From Never Underestimate the power of a paint tube

Still glad to be a 21st century artist

21st century artist loves color

Since beginning with watercolor in 2009, I remain in awe and in deep debt to the travelers, collectors, chemists, painters, manufacturers, and artists who painstakingly discovered and developed the colors that enable my work. The slideshow below has just a few of my favorite celebrations of color.

Blue Cave Cat from the Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul
Blue Cave Cat from the Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul
Climate Crusader Mardi Gras Frog from the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul
Climate Crusader Mardi Gras Frog from the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul
Camouflage Hippo Seeks a Monacle
Camouflage Hippo Seeks a Monacle
Pinky the First From the Clowder of Cats
Pinky the First From the Clowder of Cats
Paper Mosaic Parrot 3
Paper Mosaic Parrot 3
Big Neighborhood 2 Inverted 2017
Big Neighborhood 2 Inverted 2017
The Sail or The Unmade Bed
The Sail or The Unmade Bed
Tiny Dots Enhanced
Tiny Dots Enhanced
Klimt Bird #1: A Super Fan
Klimt Bird #1: A super fan
Friendship #4: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you're lucky.
Friendship #4: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky.
Top of the Tall Silo of Iowa

In my very first post, I celebrated being a 21st century artist because I didn’t have to go to the ends of the earth to source materials.

My favorite out-of-the-way material is lapis lazuli, dug from the wild mountains of Afghanistan, not a healthy place for travelers. Genuine Ultramarine is created from lapis in a complex process helpfully described by Winsor & Newton (which inspired this post) is yet another reminder of the delight and ease of being able to walk into an art supply store (thank you,Wet Paint and Dick Blick), to talk to knowledgeable staff, make a purchase, and get to work.

If I had to embark on dangerous and life-threatening travel, (carry) smuggle rocks back to the US, grind them, mix the powder with chemicals to turn them into paint, and hope that I had made a paint of quality, that I would go straight back to needlepoint.

Artists’ Market: Celebrate Watercolor Magic

Magic of Watercolor

Artists’ Market, the Northstar Watermedia’s Annual Show and Sale, celebrates the magic of watercolor. Just watercolor.

Held each year at the Minnesota State Fair’s Fine Arts Building with convenient and free parking, this is a two-day deep dive into the variety of artwork that comes from just watercolor.

Each artist begins with a tube (or a cake or a bottle) of paint. Every artist’s work is different from every other. The show is an astonishing display of creativity and imagination. The range of work from very detailed to exuberantly abstract, will take  your breath away. I promise.

Historical Note

Dear friends and fans: The Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul were more or less born in a magical moment at this event in 2012, when I saw Paul Boecher demonstrating gesso on board and paper. I looked at his work, my brain said “cave walls,” and the rest is prehistoric history.

 

Artists' Market 2016
Artists’ Market 2016

My work for Artists’ Market: all about connections

 

Big Neighborhoods 2
 Big Neighborhoods 2: a colorful representation of my vision of people and things and ideas working together and getting along.

My plan is to bring a series of abstracts including the original Big Neighborhoods 2, pieces from the series “Friendship: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky,” and some new paper mosaic magnets and frames made in the spirit of the critical importance of connections and links.

Paper Mosaics — magnets, frames & more

Paper Mosaic Magnets
Paper Mosaic Magnets
Framed Ram
Framed Ram

Give thanks for paint tubes and other innovations

In the very first post on this blog, I wrote about how lucky I am to be a 21st century painter because I could walk into an art store and buy a tube of Lapis watercolor paint. No need to dig it up. No need to grind it myself. No need to fret about consistency from batch to batch. No worries about preserving it.

I am always ready to give thanks for paint tubes and other innovations when someone points them out to me.

John G. Rand: Innovator

In May 2013, Smithsonian Magazine had a short but very informative article about the introduction of tubes for paint by “a little-known” American portrait painter, John G. Rand. Should you be hungry for more information about this innovator, look no further than a helpful article from the North Carolina Museum of Art: A revolution in paint.

Philip Ball’s “Bright Earth”

Philip Ball’s brilliant Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color sparked the “I don’t need to grind it” insight. It is still a favorite book, and it sits on my night table. Full of delights and exciting (to me) material such as “Color Technology in Antiquity” and the shocking introduction of “Synthetic Pigments and the Dawn of Color Chemistry,” Bright Earth also answers pesky questions such as “Who was Hooker of Hooker’s Green?”

When making art, we stand (or sit) on the shoulders of innovators. Thanks to all of them.

Read this: Never Underestimate the Power of a Paint Tube (Smithsonian)