Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Monet Didn't Do Housework (The Need To Focus)



I have a marvelous book in my collection, “Monet at Giverny” by Caroline Holmes. In addition to splendid photography of Monet’s gardens and work it has wonderful information about how he worked in his studios and outdoors in Giverny, France. 

The chapter “The mind of an artist” was of particular interest to me. It gave insight on Monet’s daily routine.  He rose early around 4 or 5 a.m.  His main focus was how the sky would look, thinking of how his work outdoors would be affected. He bathed, had a hearty breakfast at 5:30 a.m. and went off to paint with the assistance of family members (who no doubt helped lug the equipment).  Returning at 11:00 a.m. he insisted lunch be served promptly at 11:30. Coffee, plum brandy and a nap were next in order.  After that he would assess the day, working outdoors or in his studio. Dinner was served at 7:00 p.m. and he would turn in early.  Apparently any deviation from this timetable was not welcome and he was known to get a bit cranky when things swerved off their usual schedule.  I had the pleasure of visiting Giverny and Monet’s gardens and I imagined what it would be like to trudge along after the master when his day began, and what the meals were like in the rambling home. 

Of course, Monet did not do housework. At this time men were not known to take a turn at the stove, the dusting or the laundry. He had family and hired help to assist in the momentous task of maintaining a household, feeding a large family, and keeping up his gardens. Lack of domestic chores aside what struck me was his dedication to a schedule. He focused on his art, his method, the organization of his day and sticking to a rigid timetable.  

Domestic duties are typically shared by my spouse and myself in the 21st century. We both have our own creative businesses and respective studios in our home.  My husband is one of the kindest and most dedicated partners I could ever want, always willing to help, to assist with the chores. But when it comes to his work, he focuses. And yet I always seem to have a harder time keeping in focus with my  art work and schedule.

Distractions abound.  The dishwasher, the clothes washer, the dryer, house cleaning. Meals need to be prepped.  And what about the birds, someone has to feed them and gosh if its not done right away, they may just get feisty.  Oh my goodness it is getting colder (hotter) and I need to sort out my seasonal wardrobe. And let us not forget the house badly needs repainting and colors need to be picked. In addition throw in  the damning time sucking creatures of the internet and Social Media looming in the corners, tempting me.  What’s an artist to do?

How we focus on our art is a challenge with day to day duties even when you work out of your house.  Because connecting online can be so disconnecting the constant interruptions to my creative flow are in essence killing my work. Rethinking schedules and treating my creative and marketing business flow on a daily basis needs to be as rigid as if I were still in a conventional job, punching in a veritable time clock.  I am grateful and fortunate to work full-time in my art business. As disciplined and rigid as I am with my techniques I find I need to focus and “double-down” even more and concentrate on not being distracted. By anything. It’s a job, my job and I am lucky to have it.

As an afterthought maybe channeling Claude Monet and his reflecting on his schedule and body of work is a good way to focus on disciplining myself. A trip to France and Giverny probably couldn’t hurt — hey maybe I need to take a break and research air fares! (baby steps...baby steps...)


For more of my art and a look at my other blogs please visit my website:


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

So You Think You Want to Paint

A small sampling of my painting tools
On occasion I have been honored to have a friend or follower ask if I could teach them to paint in watercolor or to teach them to paint like I do. I have been fortunate to be able to share my experience of 25+ years of painting with a few select students. My skill set is at a certain level because I researched and learned from the best in my area. If you are interested in leaning about art and painting you too can find a wealth of resources in your area that will build your skills and turn an interest into a rewarding hobby with a legacy for your family and friends, or perhaps a full-time or part-time career.

I recommend above all to find a reliable teacher or class where you can learn in person with the guidance of an instructor.  Art in all its forms is a series of techniques, a bit of chemistry and science combined with a creative instinct. But above all you need to know what the tools are, what they can do, and yes, some of the rules.
I illustrated here how to mix colors from 3 pigments 


One of my students exploring the 3 basic watercolor pigments -- working it is the only way to learn


Painting on site, Leu Gardens, Orlando FL




I was painting and drawing as a child but never had the luxury of guided instruction until my 40's when I found a local continuing education art school in my community and a wonderful teacher who taught me the correct way to use watercolor.









That was over 25 years ago and the basics I learned in her classes have carried me through the mediums of oil, acrylic, pastel and basic drawing.
Painting outdoors at Polasek Gardens, Winter Park, FL

You can find reasonably priced classes that are geared to beginners at local craft and hobby stores, adult community centers, and sometimes 4-year and community colleges.  Check out the local art groups and art organizations -- many have classes given by members and they often bring in top teaching talent from around the world. But start out with the basics before you put out hundreds of dollars for a three or five day intense workshop.

Painting and drawing technique books in my library

Once you learn some technique you can explore your local library -- many have superb collections of how to art books and books on famous artists and museums. It is remarkable how much you can learn and absorb by constantly looking at art, all forms of art.







Artist biographies and art history are a big part of my library







I have a large collection of art technique books artist biographies, and art collection books that I have purchased over decades. I still refer to them for methods and ways to work around a problem.
You also an score some great finds in used book stores, thrift shops and book sales at libraries and antique stores.






I believe in not buying too many art supplies but buying only the best quality.  As you are learning your craft you can use student grade supplies but I recommend you upgrade to better, professional quality materials shortly after you master some technique. These materials may be pricier but they will give you the results you want.  You don't need much -- only the best basics. Large box art and craft stores are a help with their weekly coupons and online suppliers like Jerry's Artarama, Blick, and Cheap Joes are my favorite go-to places for the best quality art items online -- and they run great sales.
Some of the professional watercolor pigments I use faithfully

Best for last but only to be used once you've had experience with a live class or instructor, is, of course the Internet and YouTube.  Forums, discussions, artists' websites, art supply manufacturers, so many options are out there once you start digging. Not everyone is well known and some are better than others but you will find artists are very generous and very open to sharing their knowledge online. Below are some of the artists I have followed, liked and recommend on YouTube for beginning and intermediate painters:


Angela Fehr Watercolour
Angela lives in beautiful Canada and has a marvelous way of teaching that is easy to follow and very fresh.  She works hard on presenting materials that let you learn but allows your own personal style to show through.


Bob Ross
So many of us have a love for Bob even if you are not a painter or an artist. He makes painting in oil look easy and approachable so anyone can do it. But you will also pick up a few tricks for him for lots of other things besides how to paint "...happy little clouds..." He's perfect after a stressful day in or out of the studio.

Jerry Yarnell
Jerry is so talented and such an accomplished acrylic painter. I really like his clear instruction and how he condenses and simplifies techniques.

Florent Farges
A very talented French oil painter with some great videos explaining oil painting in an easy-going, refreshing manner with a hint of a very charming French accent. His portrait work is truly remarkable.

Schaefer Art
You must learn to draw before you learn to paint, whether you do realistic, impressionistic or abstract painting. This channel is packed with very good instruction on the art of drawing.

Stefan Baumann
Stefan is an accomplished oil painter and one of the best teachers around. He generously records sessions from his classes not only on oil painting but the nuts and bolts of making good art, using proper tools, best techniques and how to stay focused on your work.

The Artist Network
Great quick videos on wide range of subjects and genres.

Your art should only be about what you want it to be, so remember to choose what feels best to you. But if you are serious and want a level of results you need to have some instruction. You should enjoy the process, welcome the challenges of painting and savor a job well done. Learning how to to work with the remarkable tools available to you as an artist can only add to your technical education and open you up to your passion for painting.  You will not regret it.

In the future I hope to post some tips and techniques on watercolor painting in my blog or on YouTube. I work and exhibit on a regular basis and I do have my share of bad paintings in addition to the great ones. The best journey is not the completed piece, but the process it took to get there.
I'm in the studio most days of the week and happily post my process on Instagram--good days and sometimes the more challenging days, too:
Krys Pettit Artwork

You can see some examples of my art on my website:
Krys Pettit Artist




Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Krys Pettit Artist: Change and Upheaval

Krys Pettit Artist: Change and Upheaval: No more palm trees in my yard -- spectacular hardwoods and rolling hills  now surround me Relocation has its own particular stress. A ...

Change and Upheaval

No more palm trees in my yard -- spectacular hardwoods and rolling hills  now surround me
Relocation has its own particular stress. A positive exciting time, new places, new opportunities, beautiful topography and a wonderful, dare I say, perfect house.  Such was my artistic life for the last 6 months. Rather than creating art I spent my months packing a house and unpacking a house. I found myself keeping company with  200 plus Uhaul boxes.  Bubble wrap -- certainly enough bubble wrap to encircle the globe at least once.  Rolls and rolls of packing tape.   I hate packing tape but I grew fond of the clear stuff vs the brown stuff as the months went on.
After decades in a warm, tropical climate we realized we had enough of paradise. Or at least paradise as tourists and developers imagined it. So we searched for 3 yrs and found a location that was right and comfortable for our life style. Quiet, surrounded by woods, mountains, lakes, and some darn good wineries.  All the details fell into place over a short period of time.  No worries -- I can pack and coordinate the moving of 2 home offices and an entire house.  Let's just say it all worked out wonderful but stress eating (and occasional day drinking) resulted in a comfy extra 10 pounds.
And now I am here. After 6 months of adjustment I am finally finding my way back to healthy eating and creating art.  
I am fortunate to have a spectacular location, quiet and with great opportunities to show my work in the region. More than that I have two spaces to work in -- a designated area for office cum watercolor studio and a room in a basement of oil and acrylic work where I don't need to worry about whether the paint dripped on the floor.
New work is slowly taking shape - looser, better composed, plus exploring some new methods.  I'm inspired by the local landscape as the seasons make themselves know but am also revisiting old memories that end up on canvas and paper.  


"Late Afternoon Glow" © Krys Pettit, watercolor on gessoed paper, 11"Hx15"W
"Red Bud Season" © Krys Pettit, watercolor on paper, 15"Hx11"W

I have been lucky to become part of a local art coop where I can show my work and was thrilled to be accepted in a state-wide exhibit showing in late summer/fall.
More than anything I am grateful. Grateful to have the means to be in a new location, to be excited by new places and opportunities and to have my life as an artist.  It is, indeed, all good.

Visit my website to see more of my work

Follow me on Instagram to see work in progress, what inspires me to paint, and the most current examples of my artwork:




Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Krys Pettit Artist - Studio Notes Fall 2018



"Three Together" © Krys Pettit-watercolor on paper, 12"Hx9"W


"Autumn At Home" © Krys Pettit-acrylic on canvas, 16"H x 12"W

My Color Palette and Seasonal Changes

I count the days when the sultry months end. Summer has its  perks - flowers, the beach, travel, glorious sunsets. All make for great paintings but I need change.   Most of my work is based on time passing with the seasons and nature's adjustments and I anxiously await the months to come.  Autumn has always provided boundless inspiration. I look forward to the cooler temperatures, the onset of the holiday season, but most of all the intense and glorious Fall colors. Gold, bronze, burgundy, russet against blue skies- seeing these colors always moves me.
Recent Commissioned Work 



I had the exceptional pleasure of creating this custom commission of a family home in Jacksonville, Florida. I couldn't ask for nicer clients and we worked together long distance as a team via email, text & phone to bring to life a portrait of their beautiful family home. Click here to see more commissioned home portraits I have had the pleasure of creating: https://www.kryspettit.com/commissioned-work-1.html



MY LATEST EXHIBITS

"Early Morning Meeting" was chosen to be part of the "Top Choice" juried exhibit at the SoBoGallery in Winter Garden, Florida. 



"Early Morning Meeting"
© Krys Pettit
 watercolor
14"H x 20"W
 "Market Day" was part of the "Figuratively Speaking" exhibit this summer at the Art League of Daytona.
"Market Day"
© Krys Pettit,
watercolor
16"H x 12"W

Website Updates

I have been making adjustments and additions to my website.  I've added some photos of me traveling and at work, stories about my art and why I paint, links to my blog and the various ways to reach out to me on social media on my "Contact" page. Come visit me soon! 










Thursday, August 2, 2018

Living With My Art



"Faded Beauty" © Krys Pettit
oil on canvas
This piece hangs above my audio collection and shares space
with a gift from one of my art teachers and friend
I work in small space, switching from one medium to the next, depending on my mood.  I must have around 150 paintings stored in portfolios, boxes and bins, most of which I like.  They remain hidden. But I also have abut 40 paintings which are framed and circulated in my home.  Most of the framed work comes and goes depending on which exhibit I am showing in.   I live with my art, looking at it each day in every room of my house.  People who visit have commented my home is like an art gallery.  I like to think it is a bit more comfortable but as visually compelling.  Take a look at some of the places I display the art I have created.  Perhaps it will give you ideas on how art can become a part of your home decor. I apologize for the candid quality of the images--light reflection is a challenge when shooting art with glass.


I hate exercising. But I do it every day and have for decades. After I bike I glance up on my paintings and feel motivated to go back into the studio no matter how sweaty!


Lots of art graces our kitchen/dining area.  These pears are a favorite of mine -- along with some of my well-used cookbooks.


The soffit in the kitchen area was begging for some decor -- these watercolor gourds hit the spot.

Even the tiniest painting can add to a room.  I nestled this little acrylic of some heirloom tomatoes on a shelf with my cookbooks.

Coffee fuels our day in this house - and a print of "Seville Bouquet" hangs happily with some wooden cut bowls from Poland.

Long after I finished this oil of a street scene in Greece I noticed this hand-thrown pottery seemed to work well with it. They both sit on the hand-made bookcases my husband fashioned.



I am on the computer a good part of the day and this oil painting I did of a Polish barmaid I met in a hotel in Athens keeps me company as I work my way through emails.


Paintings are constantly moving around in our house, depending on what is hanging in which exhibit.  This ended up being a bit more pink than I usually have on the walls after they came home from shows.

"Morning Windows" was the first painting I did that was accepted in a state juried exhibition. It hangs in our foyer along with a wedding gift of a native American marriage ceremony.  I don't see things so much as needing to match which is firmly evident in this little corner.


Yes, even in the bathroom.  I don't recommend hanging watercolor art in a moist, humid environment but a climate controlled powder room can always use a touch of color.

 My actual work space is small and I am constantly reorganizing it and streamlining an 8 foot x 10 foot space.  But there is art all around in no particular order.

 Walls are filled up with framed art that is awaiting and exhibit or just hanging out.  I switch the art out often, utilizing the same mats and frames.







My husband instinctively works in wood.  No plans, no notes.  He has a gift. He has built a number of functional pieces in our home, like this file cabinet in a corner of my studio pictured in the image on the above left.  It is somewhat of a beast -- roomy, heavy and filled with art notes and files.  Some of my favorite art books come and go on top of it.  The two paintings are a watercolor on the left, inspired by an Andrew Wyeth painting.  The oil on the right is of a popular gated entrance to an old home in St. Augustine, Florida.
On the right above is a slice of the many shelves of art books I use, along with a simple watercolor of an iris.  I love the internet for reference but I find I need the presence of pages and ink to supplement my inspiration.

I try to visit artists' homes and studios when I travel, Monet, Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keefe. This piece from Artsy.net will give you an idea of some of the studies you can visit.  Its always interesting to see how artists surround themselves in their work environment.
https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-9-famous-artists-studios-visit-jackson-pollock-barbara-hepworth

Curious about my work and the art I have available?  I invite you to visit my website below.
Krys Pettit - Artist

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

It's Been a While


OK, I have to admit that I have not been the best at blogging, either now or ever.  Funny thing about being an artist and running your own business - there is not enough time and there are too many things to do.  Sometimes the things that are the most fun take a back seat when there is too much work to do.  But I'll blog once more, if only every month or so.  Because in the end the painting is what really takes up my time.  But I love to share my work. And that's a good thing.
It's been a busy season of new work and commissions.  I have had some delightful clients and really wonderful projects to work on these past few months.

 Portrait of family home - Jacksonville FL
14"x20"
commissioned watercolor by Krys Pettit
So grateful for these wonderful and happy clients!
I had the wonderful experience of creating this home portrait for a delightful couple in Jacksonville, Florida.  We worked via email sending images and discussing custom touches to the client's portrait.  With emails, phone calls, texting and messaging it's a snap to create a portrait like this long distance and still have a painting that the client loves.


"Wedding Bouquet Portrait"
20"x16"
commissioned watercolor by Krys Pettit 

 I love painting florals but I rarely have the opportunity to actually work on a wedding bouquet. But I had a nice opportunity to do a painting of a dear friend's wedding bouquet.  The wedding was some years ago but we discussed using the flowers from her bouquet and showing them in a still life setting with a vase.  I was so excited to see my work framed and hanging in her home, many miles away from my studio.


"Love"
24"x18"
commissioned watercolor by Krys Pettit
Most of my commissions are homes, landscapes and florals.  When a client approached me about creating a custom painting with figures in it I was a bit concerned that I would not do the subject matter justice.  The piece required a back shot of the couple walking to the dock by their Florida home at sunset.  I only had a photo of them from the front in a totally different setting so it took a little practice to imagine what they would look like from the back!  My client had faith in me and I am very pleased to say he and his friends loved the final product.

In between painting commissions and my own work I have put together some videos on YouTube.  My original line of work was in the video field.  I love video and oddly have waited this long to use it for the presentation and marketing of my own work.  More to come -- it was fun to do these video slide shows.  Click on the YouTube links below -- they are short and give you and quick overview of some of the subjects I paint.

Krys Pettit - Home & Building Portraits

Krys Pettit - A Sampling of Summer Florals

Thanks to all of you for reading, liking and following me!  I am looking forward to creating more blogs with new art in the coming months.  Visit my website at https://www.kryspettit.com