Tuesday, November 30, 2010

what a morning

My morning got frittered away trying to find a certain product... what a waste.

Anyway here's today's daily, which I am very happy about.

Original Watercolor Painting - Daily Painting - Incensed -
©2010 Amy-Elyse Neer
4" x 6" Watercolor on Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Cold Press Paper
Daily Painting for 11-30-2010

So this makes 7 months of doing Daily Paintings....I am amazed and very happy to say.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Had to make a matching one for yesterday's

Original Watercolor Painting - Daily Painting - Frostflake -
©2010 Amy-Elyse Neer
6" x 6" Watercolor on Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Cold Press Paper
Daily Painting for 11-29-2010

Another instance of the need for colorbatizing. I did the warms, I had to do the cools.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

nice and toasty

Original Watercolor Painting - Daily Painting - Fireflake -
©2010 Amy-Elyse Neer
6" x 6" Watercolor on Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Cold Press Paper
Daily Painting for 11-28-2010

Okay this started out as snowflake cut out of folded paper, I used that for the design. But the shapes suggested fire to me rather than snow.

Something I was thinking about the other day.

So I was working on my self portrait The other day  (you can see the progression here) But this isn't about that just what I was thinking about while I worked.

While I was working I was thinking about influences... it was kind of tangent my brain went off on (I need to keep the parts that aren't painting entertained somehow)

from the leaping off thought of:

you know a method and you can either boil it down to the basic "How To" technique, you know use tool x with paint b and stroke y,


you can allow other artists to influence you, and try to copy what they do with those tools.

I have always tried to get to the very basic use of tool through experimentation some times making up my own way to do it. When I need information about a process or tool I tend to look the tool/process up in a art hardware text book or on wikipedia or in a product tutorial made by the manufacturer of said product and then go from there. Once I have the kernel of basic starting point, I build from there.

BUT this is not to say I am not influenced by other artists. I find satisfaction in Hopper's work, and some of my stuff has been likened to O'Keefe (although I have to say , I don't see that one at ALL in my stuff, although I find it flattering) I also love Bougereau and Cassat, and I would like to think they helped me learn my craft in some way.

However that said , since the time in my teens when I had an art teacher scold me for not "Painting like them" and pick up a brush and paint over my work they way they would paint it, I have been brutal and possessive about making sure my stuff looked like MY STUFF, and not like anyone else's.

The problem comes (and the thought that occurred to me while working on the self portrait) is when people look at your stuff and then ask you for your influences.
Because basically what they are asking is

"What lens should I be looking at this through?"

and if you say

"Uh... Hopper." then they whip out their Hopper-Brain-Filter and go "Oh yah, now I see where you were going." but they are no longer looking at what you were trying to say, they are now looking at it through a filter of what Hopper was trying to say, effectively removing your voice from your art.

There wasn't really a point to this ramble, when I originally jotted it down in my redbubble journal, Just wanted to get down the thought of the brain filter/influence thing, while it was still fresh in my head. But now that I have thought about it for a while, I have thought of this.

Entertainment is so explicit now. Everything has to be self explanatory or no one knows what to do with it. The fact that you need to ask "How am I supposed to react/feel/understand/look at this?", means you've let other things influence a lot of what happens to you in a day.

Something like this

If you need outside advice on how to react, what lens to look at it through, why? Okay here's what I was thinking when I painted it, "Wow that's like the fourth fern I've killed, I am really bad at ferns. What a lovely over cast morning, the window behind it is frosted lovely with foggy glowing light. I like this green. It's kind of sad how bad I am at fern tending, cause they are so beautiful. I also kill a lot of small Ivy plants."

See? What I was thinking was basically this is sad, and beautiful and a little funny in a bittersweet way. So if you come to me and say, what should I think when I look at this, well, I don't know...I know what I was thinking, and it's not abstract at all, so however you feel or whatever it makes you think, then that's what it should make you think.

So I challenge you to go through an entire day doing the following exercise.

Any time you see something new spend about 5 minutes looking at it. Really study it. Listen to your inner voice and edit out anything that seems like outside influence like "Whathisname hated that thing." "Those really annoyed my mother" "My best friend would love this." "I saw that on that ad on TV." "They had one of those on that show.".

Just dump all that stuff out... that's not you; that's those people. If it satisfies you in some way, or disturbs you, try to identify why. Is it the color, the shape, the way it feels in your hand?

If you can train your brain to really "see" and learn to trust your own feelings and input, then you can ween yourself off the lens of influence.

If you like a piece of art because you really like it, because it satisfies you, makes you happy, adds the right touch of gloom  or brightness to your decor, great! Or did you buy something because you were told it was HOT and NOW and COLLECTIBLE by someone who was just after a sale?

If my stuff doesn't speak to you, that's fine. If it does, that's fine too! But don't let anyone tell you what you SHOULD like. Assert your OWN influence, look at things through the lens of your life and experiences, not other peoples'.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shhhhhh!!!! he thinks he is hiding...

- Hiding Behind the Drapes -
©2010 Amy-Elyse Neer
5" x 7" Watercolor on Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Cold Press Paper
Daily Painting for 11-27-2010

Friend Zelda is a very nice little guy, even though he is insane and not the brightest crayon in the box.
The other day he was sleeping on the windowsill. The sun had briefly put in an appearance so he was warming up.

Then he heard me eating something at my desk, and the something had a crinkly plastic wrapper. So he had to investigate and stalk it.
At this point in the stalking process, he believes he is hiding; Despite the fact that I can see him, have gotten out the camera to take reference pictures and the three small children outside screaming
at him.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I thought I had prints of this one up, but I was wrong.

Big Fat Pancake Sleeping
Orginal has sold, but Prints are now available on redbubble

And remember no coupon code needed get 15% off all framed prints and men's and women's tee's and hoodies Black Friday through Cyber Monday on redbubble.

There may not be a daily today, I am thinking of another pass on the self portrait today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Daily Painting for 11-23-2010

Okay, today's has a progression, although a short one, here is the base graphite sketch, This was done with a Derwent  Sketch and Wash Graphite HB pencil.

Once it was dried I scanned it in and then did the watercolor over it.

Daily Painting - The Left Hand -
©2010 Amy-Elyse Neer
6" x 6" Watercolor and Graphite on Strathmore 140 lb Watercolor Cold Press Paper
Daily Painting for 11-23-2010

I like the effect, but I am wondering if maybe watercolor pencil or acrylic paint would have worked a little better, not because I don't like how it turned out, but the paper wasn't happy about the multiple wettings. Or maybe I should have used Aquabord, but for a technique I have never tried before, I didn't want to risk one (I've only got two left and blick's are backordered on them, big time)

I think when I do the right hand I will use watercolor pencil OVER the washed graphite.

and also this is making me want to try liquid pencil.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Daily Painting for 11-22-2010

"Random Winter Scene"

Watercolor on 5" x 5" Ampersand Aquabord

©2010 Amy-Elyse Neer

Voting open in a new challenge

"Wooden Spools I" is in a still life Watercolor challenge on Redbubble, The Challenge is now open for voting!

Please stop by and vote for me! (click on the image to be taken to the challenge page) If you haven't visited redbubble before, follow the voting instructions in this blog's right sidebar to vote.

Thank you to all who take the time to vote!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Today's Daily Painting "Morning Storm"

So here's the other;

I think this and the "Evening Storm" would look really good in a Kid's Room. But I actually had in mind stacked one over the other next to a front door or in an entry way in mind. Of course you could hang them where ever...just me thinking aloud.

sometimes you find the subject, sometimes you find the matter

While we were out yesterday, there was some really spectacular weather. Sun and rain,steal grey stormheads with wisp white lacy frills, wind, and a shower of fall color coming down from the trees. Unfortunately there wasn't time to stop and capture any of it.

I did, however, get a new toy at the art supply store, pearlescent watercolors .

I came home and promptly did  this with them;

"Sunset-ish" Watercolor ACEO 11-20-2010

So much fun!

Also this means there was a daily yesterday after all.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Painting Fodder = Inspiration I've stored up

Occasionally you may have seen me refer to "Painting Fodder".  This is a term I use to encompass anything that inspires me to create art.

I usually rely on three sources.

1) - Painting fodder outings - these are a combo of snapshots and sketches taken during a day out, I very rarely get a chance to just go out and paint en plein air right now, as my car is shot. No one wants to drive you someplace and sit around for hours doing nothing while you paint.

Even if someone loved me enough to put up with that, I would feel awful asking and be unable to get comfortable enough with the arrangement to paint, (also I never know when I will be done, so being dropped off and picked up isn't an option).

 So I find I need to get quick inspiration when out. Friends can sometimes be okay with the time it takes to sketch something and no one ever is too hurried to wait for a snapshot.

Snapshots are helpful for color reference later on, and to sketch from if sketching was not an option at the time. Since I use the computer to view rather than printing out the pics, I save on paper.

I have often thought maybe taking a video of some scene I would like to paint and looping it might be and interesting thing to work from, to get the motion I miss from not being able to go out and paint.

2) - "The problem with my brain" fodder - Occasionally ideas will hit me in the normal out of the blue sort of way.

But then there's "The problem with my brain" fodder, which usually describes things or themes I get stuck on.

Not "stuck" as in a block of some sort, "stuck " as in a complete set of themes or a series of subject will sit in my brain till I work them out.

I get stuck on colors, toys, moons and suns, trees , cycles, times of day, seasons and such and I can't move past that till I get them all out.

Yesterday's daily is a good example of that, as there is a companion design in my brain that goes with it, (And will probably be tomorrow's daily)

3) - The Still Life Fodder Box - I have a box in my studio full of stuff, a lot of it came to me when my gramma passed. Some of it I have added, from either coming across it while looking for something or from dollar/thrift stores. This is my go to artists' block breaker.

If I just can't think of anything to paint I will grab out a bunch of stuff and play with it till I get something that turns me back on.

Often times I will sketch from the still life arrangement straight onto the support in thinned oils. But sometimes I will photograph it and tweak the photo till it's exactly how I want it and then work from that. (usually for watercolors and acrylics-on-paper I will do it this way).

I also have a fodder box of old photos, but usually I use these as ideas or jumping off points rather than literal translations.

Rarely, I will meet someone I have to paint, and I will ask them if I may. But honestly I do not seek out portrait and figures to work from, I do enjoy doing them, and I make a lot of sales of commissioned works like that. But, I am uncomfortable asking people to come and sit for me unsolicited.

So that's what I mean when I say 'Painting Fodder' I am just talking about the things I collect for inspiration.

Today there is no daily as I hope to acquire some painting fodder on an outing today with my best friend, Miss Pink.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Today's Daily Painting "Evening Storm"

So after a couple of days of weirdly warm weather, we are finally enjoying a lovely rainstorm. The clouds were rolling in last night, and while I was unable to see the moon from the window last and it was mostly full, this is what came to mind.

Or you can get Tee Shirt, Hoodie, Children's Shirts or Stickers of it here.

while i wait for the masking fluid to set up

I decided to come over and re-post something from the private journal as it has to do with something I will be blogging about that happened today, later on.

so this is from June 5, 2009 on the private journal, although the entry itself is public.

I wanted to say a few things about art, and I have been kicking over these concepts in my head for a while, I am taking the time to jot them down. Feel free to skip if you are not interested, I just want to get this written out.

Why art shouldn't ever make you feel stupid.

There are several kinds of art, some I love others I feel are lazy, some I feel are pretentious, at any time different schools and disciplines become trendy.
I want to talk about a few of them, in the context of communication.

"modern" art
This would be the squiggles and blobs and splashes of paint OR geometric forms painstakingly aligned, colored according to a theory or taste to evoke or communicate certain vague feelings. Some of these are styles that work to get a feeling across to the viewer, some of them only engender dismissal on the basis that the painter clearly is incapable of doing anything other than wasting paint. Or a feeling that you or your 4 year-old could do better. The truly significant art in this style still gets you to say "How did s/he do that?" not "What a bunch of crap! I could do that!"
Both styles will sell; the first because there are strokes of genius and a clear communication from artist to viewer (they get their point across, or make you want to look and examine the piece to find new treasures of feelings), the second because through some fluke of "critique" or commission driven snake oil salesmanship, the artist becomes a Hot Buy and you are made to feel stupid if you don't "get it" or buy it.
Here's a tip: If you don't get it, its because there's nothing there for you to get.
To purchase a piece of art that doesn't speak to you is stupid. If someone else "gets it" I mean it really actually spoke to them, not that they are too embarrassed to admit they bought crap based on pressure from a salesman, all this says about you is that there was nothing in that piece for you. You aren't stupid or culturally void, or lacking taste. You just aren't a sheep with an empty wallet and a piece of what you really see as crap on your wall, that you will grow to resent the purchase of.
A true Master in this style will be able to evoke some communication of feeling or concept in everyone who views the piece.

Impressionism is meant to evoke a feeling specific to the common experiences around us every day.
Everyone can remember a sweet and refreshing breeze through a field on a summer day. Or a candlelit evening dance or a spring rain in a garden. Rather than trying to hit a realistic depiction of these things Impressionist strive to get you to remember the feeling... the feeling of dancing, the peaceful sigh in your soul from the breeze, the sparkling clean of the rain.
Its about a the movement, the light, the art of a gesture or the tricks of the wind. The feeling of just now... the recording of the golden moment. "Right here at this point, is the Epitome of this experience"
It doesn't get more itself than this moment, this light, this movement. This says it all.
Its very hard to look at a master of impressionisms' work and not feel what they were trying to communicate. The images are so perfectly a record of that golden moment, that even if we've never been in a candlelit nightclub in Paris, or at a pond of water lilies, we can still "feel" it, based on our own golden moments.

There are two types of realism that I will discuss here, there is the realism where the settings and figures are clearly defined, anyone can look at it and say "There is a guy standing in the rain" It may not be a scene that ever actually happened or a real person, but the guy is definitely there and it is definitely raining.
Then there is Photorealism, an exact and painstaking reproduction of a real thing or person or place. Every detail perfectly recorded.
Realism in general is the artist saying "There is this and I think its art so I am going to paint it to communicate to others why this moment and set of objects/people is beautiful to me." The artist takes liberties with color, shapes etc. to accentuate or play down certain aspects of the image to direct the viewer to the things about the subject that matter to the artist.
Photorealism is usually "This is here and this is what it looks like" The artist takes no liberties with form or color, recording a historical object or person for posterity usually falls in this category. Photorealism is purely letting the subject speak for itself with very little of the artist added in.

Now, the point of this is all to communicate.
The artist is saying "This is how I feel" or "Remember how this feels?" or "This satisfies something in me and here's why."
The human brain is set up to read symbols, its how you are reading this, we are hardwired to learn a language of symbolism. These little pictures that I am stringing together make sense to you as words because you were taught English. if you speak a different language you might not understand the writing, but you recognize it as writing, you know that there is something being communicated here, even if you can't see the meaning or follow the string of little pictures. If you boil this hardwiring down to the very base ability, it is the ability to see a symbol and know its meaning. and we are born already understanding the language of symbols to some extent.
for instance take this,   Its a smiley face. A circle, two dots and a curved line. It looks nothing like a human face really. If you saw someone who looked like that really, you'd run screaming in the opposite direction. But drawn on the sidewalk in chalk, you see it as you pass by all the people in the world who don't actually look like this, and your brain goes "Ping! Happy Face! YAY!"

Or you see a thick brown line with a green oval Perched on top and your brain goes "Ping! Tree!" But trees don't actually look like that. But you see this symbol for tree and you can know that the tree is what is being communicated. But, by the same token you don't go outside and see a maple and go "What the heck is that? It looks nothing like that symbol!" So everyone has it in them to recognize the simple symbol and the complex data of the reality and put them both into the same category. They are both "Tree".

So because of this, most people are comfortable with art that falls somewhere in the range of "Stick figure" to "Wyeth Portrait". If you ask the viewer to leave that comfort zone, you are challenging their ability to recognize symbols...which since it is a basic wiring, is saying "You are wired wrong if you can't see that these three blobs of orange paint are a parrot and six naked women"  or "This fluffy pink blob speaks of eternal angst and if you can't see that you lack the finer feelings and a soul" when in fact the artist is at fault for failing to get across the communication on a human level.
The end.
Now leave me alone, I'm painting.

YAY Coupon Codes on Etsy!

So I got to be one of the lucky Etsians today and was included in the coupon code roll out this morning!

To celebrate I made a 20% off any purchase code. It's Active now till January 1, 2011.

Go to my Shop

add your choice to the cart and at checkout enter the code.


This is only good for items in my shop.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Okay let's get to blogging!

First off, before I start babbling, here's some deal-age for you.

20% off Tees (grown up and kids sizes, all styles)

Here's what you do, Go to This link, choose a design and a shirt style and a size, then choose white as the shirt color.

 That's it.

 The 20% off is immediately and automatically applied once you choose a white shirt. They are headquartered in Australia (although they ship from more local facilities, the nuts and bolts are happening down under, for instance stuff I order comes from San Francisco ), and as you know, it's summer in Australia so it's their "White Christmas" Sale.

This discount is in addition to the standard free shipping on four or more shirts, and redbubble eats the discount out of their cost, so you would still be supporting your starving artist, 'cause I'd get paid the same.

So you can get four Christmas presents with free shipping for as little as 15$ each for kids and 20$ each for grown ups! And, it's mix and match so you can get four different designs.

More deals incoming, as etsy has posted they are going to start rolling out coupon codes.


Okay now that that's out of the way, here's some shameless self promotion.

I am in some challenges on redbubble right now, and you can vote for me. In future there will not be so many of these posted at once, but since this is effectively the first entry of substance, just want to get em all out there. If you haven't voted before, I will be posting a perma-box of instructions about voting, on the side bar.





Of  course the sad thing is because I spent all day setting this thing up, there is no daily painting for today.

Hey, Look! I finally made a blog!

After putting it off for almost a year and a half, I have finally made a public blog. I do also have a private one, some of the entries are appropriate to here and will slowly be moved over.

Please feel free to comment on entries, and send me interesting and relevant links.

I promise you a more interesting post soon!