Join me for a chance to relax and be creative at Frederick Community College this May and June. I will be teaching noncredit courses, so there is no pressure to earn a grade or do homework, however, I teach it like a college class so you get to learn some of the critical fundamentals of art such as color, line, and value. To learn more, visit: https://www.frederick.edu/class-schedules/downloads/ilr_spring_2023_schedule.aspx. My Continuing Pastels course starts on 5/5. Sign up today to reserve your spot!
Or, if that doesn’t work with your schedule I am also teaching a mixed media course entitled, Drawing and Painting: A Mixed Media Survey on 6/15, also at Frederick Community College. You can sign up for this course at the above link.
The courses I am teaching include ACR187 Continuing Pastels with Landscapes, and ACR181 Drawing and Painting: A Mixed Media Survey. Below are some samples of the projects from these courses, so you can get a sneak preview!
I am teaching a cornucopia of art courses at Frederick Community College in the Institute for Learning in Retirement department. These classes are short, and art is not graded like traditional credit courses. However, I teach the basic elements of art and offer group critiques, which are a vital part of credit art courses, so you get all the benefits of a credit course, without the grade.
They are perfect for those who want a short-term art course without a long time commitment. As a student, you will receive the benefit of my extensive art expertise as a student and art teacher, and receive constructive critiques, education in the basics of art, such as value, shape, color, etc., as well as individual art instruction. My courses will empower you to self-critique your own work and that of others, so that you can have the confidence to improve the quality of your artwork on your own. I offer a variety of mediums to choose from such as soft pastels, pencils, and mixed media!
I will be working on adding new content to this commerce site to keep my inventory fresh, based upon this year’s Inktober Challenge, so stay tuned!
Here are some samples of what is already on my site, pet portraits, landscapes, and much more! They come in a variety of formats such as art prints, phone case covers, mugs, notebooks, and even clocks! Below are a few samples of what you will find in my art gallery store.
I am in the process of adding new inventory to my Red Bubble website, it’s been a while since I have posted anything new. If you love cats and dogs, check out my latest addition to my Red Bubble site, Perfect Harmony! It is an original pastel double portrait of a tabby cat and German shepherd, created in an impressionistic style. And it’s available for sale as prints, coffee mugs, phone cases, etc! To view the collection, visit: https://www.redbubble.com/shop/ap/136644743?ref=studio-promote.
Have you ever wondered why artwork is so expensive? It turns out that there are several valid reasons for this…To learn more, read on. I get asked variations on this question or overhear it in others’ conversations about purchasing artwork. While I sometimes inwardly bristle inwardly when hearing such remarks, because I am an artist who knows the inside story about how hard and expensive it is to make original artwork, I also want to give others the benefit of the doubt. I realize that others who do not have an art background may not be aware of the reasons why artwork has become so expensive, and in that spirit I am writing this blog post, to help them become more educated about the creative process.
What is the definition of art in our Modern times?
In our modern society of today where speed of execution seems to be often valued above quality, I think fine art is no longer viewed as a viable occupation, as it once was during the renaissance era when artists had a clear path to be trained by master artists and to be paid by wealthy patrons for their commissioned works. Instead, fine art has largely been replaced by applied art forms, such as graphic design, cinematography, animation, photography, fashion design, interior design, etc. However, I think that most artists have to support themselves by taking professions in the applied arts or pursuing some other occupation altogether to support their creative pursuits. Even in public schools, art is often seen as an “extra” subject, not quite as worthy of learning as other science, math, or technology-based courses, such as science, mathematics, engineering, etc. I also think that this attitude of art as “extra” may influence others’ perception of the value of art, not just in monetary terms, but also in terms of its capacity to enrich society and the next generation.
The Rareness of Art as a Profession
On the other hand, the somewhat recent learning model of the STEAM curriculum in the educational system is a promising development, in which educators and hopefully students, are learning about the interconnectedness of art amongst other disciplines, and therefore, its usefulness to society. There are however a minority of artists who are able to pursue their passion as entrepreneurs by selling their art or making a living through online teaching. But to return to the original point, why is the artwork a costly commodity, I am turning my attention to an article I read recently online entitled, Why is Artwork So Expensive? (The Top Ten Reasons),https://www.thecoldwire.com/why-are-paintings-so-expensive/, author unknown.
Why does artwork cost so much?
So, on to a few reasons why that artwork that you looked at in the art gallery or online via an art website was so darned expensive! According to the author of, Why is artwork so expensive? They state that because the artwork is one of a kind, it cannot be reproduced, even by the artist themselves because each brush stroke is unique.
Art is Original and Making it, is Expensive
Another reason to note the cost of the artwork is the cost of art supplies. As a working artist and teacher, I know that quality art supplies can be really expensive, whether I buy them at Michaels or an online art supplier. For example, my favorite medium of choice, which is working with oil paints, is the most expensive one of all, with lots of equipment, such as canvases, brushes, paints, palettes, paint mediums, easels, etc. Working from experience, I have learned that trying to save money by using cheap paint or other art supplies is often not worthwhile. Instead, it just makes my work that much harder. When I am doing custom art or making art for sale, I get the best possible art supplies that I can afford, and so I have to charge clients and customers more to make a return on my investment. I am committed to making my clients a quality product that will last.
However, if I am just experimenting in my sketchbook with ideas, I will sometimes use cheaper products. But again, using better quality supplies is usually a more enjoyable art experience for me. Often, I work with cheaper brushes the hairs fall out and need to be replaced much sooner. And I have spent a lot of time picking out stray brush hairs from canvases or trying to work with cheap soft pastels that will not “stick” to the pastel paper. In this instance, paying additional money for quality soft pastels, such as Rembrandts, is worth it over saving a few dollars with cheaper brands, such as off-label art products like Artist’s Loft. Or, I used the wrong kind of paper for watercolor or ink, and it ended up buckling or pilling my watercolor or ink drawing. All this to say, sometimes saving money is not worth it, and that is just one of the reasons why art is so expensive. As artists, we have to charge more to get a return for our investment, just like any other professional craftsperson, such as a contractor, interior designer, fashion designer, etc. That’s it for today, but next week I will review a few other reasons for the high cost of the artwork. On the subject of artwork, I am featuring some highlights from my Inktober challenge for 2022 that I worked on last fall. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!
I am currently on a break from teaching art classes at the Delaplaine, but I will be resuming teaching in February! One course is a several week’s long class on drawing animals in graphite, starting in February 2023!
The other course is a two-day workshop in which I explore color theory, painting in acrylics, and how to apply it to animal portraits! Meanwhile, I will be re-grouping and trying to re-kindle my love for art by looking at lots of art on Pinterest, trying out new mediums, and doing one of my favorite art challenges, Inktober!
The classes are Drawing Animals in Nature with Graphite, a course inspired by draftswoman extraordinaire, Lee Hammond, and, Whimsical Animals in Acrylic, inspired by another artist, Megan Wells, who wrote the book, Colorways: Acrylic Animals: Tips, Techniques, and Step-By-Step Lessons for Learning to Paint Whimsical Artwork in Vibrant Acrylic!
In the first course, we will learn all about how to draw and shade animal drawings, with a special focus on drawing supplies, such as blenders, mechanical pencils, what types of papers to use, and more! Lee Hammond specializes in making drawings that simulate old master techniques, such as gradients and smooth shading to create a realism that goes beyond your wildest dreams!
And in the two-day workshop, we will have fun with color, utilizing the color wheel to create dynamic color combinations such as complementary colors to bring new life to animal subjects. Rather than sticking to local color, we will explore how to abstract farm yard animals with color and bold, painterly brushwork to make painting a more fun experience! To learn more, visit https://delaplaine.org/.
Are you in a creative slump or want to try out other forms of art media? Then, my course, Drawing, and Painting: A Mixed Media survey is the perfect fit for you! To learn more about this wonderful course, visit https://www.frederick.edu/. Go to the schedules link and select, ILR Fall Schedule 2022 to view a detailed description about this course.
In this course, I will provide you with detailed art demonstrations, with different art media provided each week. We will draw and paint our way through different art styles such as Impressionism, and even abstraction. The wide variety of art media and styles will stimulate your creativity, and provide a space for you to create in a judgment-free learning environment. Beginners and seasoned artists are welcome, no experience is necessary, although some experience with drawing or painting can be helpful. This is an in-person, noncredit course at Frederick Community College.
Today I wanted to share a bit about the skills you will learn if you take my Oil Painting course for beginners. Did you know that the color wheel is not just for kids? Maybe you remember using crayons to make one in elementary school, but it’s still a useful skill to have as a beginner artist.
In my course, I will teach you how to use the color wheel to mix oil paint colors so that you will not have to buy every color under the sun to get that perfect purple or orange! The color wheel can also be a useful tool in determining what colors look good together, called color schemes. We will start with the class exercises to get your feet wet with oil paints, such as painting techniques, and also painting skills such as color wheels and value scales. No experience is needed, and beginners are welcome! These exercises will help you with class projects and give you the confidence to make your own artwork outside of my class, should you wish to continue studying oil painting on your own To learn more about my upcoming oil painting course, visit https://www.frederick.edu/. Look for course schedules and select ILR Fall Schedule 2022. You can use either the pdf version or the flipbook version. These are non-credit courses without any homework or grades.
This week I am writing about my somewhat haphazard journey toward becoming an artist and some lessons I have learned along the way. I also add a few insights from some famous artists that I feel provide a meaningful segue for my thoughts. A few months back when I was hosting an Artist opening show at Spin the Bottle Wine Company in Frederick, MD, one of the visitors to the wine shop asked me how I got my start as an artist. I answered that my mother had always encouraged me to make art and that she had enrolled me in a watercolor painting class at the age of nine. Since then I have taken many other art classes at the Howard County Center for the Arts (acrylic and watercolor), Howard Community College (drawing and photography), McDaniel College (graphic design, sculpture, drawing, and oil painting), and art classes with local artist Rebecca Pearl for watercolor, to name a few.
My journey has not been a straight path to overnight success. Instead, it has had many ups and downs, despite how things might look in my carefully timed and worded Facebook Posts and artist biographies that I write. For example, I don’t post artwork that I don’t like for the most part, and the ones I do post have often been reworked several times. Furthermore, the artworks that I show in galleries, coffee shops, etc., are examples of my best work, culled from unfinished works, experiments, and messes. In the words of poet Langston Hughes, “This life ain’t been no crystal stair.”
I can’t speak for the path of other artists, but after I graduated from McDaniel College with a bachelor’s degree in art, I struggled to find a path that would work for me. After graduation, I had to balance the realities of everyday realities such as student loan payments, with my dreams of being an exhibiting and teaching artist. My transition from being an art student in a creative bubble, to the world outside those walls, was not seamless. For instance, it was hard to deal with the isolation of being an artist without a group of creatives to cheer me on or encourage me when rejection inevitably came, in the form of rejection letters from Graduate Schools, such as Towson University, MICA, and James Madison University. There were also rejection letters from art galleries that rejected my artwork. At the time, I thought the only way to be an artist was to teach art or to exhibit my artwork in juried art shows.
During this time, I took classes in a variety of subjects other than art, trying to find out what I wanted to do with my life, such as history, social work, and graphic design. None of these seemed to “fit”, and I usually ended up returning to art again at some point, either by taking another art class or by making art on my own time on days off from work or in the evenings. I worked in customer service jobs as a library assistant, and hostess, and next, I work as a Receptionist at a Funeral Home. I have learned that there are many different ways to be an artist, whether it provides your livelihood or not. At present, I divide my time between working as a part-time Adjunct faculty art teacher and making art in my spare time. I’m constantly looking for new opportunities to exhibit my art or share my art with others on Instagram and Facebook, or at art festivals or coffee houses.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learned during my creative journey as an artist was to be careful with whom I showed my art and to carefully filter people’s comments about my art to see if they are helpful. I’ve had some bad critiques in the past and so I try to choose people who have my best interests at heart and who have some art training but are not pretentious or mercilessly blunt. Source: Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic, and 10 Life Lessons from History’s Most Famous Artists, Kim Smiley, 03/02/17.
And finally, another lesson that I am currently in the process of learning is that it takes a lot of time, sweat, and tears to perfect one’s craft as an artist. By no means does excellent work occur in and of itself. It takes years of practice and determination not to give up on practicing one’s art. For example, according to Kim Smiley, the Renaissance sculptor, painter, poet, and engineer, Michelangelo, knew that it took patience to create art, and likewise, Leonardo Da Vinci, states, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” According to Smilet, artists should “go against the grain” of our modern culture to get everything done quicker, and instead take their time to create quality work and the patience to carry it out. One way that I am working on practicing my craft has been to challenge myself to draw a portrait a day, or as often as possible. Every time I create a portrait of a celebrity, changemaker, or another historical figure, I post the results on Instagram. So far I have created 91 line portraits out of the 100 I planned to make. It’s a work in progress. If you are interested in following my drawing challenge, 100 faces in 100 days, you can find me on Instagram as jsjsschmidt2, or you may view my website, www.artofschmidt.com, which has a link to my Instagram page and is updated each time I post a new drawing.
Author’s Note: This blog post is from my archives but the artwork is new, and it illustrates some of the new work I have been making in my art sketchbook. The goal for these works has been to try to re-do unsatisfactory artwork in these pages and complete the work as a series which different topics each month. This month my focus is on nature. I only started this project about a month ago, and have already learned so much about color, value, and composition!
And by the way, if you are looking for a fun class in which to practice your color mixing and drawing skills, you might enjoy my course: Beginning Pastels at Delaplaine Art Center. To learn more, click on this link: https://delaplaine.org/. I give detailed tutorials on topics such as how to mix color and create value scales to help you to create the artwork you will love! I teach the fundamentals of art such as line, shape, color, and value to give you the tools to make artwork both in my classroom and beyond! There is no grading or homework, so the pressure is off if you were thinking it was another academic type course. I try to teach you fundamentals in a fun and supportive environment.