Sunday, January 29, 2012

Illuminating Conversations

Illuminating Conversations, oil on panel, 6"X6" -R.L. Delight
Here is my recent painting! It is as finished as I intend to make it. It took a lot longer than I thought it would and, as I have mentioned in the previous post, I learned a lot along the way. One of the biggest things I learned was more in the nature of a reminder. It reminded me how important drawing is. I didn't start this painting with a drawing, nor do I believe that all my paintings need to start with a drawing. I do believe that with this one I should have. I am going to try an experiment on tomorrow's still life set up. I am going to do a small painting of part of the composition, a larger painting of the total composition, and a crayon drawing of the composition for a show that I agreed to do. I will be talking about the crayon drawings a while later in another post. With the larger composition, I will be doing a drawing and going through a more traditional process. I am going to use the small painting as a kind of warm up to loosen things up as well.
I am still pretty new at this and have a lot to learn!
A little bit about the subject of the painting. I found the light bulb on one of my beach walks last year. It is fairly large and I believe it came off a ship. It still has a bit of seawater in it I was unable to remove. The vintage movie camera I picked up at a thrift store. I liked the idea of old time ways to light our world in the face of the current reality of LEDs, florescent bulbs, Ipods, Ipads, and digital cameras. As I was painting them the objects looked to me like they were having a conversation. I had particularly positioned the camera so that it looked like it was looking toward the viewer. I didn't start out with a big story on this, just the idea.
In other areas of the studio, I asked my mate to build a simple rendition of a photo cube. We got wood dowels and he made some blocks that attach at the ends to form corners. Sort of like a giant Tinker Toy cube. I found a polyester white  shower curtain liner at the thrift store and set it up to take the above photo. Here is a picture of the apparatus:
The white liner is peeled back to show the corners. I used two clamp lights outside of the cube at either side with daylight florescent bulbs and put the camera on a tripod. Not perfect but it does work. Space is at a premium so I made it to be able to take it apart and store it neatly. The downside is that I have to set it up every time I need to take a picture. It will do until I can afford a better set up.
With the next painting, I will be moving more toward storytelling. I am working steadily in the studio and that makes me very happy. Until Wednesday, -Renee

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's Your Sentence?

Newly Borne, oil on canvas 9"X12"-R.L. Delight
Last year I participated in an interesting project conducted by none other than Daniel Pink. He sent a call out to send him a video describing what your purpose is in the world, in one sentence. In other words, tell him what your sentence is. I had read a few of his books including A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. I thought his project sounded like a good exercise. So, I did it. I thought about what my sentence was, video taped it, toyed with the idea of sending it in, decided to finish the exercise and send it in anyway and then forgot about it. A while later, I got a general e-mail from Daniel Pink saying that the video composition was completed. He received hundreds of submissions and apologized to us and said he was only able to put a handful into the three minute video. Imagine my surprise as I clicked on it to watch it to see myself pop up part way in! My jaw dropped. Well, the sound quality of my video (my video, not theirs) wasn't that great but they subtitled it. Then, there was the matter of my name. They put Renee De La Prade instead of mine. That's OK though. I told them not to worry about having to go back in and change it. It was the exercise that counted for me not getting included in the video. Plus, when I Googled Renee De La Prade it turns out she is a musician, an "accordion playing babe" from San Francisco with hot pink hair (at the time). I believe she does burlesque shows.  I thought it was amusing and sort of a nice alter ego. I friended her on Facebook for the heck of it.
Back to my sentence, I said on the video that "She showed the world that the beauty of women, all women, has no boundaries."  Not bad at the time but my sentence has changed. It has deepened!
What's my sentence now? It is; "She paints stories about Truth and Beauty." You may have noticed that it is my tagline. I debated about the tagline. Sometimes it sounds kind of cheesy to me. I mean, many artists paint stories about truth and beauty, right? What stops my finger from hitting the delete button is that it is the truth. My truth. My sentence. Below you will find the video but before you watch it, tell me, What is your sentence?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Insert Brilliant and Witty Title Here!

I think I need to create a line of clothing that includes a refillable tablet and pen built into a pocket somewhere. I know a lot of folks have smart phones and iPads for that but I find all the stuff that comes with that tech gets in the way when I really need to write something down, like the clever title for this blog post that I thought of the other day, and then forgot when all the stuff in my poor little brain got in the way! I need to write these things down. So, I figure that maybe I can get away with the above title...once, with your indulgence.
The truth is, I have gone from busy to super busy, crazy, can't-sleep-at-night excitement. I am learning so much and my head is exploding with thoughts, ideas, and must-do lists. In spite of all that, I have been getting into the studio to paint and work hard everyday. I honestly need a couple of lifetimes to learn the many things I want to learn.
I have made progress on my current painting. I have also learned a couple of things along the way. First, the painting:
Still life oil in progress
I still have about another week of work to finish the painting, I think. Hopefully less. This little painting has presented a rather large and somewhat painful learning curve to me. I am actually grateful though. Learning is good.
Lessons Learned So Far: With this painting I realized that I need to do some more drawing practice. A couple of quick sketches before starting would not have been a waste of time for me. I also mentioned that the composition might be a bit too complicated for me to paint this as a fast "daily" style painting. I would simplify it, maybe just paint the giant light bulb resting on the block. I find as well that I am still thinking in terms of studies and being a student. I think I need to keep that frame of mind somewhat, I will always be a student, but I also need to think in terms of telling the story I want to tell in its entirety. This composition falls somewhere in the middle. There is a story, which I will tell when the painting is finished but I also set it up like an exercise. I hope that makes sense. There is a subtle difference between the two ideas.
I am going to work on painting a lot looser with the next painting. I think I am trying to put in too much detail for what the painting is supposed to be. I love to paint that way but I think it would work better for me to do that in a slightly larger format.
I can go on for a few more paragraphs but you probably get the idea. I ended the week on Friday tired and a bit discouraged. I really want to move on. After a day or two, I am feeling a lot better about the whole thing. I know that my skills improve with every drawing and painting I do. Speed and accuracy will come with practice. I am having a lot of fun with color.
I have put a lot of things into motion this week and things will start to settle in a bit more over the next couple of weeks.
I will be back on Wednesday. My new web site is up and running, please go to
R.L to check it out. If you are on Facebook, I have a page there too, please "like" it to keep posted. I have a Facebook badge on the side bar. Click on it to link.
Thanks! Next post I have a question to pose!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Geek Creativity

I am posting this a bit early as we have the first official hurricane-force wind warning for the Oregon coast since 2007. The storm is due to hit in the wee hours and I am not sure if we will have power tomorrow. I wanted to honor my new commitment to posting on this blog twice a week. Winter has definitely decided it was time to show up. We had 2" of snow on the beach yesterday morning! Twill and I took the camera along on our morning sunrise walk:
Twill is my dear goofy dog. She is the best studio companion!
I have a lot of exciting things going on in my art world. In spite of that, I am putting in time in the studio. First up, I have a website built! My website can be found at On it you will find pictures of my art, my artist statement, and bio. Oh, and the Delight? That is my last name, really!
Second, every spare minute I have has gone into listening and learning about art and art marketing. My latest and best find so far has been this fantastic podcast with Dreama Tolle Perry and Leslie Saeta. They have put out quite a few of them so it will take a while to hear them all. I have learned so much! They put in good research and produce quite an informative podcast, not to mention they are fun to listen to. I would highly recommend the podcast to anyone who is getting started in marketing their art or craft (weavers take note, most of their information would apply to a weaving business too!)
Finally, I love to read and study the art and science of creativity. I have been doing this for years so I have quite a list of books I have read and websites I have investigated. I rarely learn anything really new but I do find most of them inspiring, and some not as inspiring. One common thread that nearly all, if not all, have is this simple message:
Do The Work!!!
Do It Now.
Sometimes it is put in different terms like show up at the page/easel/loom. Notice I used every highlight device I have at my disposal on the phrase. I bet you already know this in your heart and head. Sometimes it can take a bit to get it into your body. That's OK, as long as it gets there! My body is starting to get that and dances up to the studio, climbs into the loom, and sits down with the cello with regularity. I am finding it very joyful.
I will put the podcast and artist links in the side bar too. Go listen to the podcast. I subscribed through iTunes and listen to it (and others) while I do dishes and clean house. I have even caught myself doing chores that I would otherwise put off because I know I get to listen to the podcast! Hint: have a notepad and pen handy.
Now I am off to batten down the hatches. I will have a progress report on my painting on Sunday.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Disciplinary Action

I now have my own definition for disciplinary action which is simply: the act of regularly showing up and doing the work! Not that I am completely undisciplined, but I am returning from the holiday break with a renewed determination and purpose. It has been quite a week for me and I am scrambling to keep up with everything I am learning and getting into place. But, first things first! I did make sure I painted everyday. I am starting to get back into the swing of things again but progress is slow. I am looking forward when I can work faster. I know it will come with time and practice. Here is where I am at this week on this little painting. A warning though, it is still at the ugly in-between stage.

The background fabric is really interesting. It looked fairly neutral when I chose it but it has all kinds of strange colors in it. They are providing a lovely challenge for me that I am really enjoying even though it slows the process. I was also very distracted (I will get to that in a moment). The other day when I was painting and nothing seemed to be in the right place and I was struggling to make things work. I eventually realized that I forgot to turn on one of the lights I am using! Oh dear, as I said, it takes a bit to get back into the groove after even a short absence.
This week has been very exciting, and rather distracting, for me as I am continuing to make important changes. Ah! One of those changes is to post to this blog twice a week instead of one longish post once a week. So, more about those changes and their results in a couple of days!
I am curious, have you been making changes, big or small, in how you work? I would love to read about them in the comments or on your own blog!
I will be back on Wednesday with more.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Back in the Studio

The studio is still being put to rights but I knew I needed to get back to the easel so I started up again. It has been a couple of weeks. I needed to take that time to re-arrange and be ready for a new productive year but, UGH! I forgot how hard it is to start back up after a longish absence. Everything feels clumsy and I feel rather dull and awkward trying to paint. I am gritting my teeth and keep working in spite of the voices of doubt and disparagement in my head and through what I know as Resistance, with a capital "R". I am starting to get back in the groove but not without a struggle. I think next time I will do my best to not take so much time off.
I am very new to daily painting. For that matter, I am fairly new to painting period! I am realizing that it isn't just my lack of skill that is contributing to the length of time it takes to make one small painting, but I have also been trying to paint too complicated of a composition. I am going to finish the current painting in progress and then simplify, simplify, simplify. Deep breath and keep going. Here is my progress so far with about 5 hours (most daily paintings are 1-3 hours) and more to go:
Oh yeah, I am aware of all the things that need to be corrected and I am just in the blocking in phase. I will fill in the history of the objects when the painting is finished.
To finish up this post, I have been inspired by two wonderful women this week. One is actually a young girl and her story is both uplifting and so very sad. Jessica Joy Reece was 12 years old and had two brain tumors with no cure. She chose to spend her time not only fighting the disease but spreading joy to other kids through making "joy jars" to give to kids fighting cancer. I had "liked" her page on Facebook, something that I don't always do. Over the months I came to admire her courage and positive loving outlook on life. She started a foundation called NEGU (never, ever, give up). She did so much, and touched so many people in such a short time. She seemed to be hanging in there but the other day took a turn for the worse and suddenly passed away. I realized when I read the news (with a bit of swearing and many tears)  how much this brave young girl really touched me. How can I give up on trying to be anything but my best now? I can't, so NEGU is now my motto too.
The other inspiration is someone I had posted links to before. She is an artist I greatly admire and is painting in a manner that I am striving for myself. Here is a link to Terry Strickland's latest blog post. Take a look at her current painting in progress. It is a contemporary painting of the Three Fates. I, myself, have had sketches for a painting of the Three Fates in my notebooks to paint for a few years now. Being a weaver and spinner as well as an avid reader of books, I have come across descriptions of the three fates many times and love the picture they paint in my head. Mine will be different of course but along the same lines idea-wise. I don't have the painting skills to paint the picture yet but will sometime, in the next year or two. I am looking forward to following her progress with the painting.
That is all for this week. I will be heading over to post on my Renee Weaves! blog now.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2012 everyone! I hope one and all had a good holiday. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those who are going through challenges and sad times. I know there are a few. 
I have some exciting news. I have mentioned that I have been a weaver in the past and many of you who read this blog know me from my weaving days. Well, I spent the time I took off doing a lot of re-evaluation of my life and where I want it to go. The results of that effort is that I am continuing on my journey to become the best artist I can be with renewed dedication and purpose. I am also bringing back weaving into my life. It will fill a different place than in the past but it will definitely be firmly in place. To that end, I have re-built my rather serious loom. Here it is: 

I have all the details of the move and the re-building on my weaving blog Renee Weaves!  My painting studio has been moved to another room in our house along with the loom and it is set up and ready to go for tomorrow morning. The loom still has a few things to finish and I still have to get things put away in the studio but it will be up and weaving soon. All things weaving will be posted on my weaving blog and the art will continue on this blog. 
I had always intended to get back to weaving. I intend to sell my handwoven items in addition to my daily paintings. My thoughts are that the weaving will take a bit of the pressure off the art making and allow me a bit of growing room for my art skills. We shall see how it all works out!
So this is my life for 2012; art, weaving, music, with good homemade whole foods meals, beach walks and a few good books to read. Life is good. 
Here is to a year of growth. I believe we are all in for some rather interesting times in the coming years. Hang on to your loved ones, brushes, pencils, and shuttles and lets all look after one another. 
P.S. This is my 100th blog post for this blog!

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