I got back to the canvas yesterday and found my purpose for water. The problem with water or even capturing images realistically is seeing and capturing the basic element of the image.
After you’ve truly seen and conveyed the basic idea, the essence of water with temperature and depth, then you can stray from the reality of the colors and even the perspective.
Intention: What is the Basic Premise
It all depends on intention, my intention is always to see the depth and clarity of water first, after that I can express the place or time and I’ve succeeded in the whole reason I started painting water in the first place.
What has happened recently is a loss of conveying the details. Waterfalls end up looking like flows of hair or cotton and the water clarity and depth instead takes on a nondescript study of color.
The Shift: To Truly See
There is a point where I can push color back and forth without truly seeing but with any luck there is the shift, where the subconscious remembers what it knows.
This is what happened yesterday, suddenly the brush moves with little consciousness from the artist-it’s like all the forms and strokes are already there.
It is almost an out-of-body experience because the hand the brush, even the colors and the forms tend to paint themselves. I’ve experienced this with writing too and it is an amazing place that no artist wants to leave.
New Elements in Recent Works
I’m not sure if it’s because of shooting so much graphic photography but recently I have more intention on form and contrast of light. The actually scene is secondary to the relationship of the elements and the contrast of light.
There are many ways to show depth and perspective, this is just one more option and I’m really beginning to see a shift in my work overall as elements supersede or at least complement mood.
It’s been a productive year but it’s also been very stressful. Chasing after your passion can be very intimidating, it is not the norm and it doesn’t fit into the stereotypical life.
Many times you are out on the limb but actually you are doing what you always said you would: daring to embrace the extraordinary life. The freedoms I have experienced this year have allowed me to find great bits of nature all around the DFW area.
2018 I feel like I have truly found my niche. Nature has always been my inspiration but I am find more options for not only the light interaction but abstract patterns. April brought the rain and I was out finding images to capture.
I have truly become a solo hiker and have spent much time finding excuses to go back to the places where I used to run insurance appointments. It is a liberating feeling to be able to photograph and explore alone and having much time to reflect on what exactly a photo by Artbygordon looks like.
I am increasing my interest in finding light in the bleakest days. There is no time or place where the richness of light speaks to me than when it is unexpected.
I finally made it to the Frank Buck Zoo. I’ve also had many trips to Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, Parkhill Prairie, Sulphur River and the Caddo Grasslands in northeast Texas.
Every place I visit I find new nature subjects and learn more about their habits. I watched cliff swallows dig for mud on the sulphur river and watched them build their nests while I searched for fossil Belemites.
This whole year has been a learning and growing experience for me, staying up to date with video, graphics and even 3D imaging, I continue to grow my craft while exploring avenues in Photography.
I Illustrated my first children’s book with R.L. Clayton. I have also worked with a local leader to get her marketing materials for her new church she is gathering: It has truly been a blessing as I continue to grow my small but loyal group of clients.
I got back to the Bluebonnet trails in Ennis and the bluebonnets were quite amazing. It’s amazing how many people go down to see the spectacle, the hardest task was not to let the people steal the show. It was a wonderful afternoon.
April and May were busy as I continued to work freelance while traveling to places to gather photography. The brand is growing and I am developing the look and feel of the site.
The one thing that has never changed and will never change is my interest and passion for nature. It is my solace and keeps me grounded. I am planning on traveling much more in 2019.
It’s been more than ten years when I first met R.L. Clayton, he is a science fiction writer and I met him through a friend. He wanted a cover image of a futuristic ship that didn’t exist. Challenge accepted!
Sea Species was born. We both invested time and patience to envision an image that didn’t yet exist. That is the job of a designer when you are creating something that is not your own, you need to listen and get out of our own ideas and allow the client’s vision to become real.
Little did I know at the time, but I was about to create a library of books that all stemmed from one project.
A lasting business relationship quickly turned into a friendship even though I have never met him in person.
In these days that the bottom line trumps loyalty and integrity, it is a very rewarding experience working with a client on a basis of trust and the old fashioned idea of a handshake.
Next came the Envoy and soon after that the Genesis. I created his website for the evolution river series and posters for book readings. We also started a social media presence and a monthly email.
The next book was about the woman pilots of World War II. It was a departure from science fiction to a story with a historical backdrop. Another book and another cover was created and as the list of books grew so did the website.
R.L. Clayton books website began with R.L. Clayton descending in dystopia back before dystopia was a thing. I listened to the creepy ideas that spawned the next cover in the collection.
The Dead series began with a book about terrorists, on the cover was to be a coffin with a life meter on the face; Dead and Dead for Real was born.
The writer’s vivid ideas began creating a definite brand and a look and feel that grew as we continued to produce new books.
In this time I learned the art of creating an e-book and suddenly besides the printing issues we learned and tackled the problems associated with creating an e-book.
R.L. Clayton books grew as more books were added to the library. The next frightening book in the series was Dead Reckoning, a child with a bubble wand blowing dangerous chemical agents into the air. The whole idea and darkness of the Dead Series truly inspired my love of the macabre.
Dead again followed Dead Reckoning and the next chapter in the series leads back to the Envoy in the Evolution River Series. It is very exciting to see a writer create a body of work and I feel like I am on a journey that continues to inspire me and reach for more creativity.
As I continue to grow my skills and knowledge of book marketing we are seeing how the public reacts as each book is produced and Clayton attends book readings. We have recently gotten some great reviews on the Dead series and am anxious for the next book to be finished.
During the process of creating all the books, Clayton had mentioned a book he was thinking of with his 9-year-old granddaughter, a children’s book. The first cover we tried was with real photographs and than we decided pastel was the way to go. Inside of the book are 12 separate illustrations of the yard in pastel and the characters besides the cat were all created in Adobe Illustrator.
The book is finally available on ebook and in print on Amazon. During this process we have learned about publishers, I’ve created a video for the evolution river series, two websites, several reviews and two websites. We both have learned from a relationship that has lasted more than ten years and I am excited about the new projects and the new books we’ll come to create, in fact other children’s books are on the list as well. We’ll see.
All of this knowledge and experience came from a trusting and mutually rewarding relationship and I consider myself lucky to be able to work with a great write like Clayton.
Please check out his books at www.rlclaytonbooks.com.
In the beginning of 2018, with a little bit more freedom, I began to explore more places to find nature. Some of the places I visited are the Cedar Ridge Preserve. I began to seek out any place I could find even a hint of nature and mapped out several wonderful hikes very close to Dallas. For more information on the Cedar Ridge Preserve.
February and March found the artist seeking colors and light and instead I began to discover patterns in nature. I aimed to isolate light and shape even when the light was flat.
Talking with the naturalists I learned about another favorite place of mine, the Parkhill Prairie in Blue Ridge, Texas. It is like going back to a place in history where the wind cries across the pristine planes. I watched hawks sore and songbirds in the native environment-it was a wonderful trip and a need grounding for me. It is a wonderful remnant of the backland prairie.
I finally got to the East Texas Alligator Farm and Park. It was an enjoyable visit and something I have been planning for many years on so many drives out East. I plan on finding those out of the way places and writing and photographing about them.
I love the patterns in nature. As an artist, finding a unique perspective that can show a viewer something they might not have seen before is a large part of my artistic intent.
I have always painted landscapes and seascapes but I could never perfect what is already real. I am competing with the greatest artist of them all: God. All I can hope for is to show the viewer an aspect of that image that moved me and perhaps move the viewer with the same or varied feeling.
As I have been photographing more regularly, I have found the need to see deeper than just the landscape. Especially when the light does not cooperate with the subject or doesn’t show up at all.
I learned to isolate parts of nature when my desire to photograph didn’t lend itself to the light of the day. On a gray winter day, when there is nothing but flat, bland light and no objects are discernible by any effective modeling, I have discovered a new way of seeing the landscape.
I started seeing how images were painted by stray bits of light. Suddenly instead of a bland landscape, I was able to find just a piece of that landscape that could be a graphic object. I don’t even care if the final image is discernible, it is more the aspect of its abstract nature that intrigues me.
I have started gathering autumn leaves, green leaves and patterns in water, in the past I would have struggled to find something in abstract but now the image jumps out at me. It’s a muscle and to strengthen this way of seeing the landscape has changed my whole outlook on contemporary art.
I believe that bringing nature into the house can evoke a calm center as well as a conversation piece for visitors. I like how without representing a specific subject, the image evokes something without trying too hard to be abstract or artsy. I have found my way to the abstract and contemporary subject.
Interiors are from Adobe Stock-Photographic art Artbygordon
Back to the original post, it takes time. There are shortcuts to find and retaining clients but there are no shortcuts to knowing them. You can’t fake relationship with a potential client, you must be there for them as they are for you.
I speak with the metaphor of a gardener and being one, it seems appropriate. Disperse seeds, don’t expect a quick pay out but realize why you are in the business in the first place, do you care about your customers?
If you don’t care about them, they will quickly not care about you and your product. I believe in laying the future, getting to know people, having more people realize you may something they need and living life with a passion that pays when others endeavors don’t
In the end, I have no doubt that I will reap the benefits of the broad garden of pictures, thoughts and ideas which will one day be book covers, stories in e-books and paintings on walls, it just takes time, did I mention it takes a lot of time.
You just need to use your time wisely. Do what you love and do it well and often and share it with as many people who care about what you are selling, the rewards will come much like the garden that grows from the seeds you planted in the spring, and it will be beautiful.
Navigating a landscape, it’s okay to ask for directions.
This is an update to the article, So much to learn, so little time. I’ve learned much about the social media landscape and the hills and valleys of finding and marketing to potential clients. One thing for sure, it takes a time, lots of time.
If you expect to sell your product or service through strictly free social media, realize it will be a long road, with many highs and lows. One thing great about it, you learn so much by trying, experimenting, by failing and experimenting again.
I now realize how important it is to learn from others who have taken the path and discover some proven shortcuts. You have a finite amount of time and content and if you don’t learn how others have made it, you will spend much time learning and less time reaping the benefits.
So learn from others who have lots of followers that are attracting the same audience you seek. Ask lots of questions, take classes that have been valuable to others in your field and learn from the vast amount of experience at your finger tips.
Tomorrow’s post: A changing Landscape but still the same landscape
Artbygordon: Original oils on canvas, Original pastels on paper celebrating the beauty and mystery of nature. Water and night skies are my specialties.