional Artist

March 4, 2013 in General, Photography by joanvienot

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Mark Gould’s

10 Rules for Being a Professional Artist

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1. Creative efforts take priority over other activities

whenever possible.

2. Simplify all aspects of life in order to think and act

creatively.

3. Ensure the creative process is always challenging

and enjoyable; always balance a risk of failure

with the potential for success in order to keep

efforts honest and engaging.

4. Be the eternal student, always willing to learn.

5. Welcome other opinions—good, bad or indifferent

—but never relinquish final judgment to another.

6. Seek out people who are positive in their approach

to the creative process and welcome their

constructive critique. Avoid negative people and

their attitudes, even when personal sacrifice is

required.

7. Think before committing time, money or other

resources to any future aspect of the creative

endeavor. Be certain that both feeling and logic

regarding the decision are sound.

8. Release to the public only those works that are

fully “competent and satisfactory,” those that are

properly executed with a high degree of creativity.

9. Never become problematic for any gallery or

collector. Be sincere and forthright in all gallery

dealings. Require absolute honesty in return.

10. Be truthful and self-aware in regard to your

creative efforts. Only then can artistic vision be

trusted and improved.

www.artistsnetwork.com

My coach suggested that I look up the 10 Rules for Being a Professional Artist by Mark Gould, published by the Artists’ Network.  She regularly suggests reading a particular book or this reference or that article, to help me to think outside of  my immediate box.  It’s not easy, this business of changing my life.  Epiphanies are happening right and left, as I discover yet more boxes I’ve been living in, which define and limit me.  A very difficult realization happened just yesterday, and that is that for more than 50 years (yes, telling my age), I’ve had my mother’s voice echoing in my head, telling me to finish my chores before I start drawing again.  Since I was for the most part an obedient littl girl, this Rule evolved into an unproductive lifestyle, artistically.  I do chores very well, and I am very good at finding new chores that need to be done.  But I have to be honest.  Certain tasks and chores are useful for maintaining a grounded life — one must pay the bills, after all, and basic housekeeping is a must.  But my idea of doing-the-chores spread into my method of running my non-art business, and essentially took over my life.  In recent years I have carved out some time and space for doing art, but yesterday I realized that I have to create a completely new psychological construct, one in which it is not just permissible, but required, to do art before all my chores are completed, perhaps to do all the art I can before doing any of my chores.  There probably is no danger in the latter ever actually happening, because the chores-first pattern is so deeply embedded.  But to break the habit, I will  need to try to go overboard the other direction.  Since my goal is to become a full-time artist at least two days a week by the end of this year, then that still allows a lot of time for chores, including running my non-art business.

I  am adhering to none of Mark Gould’s Ten Rules.  Some I might possibly be making some progress towards.  But others don’t make sense to me, or I downright disagree with, as I try to hide from the light they are shining on my life.  Certainly, I often have broken Rule #8 within my blog, showing the public many incompetent or unsatisfactory works, as befits my purpose in writing this blog, which is to share the artistic process, including the stops and starts and do-overs.  Sharing my less-than-totally-satisfactory works has made me less self-conscious.  It also has made me much less of a perfectionist, a crippling condition which can prevent an artist from ever showing their work.  But I understand Rule #8.  Though very public, a blog is not actually a “release” of art as would be an exhibit, where I would expect the viewers to come dressed in something other than their pajamas, my usual casual attire when I am drafting and publishing a new post.

I probably should write my own Ten Rules for Being a Professional Artist, and see how they evolve as I become one.

I don’t want to publish a post without an image attached, so here’s my image for today, a big overflowing bowl in the reflecting pool at Eden State Gardens in Point Washington, Florida, shot with my iPhone.  I loved the greens.  I loved the movement of the water.  I loved the reflections.

 

 

 

Most of my images are available for purchase.  Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot

Drawing Texture

February 21, 2013 in General by joanvienot

If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you know that I am teaching a “Back-to-the-Basics” drawing class for the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County.  We had a lot of fun this week, experimenting with various drawing media which “wash out” or “bleed” when wet.  We used watercolor pencils, Flair pens and Vis-a-Vis pens, Graphtint, Derwent sketching pencils, and Aquarelle china-marking pencils.  I gave everyone a small piece of 140-lb hot press watercolor paper, so they could practice with the flat, smoothness of hot press.  Most were familiar only with the textured cold press or rough watercolor paper.  An example using a Flair pen is at right.  The color is not lightfast, so if it were framed, the best thing to do would be to use UV protective glass.

We reviewed last week’s lesson of 3 types of lighting — silhouette, high contrast, and full-values, and I showed the drawing at left to demonstrate full values with core shadow, cast shadow, reflected light, light reflected into the shadow, and rim light at the very edge of the silhouetted part of the shape.  I gave everyone a ping-pong ball, and suggested they practice drawing it over and over, with light coming from a different direction each time.  I know that practice will result in development of  a great deal of skill in shading.

The primary subject of the lesson for the day was Texture.

The next image, at right, is a detail off from a drawing I did that shows different textures in the landscape, and I also pointed out that I had dented the paper with a stylus to make lines that stayed white when I shaded across the reverse embossing, for some of the tree trunks and branches.

Pictured below the farmland detail is is a charcoal drawing on Kraft paper, of a huge chunk of charred wood, a texture study I did in college.  I did a series of drawings from that charred wood piece, each evolving into something unique, and the next drawing is a part of that series.  The textured parts in this drawing took on a more flowing appearance, like hair.  The next piece is a stump out on the Intracoastal Waterway, although you would

not necessarily be able to identify that — it was a fun texture study, and you can see that not all of the textures are drawn — where it is smooth, I left the interior space undeveloped.

In the brown drawing of 3 heads, I used an eraser to streak the drawing and create an interesting stylized texture.  The subject actually was a smooth mannequin head for displaying hats.

The drawing of the tree shows how the needles are spiky because they are drawn with short, hard strokes, and the tree trunk bark is textured in the lit areas but nearly black on the shadow side.  Many of the branches are actually drawn in silhouette or high contrast.  This is very different from the texture I used in the drawing of the teddy bear, which is smooth and soft.  I wanted it to look cuddly.  if I had drawn it with short, straight, hard strokes, it would not have looked as soft and cuddly.

We practiced drawing textures of real objects, using pieces of coral, twigs, a piece of a root, a weathered piece of wood, a seashell, and feathers.  We can practice with anything, and we usually find that once we get started, it’s not hard to do.  It takes some effort in the beginning, and then once we get the hang of it, we wonder why it seemed difficult.  It’s essential to learn how to NOT draw every single bit of the texture, but rather, for the sake of interest, to leave some of it simply implied.  Sometimes texture can be indicated just by the external contour.

The last four pictures below are covers of magazines, to illustrate different ways of treating texture.  The first one is particularly interesting to me, in that the hair is hardly drawn at all, but just enough of it is drawn that it implies the texture very well.

 

 

Below:  More examples of different textures