Rachel's Dolls, Apache

Rachel's Dolls, Apache
Native American Art

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What REALLY is a Giclee (gee-clay) Print Reproduction

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Giclee printing is a technology that made it’s debut in 1985.  While the technological aspects of giclee imparts an impression of simplicity and ease, in actuality, the methods are extremely complex and time consuming.  The giclee printer is a digital printer that uses continuous ink jet technology whereby microscopic droplets of ink are placed with excruciating precision onto a surface.  The image consists of pixels or dots that are formed by these droplets in combinations of each of the four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black).  Data from the computer instructs that printer how many droplets of each color to place within each given dot.  The dots are so small (each droplet can only be viewed under a microscope) and precise that, instead of seeing dots, the human eye only registers a slow tonal graduation.  The ink jet travels from left to right along a steel rod, while a drum wrapped with fine art print paper is spinning transversely to the ink at two hundred and fifty  inches per second.  Each nozzle of ink (four nozzles, one for each color) produces one million droplets per second, an amazing testament to the intensely precise calibration and mechanical accuracy of which the giclee printer is capable.  The inks are water-based without the toxic environmental effects.

The strong interpretive power of a giclee is in part, due to the quality of the inks and printed on a variety of surfaces, including archival quality paper, canvas, and silks, giving the ultimate look and feel of an original fine art print.  Museums have also realized giclee’s vast potential and already have made giclee editions a permanent part of their collection.  The participating museums include The Metropolitan Museum of art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Philadelphia Museum, National Gallery of Women in the Arts, D.C., to name just a few.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

How to Capture a Real Likeness in Your Art

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This is a beautiful 20”x 30” acrylic painting by Lenore Kakita, M.D., an art student in my Saturday Art Class at Summerlin Art Group, Las Vegas, Nevada. Lenore painted this beautiful painting from a photo she took of the Vietnam Water Village on the Mekong River. As a retired physician Lenore is as passionate about creating, as she is medicine. This painting was not an easy undertaking and her perseverance paid off in abundance. She is doing so well in such a short time and paints such interesting subjects I’m encouraging her to submit her work into upcoming shows for others to enjoy.  Please be on the lookout for more of Dr. Lenore Kakita’s work.

I learned a very important lessons from my workshop with Howard Terpning at the Scottsdale Artist School in Arizona in early 2000 which I will pass on to you. And that is, if you are going to paint realistic life like subjects then work from a good likeness of the subject not from your imagination.  For painting representational realism, your subject matter is the first most important information you need to obtain. 

Howard Terpning stages his subjects, as did Rembrandt, one of the old original masters of art. Terpning collects Indian artifacts, dresses up his friends, stages them into a story, photographs them and then creates his painting. Howard Terpning is one of the elite (there are only 25 allowed) “Cowboy Artists of America” and the highest paid living western artist today. A painting of his this last year went for over one million dollars.  Each Cowboy Artist of America must teach one workshop a year. This was his one and only on the west coast as most are held in the east.

Personally I was fortunate to have a Paiute and Apache family pose for me and to also travel to Native American and Cowboy photo shoots in different parts of the country. Reference material in my library consists of hundreds of reference  photos and sketches for future paintings. It was a good investment into my art. If I want to paint a still life I will spend a whole day arranging and rearranging the pieces and experimenting with different lighting.

This is all for the joy of painting!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Realsitic Verses Abstract Painting

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Carol Duffy, a member of CCAG and an artist in my Saturday morning art class painted this beautiful scene from Alaska where she lived before moving to Las Vegas.  I snapped it with my phone before she left class last Saturday. It is so beautiful, I wanted to share it with you.

David A. Leffel, in his book Oil Painting Secrets from a Master, wrote,  All “Realistic” painting is actually abstract. The painter uses paint configurations, squiggles, pigments, and these purport to be flesh, apples, air, space and so forth. The abstract painter actually is very concrete. Drippings are actual drippings! Paint shot on canvas or splashed is just that. Rents, holes, sawn pieces are, likewise, exactly that.

My view on this and to take this a step further, in realistic art we learn not to just paint things or objects. The painting would look flat with no dimension. We learn to paint shapes of light, shadow, color hue, soft and hard edges within a shape or object. It doesn't matter how large or how minimal this thing or object is. Sometimes it's a shape within a shape. This then becomes dimensional and forms something realistic that comes forward or recedes on your canvas or paper.

I have seen beautiful abstract art that has been well thought out composition wise, it's dimensional, color correct and with positive and negative space. 

Would love your comments!

My next blog will be about an extremely difficult, beautiful painting by Dr. Lenore Kakita, also an artist in my Saturday morning class.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mystic Morning - Best Time of Day to Paint Sunlight!

Mystic Morning  18”x 24” Original Oil Painting on Linen Canvas

Mystic Morning is one of my newest paintings.  One morning right after dawn in the early 2000’s I was on my way to Fort Uncompahgre, a living history museum in Colorado Here I would photograph, sketch and paint the Native American People. Off the side of the road I saw these tipi’s and excitedly pulled off and parked. I look at it now and can still almost hear the birds chirping and singing. For me this time of day is the best time to capture reference photos for my paintings. How perfect!

Talking about light…. Did you know that the best time of day, when taking reference photos for your artwork, is from sun-up (dawn) until about 10 in the morning and again around 4pm until sunset.  Unless you are trying to convey a special message, photographing when the sun is high in the sky can sometimes make for a very uninteresting flat painting. Light creates values and values create form.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Here and Now!

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I continue to teach oil painting and I’m thankful to be able to give back and watch the artists’ passions grow as they become confident in their knowledge and skills as artists.  It’s fun! I am so thankful to be able to make a living at what I love to do both painting my own art and teaching. Creating is such a wonderful broad, exciting field and I don’t believe in pigeon holing an artist. I just give them the skill and knowledge to bring out what they want to say. Since I teach representational fine art I encourage and show the artist how to get their hand and brush to do what their mind sees without destroying their own creative ability. Each one of us has a unique style and this comes naturally just like our signature is unique from anyone else’s.
I look forward to continuing this blog by showing some of the creative things we do to achieve a representational painting. In the meantime you may view how a painting is created by visiting my website www.barbarasullivan.com and click “On the Easel “ in the navigation bar.
Until I write more  next time… Happy Painting!

Onward and Upward!

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This was the beginning of exciting things happening in my career; paintings were being accepted and winning awards in local shows; photos and articles made the newspapers. My courage and confidence was up and I ventured out into some of the national juried shows. In one of my first shows, The C.M. Russell Auction of Original Western Art in Great Falls, Montana I won the   “Quick Draw” award for a 30 minute oil painting of my husband as a mountain man. The shows and awards are listed in my Resume on my website www.barbarasullivan.com

Making the decision to venture into the western show circuit I decided to paint a collection of western art, which I love anyway, Please visit www.barbarasullivan.com and click on Artist Statement in navigation bar. I could now be invited into national western shows. This gave me a direction, though it was a challenge to find original western material to paint.  My husband Charles Poindexter, was very much into the mountain man era and since this was a subject very popular in the shows I now had a built in model. Eventually the knowledge of trapping, etc that goes along with this, I didn’t want to glorify, so I decided to look for Native American and Cowboy art. 

Fortunately I met an Indian family from the Shivwits Band of Paiutes in So. AZ., and their Apache friends who modeled for me. Then a long time artist/dentist friend told me about an artist photo shoot group in South Dakota. On my first shoot I photographed 50 rolls of film full of the most wonderful photos of the Native American people, scenes, cattle and cowboys crossing the Cheyenne River Breaks and as a special treat we were taken to the Prairie Edge Ranch to photograph the buffalo. Here the film Dancing with Wolves with Kevin Costner was shot. For the next four years I attended another shoot each year. These were in Chinle, AZ the Navaho Reservation and Fort Uncompahgre in Colorado.  This has given me a library full of reference material to use for original paintings.

My work was now in several galleries in California and Arizona. In 2001 I won the Gold Medal Award and $1,000 prize money from the Bosque Conservatory of Art in Texas for Best in Oil.  Pictures and stories are in my biography on my website. www.barbarasullivan.com.  In the one month of December, 2002 my art sold for  $36,000 from all the combined galleries. The gallery commission was 50%. I bought a large, two-story home with a 25’by 50’ upstairs loft and natural north light for a studio. After working out of my dining room for years this was pure luxury! In 2008 I became ill caring for my husband who passed away July 2008. Since then I have tried to recover my own health.  My passion came back for a while after riding on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle and I painted a small collection of Harley Davidson Genre paintings. I sold the smaller pieces right away and will be looking for a home for the larger ones.

Where Do I Go from Here?

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I now had to find another rental home with facilities large enough for giving  classes. I moved into a house within the City of Las Vegas but I was not allowed a license. I had been licensed by Clark County, North Las Vegas  and I never thought I would be denied by the City. Without a license I could not teach and advertise the classes.

I then found two other artist/teachers interested and we went into business together called The Artist Palette and rented a store in Commercial Shopping Center on Sahara Blvd. Along with the classes we sold art supplies and frames. Eventually one of the owner/teachers husband retired and they moved to California and the second teacher thought the business too much for just the two of us so she left to teach at her home.  I took my students to The Las Vegas Art Museum/Cooperative and set up a classroom with them in a vintage house downtown. This was around 1981. My classes later moved onto the Museum property and then to a store  in the Meadows Mall with the Las Vegas Artists Cooperative.

Since we had a place large enough to hang our art, a visitor from the National Bank of Nevada, Reno, saw my snow oil painting “Winter Splendor” and asked to purchase the painting and the rights to publish it on their Christmas Card. The City of Las Vegas wanted to use it for their Christmas art show invitation and selected another one of my snow scenes.