Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Painting Like Mad

I started this new painting today, horses breaking out of the gate. Fellow artists know the impetus of driving to produce new work but not wanting to compromise anywhere in the quality. I want some fresh pieces for my exhibit next week at Gallery Central.

thoroughbred horse racingOil wash drawing.

Horses breaking from the gate is another classic subject, cool yet already painted a million times. I liken it to landscapes of sunsets - the good ones are timeless and always appreciated. Of course I've painted this scene many times before. However, my knowledge and desire are at odds. I want to paint dynamic, you know, mouths agape, eyes wild, nostrils flaring. Reality is that most runners sport either nosebands or figure eights which keeps their mouths closed (facilitating beneficial racing results, I won't go into details here). This sometimes produces odd facial expressions.

For awhile, I was obsessed with the thunderous power of horses breaking. I stood at the gate with camera in hand, every day, every race. Being a racetracker, I had access. This resulted in literally hundreds of photos.

To create a composition such as above, I consult my reference photos, rely on my experience as a painter along with my drawing skills and create a composite from multiple sources.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Last of "Runners Without Ponies"

The last of the series "Runners Without Ponies":

thoroughbred racing artSeries #3: "Runners Without Ponies" 11"x16", oil on canvas

It's good to produce paintings in a broad price range. I think the affordable smaller pieces provide an opportunity for someone whose is considering starting an art collection. They can get their feet wet without a hefty initial investment.

The three pieces will make a great wall display once they're all framed up.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Runners Without Ponies

The second little picky painting in the new series, "Runners Without Ponies". I've been trying some experimentation creating neutrals via mixing complementary colors. The neutrals really pop the clear, bright color, yet they're created with clear, bright color. No earth pigments is this piece, honest.

thoroughbred art"Runners Without Ponies" second in series, oil on canvas, 8"x10".

Not that I don't adore my siennas and umbers. It was just interesting to create burnt sienna facsimiles with various mixtures of cadmium orange.

Yeah, I can do it if I have to.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Series

Michael stretched some small canvases for me with leftover pieces. Small, very small, 8"x10" or thereabouts. Picky little brushes and aching shoulders. I can't decide to stand or sit, paint at the easel or flat on the drafting table.

thoroughbred racingFirst in the series: "Runners Without Ponies", 6"x12" oil on canvas

I decided to begin a series. I'm calling it "Runners Without Ponies". It has sort of a Degas look with jockeys and their horses on the turf before the start. In Europe, Australia and most other foreign racing, the runners warm up without ponies (actually saddle horses, sometimes ex-racehorses - bad) pre-race and then are joined by their grooms to be led to the starting gate.

As an American, I think it's a hoot to watch these grooms jogging down the track with their charges, always dressed to the nines, while the American horses are escorted with ponies. Most turf courses in the U.S. put the brakes on ponies as they step from the main to the grass but it depends on the rules of the individual track. It's interesting that we've become so heavily dependent on ponies in this country. Most jocks are pretty good riders and don't really need them. As an former ponygirl, my various jobs were to hide items handed off from riders, let them run off, pick them up, calm nerves (both horse and rider), fix equipment, assist the drunk, the terrified and the pre-occupied. Oh, and did I mention throughout all manner of awful weather?

A very under appreciated and tough way to make a living.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another New Painting

My dealer in Hot Springs, Gallery Central, pushed their opening reception (and art walk) back to the first week of March instead of April to coincide with the race meet at Oaklawn Park. So, I've been painting like mad in an attempt to produce fresh goods.

hot springs arkansasBack of moi's head.

oaklawn parkI created this cool toned painting by combining complimentary colors resulting in vibrant grays that are inclined towards the cool end of the mixture. Grays of blue, violet, greens and a touch of violet red. No earth tones, no umbers, nadda. Okay, one mixture of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue deep to create a warm gray. Michael 's eyes glazed over when he first saw the painting but I assure him that someone will recognize the simple clean beauty of the piece. For lack of words to express, he's calling it an abstract.

Well, not quite Hon but it is a departure. It's how we grow as artists. This past week I was restless, uncertain and irritable in the studio. Engaging in a discussion over a large glass of wine concerning my edginess, I explained to Michael how these feelings affect creativity. I explained when artists gets depressed...Michael interjected: "There goes an ear".

Thursday, February 14, 2008

New Opening Page

My cool friend Julie is working on redesigning my website. It's gone live but still has a way to go. My site is huge. For those of you who create and maintain your own websites, you know it's sooo time consuming.

Technology has run away from me. When a techie like my friend Lynn, who designs complex websites and creates animations for a living, says she always feels 20 paces behind, well, there's no hope for a dabbler such as moi.

Julie has created a sort of slide show - every time you open the site or refresh, a new image appears. Way cool.

It's coming along. Hang in there - she's busy, I'm busy, we're all so busy busy. Even Babush is busy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Completed Painting & OBS Races

The foxhunting painting that I started last week is finished.

foxhuntingI created it to sell at Little Everglades next month as steeplechase and foxhunting appear to be symbiotic. However, my schedule is thickening like old paint and I won't make the show this year. I've already had some serious interest so I can say tally ho to the piece probably this week.

It was a great day at the OBS/Darley Championship Day at the Races. I've never enjoyed it so much - the weather was picture perfect and I caught up with lots of friends and business acquaintenances. Just general networking and fun. The races were run on the new Safetrack synthetic surface and all seemed well. The times seemed consistently average - not too fast or slow as predicted.

darley americaIt's sticky and difficult to brush off your hand and clothing. Wonder what happens if a horse breaths it into it's respiratory system...

obs championship day of racesJockey Jorge Chavez in the first aboard Freedom Afleet who didn't like the surface.

jorge chavezChavez aboard third-place finisher Star Worship in the fourth.

safetrackThe awaited dramatic thunder of hooves seem muffled on the new surface. It even sounds softer.

zayat stablesThe big race for three year old colts and geldings won by Zayat Stable's Halo Najib with Desormeaux aboard.

OBS evaded my offer to do a FREE painting for the winner of the big race. I'd be working on a portrait of the good looking chestnut Halo Najib for Ahmed Zayat right now. The irony is that I'm hounded for freebies all year long from various fund raisers and when I actually offer one - it gets turned down. Ha! Go figure...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Shout Out

My gallery in Hot Springs, Arkansas sent me this monthly art and entertainment magazine, "The Springs". It's one of those trendy newsprint publications like you see all over in L.A., Boston and Asheville. I was delighted to see an ad featuring moi at Gallery Central.

hot springsMy exhibit at Gallery Central coincides with the race meet at Oaklawn Park (remember that horse named Curlin who ran there last year and won the Arkansas Derby?). In "The Springs" magazine, there's also a feature titled "In the Art Galleries", a list of what's happening gallery-wise. The column shows another one of my pieces, "Through the Inside". This is way cool. And here's what the writer says: "...she's able to express the supreme power of nature through her artwork." and "A fresh, inventive approach convincingly conveys the weight and solidity of Crute's paintings." and "Her forceful, descriptive sparkle with skillful brushwork, rich colors and imagery."

Impressive review, I'd say.

horse racing"Through the Inside"

Did you know that Hot Springs is rated #4 in the list of top 100 small art towns of the U.S.?

Many thanks to my most excellent dealer, Gallery Central and "The Springs Magazine".

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Development Workshop

I attended the 2008 Professional Development Workshop in St. Petersburg yesterday. My fourth similar workshop in the last two years which begs the question, why are all these opportunities proliferating now? Where was this information 25+ years ago? Like minded older artists share my angst. Business wasn't taught in art school back in the day and only an elite few were savvy enough to figure out the necessary needed attributes. I wasn't one of them. As the saying goes, better late than never. I suppose.

One takes what they need from all this information overload. It's eerily apropos and timely. Strengths and weaknesses become glaringly evident. My weakness is follow-up. Am I too lazy, distracted, forgetful? A bit of all I suspect. My strength is in my determination to succeed, and yes, it's happening (though not as quickly as I'd like).

Support and resources are now readily available to artists, thanks in part to the internet. Take a gander at a few blogs listed on the right under "Blogs I Actually Read". There's Alyson Stanfield, Barney Davey and Seth Godin as excellent examples. They all have produced books of interest.

Attitudes have changed between artists over the years. Rather than casting a leery eye towards one another, we now seek each other out for support. This is why my salon group "Out of Hand Artists", is so essential to all the members.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Foxhunting Painting Update

Nope, I didn't work in the studio today. It stunk of Frogjuice and I had more aggravating amphibians to attend to. I spent the day preparing for the Professional Development Workshop in St. Pete tomorrow. They requested a package/portfolio to be viewed by an organization not set up to view digital media...

The new painting is coming along however:

foxhuntingI've established the contrasts, values and general color scheme. I love the way the shadows meander on a slight diagonal across the picture plane. I infused them with lots of cool blues and violets to be painted over, still allowing the blue-violet to peek through and add some vibrant color to the shadows. I love this composition of the forward hounds jogging up to the viewer, right off the picture's edge.

art studioThe artist late on a Friday afternoon in the studio.

art photographyBored husband/partner/agent hanging out in studio on a Friday afternoon embarking on a venture into "art" photography creating his own composition...Lynn, save us!