Category Archives: teacher

2019: A New Year

A new year, an unblemished calendar but what to do? How can I make 2019 a special, productive year? 

The question definitely has to do with my readers but at the same time, I can’t deliver meaningful content unless I know what my readers and subscribers are wanting or even expecting.

I have decided to break my posts into specific columns so you will have an idea of what to expect and there will be a constant theme going through my content although varied as it might be.

I used to create the blog on Blogger and than share it with multiple network channels but I am trying to localize all the content through the website.

Here are a list of the upcoming posts and what I envision for the year.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

The Artist’s Window: It’s how the artist sees the world, how we find light and what makes the ordinary extraordinary from an artist’s view. 

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

Depression for the Layman: How to live with depression and tips and tools to live a good life despite the illness. I will be putting all the pieces into a book with other self-help books in the works.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge original photography by Artbygordon

From A Kayak: I’m trying to bring this back; it might be a view from a tree, a view from a platform-it’s just going to be different places in nature.

The Grackles 2017 Artbygordon

ArtbyGordon: New Series, new subject matter and my reactions and thoughts on art and being creative. Artbygordon and life creatively will merge into this catchall for living a creative lifestyle and breaking the boundaries of the expected.

Remnants of the Garden Artbygordon

Gardening: From the beginning to end of the garden and different aspects of life woven through a life filled with nature and gardening. On a practical note: all the winners and losers, maintaining order in a chaotic garden and other thoughts on life and creativity.

Road to Hagerman Artbygordon

Travel and Writing: This will be the travel side of my blogging. I will highlight at least one place through each month-it could be reviews on food, venues, concerts-anything travel with a little bit of nature added in for color.

The Reluctant Military Dad: This is a new piece of the puzzle-it’s about being a single dad and letting go. It’s about my son in the military and the aspects of a dad watching his son become something great. 

General parenting insights and topics about raising kids in today’s world-being a step dad to my oldest son and all I’ve learned on this journey of parenting.

The next thought, what my readers are wanting and what to add to the blog-I would love to hear what people would like to read about.

I am excited about 2019 and feel my brand and its scope is growing.  Please be a part of the Artbygordon newsletter to get up to date news on series, appearances and latest writing and photography.

Fear of the Canvas

florida_intercoastal

I’ve just realized why I have been avoiding painting recently, not really avoiding it but just having a harder time settling down. Many of the works have been in progress for quite a while so getting back to them is often like picking up a strangers painting.

The amazing point is when suddenly you stop thinking about what you need to do and just start slashing at the canvas with purpose. There are unseen shapes and connections of shapes that come out of the surface of the paint and you fill in the blanks instinctively.

A stumbling block is the fear, especially when you like what you’ve started but there is no room for timid strokes in painting or anything else creative. Once you stop and think or attempt the safe way you might as well save painting for later.

Painting should be bold, excited and even a bit reckless. My thought is every painting is a potential mistake that will never see the light of day. This is the time you learn the most, when you are free to forcefully and confidently paint without fear of failure.

One particular technique that takes a lot of time going back and forth is the light on water, it starts out overly dramatic and slowly becomes more realistic. There are points where the light seems right, others when there seems to be a bump in the horizon and you have confidently fix the problems and continue to focus while you see the image you’ve been working on go from good to worse to good again.

Another aspect is painting objects, straight lines and architecture, something that often needs to be reworked and perfected. You are happy with the background and suddenly you’ve just destroyed it with the object that you overlapped-often the background needs to be reworked with the object as you work to perfect both.

I am excited about the process and while I continue to get bits of time to paint, I am adding to an already large painting list. Let me know what you think of the new images.
swallowspsd









So much to learn, So little time: 5 of 5

newgarden

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.

 









the fritillary, the hummingbird and the dragonfly

What instills peace in the creative soul. It seems it is simpler and more complex than perhaps the outside person looking in can fathom. It is not necessarily the state nor the actual meaning of an event, it is more the feeling and that moment when for some strange reason things make sense, even if for just a moment.

Let’s start off with a garden, a garden that has been a metaphor for many things in this creatives’ life. Perhaps it’s the helplessness and neediness of this particular years crop that has inspired my introspection.

We got more water than we have this year, having gotten out of a major drought, what’s new in the state of Texas. Unfortunately I think my plants have gotten spoiled as they seem more needy than they have in past years. I have always bragged that the kind of plants that I have chosen don’t need me to tend them at all, they grow, they react to the heat and they recover.

This year, the recovery has been more labored, even losing many of my prized plants that at one time in my manic state of building the perfect garden seemed to be such an important aspect and draw of my attention. Now they wither, they scream at the surface, begging for the gardener to be the gardener he professed to be.

It’s not unlike raising kids, these days my irrelevance seems to be eating me alive due to my sons metamorphosis to a full fledged teen rearing to be anywhere but with me. Luckily having raised what I profess to be a pretty special kid I have gotten to enjoy wonderful blooms of his youthful colors without him insisting I leave him alone. We watched two movies last night and again, the simplicity and perfection of that special time is just what this post is all about. Luckily I keep enough water in the house and he even carries a jug around so my lack of care and attention would never be noticed quite like the garden that screams when it has been neglected.

Being a parent, we either neglect our children or we neglect ourselves and our own identity, in this instance I think I’m the one that is shriveling up from lack of attention. I feel the garden is screaming out the state of how I feel, thirsty and missing something. The yellow leaves, the parched broken earth all seem to be signs of a lack of nourishment.

My creativity, my writing has always been my nourishment so during points of block I appear to be starving, withering in the oppressive summer of this life. Now, don’t take this like I am whining, I am the lucky one, I am so blessed but I am missing something, that solitude, the introspection seems to be what I need and nature is always the catalyst for my healing.

This point of my life seems to be the point of harvest. The fruits of seventeen years of labor are coming to be more amazing than I could ever even have imagined. Now there is sadness in this beauty of success, just like the emotion you feel at a graduation or a wedding-it is the beginning of a new point in our lives that is wonderful and exciting as it is sad and a bit emotional. So what to do with this creative? I know a new life is on the horizon, just like the seeds that are already in the ground ready for next spring, I am excited but being creative we feel everything with equal measure.

So why did I entitle this blog with the fritillary, the hummingbird and the dragonfly? Well you’ll just need to read the next post. A hint, it is about silence, solitude and the spirit of nature….but I guess you already knew that.

Garden_summer









Teaching painting

I have been asked on many occasions if I would consider teaching painting and my answer would always be sure, why not?  I  have never actually had anyone take the next step until recently, she actually bought canvases and paints the next day and I was officially teaching a painting course. One thing I can say about teaching is that the student isn’t the only one learning. There are many aspects of painting and even more aspects of discipline and perspective I learned from the experience.

First of all, there are so many different things that painting consists of that the artist would never actually think about or verbalize. To actually put words to the process and try to explain the task of making a 2 dimensional form look like it is 3 dimensional solidified many of the instinctual choices I make while painting. The change in colors, size, contrast and tone are normally created without even thinking of why a specific color is being used or why different shapes are put in order but to think about them and teach them almost explained some of the second nature tasks and clarified them for my future painting.

Next, I have a short attention span for artwork, I tend to get lost in details and this is why I have so many paintings started at the same time. When one painting gets too close and too intense I change my perspective and work on another, this allows for a change in view and perspective and allows a fresh look at each painting, the drawback is the lack of finished paintings. Having to teach for 3-4 hours every weekend on one painting kept my focus and discipline and forced me not to lose sight of the whole picture. I hope this discipline I will be able to use when painting my own paintings.

Another aspect of teaching is when the student sees things that you don’t and can point out things that you haven’t paid enough attention to, suddenly you have another perspective to see through. Luckily, the student had a very keen eye for detail and we both were able to iron out points of composition, color and perfecting realism-it’s great to have a second set of eyes, so for now on I will hire a student to paint with me-I’m kidding but it would be money well spent.

We finished the painting, which was rather large-36″x38″, in thirteen classes of 3-4 hours each. I learned that my process for painting actually has a very logical progression and each class had specific processes that we accomplished. In the end the student did a piece of art she was happy with and I learned a great deal about teaching, painting and the processes of each. We will be starting another painting that is even larger and this one is less detailed and more about capturing light and simpler form. I will fill you in on the classes after we begin. My next blog will be about starting back to painting after teaching and following a long hiatus.

I will have a photograph of the painting and a flash video of the thirteen steps to a finished painting posted on my website-so check back soon-I will have a notification on the blog when they appear.
www.artbygordon.com, I will also be posting the video on YouTube.