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!
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!
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.
This summer I am teaching two great art courses at the Delaplaine Art Center in Frederick, MD! The first course begins on June 22nd, and it’s called, Drawing into Calm: A mixed media survey course. In this course, you will learn how to work in a variety of media from watercolor and pen to acrylic and pastel. We will explore which media are compatible, such as watercolor and ink pen, and gain inspiration from a variety of famous artists, such as Monet, Paul Klee, and Odilon Redon, among others! It’s a course that is perfect for beginner artists and will explore both drawing demonstrations and painting demonstrations, as well as collages. If you want to try new media or love art history, this might be the perfect course for you! Visit the Delaplaine website at: https://delaplaine.org/, to register or learn more.
The other course I am teaching is called, Continuing Landscapes in Pastel, and it’s perfect for experienced pastel artists who would like to learn more about color and value in the context of the four seasons. This course is geared toward more experienced artists who have some drawing experience. The four seasons, summer, autumn, winter, and spring will provide a context for exploring the elements of art, value, and color, such as using cool colors like blue or violet to depict snow, and warmer color palettes to illustrate fall foliage. Both courses are designed for adults. To learn more, visit https://delaplaine.org/instruction/classes-workshops/.
Do you have an interest in telling your family history through mixed media collage art? I have just the course for you! It’s called, Your Family Story through Collage art and will begin on May 4th from 6-8pm at the Adams County Arts Council in Gettysbn. Take your artwork to the next level and create content-based work that tells a story, using a variety of media such as photography from your family collection, old drawings, card stock, acrylic paint, charcoal, and more! We will upcycle old sketches from your sketchbook to create new and unique artwork! Click here to learn more: https://www.adamsarts.org/portfolio-item/your-family-story-through-collage-art/.
The good news is that my art courses at the Delaplaine are filling up! And, the good news for you is that there are a few more spots left! The three courses I will be teaching are Classic Drawing, a beginner drawing course, Drawing into Calm: A Mixed Media survey course, and Landscapes in Pastel: The Four Seasons.
The drawing course is great for those who have always wanted to draw but did not know where to begin, and I will teach you four different drawing modalities such as contour drawing, and using shapes to construct forms. With so many options, you are bound to find a method that brings you excellent results!
The next two courses, Drawing into Calm and Continuing Landscapes are a bit more advanced. In the former, we will study a variety of different art media such s watercolor, pastel, collage, and much more! It’s a veritable buffet of art media to try each week with lessons on collage and painting with subject matter that includes, animals and landscape. You will learn what media works best together in combinations that you wouldn’t have imagined, such as wax resist and collage!
And in the course of the landscape, we will explore a variety of light and color effects such as filtered light to imitate the qualities of the four seasons, such as spring, summer, fall, and winter! Soft pastel is perfect for those who love to paint, but don’t want to wait for it to dry! The elements of art, such as color, shape, form, and value will inform each lesson, and you’ll learn valuable skills such as how to mix colors to get the exact color you want! To learn more, visit https://delaplaine.org/instruction/classes-workshops/. Thanks for stopping by!
My beginner drawing course is now officially full! I am so excited, but there are still some open spots in my mixed media survey course, Drawing into Calm, and Continuing Landscapes, The Four Seasons. To learn more, visit http://www.delaplaine.org. Here are some photos of the artwork I plan to demonstrate for these courses, to give you a sneak preview!
If you are a creative type or if you like to make things, you have probably encountered the moment when the finished product you imagined, does not live up to your expectations. Creative types such as musicians, composers, producers, dancers, writers, artists, photographers, cooks, and makers of all types, can probably tell you what it feels like to hit a wall with a project, how it felt, and what they did to navigate that feeling of utter frustration. As an artist, I have experienced this frustration more times than I can count. Some paintings and drawings are simply learning projects and are difficult to salvage, while others can be fixed.
I know it’s been said that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes, but when I get to a point in a painting or drawing and I realize that the painting or drawing doesn’t look right, it can be really frustrating. I start doubting myself, feel like giving up, or doing something that I am not good at, like cooking or cleaning because I know that I am not good at these things, so my expectations of success in these domains are much lower than for painting or drawing since I have no training in cookery or housekeeping. Since I know I am not a good cook, if it doesn’t turn out so well, it’s a waste of ingredients but I don’t feel as emotionally attached to the outcome as I would to a painting or drawing.
I recently read a forum question on the website, Wet Canvas.com, and the question of the day was,” When should I stop working on a painting? I was intrigued by the question, and wondered how other artists dealt with paintings that can “look like a dog’s breakfast.” I read about a variety of solutions suggested by artists who had hit the wall creatively. Some were familiar to me, like my tendency to put the painting away and stop looking at it for a few days, weeks, months, or even longer. Others were not as familiar such as putting the painting somewhere where you can see it, such as on an easel in a living room, and then taking time to look at it from time to time to diagnose the problem. Another favorite technique is to write a list of things I want to change in the painting, be it the drawing, colors, value, edges, etc. In my case, some of the artwork I have abandoned was started about two years ago, and I am just now starting to look at the sketches and Photoshop files.
This week I took some time to work some more on my acrylic painting, Waiting: Creative Block. I realized that there were several things bothering me about it. The colors and values, and composition were some of the biggest glaring errors. I am realizing there are many reasons why this painting series of poetry illustration works have been abandoned. One of which was being too busy with other things to give the series the proper amount of time it requires to get things right, such as the composition and the drawing. Since I dropped out of the Social Work program at Frederick Community College, I do have more time to work on paintings.
And since I have deliberately looked at my schedule e and started marking studio days on the calendar, I have more “intentional “time. But I am also realizing just how hard this series is, as I am making some paintings almost entirely from scratch by combining different photo references in Photoshop and then drawing and painting them, with this technique, I do not have the luxury of working from reference photos already taken. I have to look for source material and then combine it to make it my own. This project is highlighting areas of weakness in me as an artist, and one of them is composition. I have a tendency to put everything in the middle and don’t often use more unconventional compositional styles. I want to change that and start looking to master artworks to try and broaden my skills in this area.
Another great way to improve your painting skills is to draw, yes draw. Regularly and in a sketchbook if you can, as much as you can so that you can practice things like composition, color, proportions, etc. It can also help you see patterns in your work, such as a favorite subject you return to, or a color palette. A sketchbook is also a great place to try out a variety of art media since it doesn’t feel as precious as a large painting can sometimes feel. This week I am featuring photos from my old sketchbook to show just how diverse you can be in art media. I include mixed-media collages and colored pencil drawings. The sky really is the limit with sketchbooks!