Saturday, January 31, 2009

In Recovery

Sitting all bundled up, and working in the cold temperatures was extremely exhausting. Today we have all been sitting on the couch, resting up from sitting on the couch for two days. Now I have to change my mind set, as I am wanting to paint some large scale acrylic landscapes. I am thinking we need to invest in a kerosene heater or a small generator. Our electricity was also out for 4 days when hurricane Ike passed through.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Four Frozen Slugs

This is suppose to be an artist blog. Big secret, Shhh! I want to make money here, and talk about being an artist. It's not working out. I did take some paintings to Bloomington, Indiana today for a month long show of miniatures. Getting the paintings framed to take there, was the real problem.
Tuesday we got hit with an inch of ice and 6 inches of snow. We lost electricity, then water for 2 days. We don't have a backup heat source. It got colder and colder each day, by yesterday morning, we could see our breathe in the house. We just sat around all day, like frozen slugs, huddled under blankets. Slugs must have brains, because they know to get out of the cold. We however, lived on hope. We refused to leave, even though most of our neighbors had gone to warmer shelter. We just knew that at any time the electricity would come on. I had put off framing the paintings, waiting for the electricity to come on. Finally on Thursday, I had no choice, I had to start framing. So I framed all day, in the house, where it was about 35 degrees. I spent 10 hours running back and forth from the house, to the studio(BARN), where it was even colder. Then I had to load everything up. Meanwhile the family was aimlessly walking around Wal Mart and Target. They weren't shopping, they were only there because of the free heat. We were phoning back and forth to decide where we were going to spend the night. We decided to go to my Dads. So, my wife headed home to pack, so we could leave. Just before she got home, a neighbor came by to tell me that the electricity was going to come on in an hour. So, we all go back to the couch, and assume the hopeful, frozen Slug, position. Getting up every 10 minutes to look out the window to see if we could see anyone working on the electric lines. Three hours later, almost like magic, the world turned back to normal.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You're Grounded! Winter Drama - Original watercolor sunset snow Painting

Since I am not traveling in the winter. It is not unusual for me to be isolated,locked in my cave, painting, framing etc. While I do I lock myself away quite often, I do it on my own terms. I don't appreciate being told that I have to stay at home, and do what I would probably be doing anyway. Here I sit surrounded by 6 inches of snow, the car stuck in the driveway. With icy sleet falling now, and through the night, tomorrow looks no better. Nature is shaking her finger at me, telling me I am grounded. I must stay in my room and not leave. I'm sure I did something to deserve it, but that's not the point! So, I am rebelling today, because I refuse to be told what to do. I'm not really rebelling, but I might as well be. The fact that I can't leave, has made it very difficult to focus and get work done today
"Winter Drama"
Original watercolor sunset snow Painting

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Aftermath

I like to laugh,tease and joke with people. Emotionally though, I have a flat line personality. I am extremely competitive,but my highs aren't that high and my lows aren't that low. My mother-in-law, from time to time says, "Show some Enthusiasm" (especially at Christmas, when we're opening presents). However, when it come to my art, it is a different animal. I once told a friend that I didn't know what depression was until I became an artist. That is very true. When your selling or on a creative roll, the high is high. When you are not selling or your creatively spent,the lows are low. I have been painting furiously for a few days, and now I am spent. I have used up all the creative energy that I have, and there is nothing left. It is a depressing time, especially in the winter when sales are slower. Not to mention, the economy is at a stand-still. You would think that I would get the majority of my work done in the winter, when I don't have a lot of art shows. That is never the case. I always paint more in the summer, when I am the busiest. It is because, selling paintings energizes me. Selling, and talking to customers, also give me direction and new ideas. I am couple days late, but here is one of the sunsets that I painted the last few days.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Waterfall of Love

I just did a commission for someone. He gave me a picture of a waterfall. It is where he proposed to his future wife. I liked it so well, that I painted another similar one . You can see it below. I am still on a painting binge. At one point I painted a lake with a sunset and it sent me into a series of sunset paintings. I'm now experimenting with different colors in the sky and the reflection on the water. Perhaps, I show you one tomorrow.

"Glorious Waterfall"

10x14 original acrylic and watercolor

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Star Wars - Love is Blind

As promised, below is one of the paintings that I painted last night. I was up till about 2:00 painting. I was watching Star Wars 3, which is really Star Wars 6. I have this argument with my kids all the time. This may be the 8th time I've seen it. I had to watch it again, because you never know, I might have missed something the first 7 times. I was really stuck at the point when Anakin turned to the Dark side. I'm thinking, love really is blind. Padima says to Anakin, "I don't know you any more". I submit to you that she never knew him in the first place. I wondering how this romance happened in the first place, considering he was only like 10, when they met. She should probably be arrested for what happened in between the Episodes. Maybe it should have tipped her off that something wasn't right, when Anakin slayed the Tuskin Raiders, down to the last man, woman and child. Everyone makes mistakes Anakin, the important thing is that you learned something during the experience. Give me a Break!

"Lovers Take a Walk"

2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Your not that important!

I don't have time for you today. I have a life besides you! I am busy painting miniatures for a show coming up in February. I am on a roll, so I will be up late painting tonight. I'll show you a sample tomorrow. Meanwhile, have a laugh on me. Here's a painting for your amusement.

"Doodle Do"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy birthday to Me!!

You see on my profile that I am 50. My birthday was in August and I have a present that I haven't yet gotten. I told a friend about my present and he replied" There but by the Grace of God, Go I". I have scheduled my Colonoscopy. Happy birthday to me. I had to go get my son this morning at 6:30. He's was at an all night thing at the church. There was a little snow on the road and he is only 17 , he said he was really tired and afraid to drive home. When we got there he told me that is was slick last night and he slide into a curb. He really messed the front end up, it was really hard to drive, even for me. So, I guess we will be taking his car in today. Hopefully, it's just an alignment and something isn't bent, I fear the latter. I still have to replace the sump pump.

Update: The Mechanic said something is bent. Great!!!

"Petit Manan, Maine
$28 free shipping to the US
Email me to purchase
Oh Lo, I call with all my might.
On this cold, windswept, stormy night.
To he, who has an ear I call, Oh, heed my sirens wail.
I am a selfless soul you see, upon my rocky perch.
When times are tough, And the gale blows rough,I squint my eyes to see.
Oh, harken to my piercing cry, And turn away from me.
Though I’m lonely it is true, Our meeting would go bad for you.
Long distance lovers we will be.
by Derek T Collins, great painter, amateur poet.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Starbucks lament!

"Gathering of Friends"
7x10 original watercolor,
$48 free shipping to US an Canada
Email me to purchase

I am torn as the art show season is about to begin. I as I travel the country, I have exits marked where I can get a Starbucks coffee. I am fearful that I'm going to get to one of those exits and it will be one of the stores that they have closed. After having a good art show and raking in the dough, I can drive late into the night on the adrenalin. After a show that has gone badly, maybe I have lost a bundle, there is nothing so depressing as a 8 to 14 hour drive home. My only solace has been a good cup of coffee. I'll admit,I am a coffee snob. I like pure region specific coffee. Ethiopian and Sumatran are 2 of my favorites. I liked being able to go into a Starbucks and sample different coffees from different regions. Don't these Starbucks people know that coffee is like a fine wine. Each one has it's own distinctive flavor. What were they thinking, when they came out with the generic, HOUSE COFFEE. What the heck is House Coffee, is it all the left over coffee that was laying around the house. Is it all the coffee they that they couldn't sell. Imagine going to a nice restaurant and paying $75 for a bottle of wine, The House Wine, a combination of White and Red wine. How absurd! I want to know what I am drinking. If I didn't like the coffee they had on a particular day, I knew I would like it the next. This new HOUSE COFFEE is generic, it's not that I dislike it, it's just OK, and it's hard to get excited about OK.

My web site:

My Interview Part 2

8. What areas of Art are you involved in? (Time periods)
Realism, Cubist, Impressionist, Abstract, Impasto. My work would often fall between two categories. Some of my landscapes would fall between Realism / Impressionism, Modern /Realism, Abstract/landscape
9. Where do you show your work? (I know that you show your work at the annual Chautauqua in Madison, Indiana. What others shows do you attend on an annual basis?)
The shows that I have listed are all ranked as a top 100 show in the nation. At this level of art show there are artist there from the 50 states and Europe. They are juried art shows, where 2000 people apply and maybe only 150 to 400 people get in. I have to pay a $30 jury fee, just to apply. I may have to apply to 3 shows on the same weekend to make sure that I get in one. Dogwood has been my best show ever for sales, but I am only able to get in it every 3 years or so. There are a few lower grade shows that are grand-fathered once you get in. Most of the really big shows are a crap shoot.
Cottonwood Art Fair: Dallas, TX
Bayou City Art Fair: Houston, TX
Manayunk Art Fair: Philadelphia, PA
Dogwood Art Fair: Atlanta, GA
Ann Arbor Art Fair: Ann Arbor, MI
Virginia Beach Art Fair: VA Beach, VA
Uptown Art Fair: Minneapolis, MN
St James Art Fair: Louisville, KY
Lamieier Art Fair: St. Louis, MO
The Magnificent Mile: Chicago, IL
10. What is your favorite historical period and why?
Cubist movement, (pun intended) it was a totally out of the box type thinking.
11. What is your favorite piece of art, your own work and how about another artist work?
My favorite work of my own is "Look at Me"
It's 5ft x 4ft, It's mixed media with acrylic and molding medium. The paint is built up so that the main tree looks 3D. It’s really unique, and it has come to be what other artist and collectors remember me for. It stands out in the crowd.
Favorite other artist, Picasso, "Three Musicians" it's Cubism.
12. Who is your favorite artisan
I will say Picasso. Let me give you a basketball analogy, since I am from Indiana. When you go to a local basketball game, everyone who is knowledgeable about basketball, would have an opinion about how the coach could have done something better. That is what I see when I look at other peoples art. Picasso invented mixed media, he did Cubism, Realism, Abstract and pencil sketches. I like Picasso's Cubism, I hate his more figurative distorted portraits. It's not that I like his art so much, I like the fact that he was always trying something different and that is the way I approach art.
13. When Rick and I celebrated our tenth anniversary and renewed our vows, you gave us one of your paintings as a gift. This painting still hangs in our home and has been an inspiration to me that our lighthouse is God. I guess the question I would like to ask is; do all of your paintings show inspiration, and do you have series of paintings with the same subject matter?
At times I am inspired and other times I am not. It's hard to paint, when my mind isn't clear. I am not able to control my circumstances. When I am thinking about problems, we all have them, it shuts me down. In those times, I have to force myself to paint. The paintings turn out good, but the process is laborious, it takes longer to do a painting. When I'm inspired I go on painting binges. I will paint numerous paintings a day for a couple weeks. After this I will be totally drained and won't be able to paint for a while.
Yes I sometimes do paintings in a series, I did a series called "The Lovers" It was landscape paintings that had two lovers walking, in a boat, on the beach etc. Sometimes I do the same the same scene in different colors, different season or time of day.
14. Do you have a web site for others to view your work

Friday, January 16, 2009

My interview -Part 1

I was interviewed today, here is Part 1

1. What do you do in Art? (oils, chalk, pencil, canvas, etc.)
I can paint in Oil, Acrylic or watercolor. I often work in a category called mixed media, where I combining watercolor and acrylic or acrylic and molding medium. The molding medium is really thick, and can be sculpted, I use this to build up an area such as a tree and it's trunk, to give a 3D effect.
2. When did you begin studying Art?
It was all self study. After I had been painting for a while I started getting in some really good shows that were all in major metropolitan areas, Chicago, Detroit, etc. I was painting barns at the time. I found out quickly that a large city is not the place to sell a country landscape. I needed to paint a more contemporary style or I was going to lose a lot of money. I love painting abstracts now, but in the beginning I had no appreciation for them and didn’t understand the style. So I got a stack of art books and studied what other people had done. At the very first show I took these new abstracts I won an award. The National Museum of Sport Art in Indianapolis purchased the painting “Your Outta Here”, a baseball abstract, and put it in their permanent collection. The feel flowing nature of painting abstracts, loosed me up as painter and even transformed my landscapes. Before I started painting abstracts, I would draw the paintings out in detail and then paint the painting. Now I paint landscapes in the same manner that I would paint an abstract. Usually, no drawing at all. I start with a basic concept, Tree On a Hill. I just start painting and react to what’s happening. The Tree On a Hill, may end up as a Tree On a Hill, or it might turn into a tree by a river or an abstract, or a snow scene. It’s like looking at an ink blot until you see something in it.
3. What kind of Art courses have you taken?
Art Marketing, never any painting classes. I have found that well over half of the people making a living in the art and craft market, are people who discovered they had a talent, and turned it into a living. Most of them are not formally trained. Many of the people with art educations become teachers. You have to be a bit of a gambler to pursue art as a career.
4 Why have you chosen Art as a profession?
Growing up in a extremely dysfunctional family, my career choices were limited. I would have had to pay my own way though school without any help of any kind, financially, emotionally or otherwise. So, I didn't grow up wanting to be anything, I was just trying to survive growing up with some semblance of sanity. When I painted my first painting at the age of 27, I knew I wanted to do it for a living.
5. Why did you choose this particular skill?
I didn't choose art, art chose me. I didn't particularly like art when I took it in school. I remember doing a research project in the 6th grade where you got points for researching all different kinds of topics. One of the categories was, "Artist and the name of the painting they painted". You got 2 points for every 20 that you could find. I don't remember any other category, and I found a lot of painters, so I think it struck a cord. I have a second recollection of seeing some original seascapes in oil, and thinking it was groovy (it was 1969)
I never gave art another thought until the age of 27. I had a back injury and had to lay on the floor for 4 1/2 months (bad idea, medieval doctors). I was off work for 7 months. During that time, I saw the painters demonstrating on PBS and I had an epiphany. Five months later I had sold my first painting.
6. How often do you practice your Art skills, and do you participate in any kind of training to improve your skills?
I paint daily when I am not traveling or doing the business side of art. In a pinch, I will paint in the hotel or at the art show when I'm traveling. Painting is the best teacher. If you are not afraid to experiment. You build a knowledge base through actually doing, that you can then draw from. Knowing something in your head and actually being able to do it, are to different things. You have to figure it out by trial and error.
7. Are you involved in a professional organization within your field?
There really aren't a lot of organizations to be involved in. We artist tend to be solitary souls. There are national societies, like the National Watercolor Society, but they are really just juried shows. If you jury in 3 times, you are a member and you get to put NWS after your name. The local groups are mostly people who love to paint, but aren't trying to make a living at it.. There isn't anywhere where I can meet with my peers. The friends that I have at Art Shows all live in different states. I may see them 1 to 4 times a year at a show. There is so much traveling that it would be real difficult to be actively involved in any kind of consistent manner.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Time is short

These are miniatures 2 1/2 x3 1/2 inches

Not much time to talk today. I have a show coming up in February,it's in Bloomington, IN. It's a show of mainly Miniature paintings, 2/1/2x 3 1/2 inches and small miniature panoramas measuring 2 1/2 x 7 1/2. It takes me a day or so of thinking, to get myself back into a creative mode after dealing with the business side of art or lifes problems. I need to paint and frame about 15 or so paintings. With the economy being as it is, it is difficult to get myself motivated. Here are a couple samples.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Life Gets in the Way

"Look at me"
4 ft x 5 ft acrylic on canvas,currently listed on Ebay

I need to be painting to prepare for the long summer of shows. I need to put some images of my paintings on this page for your amusment. Sigh, I haven't figured out how to do that yet. Life has gotten in the way, I'm sure you can relate. I am to busy to bother with such things. I am mailing application to shows, many of which will also be a waste of time. $30 a pop wasted on a jurying fee applying to an Art Show. I don't even know if the show is worth doing, until after I've done it. I may be wasting my time to later waste my time. It's all very confusing. Four burned out sump pumps,in 5 weeks. Somebody has to organize all my sales and expenses. I guess that would be me. After all, I am an artist, you know starving thing and all. Hire an employee to do that for me you say. Good Idea! Wouldn't work. I'm having a hard enough time getting along with myself.

PS: After writing this blog I saw an image icon. I clicked it, and now I have inserted an image for you to gaze at and admire for hours. Life is good!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why am I here, my first post!

My First post. I find this experience to be one of lifes strange ironies. By nature, artist have swirling creative thoughts dancing around their heads 24/7 . It is easy for us to withdraw into a small little room in our heads and play with our toys, all by ourselves. A man of few words, I now sit here typing thoughts to absolute strangers. Even worse, this may be a futile exercise and I am merely talking to myself. Notice me, love me! I guess when I say this I am referring to my art, but I think you are also echoing the same refrain. If you promise to notice me I will try to remember to notice you, when I am standing beside you at the Grocery store or in a bank line.

"The Boat"
10x14 original watercolor

"The Boat"
So still it lay,
at the end of day.
As the sun set low,
'bove the rocky shoal.
As a still soft breeze,
filters through the trees.
And the lake so high,
in the mountain side.
And the boat did play,
in the lake that day.
And the traveler speaks,
of the lake so sweet,
and longs for his return.
Derek T. Collins, great painter, amateur poet.