Lynn Ricci's Musings
Unemployment Offers New Opportunities to Create March 15, 2016 16:56I'm officially unemployed. It took me awhile to come to that conclusion since I seem busier than ever - but, "officially" I am unemployed. Which brings me to a little problem . . . I'm enjoying being unemployed.
Spurts of Paint(ing) May 9, 2015 10:17
Columbus Park, North End, Boston Over the last 6 months I have concentrated more on my artwork. I am not sure where credit is due for this change . . . an unusually harsh winter here in the Boston area, a muse that made me want to be creative, or a high level of stress that called for therapeutic time and to pick up a brush . . . but whatever the reason(s) I am happy to be concentrating on my artwork again!
One of the differences with this current spurt of activity is that I've challenged myself -- not relying on subjects I've done before and know how to approach -- but instead finding more challenging compositions, different lighting situations with nighttime scenes, including people (which I've always avoided), and larger canvases that made me think more about detail. I believe I've grown as a realism artist during this period.
With social media, I've shared completed work to a great response that encouraged me to keep pushing myself. It was the cheering section I needed to instead of doing one painting and stopping - have others lined up and ideas brewing. From this interest, I decided to explore offering Giclee prints for those who were interested in buying a print, and built an ecommerce website on Shopify to market my work. I was thrilled as the first orders rolled in for paintings and notecards! As an artist, we always doubt our work, but this has been very uplifting.
So, what is a Giclee? Giclee (zhee-klay) is a French word meaning a spray or a spurt of liquid. Apropos since I paint in bursts or spurts! They are incredibly accurate prints made on-demand, on canvas with either a traditional stretcher bar or gallery wrapped and ready to hang, and in the size you want. Giclees may not replace an original oil painting, but it allows people to buy a painting they like, at a lower price point, and enjoy it hanging in their home. I had seen them offered a lot during my gallery browsing last summer and it's a nice way for artists to offer their work to a broader audience.
I'm off to finish a painting of Fenway Park . . . and it may just make its way to my Giclee offerings!
Drawing Skills Are Fundamental September 6, 2013 13:32 1 Comment
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." - Pablo PicassoWhen I was a child, I liked to draw. I would copy anything that I saw: pictures on a lunchbox, a scene in a magazine, animated characters from comic books or MAD Magazine. As I got a little older, I would get up very early on Saturday mornings and draw along with Captain Bob (You need to be from the Boston area and of a certain age to remember Captain Bob). My teachers were never happy with my "doodling" in class but I just couldn't help myself. Like many budding, young artists, I took art lessons with grand aspirations of working for Disney someday, or Hallmark, or even moving to France and spending my days with an easel and fresh canvases. My family would visit the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and I would dreamily drag my feet, slowing my family's progress through the giant museum. All I wanted was to spend long periods of time staring at the paintings; thinking about what the artist was striving for, how each brush stroke was formed, what paints were mixed to get the desired color and the creation of light, or stare at the finely carved statues and wonder how the artist saw the finished form in a block of marble. Later, I attended MassArt and was able to spend as much time at the museum as I wanted without anyone saying "move along, slow poke . . .". For practice, I would fill sketchbooks with vignettes from famous paintings and shaded sketches of statues from Boston museums. Thoughts of a career in art still filled my young mind. Fast forward, let's just say a good number of years, and I now live in Burlington and have two children, a dog, a cat, a mortgage and I work in a finance department. Not exactly the carefree artist lifestyle I had imagined for myself, but I'm very happy. The bonus is . . . I still get to paint! No, it is not my day job; however, I paint for enjoyment, satisfaction, as a challenge, as therapy, a creative outlet and even take on commissions every now and again. And sometimes in work meetings I catch myself still happily doodling like a child in class. Challenge for the week: Perfecting your drawing skill is essential to any art form. Keep a sketchbook and find subjects to sketch for practice. For example, there are plenty of interesting places around your town or city that you could sketch outside. Or, set aside time and explore some great works in person, or at least online, for inspiration. I am lucky to be close to Boston with so many great museums such as the MFA or The Harvard Art Museums or, one my favorites, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. What is your favorite place to sketch?
The Need to Paint August 22, 2013 07:47I awoke this morning, very early, due to a rabbit in the yard. How could a quiet rabbit wake someone? Anyone with a young, active dog and a glass door in their bedroom can tell you it's possible. Fenway, our springer spaniel, began a low growl which woke me just in time to see the object of his attention and before the barks erupted that sent ole Peter Rabbit scurrying to and fro. It was 4:45AM. So, instead of my last hour of sleep, I was able to watch the sun come up, the sky change colors, the light stream through the trees changing the leaves to a bright sap green and the play of shadows and light across my yard and flower beds. What artist would really like to get up and go to work when they know they have a big blank canvas sitting in the corner waiting to be painted? Artists get a bad wrap sometimes. They have been characterized as a generally flaky, off the wall, lazy, self absorbed and crazy bunch of people. Well, some can be - but that is true of anyone, not just artists. What people don't always see or understand, is the inner drive to create. The power of that first flicker of inspiration as it takes hold and becomes a flame. The need to make something - whether a painting, drawing, writing, sculpture, photograph, or whatever your craft - with your own two hands and mind and be able to sit back and smile, thinking "I made that". I'm going to finish my coffee and go to work. It's going to be tough, but we artists can be responsible, too. And, there is always later tonight.
Capture What Inspires You August 11, 2013 17:44
"I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious." -- Andrew WyethAs I have mentioned, I work. Yes, in an office. Full time. Not the most glamorous or creative of environments yet there are days that I see inspiration all around me at the office. Magnolia and Dogwood trees in the springtime outside of my office, in shades of pink, cream with the vibrant new green of early spring. A winter sunset that fills the sky with blazing oranges and reds and deep, magnificent purples behind the tree line. The seemingly haphazard stack of papers, steaming coffee mug and eyeglasses that actually come together just right for a still life. The guy leaning back in his chair staring out the window while on the phone with the sun hitting his profile and folds in his shirt just right . . . . . You know the feeling, when the color, shape, composition hits you in a certain way and you wistfully say to yourself, "I wish I could paint that right now". Well . . . who's stopping you? Yes, your boss. Probably some co-workers. And the general reliance on a paycheck . . . but you can take two minutes and quickly sketch out the composition or take out your cell phone and capture the fading sun or pink dogwood outside your window . . . for later. Capture what inspires you. And it's not just at work that I have these feelings of immense jealousy for those who don't need a paycheck and have boundless time on their hands. I see scenes everywhere that I have captured in order to paint later. A field full of wildflowers while on a hike with the boys and our dog, a historic lighthouse on the Cape, a quaint street scene when awnings are out, there are cafe tables on the street, and pots of flowers everywhere. Those moments when you don't hear the person you are with talking anymore, or when you stop in your tracks to stare. You will know it when it hits. I keep a folder on my computer called Pictures to Paint and that's where these snapshots and mobile phone pics go to wait for me. And when I do get one of those rare weekend days when I can devote time to painting, I sometimes go to that folder and pull out a gem. Right now, I am planning to paint two water scenes of Chatham from photos I took 3-4 years ago! And remember - if you create a work of art that is contest worthy or you want to sell you need to make sure its an original and not a complete copy or derivative work from someone else's photo! If you need reference photos, one source to check out is The MorgueFile. Challenge: Its summer and it's a great time to capture pictures while on vacation or while you are out enjoying nature. If you don't have one already, set up a folder and start filling it with photos or thoughts on what you want to create. When you are ready, it will be there waiting for you. The tough part will be to select which one! In the meantime, while you build your file of possible works of art to come back to, there are several websites that offer a daily or weekly challenge such as The Daily Paintworks or Illustration Friday which will keep you active!
This post originally appeared in my local paper.