Benefits of Painting a Still Life

You’re the Conductor!

What are the benefits of painting a still life? This question came back to mind while preparing paintings for my exhibit at the Winnsboro Art & Wine Festival. The show wouldn’t be complete without having a painting or two featuring the fruit of the vine (grapes) which I show here done by my alter ego Byron. A nice departure from my landscapes. There are several benefits of painting a still life and right off the bat you get to be the conductor of your painting!

still life oil painting with grapes vase candle by Byron

My Little Vase 12×9 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Unlike landscapes you get to have total control over the lighting, color harmony and the subject matter. For landscapes you’re at the mercy of the weather. Many times I’ve wished for sunlight but instead overcast skies with no sign of them leaving anytime soon. Or hoping for brilliant fall foliage only to get dull shades of burnt orange or worse, no leaves on the trees! That brings us to another benefit: Timing!

No Timing Constraints; More Benefits of Painting a Still Life

Another advantage of painting a still life is that there are no time constraints. Unless of course you’re on a deadline to complete a painting or if you’re painting flowers and they’ve started to wilt or the fruit is starting to rot then that’s yucky. In which case you might be painting a little too slow. But, aside from those an artist can orchestrate a simple or complex composition as he or she wishes and study the scene at leisure with all it’s intricacies of color, light and shadow as it describes the various forms.

Since the scene is set and unmovable an artist will have ample time to work on drawing from life, which is an invaluable skill as opposed to seeing a flat image (photo) and drawing from it.

Still life paintings are also beneficial in that the objects form is more readily discernible. These forms are often oval, rectangular, cylindrical, cone shaped or combinations. These same geometric forms underlie objects in the landscape. If you learn to properly shade these forms in a still life with a single source of light, you will better understand how to shade other objects whose structure incorporates these various forms in the landscape.

still life oil painting with raku vase grapes orange by Byron

Raku Vase 9×12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Communicating a Theme

Another benefit of painting a still life, is being able to communicate a story. But, does that mean that all the objects have to relate to one another? If you wish for a rustic theme, does it mean you have to leave out something elegant or vice versa? No! As long as the theme visually harmonizes and creates interest.  As an example here is a frame style combination that is both rustic and elegant. So they can work together, just as in a still life!

frame corner style of rustic and elegance

Rustic and Elegant frame style

The benefits of painting a still life are valuable both to the newbie artist and a good reminder to someone like me who hasn’t tried their hand at a still life in sometime. I have to say it was a lot of fun! Plus, I was able to render each of these still life paintings in one alla prima painting session. (All at once) Perhaps one day I will do a William Hagerman signature still life painting!

Would love to hear your thoughts about my still life work? As the Winnsboro show approaches I’ll be posting more of the art to be in the exhibit. Thanks for reading!

One last reminder before I go, is my latest eBay auction work going on now until 6PM Pacific Time on Tuesday October 18th. Fall is in the air in this mountain setting. Inspired by a trip near Trinidad, Colorado.

The Call of Autumn 9x12 oil by Byron for eBay auction

The Call of Autumn 9×12 oil by Byron for eBay auction

You can access the auction from my eBay profile page.

 

 

 

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Distant Thunder a new Byron painting for eBay Auction

My latest “Byron” painting for eBay auction features a scene of wide open spaces where you can almost hear the distant thunder rolling as a thunderhead cloud gains momentum in the late evening light.

This no minimum bid auction (started at only a penny!) will end Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 6PM Pacific Time or 8 PM central and 9 pm east coast. Happy Bidding! You can access the auction from my user profile page.

landscape oil painting, thunderhead cloud by Byron Hagerman

 

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What Determines the Value of Art?

Market Driven

Recently an individual asked me bout the value of an artists work in print. At one  time demand was high. It was commented that someone offered to purchase one of this artist’s prints she owned for over $2000.00 many years ago.  In today’s market, it would be difficult to give it away at $200.00.  So what determines the value of art? It’s market driven and it can be fickle.

If you’ve watched the Antiques Roadshow  you see how items of value fluctuate up and down. Factors include the popularity of the item, (trends)  its availability or rarity, and the quality and condition of the item. Also you can’t negate the economy, if times are lean and spending  becomes more conservative.

Consumer Savvy Buyers

With the internet, potential buyers are becoming more consumer savvy. Smart phones are used to compare prices of artist’s works in other galleries as well as with other artists of the same caliber and experience even while in a gallery looking at art.

Therefore, it’s unwise for a new artist to arbitrarily set an unrealistically high price and expect individuals to accept its value without question just because the price tag says so.  Another poor tactic is creating a false sense of demand by saying “ you better buy it now, cause the prices are going up next month, next year or whatever.” It can later backfire if there isn’t a true demand or credentials to back up a claim as to the items worth.

Most artists start out with modest pricing and as works sell, a track record begins with price increases happening over time along with other credentials being added. There are exceptions. But remember, they are just that; exceptions and not the norm.

Value Comparisons

In the illustration below are several paintings grouped together. With the exception of  the painting in the middle (which is mine) the artist’s signatures has been blotted out. I want the works to stand on their own merit. However, one artist I know personally, have exhibited in a show with another, others are known by reputation and one I know nothing about. Sizes of the paintings range from 9″ x 12″ – 16”x20.” The price range is $1300.00 – $9750.00 with the next highest priced work in the group being $3800.00. You can click the image to see the prices on each.

Group Comparisons

Did you guess the $9750.00 painting?  It’s the bottom one in the middle vertical column.  From the artist’s website there were only a handful of paintings listed, all 9×12 in size with that price tag. Others shown were comparable in skill and execution.  No indication of work previously sold, gallery representation, shows or experience on the part of the artist was found. The site did say that each painting listed was an original investment quality piece of art.

A Final Comparison of what determines the value of art

Are you familiar with the artist Clark Hulings?  He happens to be a favorite of mine. Well, this artist had a long history and a list of accolades and accomplishments that most artists never realize in their lifetime. His painting skill was all but unmatched. As proof of that, here’s an example from a 1999 show catalog of his work.

Clark Hulings

The painting size was 24×36 and had a price tag of $135,000.  The same catalog showed a small work of a 10”x12” painting of a single white rose priced at $9000.00.

Clark Hulings Single White Rose

The show was a sell out with over a million dollars in sales. Sadly Hulings passed away in 2011, but current estimates of  similar sized paintings in the 9×12 range at auction is still holding strong at $9000.00-$12,000.00.

I don’t think I need to further elaborate other than to reiterate that what determines the value of art is principally the market along with some reasonably expected credentials that support the price. Otherwise the price tag may appear to be meaningless without true merit regardless of what’s stated on it.

As an update from first writing this blog post regarding the $9750.00 priced painting, I rechecked the artist’s website to see if this could have been listed in error and if the price had changed. Well, it had. The price was changed to $2700.00 for the 9×12 paintings. Still the question remains. Will the market see the work as worth that stated price in comparison to other work in the same genre?

A month has passed since writing this post and another update regarding the above mentioned $9750 priced painting is in order.  Rechecking the artist’s website a new list price of $590 was shown for the 9×12 painting unframed. For artists wishing to enter the market, it would be wise to do research on pricing before presenting it to the world. But, we all learn. However, you don’t have to learn by mistakes. There’s plenty of online advice on how to price art work. Take advantage of that resource to educate yourself on the subject.

Galleries can also help in assessing your prices. Here’s something I did. I went into an upscale gallery containing works comparable to my style. The gallery wasn’t busy, so I asked if I could show them some photos of my art. This was before smart phones. I told them I wasn’t seeking gallery representation, but would like their advice. This took the pressure off of them and probably seemed a little odd for an artist not seeking representation.  The director was pleasantly surprised when she saw my photos. Afterwards I was told that if my work was in their gallery my prices would be higher. Wonderful feedback!

 

 

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New Byron paintings for eBay auction ending Sept. 4th, 2016

California Poppies and Lupine and a quiet gentle stream through the hill country of Texas are the themes for two of my new Byron paintings for eBay auction ending Sept. 4, 2016.

California Poppies, lupine and Oak tree oil painting

California Poppies and Lupine 9×12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

landscape oil painting Texas bluebonnets and stream by Byron

One of my eBay clients whom I did a commissioned Byron painting titled “Spring Pathway” commented the following about her commissioned piece.
“Spring Pathway” is perfection! In person it is much more striking than the computer images – the paint strokes create just enough texture to reflect light, and it is so vibrant & cheerful that it ‘grabs’ me every time I pass by. “Powerful” is a strong sort of word for this little image – but it is that! Even on a grey cloudy day with lights on, it shines out and pulls the viewer into its springtime world. A friend was very taken with it, using such descriptions as ‘sublime’ and ‘sparkles.’

 “Spring Pathway” thrills me anew daily – in its colors, composition, & detail – which I find kind of midway between your ‘impressionistic’ work & your much more detailed commissioned paintings – a ‘painterly’ look that is perfect for my taste!  Again, – a big thank you!

And a thank you goes out from me to you for your kind comments.

If you would like to try your hand at bidding or commission a Byron painting for you to have your own “powerful” artwork let me know. All my auctions start at only a penny. You can bookmark my eBay profile page as any new works for auction will appear hear. All my best.

 

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Landscapes Endlessly Fascinate

Over the years I have been privileged to be interviewed for newspaper articles about my art. The first article was when I was 15 years old. Now 35 years later, another article on my art was just recently featured in the Odessa American Newspaper. It was written by Bob Campbell with the theme: Landscapes Endlessly Fascinate.

Mr. Campbell came by my home studio and spent the better part of an hour and a half asking questions. I wondered how he was going to organize all the content he recorded. Soon, my question was answered in the words he wrote.

You can click the image to read the article. Just thought I’d share.

William Hagerman featured in the Odessa American Newspaper.

William Hagerman featured in the Odessa American Newspaper.

 

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Critiquing Artwork

Critiquing Artwork

In this post I will share some points on critiquing your artwork.  A discussion with an art student brought this subject to mind.

At the time, we were talking about observable colors in some clouds. The student elicited the comment of “I wish I could see through your eyes.”  Much of the work involved in painting whether it’s mixing color or arranging the composition involves a process of analysis and observations. Asking a series of questions designed to identify and solve problems is called….

The Artist’s Self Critique

Follow along as some self critique’s are applied in bringing the painting “Lunch Companions” to a completion.

The Reference Photo

old building and cactus
Inspiration for “Lunch Companions” appeared while driving down a local street where an old building surrounded with cactus caught my attention. It will become the stage for the main characters which will include a donkey and two feathered lunch companions. However, color was lacking in the scene and the impact of the building’s hard geometric shape needed to be softened. To that end, a wisteria vine was added which will overlap the left of the building and extend onto the fence.

Composition Sketch
Thinned paint (ultramarine blue) and a brush is used for the sketch.

sketch for oil painting

Blocking in the Initial Colors

partical completion of an oil painting by William Hagerman
After the initial blocking in of color, the cactus in the foreground demanded way too much attention. It had to go.

Bye, Bye Cactus

painting demo partial completion of oil painting by William Hagerman

Since the paint wasn’t completely dry, odorless thinner was added to paper toweling and the cactus were wiped away. What remained was simply over painted. I liked the cactus in the original photo, so maybe just a few small ones on the left could remain.

The Final  Analysis

oil painting by William Hagerman before revision. Last stage before completion.
However, in the final self critique, they too had to go. When looking at the painting compared with the final one, notice that your eye simply drops down to the cactus no matter where else you look. The foreground cactus offers no supportive role and become the uninvited guests and party crashers of the scene.

old building, donkey and chickens. Oil painting by William Hagerman

Once gone, peace returns to the composition. The focal area of the donkey, wisteria vine and chickens remains the focal area. Now the stars of the painting can finish their lunch time grazing in peace. If interested in purchasing this piece please contact me.

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What is Art?

white cow in a snow storm

“White Cow in a Snow Storm” 50×50

So What is Art?

I thought I’d share with you my latest painting. It’s an exercise in Minimalist art. The black outline was added so you could see the painting.  No, I’m being sarcastic. I didn’t create White Cow in a Snow Storm, but it does lead me into the topic of  What is Art?

Artworks are like opinions and just like opinions, not everyone will agree on them. Attempts to describe what is art, often becomes a work of art in itself as an exercise in creative writing!

By definition art is an expression or application of human creative/technical skill  and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

However, the genre of Minimalist art which according to one source began in the 1950’s and continued thru the 1970’s was intended to thrive on simplicity in content and form, seeking to remove any sign of personal expression. It was to allow the viewer to experience the work more intensely without the distractions of composition, theme etc.

When TV Journalist Morley Safer died in May of this year (2016), a morning news segment highlighting one of his reports on contemporary art was shown whereby a museum curator was describing to Morley the large blank white canvas hanging on the wall was done by a Minimalist artist. As to who created it I’m both ignorant and apathetic. I don’t know and I don’t care.
Thinking to myself it’s no wonder that it was called minimal because it involved minimal work, minimal materials and minimal thought. After all it was a totally blank canvas. There are plenty of those in my  studio. Why I even have a brand new roll of the stuff. I can roll it out anytime and take in it’s beauty.  If you like, I will stretch one for you. On second thought I don’t want to work too hard, I’ll just buy one already stretched, put my signature on it so you can enjoy it on your wall. You can have it today, just let me know. Oh the price, it’s next to  nothing only a $1,000,000.00. Any takers? Please, serious inquiries only.

Not So Minimalist

If you’re looking for something more affordable and not quite so minimalist, I do have three paintings up on my eBay auction. These bear my “Byron” signature. The auction ends  Sunday July 31, 2016 at 6 PM pacific time. Each auction endings are spaced by 7 minutes, so you can have time to bid on another in case you miss out on one. The Bids are already starting. Remember, I never set a reserve and the bidding started at only a penny. You can click the link to go to my eBay profile and access the auction.

Misty Day 9x12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Misty Day 9×12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

impressionist landscape autumn oil painting by Byron

Hues of Autumn 8×10 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Spring Days 9x12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Spring Days 9×12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Additionally I have two small 6″x8″ William Hagerman signature paintings shown below at Sherwoods Gallery in Houston, TX.

If interested in purchasing these please contact the gallery at: (713) 974-3700

landscape bluebonnet oil painting with cactus by William Hagerman

Bluebonnets and Cactus 6×8 oil by William Hagerman copyright 2016

landscape bluebonnet oil painting with barn windmill by William Hagerman

Sun and Clouds 6×8 oil by William Hagerman copyright 2016

Thanks for reading!

 

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Inspiring Art Teachers

I was thinking about some of the inspiring art teachers I’ve known. What got me to going down memory lane? Well, the wife and I are having a garage sale and our house is currently a mess. I’ve been hauling in boxes with STUFF in them to be priced, going thru this and that etc. In doing so I came across a box containing early paintings and artwork done in high school in the early 1980’s. This made me think of Mr. G my high school art teacher whom I still appreciate to this day.

Why my high school art teacher was an inspiration.

Mr. G (that’s what everyone called him) was great. I thought he was pretty cool. What made him so? Did he teach me some outstanding technique? No. He pretty much left me alone.

Whaaat??

Let me explain. My first class with him in the 10th grade was a commercial art class as it was the only one available at the time. Apparently I passed the course on the first assignment. Mr. G recognized the talent I had and from that moment on I was assigned to do nothing else but draw no matter what the rest of the class was doing. He even had me sit at a separate table near his desk so I wouldn’t have the distractions. I was to draw until I graduated.

One year I was put into a different teacher’s art class and I told Mr. G that I was sorry I wasn’t going to be in his class. He said “I’ll take care of that.” Back in his classroom once again, I remained there each year until graduation. I credit that time spent in Mr. G’s class in helping develop my drawing skills and giving me opportunities to explore and experiment. That was the best thing he could have ever done for me. He left me alone to practice and practice I did.

Today, as an art teacher I hope somewhere along the way someone will also consider me as one of their inspiring art teachers.

Early high school artworks

landscape pencil drawing from high school by William Hagerman

I spent a lot of time on this drawing. Don’t remember where the picture source came from. I don’t claim it as an original.

hs2sml

I even got to practice doing some animals. Is this Bullwinkle?

mixed media abstract of zebras

This class assignment focused on repetitive designs. It was done in mixed media including watercolor and colored pencil on paper.

The following painting was not done in high school art class, but it was from 1983, so I was still in high school at the time. Compared to my work just a year earlier it was a big improvement which I credit to spending more time on drawing. It was also an original and one of the better pieces that I painted during that time period.

moonlight oil painting

Hope you enjoyed going down memory lane with me and thank you Mr. G.

 

 

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Decorating: Color Coordinating with Artwork

When it comes to decorating, a color palette is often chosen beforehand in that the walls have been painted, the furniture and accessories are bought and then lastly the hunt is on for the artwork to fill the walls. Then you find a piece of art you have fallen in love with but it doesn’t match your decor or color scheme. Bummer. I hate this approach personally, because it often deprives you of art work that you would love to have. Plus somewhere upon saying “it doesn’t match my decor” an artist just cringed or rolled over in their grave. Instead try this approach in color coordinating with artwork.

Buy the art you love first. What I will show you next is a simple and effective way to color coordinate a color scheme to the artwork you have fallen in love with, using the paint program on your computer. Other photo programs can also be used, but might be more technical for the novice.

Start by taking a good digital photo of your art. Then download it onto your computer. Open the photo of the artwork with your Paint program. I’m on a Windows platform, but I imagine a Mac has something similar. Here I’m showing one of my Byron paintings.

Color Coordinating 1a

Notice that the photo has little handles at the corners and on the right side in the middle is a little box, place your mouse/curser over it and when it turns into an arrow drag it outwards to the right creating a blank white area.

Color Coordinating 2a

Next, look at the tools section for the color picker. Select the color picker and then use it to click on an area of color that you like in the photo of the artwork.

Color Coordinating 3a

Next look at the shapes section and select the square. Drag the shape out onto the blank white area. Then go back to tools and select the color fill then go back and hover over the square you just made and click it to color fill it with the color you selected.

Color Coordinating 5b

Repeat the process by selecting another color, create a box and color fill it until you have the number of colors you want.

Color Coordinating with artwork

Once you have your favorite colors picked save your image as a jpeg. I first saved it to my desktop and then I copied it my dropbox which is an app installed on my computer and iphone. Now I can access the photo I created on my phone. If I were going shopping for wall paint, curtains, accessories, furniture or whatever, I have a color palette at my fingertips saved on my mobile device that will guide me in my color choices. Now you’ll never have to say, “it doesn’t match my decor.” This can also be used to update a current color scheme by selecting new color choices using your current artwork.

The above illustrated Byron painting is also one of four new paintings up for auction on eBay. While the auction is still active the listings will show up on my user profile. Once there you can click on the paintings to go to the auction page. My auctions have no reserve and bidding starts at only a penny!

Here are the other Byron paintings:

Impressionist sunset oil paitning by Byron

Texas landscape bluebonnet oil painting by Byron

landscape oil painting of clouds impressionist oil by Byron

Thanks for reading! Would love to hear your comments.

 

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New Paintings for eBay art auction

After an absence from selling on eBay of my Byron art works due to several commissions, including a 4×6 foot Byron painting for the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Fort Hood, I’m happy to say I have three new paintings for eBay art auction. The auction will end Thursday May 26th at 6PM Pacific Time or 8PM Central. Each of the three works are staggered to end with seven minute intervals. To go directly to the auction you can access it thru my eBay profile.

Here are the brand new “Byron” art works. Remember all my auctions start of at only a penny! A great way to start an art collection. Hope you win!

Texas hill country impressionist oil painting by Byron

impressionist moonlight oil painting by Byron

Texas Yucca impressionist oil painting by Byron

 

 

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