Lynn Ricci's Musings

Unemployment Offers New Opportunities to Create March 15, 2016 16:56

I'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 09, 2015 10:17

Christopher Columbus Park, Boston at night 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 06, 2013 13:32 1 Comment

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."Pablo Picasso
When 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. ImageLike 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 07:47

I 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 Wyeth

As I have mentioned, I work.  Yes, in an office.  Full time. Not the most glamorous or creativeImage 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 Imageout 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.


Colorful Great Whites July 28, 2013 09:55

Image ImageI just returned from our annual family vacation to Chatham, MA.  In years gone by, we stayed at a great resort by the beach - Chatham Bars Inn - but as my sons have grown, and we needed more space, renting a house has been the best way to go.  Now, I don't look for a house by the beach like you might think. . . I look for one in the small village area.  I find its best so that they can walk to the penny candy store, ice cream shops, Veteran's field where they can catch a Chatham A's game, and the old Ben Franklin store . . . and I  can walk to the small art galleries.  And there are a LOT of galleries in Chatham to poke around in! The art galleries in Chatham offer both high-end well known artists and local, lessor known but talented Cape artists.  The majority of the shops show oil, acrylic, and watercolors - and of course offer giclee prints - but there are also some interesting stores to go in with fish rubbings, ink prints, carved pieces, glass, pottery, and The Artful Hand that includes all sorts of whimsical pieces for the home. But what I really enjoyed this year was the Sharks in the Park.  If you are not from the New England area, you may not have heard about the Great White sharks in the waters off Chatham - how they go after the exploding seal population that make Chatham their summer home, or how some marine biologists believe Chatham has become the Great Whites breeding ground -- but Chatham, in its artistic way, has welcomed the Great Whites . . . into their parks. Sharks in the Park is a summer display that is moving from park to park, and set up in front of village businesses, showing the same four foot long cut out shark but uniquely painted by local artists.  I should have taken more pictures, but I was instead caught up in walking through the shark groupings and admiring the work.  I did, however, capture two quick 7 second videos and a shot in front of the Eldredge Library and the Cape Cod 5 Cent Savings Bank. The 50+ sharks will be auctioned at a gala on August 1 at Chatham Bars Inn so there's only a few days left.  Hope you enjoy the two small (and admittedly amateurish) video snippets I was able to capture for Twitter - along with the help of my niece who came down for a visit! Shark video one  and Shark video two

Jack the Giant Slayer and The Ides of March July 16, 2013 13:44

Last week I kicked off this blog, and in doing so, announced I was off to start a new painting.  I quickly discovered I needed to go shopping for canvas, paint and a few new brushes (an artist can never have enough brushes). I returned home and searched for a photograph to paint and when I finally selected one, it was too late to get started. Instead I left all my new materials and printed photographs out for the next morning and had a hot fudge sundae with the kids. [caption id="attachment_104" align="alignleft" width="300"]DSC01944 "Greeting The Morning Sun" ~ Chatham, MA ~ Oil, 16x20[/caption] Over the course of the last week, depending on drying times of the paint, I completed my painting of the Bay View cottage at Chatham Bars Inn.  The cottage sits high on the property near the main inn and overlooks the ocean. The South Lawn is visible below by the shoreline where the Inn schedules family activities like wiffle ball and croquet and there is a line of Adirondack chairs waiting in the early morning sun for vacationers to sit and enjoy the view. During the week I watched a lot of movies while painting - two are listed in the title of the blog.  I also took pictures along the way to document the painting -- hope you enjoy the video of the process.  I am off to start a smaller work this week before I leave for Chatham . . .