Monday, February 18, 2008

Road to the Foothills


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Shasta has many different sides to her beauty. To the south, thickly wooded forests and wonderful rivers flank her foothills. To the east, there is high mountain terrain. To the West, where we are, there are large meadows with willows, dogwood and oak trees that make the landscape interesting. To the north, an arid high desert where pinion and sagebrush find their home spreads over miles of land. This is where I painted “Road to the Foothills.”

While scouting for locations for my upcoming workshop this spring, I traveled off paved roads to discover hidden vistas. On the other side of Weed, this one special place called to me to paint it. I like to paint in the morning or in the late evening when the lighting is more dramatic. When I arrived at my location early this morning, I set up my easel, umbrella, palette, and everything else. I reached for my brushes and realized that I forgot them at home. I repacked everything, raced home and then drove back again. The light had moved to midday, but the vista still waited to be painted. Moral: always make sure that you check off your list of supplies and pack everything before you leave home.

The best art not only challenges the maker, but also the viewer. Often artists fall short when conveying their message, not because they lack talent, but because there was never a message to communicate in the first place. Before you start a painting, you want to ask yourself two questions:

“Is it worth doing?” Mediocrity is seldom rewarded because many can obtain it. Set out to push yourself beyond what you think that you can do and strive for something great. We remember those artists who set the standard of excellence high for other artists to reach for.

“What do you want to say?” Remember, as human beings, we are alike in many ways. In order for us to communicate, we must have something that unifies our understanding. When we enjoy a sunset or a flower, it is not the object that makes us look. It is the emotional response that we have to it that makes us say, “Wow, look at that.” When you paint, tune in to your emotional self, and say through your art to the viewer, “Look at this.”
I hope that we can build a community of artists that can share information with each other.If you know of any artists that might appreciate being included, let them know about this blog.

I hope to offer more painting tips as this conversation continues.If you have questions that you would like me to answer, please don’t hesitate to email me anytime.
I welcome your feedback. Stefan_Baumann@yahoo.com

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