By Dan Scott of drawpaintacademy.com
It has been a strange year. Crazy to think it’s almost over, with only a few months left in 2020.
Artists are lucky in the sense we don’t need much to enjoy the art life, and it’s not easily taken away from us. I could find at least some joy with just a pen, sketchbook, and my thoughts. But, it has still been hard. Impossibly hard for some.
What can you do to keep spirits high during these times? Here are some ideas:
- Reminisce over old work. Compare it to your recent work. Are you improving? How is your style developing? If you had to paint them again, what would you do differently?
It’s easy to forget all that you create. I recently visited my parents' place and saw all my old work stacked up in the corner of the garage. Some from when I was just a child. I had forgotten most of them, but as I saw each painting, I could distinctly remember when, where, and why I painted it. Each painting seems to capture a point in time. I got a warm feeling seeing how far I’ve come. You might get that same feeling.
- Find beauty in nearby places. You don’t need to travel to remote islands or vast mountains for inspiration (though it doesn’t hurt). There’s beauty all around us. It might be the interesting light and shadow patterns created by the tree in your backyard. Or the flowers in your garden. Or the gesture of your partner or pet. And if all that fails to spark your imagination, try recreating famous paintings or paint from reference photos (you can grab some of mine here).
- Try a different medium. If your surroundings are static, invite change through other means. Try watercolors, charcoal, gouache, water-based oils, pen and ink. Mix it up. Personally, I did a few watercolor paintings recently. What a wonderful yet frustrating medium!
- Quick sketch. Keep things fresh and simple. A little bit every day is better than long periods of absence. Buy a sketchbook and try to do at least a page each day. I like to date the corner to track my progress.
- Do the boring things you have been procrastinating. Restock on supplies. Clean up your studio. Fix the lighting. (I think I’m subconsciously writing this for myself.)
- Plan for the next 12 months. Hopefully, it will be better than the last. What do you want to learn? Who do you want to learn from? What weaknesses should you work on? What strengths should you push?
- Catch up on theory. Do you understand what color really is and how we see it? Do you know what makes a composition interesting and inviting? Do you know the light and shadow terminology? This stuff doesn’t require a brush in hand, but can result in vast improvements in your work.
- Use this as an opportunity to take a step back and enjoy your surroundings. "Go do nothing" as Jeremy Mann puts it in this video.
Want more painting tips? Check out my ebook, 21 Easy Ways to Improve Your Paintings.
Click the button below for a PDF from Dan Scott of Draw Paint Academy
Artist Royce Deans is offering online and zoom classes. For more information, visit https://roycedeans.wordpress.com/
An open-air, hands-on exploration of several historical art techniques highlights the August 25 Saugatuck-Douglas History Center's Back-In-Time Garden” behind the Old School House, 130 Center Street, Douglas. The one-hour program begins when the school bell rings at 11 a.m. Public attendance is invited and admission is free. Respecting COVID safety protocols, seating will be
socially distanced and limited to 20 guests. To aid program setup, guests are asked to preregister
online at tinyurl.com/SDHC-TT-8-25 as early as possible. Questions regarding online registration may
be e-mailed to email@example.com.
Attendees will be required to bring and wear masks when entering and leaving the area and during
direct interactions with participants and presenters (masks may be taken off while guests are seated
Maryjo Lemanski, artist and former owner of Water Street Gallery in Douglas, will present “Back In The
Old Days: Historical Art Techniques”, explaining and demonstrating how early Michigan artists made
creative use of photography, quill pen and ink drawing, letterpress printing, tea bag painting and
rubbings. She then will guide participants who want to try the techniques discussed, at four separated
stations equipped with the appropriate materials. No prior art training or experience is required.
“When I view art work completed in the early 1900s,” Lemanski says, “I am amazed at the level of skill
and high quality of work that was created. These early Michigan artists were challenged with the few
materials available. Their ingenuity and perseverance as well as their artistic talents are still admired
by artists today.”
This Talk is sponsored by SDHC members Bill and Nancy Woods. For more information about the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center, its Museum in Saugatuck and Old School House in Douglas, or its activities planned for the months ahead, visit www.MySDHistory.org.
Pauline "Pauly" Brockington
12/17/1925 - 6/3/2020
Pauline "Pauly" Brockington, 94, of Saugatuck passed away Wednesday, June 3, 2020. Pauly was born and raised in Columbus Ohio. She spent many enjoyable summers at Big Darby Creek in the Hocking Hills of Ohio. Pauly graduated from The Ohio State University, where she met her husband Ned. She was a long time resident of Saugatuck, where she worked at Force's Gifts and Saugatuck Bank. She was very involved in the Saugatuck-Douglas Art Club, Garden Club, and Historical Society. Pauly was a storyteller, through both her writing and painting. She was an active part of a writers group that published "Meanderings" articles in the Commercial Record. She wrote hundreds of stories for her grandchildren about growing up in Ohio, and what it was like to be a child of the depression. She was always happy when she had a cup of coffee, a good mystery book, and a schnauzer in her lap. Preceded in death by husband Ned, son Joseph, and sisters Iris Roper and Shirley Kensinger. Survived by children, William (Suzanne) Brockington of Whitehall, Susan Brockington of Holland, daughter-in-law Catherine Brockington of Saugatuck, nine grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. A private family burial took place in Riverside Cemetery, Saugatuck. A memorial gathering to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Pauly's name to Saugatuck-Douglas Art Club Scholarship, PO Box 176, Saugatuck, MI 49453.
SDAC member Susan Day Martell paints in a lush contemporary photorealistic style, deploying close up views of alluring florals in a way that is all her own. Susan Day Martell is inspired by the beauty of her surroundings in her own flower garden in Douglas. Largely self-taught, she has also studied with other contemporary artists around the country. Her medium is both oil and acrylics.
Painting since 2011, in recent years she has been concentrating on honing her skills in photorealism with her animal portraits and floral art. She has been selected for the "Top Twenty" of Holland's Tulip Time Art in Bloom competition for the last three years. Her work has also been selected for many regional art exhibitions and is in private collections around the country.
In Full Bloom
Susan Day Martell
May 28 to July 19, 2020
Solo Exhibition at the Holland Area Arts Council
Now offering private exhibit tours! Call (616)396-3278 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule.
From member Judy Anthrop: My latest hooked rug is a map of Saugatuck from Lake Michigan to the Keewatin, passing the cove, Mt. Baldy, Oval Beach, and city hall. It's 9 feet long and 36 wide. It got so heavy I could hardly finish it. It has been about 12 years since I started it. It weighs 11 pounds which converts to about 12 yards of wool. I have about 1400 hours work and because of arthritis and carpel tunnel I am officially retiring from rug hooking.
By the way I have pounds of wool that I had sent thru the cutter over the years if someone can dream up a use. It is all 100 percent wool. There are about 12 bags. Perhaps felting and for sure rug hooking. A rug hooker likely could not use it all up in a lifetime. I have even thought of boiling it all and running the car over it to become a felted rug.
Maryjo Lemanski is enjoying the online classes hosted by Royce Dean. New classes are posted at https://www.roycedeans.com/classes
Anne Corlett will teach her popular pastel class at Ox-Bow in August. Still Life In The Landscape-Working With Soft Pastel. Go to https://www.ox-bow.org/aom-summer-2020
SDAC member Priscilla Lynch reports that, “For the past seven weeks I have been participating in a weekly online stitch challenge presented by leading UK textile artists through textileartist.org. It has over 20,000 members worldwide and participants are encouraged to post their work on the group Facebook page. It has been fascinating and enlightening to see work from such a diverse group of men and women. The sculptor Louise Bourgeois is quoted as saying “Stitch is emotional repair”. Something we can all use in these troubling times”.
The original stitch challenge has ended, but videos etc. are still available at the textileartist.org website.
Textileartist.org has just announced the Textile Stitch Club will present weekly videos, workbooks and online discussion and feedback taught by a different textile artist from around the world each work. The cost per month is $27.00 US. For more information see TextileArtist.org
Judy Anthrop has been doing house portraits for friends. The portrait, below, is 6x8" and depicts a friend's condo in Holland. The work was a thank you for the hemming my latest hooked rug.
The next house portrait is 20x20" in oil. One of my fifth-grade students from 1969 asked me to do a painting of her authentic saltbox but I took artist liberty on style.
Let’s share our news!
A studio cleaning or move, an upcoming class, or excitement over a new project. If you have any news — big or small — to share with your fellow local artists, please send to email@example.com