Let The Challenge Begin…..

The Challenge: PAINT 30 PAINTINGS IN 30 DAYS!

Ready, Set.......Sept. 2014 challenge

I’m ready, I’m prepared and eager to get started.

Since signing on to the September 2014 art challenge, I’ve been preparing and I imagine every artist in the challenge is doing the same. At last count, 667 artists worldwide have accepted the challenge. Our host, California artist, Leslie Saeta, emails all the latest information about the challenge including a world map showing each artist’s location. It’s fun to know you are part of a group of artists you will never meet but share a love for art and a desire to improve our skills.

Here are a few things needed  to be ready!

  1. Decide which medium to use. For most other artists I know, that is never a question because they usually work in one medium. Me? I like so many mediums, I always have to take time to decide. This time I chose watercolor and ink.
  2. Buy all needed supplies….paper, ink pens, watercolors.
  3. Have at least 30 references to go by! In my commercial illustration days we called them “Go-Bys”. Appropriate! These references can be a hard copy photo, but I prefer to have my references on my laptop or in my slide projector…as in the photo above. All my references are my own photography, or I’ve been given permission to use from another photographer. This involves lots of uploading, categorizing into folders, etc. After all, when the challenge starts time is important. I must say that there are always some very devoted plein air painters (they paint outdoors) who probably will continue that method in the challenge. Not me!
  4. Update my website. This step is optional. Mine needed it.
  5. Decide on a theme. I decided NOT to decide. That’s a decision, isn’t it? I want the freedom to change my mind.
  6. Clear your calendar for the entire month….if at all possible. You’ll need time and energy for this challenge. I like the motto, “Make the main thing, the main thing.” This month my art will be the main thing.
  7. Plan a daily schedule. The rules, which really aren’t rules at all, say to upload the painting on Leslie’s blog, (remember Leslie Saeta…the California artist who started this whole thing?) by midnight each night..and to your own website and blog, for the world to see. This is my third 30 in 30 challenge and I remember how pressured I felt to meet that deadline. But I did. This time I’m more prepared.
  8. Practice! For several years now I’ve painted only in acrylics or oils, so I knew I needed practice in watercolors because it had been a long time since I had worked in that medium. I gave myself a Summer 2014 Art Project and painted a total of 15 watercolors with ink. I also found time to do a dozen or so pencil sketches.

Well, that’s about all the preparation I can think of at the moment. Oh yes, I’ll be sending out a DAILY blog, showing the painting of the day with a brief commentary on the process, why I chose that subject, problems encountered, and any other information about the day. I hope you enjoy them!

Please visit my newly updated website, http://www.artbyadelebower.com.

“Begin at the beginning…and go on till you come to the end: then stop. “

From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”_________Lewis Carroll

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My Daddy’s Painting

Bear at frame shop“Bear Confrontation”

Artist:  Emil Bunjes, Sr.

30″ x 36″ Watercolor (Probably painted in the 1960s)

My Father was an artist and my favorite artist. He was my first art instructor and a very demanding one. Many times in my classes with him I would try to remember why in the world I wanted to be an artist. But my desire to create art grew. At age 17 he got me my first job in the “art world”. Well not actually, the art world, but in an advertising department in a large national department store. He was a well-known and respected illustrator in the Houston area and I guess his word was all they needed to hire me. It all worked out because I went on to work in several more “art world” jobs, even art jobs considered glamorous at the time . I studied art in college and graduated from art school, settling finally into freelancing from my own  home studio and eventually painting fine art only. Never a day goes by without my realization of how much I learned from my Daddy.

But this blog is not about me; it’s about one of his paintings, “Bear Confrontation”. Several weeks ago I received a phone call from an art dealer asking if I was Emil Bunjes’ daughter. I responded that I am. He went on to say that he had acquired one of his paintings from an estate sale and was planning to submit it to an auction gallery and asked if I would be interested in purchasing it. My Father was a prolific painter, was represented by galleries, selling many, many paintings during his career. My husband and I own several of his paintings as do our children and a few nieces and nephews.

I asked him to email  a photo which he did. The painting was familiar to us and to our children as well.  We all loved it. The dealer said it was in its original frame. Right away our daughter said she would like to buy it from us, remembering the painting and liking the subject in particular. I agreed to buy it from the dealer and he shipped it to us.

When we opened it we were pleased with the quality of the painting but the frame was in bad condition and in shipping the painting itself had slipped down behind the mat to the bottom of the frame. Our first thought was to simply remove it from the frame and discard the frame and old mat. I was excited to read what Daddy had possibly written on the back, especially a date. He had written the title, “Bear Confrontation” but there was no date, to my disappointment. There was a faint stamp from the original framer who has apparently gone out of business.

I spoke with the dealer about our plans to save only the painting. He “implored” us (his word) to keep the frame. I decided to take his advice and took it to a framer whom I consider to be the best. She cleaned and repaired the frame, selected a new mat, and did her usual beautiful job completing the framing. I took the photo above at the frame shop with my iPhone…… (Which explains why it is so bad! My apologies!)

We are happy to have another of Daddy’s paintings back in the family. Wouldn’t it be fun to know where it had lived before?

I think I’ll write more blogs about my Daddy and his amazing talent. His self-discipline, his work ethic, his determined schedule of practice and production will provide material and inspiration for a long time to come.

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What I Did Last Summer!

Adele's Summer 2014 Art ProjectTwo Examples of My Summer Artwork.

Okay….yes, I know….the summer is not yet over. But I’ll still be doing this Project right up until Labor Day and I wanted you to know how busy (Ha Ha!)  I’ve been. That’s when summer is officially over, isn’t it? I remember when we didn’t start back to school until the day after Labor Day. Long, long ago!

Back to What I Did Last Summer; For the past few years I’ve focused almost entirely on painting in acrylics and it’s accurate to say I’ve done more in acrylics than any other medium through the years. However, being the personality that I am, I get bored. I begin thinking how much fun oil painting is, how neat it is to paint with watercolors, how immediate and easy to paint with pastels or fine art markers, or even just draw….with pen and ink, or pencils. Conventional wisdom in the art world says the artist should select ONE medium and stick with it. Boring! I’ve never been accused of being conventional and I rationalize that the great masters of the past could create art in many mediums and with any tool at their disposal, even quick sketches on napkins at restaurants, every now and then. And sell that sketch for thousands of dollars right during dinner! Sigh!

All this deep art thinking led me to the inescapable truth that in every artistic discipline……one must practice. Dancers dance every day, instrumentalists practice constantly, pianists play scales over and over and over, singers exercise their voices on a regular basis. We visual artists are no different…or should not be different. The painter needs to practice the fundamentals just like any other artist. But wait! Can you sell that quick sketch? Aren’t I wasting valuable time sketching..which would be better spent on my next masterpiece? *I giggle here*.

I’ve had enough art classes, workshops, and even lectures in art school…to know the answer; visual artists MUST practice the basics and on a regular basis. Yikes! There it is. The truth.

Therefore, having dredged up great art truths from my past and facing them squarely, I committed myself to my “Summer 2014 Art Project”; sketch every day or as often as possible….in watercolor, ink, charcoal or regular drawing pencil. So far, I’ve done thirteen watercolor/ink sketches and numerous pencil sketches. And it has been great fun!

I bore my Facebook friends with sketch after sketch on my page and store them in my Facebook Albums, “My Watercolor/Ink Sketches” and “My Daily Sketchbook”. Take a look when you want to raise your cultural awareness level.

Since I paint or draw exclusively from three sources; life,  photos I have taken, photos friends or family have taken and given me permission to use, or my imagination,  the need for day trips with camera in hand occurs…which is not a bad way to spend a summer day in Texas.

I’ll carry on with this plan until the last day of August, because on September 1, I’ll leap right into my next “30 Paintings in 30 Day Challenge”………but I haven’t decided which medium…watercolor, acrylics?

“Civilizations, I believe, come to birth and proceed to grow by successfully

responding to successive challenges. They break down and go to pieces if and when

a challenge confronts them which they fail to meet”.____Arnold Toynbee

Wow! Now I’m smarter!

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