An Extra-Ordinary Street
The Lake Avenue street median in Pasadena has been catching my attention ever since they landscaped it with some really unusual curly agave and a large variety of other agave and succulents. I secretly scheme in my mind ways to go steal pups from the plants in the middle of the night. It’s become a joke between my husband and I because every time we drive down that street I point them out as if he had never seen them before. He turned it around on me and started pointing them out to me, “Hey, did you see THOSE?” he’d say. It gave me a good chuckle. The truth is I could sit on that street and stare at the plants for days and be perfectly happy. I find something new to admire each time I pass by, they are just mesmerizing!
I had my camera with me one day and took some photos. For some reason I didn’t paint them right away as you might expect. Maybe I had too much built up in my mind about what great agave paintings they would make or maybe I just hadn’t formulated how the heck I was going to pull it off. Who knows my motivations…certainly not me! I didn’t photograph my favorite curly agave because the late afternoon light was blocked by the office buildings. Oh darn, I’ll just have to go back and look at them some more. But these beauties caught my eye so I snapped a few shots. I started the drawings for these weeks ago and today I went for it with the paint! I am doing a diptych (or a series of two) so I painted them simultaneously.
Here are some in progress photos…
I’d love to know what you think.
This past weekend I took a painting workshop with Frank Serrano, an Artist Member of the California Art Club, to learn urban plein air painting. I have been primarily working from photographs in my recent work, figure drawing is all I’ve really done working from life. I’ve painted outside a few times but never with any instruction. This was a great experience! Here are some photos of what I did on Saturday…
The pictures on the left show my reference and on the right are the paintings I did. Frank demonstrated before each new subject and explained his process. After the demo we were let loose to find our spots and whip out the paint. You can see in the first photo that I have 2 artists painting a different view sitting right in the middle of my painting. Thank goodness he told us we could leave stuff out!
In the early part of the day the light changed so much that you really had to nail down where your light and shadows were going to be so you didn’t keep changing things. By the time we left the first location it was 1pm and time for lunch. We moved to our next location in a more industrial section of Burbank. Frank really knows some interesting spots. I have to say I preferred the gritty industrial section of Burbank to the horse alley we started with. I love the little field studies I did that day, I didn’t have a chance to finish them as we ran out of light but I did learn a lot that day.
The main lessons I came away with were…
- Stay loose – don’t worry so much about the small stuff.
- Pick you focus and gray the other areas down.
- I’m the artist…if the picture is better with something left out or changed, do it!
If you can think of anything I missed or have any feedback, leave a comment I’d love to know what you think.
After just one day I knew I would have a different approach to photographs so I’m testing out my new skills…stay tuned!
It’s hard to believe that it is already that time of year again! ‘Tis the season of gift giving and this year you can give those special people in your life something that they will treasure….art!
Why art? A beautiful painting hanging on the wall will be a constant reminder of how much you care, long after other gifts have been used up or forgotten. This art is beautiful, unique and can not be found at Target!
My paintings are now available as high quality fine art prints through Fine Art America. Sold in a variety of sizes as stretched canvas prints or custom framed with thousands of mat and frame combinations. Click on the link and order yours today!
As a thank you for your support I’m offering a 25% discount on my prints. Use discount code: FKTDRX at checkout. Offer is valid through December 31st.
Original paintings are available at www.athenamantle.com or at Modest Fly Art Gallery 7576 Foothill Blvd. Tujunga, CA www.modestflyartgallery.com. Desert Jewels will be on display through December 20th.
Great Stocking Stuffer!
I am offering a desk calendar with the Desert Jewels painting series for $10. If you are interested in purchasing one of these send me a message through my website. Or you might also like succulent canvas prints available through Fine Art America!
In my last post I discussed using Facebook as a tool to promote my art. I made the decision to accept anyone that sent me a friend request because if I was going to promote myself and my art then I had to meet new people and stop being so exclusive with my Facebook page. Facebook is a bit like high school. It’s all about who likes you and being popular. As an artist you have to put yourself out there and promote yourself. That is definitely something that does not come naturally to me. I prefer to be modest and generally unnoticed. It’s sad to think that I’ve reduced myself to asking to be liked but when in Rome…
I’ve now taken the next step and added a “Fan Page” for Athena Mantle, Fine Artist. I invited all my friends to “Like” me and so far I have 71 people who approve of me. It’s sort of funny to ask someone to “Like” you. I admit I do check it regularly to see if anyone new has given me their approval, silly I know. I get excited when I see people who I don’t know that have given me the “Like” nod of approval.
Facebook is amazing…connecting with old friends and making new ones. So many people who know me were unaware that I was a painter until they saw my work on Facebook. That probably goes back to the modest and unnoticed thing, not exactly good for promotion! FineArtAmerica is also amazing…I sold my first print after 6 weeks of being listed on their site. It was purchased by someone from Cave Creek, Arizona. That was exciting to say the least!
Since this post is all about being liked, if you too feel the urge to send me some love….hit that “Like” button and tell all your friends !
Athena Mantle, Fine Artist
Promote Your Page Too
This blog is about my journey as an artist so aside from my art, I’m going to share with you the things I’ve learned that have helped me or inspired me to keep at it and become a success.
One of the biggest reasons I put aside art for as long as I did was that I had a hard time dealing with the fact that I was producing all these paintings and then they proceeded to sit in my basement, it just seemed pointless. I didn’t need more stuff to store in my basement – I already had plenty of that! I didn’t have the time or energy to really make it as an artist, I had to make a living after all. So I put it in the closet for the next 5 years.
This year things changed…I changed. I realized that it was possible to be successful as an artist. If others could do it, I could too. I took my art out of the closet and I started producing so many paintings that I risked flooding the basement. But this time I was determined, I was not going to let it pile up in the basement. I just had to figure out what successful artists were doing because it was obviously something that I was missing.
The first thing I did was I stopped being a Facebook snob that only accepted people as friends that I actually knew. Sounds silly but soon after I put up a photo album with my art I started getting requests from other artists. From these friendly artists I’ve learned valuable information that has helped me in my journey to find out the secrets I was seeking. Two weeks ago it lead me to the most amazing discovery yet. Through an art blog that was recommended by one of my new friends I found a book written by a gallery owner called “Starving to Successful” . I read the book in an afternoon. I believe that it is THE book for an artist that wants to be successful. I found that I was doing a lot of things right (which was nice to know) but it completely filled in all those questions marks that I had. I’m grateful to the author J. Jason Horejs for writing the book and helping me in my journey to become a professional artist and keeping me from stumbling around in the dark.
On the advice of my good friend and painter Kelly Reemtsen, I have been painting like crazy! I just completed 7 paintings of my new series of desert plants. Here is a look at what I’ve got in the works… much more to come.
After being away from drawing and painting for 5 years I attended a model workshop today at McGroarty Art Center. Feeling rusty and out of shape, I opted to a simple sketch and not be so ambitious and tackle a painting. Here is my 3 hour sketch which I added a little color pencil to.