A Conversation, art and otherwise

Welcome to the art blog of Mike Menius, Northern CA plein air painter. Please join the ongoing conversation about art, the studio projects, etc.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Image: Santa Rosa Court House

"Santa Rosa Court House"

This art piece is a landscape/architectural work, departing from the traditional landscape mode, but not so much that it is not grounded in realism.  This is the old court house in Santa Rosa.  Built of stone, it survived the 1904 San Francisco earth quake, which extended north to the Santa Rosa area.  This work was done in colored pencil on grey tinted paper.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Artist's post-partem depression

Artists (at least this one) go through a cycle that is a bit like a pregnancy, then the delivery, then post-partem depression.  The initial stage of the "pregnancy" is the joy: a new painting idea, bursting with creative excitement.  Then comes the long haul of putting it all together.  

It always turns out to be much more involved and challenging, more hours, more self-demanding attention.  As it nears completion, the artist is quite glad it will soon be "delivered," not a moment too soon.  And yet, those final stages require the utmost effort, not to become sloppy or too quick.

Eventually, the finished "baby" is here.  There is a sense of tremendous accomplishment and satisfaction, with this new creation, with which we have already fallen in love, during the entire process.

So much energy, a quiet satisfaction, and mental exhaustion.  a period of fatigue, while the batteries re-charge.  In the meantime, the feeling can be like depression.  The artist will recover; for the moment, however, it can be difficult, after delivering this beautiful "baby."   

"Pyramd Lamp" image

"Pyramid Lamp"

Still life at night, of a pyramid-shaped stained glass lamp, on a table with a bowl of fruit.  22"W x 15"H, on  Canson tinted paper.  Colored pencil.  Based on my reference photo, shown earlier in the blog.  The theme is the play of light, in an ambiance of a quiet evening.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

forced inactivity

Shoulder injury.  sore (!) tendons in the right shoulder.  It is not possible to draw or paint.  Ugghhh!  Here is the next project (reference photo).  Itching to work on it.  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

"Kettle Is On" (image)

"Kettle Is On"

A tarnished, old tea kettle sits on the stove, for the thousandth time, coming to steam, for a quiet  cup of tea.  Colored pencil on art paper.  based on my photo reference.  8"H x 11"W.

Monday, March 9, 2015

"Sources of Inspiration"

Artists are often asked, "Where do you find your ideas?  How do you decide what to paint/draw?"  

Years ago, I chose subjects which seemed to be grand and impressive.  The paintings were beautiful, and they sold well.  Gradually, things began to change.

The real change was living life, and finding it necessary to look more critically at what I was creating.  Does this subject move me, or do I simply think it is what appeals to certain individuals?  

The answer came over time: if I listen carefully to what speaks to me instinctively, everything changes.

The themes of my painting became simpler, more intimate.  

There was also a second change: a growing awareness of the necessity to raise the level of the work itself.

At this stage, I challenge myself to create at a much higher level of execution.  The process is fun; it is also intense and demanding.  It has also given me an increased appreciation of the amount of hard work, by the masters we all admire.  They are not only supremely talented; they also do the blood, sweat, and tears that go into art, which is both personal and long lasting.

"Autumn Bounty" image

"Autumn Bounty"

"Autumn Bounty" captures the ripened persimmons, still on the tree.  The leaves turn colors, echoing all the oranges, browns, and reds in the fruit.  Colored pencil on archival art paper.