Monday, January 13, 2014

Gone, but not forgotten. An Artist's Rant

January brings with it the promise of a new year, but also an opportunity to review the previous year, to make new promises based on what I learned and continue to grow.

I am fortunate that my paintings are admired and purchased, that I am encouraged to keep painting and those that leave the studio make room for new ones. Working on paperwork in the studio this week (sometimes it seems endless!) I realize that several of my paintings are still in 'unknown' locations.  Often, we receive requests for art donations from a variety of places, non profits, fundraisers, museum and cultural facilities that are running auctions. I pick and choose the few to will support each year, sometimes alternating between private and public events. The Niagara Arts and Cultural Center is important to me so I rarely turn them down. Organizations that have hundreds of items available for just hundreds of customers go way down on the 'giving list' because my donation isn't going to make a difference, fewer available items at an event bring higher profits to the group.

Artists and musicians are frequently expected to provide free services, in fact, this happens too often. More plumbers, electricians and landscapers need to step up with their valuable services as well. Neither artists nor musicians work for free, their materials, education and practice all have expenses. I have seen paintings in a $50 frame, paid for by the artist who donated it, get paltry winning bids of $30 or $40 because of the huge amount of work available to bidders. Perhaps we should put cash in an envelope and donate directly?

I do appreciate the extra exposure and thanks from committees, sometimes a percentage of a sale or membership or free admission to the event is offered to donors. These are all welcome and appreciated, more groups need to acknowledge their donors with services like these.

In the meantime, below are 3 MIA paintings, they were donated with paperwork attached for their new owners, including a page to be returned to me. Hopefully the lucky recipients will find and return the page when they hang their new painting. Then as in the previous post, I will know where they live. That makes it easy to part with my work, just knowing where they have gone.

Kathy Schifano, Schifano
Olmsted's Japanese garden c. K. Schifano

Kathy Schifano, plein air, Niagara Falls Art
Niagara Upper Rapids c. K. Schifano
Kathy Schifano, plein air, city street painting, commission artist, Third Street
Wine on Third, c. K. Schifano

Coming Home in Cypress, Texas

Kathy Schifano, oil painting
'Coming Home' c. K. Schifano 2014 18x24
The third house portrait painting in a series for a Houston area client, this is off the easel and on my mantle until the final bits of flowers and details are dry enough to send.

Yesterday I was asked if it is hard to give up a painting. The answer is yes, but if I live with it for a while it becomes easier. I want to have each picture for a while, to study and evaluate, appreciate and accept. Occasionally, I want to change a shape or a shadow, this observation period allows me to find the spot that needs something. I had this up for a few days, took it down to brighten some of the flowers and place their kittys in the driveway. Working with oils, I cannot send it until dry so there is an advantage. I can live with the painting until it is safe to package and I am ready to let it go. It is always nice to know where they live and the wall or room a painting graces. I don't have to see it, I just need to know that I can if I want to.

With lovely architectural details, a variety of textures, rooflines and surfaces, this home offered many angles to choose from for the final composition. Although a peak and part of the stone facade is nearly invisible on the far left, this is the view most familiar angle of view, the daily entrance, the "Coming Home' of the title. 

Here is a quick step-by-step progression of the canvas in the studio.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

World Church, Houston painting

Arches Huile, oil on paper, commission painter
Kathy Schifano, Houston church
Over the past few years Route 6 in Houston has taken me to some of my favorite places, a playground/animal park, the Half Price Bookstore, Jerry's retail store, and Hobby Lobby for the solvents I do not dare take on a plane with my paint tubes.

I've admired the light and shadows on this unusually small (for Houston) church, so, as my new year painting #1, I'll have to go back and read the sign before I decide on a title. It's on Arches Huile paper. And next time, I will bring plenty of water to drink, though it was not particularly hot I nearly passed out when the shade tree I relied on became a full sun location.

edited....World Church, 15x11, oil on Arches Huile 2014