This week I branched out into some color explorations. I have been doing the pen and ink with watercolor drawings now for a couple of months and thought it was time to mess with a different medium. I have a bunch of gouache that I bought for an abandoned project a few years back. Goauche is great because it has the opacity of acrylics but spreads more like watercolor. True confession: I’m actually not a huge fan of watercolor. But for the quick, one-hour in the morning sketches it serves a purpose. Goauche is just a tiny step more involved but I have enjoyed the results. Let me know what you think.
I’m reading Mad Enchantment by Ross King about the life of Monet during his time in Giverny. Monet continues to be the gold standard for me (and for a lot of artists). We visited Giverny two years ago and it was simply magical. The painting above is yet another attempt to appropriate the color and the loose brush strokes that Monet is famous for. He makes it look easy. And it’s not.
This is a new piece I started on this week. Commissions are part of the lifeblood of any working artist. I have painted peoples’ homes, toys, loved ones and in this case, beloved dogs on the beach. Let me know if there is something you would like to have painted! Thanks to everyone who has commissioned new work! I love to paint for you. ~SV
I had a couple of serious fails this week. When I wake up to paint I have the highest hopes for what will come out onto the canvas. Sometimes I feel pretty good about it. Sometimes it’s just bad. Often, I step away from the work and come back to it a couple of hours later and it is neither as good or as bad as I thought. This is an acceptable perspective. The good stuff energizes me for the next piece. But so does the bad. If the process is to learn from failure instead of being bested by it then we’re heading in the right direction. This weeks’ lesson: mixing burnt umber with any other color just makes mud. Sigh… on to the next one…
This is actually my son, Max. He’s had a lot of cello gigs in the last month which has given us good reason to go and hear some great live music and then, of course, for me to draw. The painting is also a quick sketch. Lots of mistakes along the way. But a learning experience.
Just the thought of someplace tropical and warm is never far from my mind…
Sometimes I wake up with a whimsical image. I drew this within about 10 minutes after getting out of bed. And making a cup of coffee of course.
This old gas station reminds me of Hopper.
This is a sign that we saw in Yelm, WA. We were driving out of town and my wife said, “There’s a sign you should paint.” Listen to your wife.
I’m always looking for the humor. Or if not humor, at least irony.
First of all, I want to thank everyone who has been following the daily drawings on Instagram (samvancearts). I’m encouraged by the likes, the comments and of course, the sales of both original pieces and prints. Your commissions and purchases make a big difference in the life of an artist. A friend recently asked, “How can I support you?” “Buy some art!” You bring beauty into your world and help me to pay the bills. Thank you!!!
This weeks’ visual journey has taken me all over the map. Sometimes I find inspiration right out of my car window as is the case with the Upstart Crow. He was just hanging out, posing for me and I took a bunch of shots. My sister, photographer Joana Espinoza, has been sending me shots of her town Moscow, ID. She’s right in the heart of the Palouse so there is ample subject matter all around. I love the old tractors, trucks, silos and signs that are just rusting poetically on the roadside.
And then there is the matter of the circus which never fails to provide a sinister mystery… so much color and promise with a dark underbelly. There are stories within stories…
Lastly, Clean Restrooms is a sign that we saw on a road trip from Orlando to St. Augustine Florida. We laughed out loud at the irony of “clean restrooms” at what used to be a gas station? Rest stop? Who knows? But everyone in the car was yelling, “You have to draw that!” So here you go.