Still Arting


Sunflower Bouquet, acrylic, 16″ x 12″

This past week I participated in the Art is Ageless show at the Presbyterian Manor in Lawrence.  This art show is an annual event and anyone who is a senior citizen can enter, not just residents of the Manor.  There are a number of categories including needlework, such as quilts or embroidery.  The categories for paintings are either amateur or professional.  But all professional means is that you occasionally sell your work.  This year I won a second place ribbon for the above painting.  The person writing their newsletter interviewed me before this show because I had won a best of show ribbon last year.

As a senior citizen this was a good show for me to enter because it was near where I lived and only required me to deliver two paintings.  Best of all, although I could have entered by computer, I didn’t have to.  I could just hand in a form filled out by hand when I delivered my paintings.  They didn’t even charge an entry fee.  Of course there was no prize money either, which may be whey there are not very many entries, although I’m sure Lawrence must have many senior artists.

Often artists keep making art long after the age of 65.  In fact some take it up in retirement.  The Artist magazine also recognizes this with an annual contest for senior artists.  A problem for senior artists is not so much the making of art but showing it.  The time when I could lug many paintings to an outdoor show that might last a couple days, find help to put up a tent, and sit out there in all kinds of weather is past.  I now only do one outdoor show, Art in the Park in Lawrence, which does not involve long travel and only last a half a day.  Also, this show still allows people to enter by submitting photographs.

A major difficulty for senior citizen artists is entering art shows.  They almost all require computers not only for the form and to pay the fee but also to submit images of one’s art work.  Some seniors don’t even have computers.  Others, like me, have them but only use them for a few simple things.  I haven’t found the help categories on my computer very helpful.  Sometimes my husband can figure it out.  My son who knows the most about computers lives too far away.

If you are planning an art show in your community, also make it friendly to older artists.   Let people enter either by computer or by snail mail with photographs and a check.  If the show, either indoors or out, is the kind where each individual brings a number of paintings, maybe have a few younger people available to help those who are less able.  As we share what we are creating we may also encourage others to keep on keeping on.


Thinking Abstractly

Weathered Wood, acrylic, 18" x 13"

Weathered Wood, acrylic, 18″ x 13″


October 7, 2013

In art, abstraction is in.  The more realistic plein air painting that I do is out.  My problem is that I just don’t seem to be able to visualize abstractly.  Of course there is some abstraction involved in realistic painting.  Artists do not paint everything that we see in a particular scene.  We decide which tree, bush or flower we are going to include.  We can even move them around a bit if we wish.  Also, we leave out a lot of details.  When painting trees we paint interesting looking green blobs, not individual leaves.

But how does one learn to visualize abstractly?  I have discovered what most of you probably know,  Computers are a lot better at this than I am.  Recently I had been having trouble with my color printer.  I really like my printer and didn’t want to have to buy a new one.  And the places that I called weren’t willing to fix it.  Husband, who is much more technologically savvy than I, decided to have a look at it.  While trying to figure out what was wrong with it, he would try something and then print something to see if he had made any progress.  One of the images he printed was of a painting I had done of weathered wood.   The image above, in lurid magenta, was the one my deranged printer printed.  On looking at it, I could see how some might find it more interesting than my original painting.

Another interesting way to abstract by computer is to posterize.  I have been playing with this on Picasa, which I’m now using to store photos.  I tried doing this with a photo I took of a girl sitting in a restaurant.  What emerges is shapes, which can be in several values depending on the setting.  But they are still recognizable and the result I got is quite interesting.  I may try doing a painting from this.

The good news is husband succeeded in restoring the color printer, which is invaluable to me as an artist.

Art and the Computer

August 23, 2013

As an artist I have found my computer very helpful.  On it I keep a record of all the paintings I have and where and when they have been shown.  I also keep a file on all the paintings I’ve sold, where, when and to what person.  In another file are the records of the paintings I’ve given away.  When I have a show of my paintings, I make up a list on my computer for my bulletin board with the name of each painting, the price and the price including tax, so if anyone calls to inquire I have the information readily available.

The photo program on my computer is also very important.  I keep files of the paintings I have created each year.  From these files I can send emails to apply for shows or I can print small photos of the paintings to attach to cards.  I also keep a file of photos that might inspire future paintings.

But alas, I fear my computer is on its last legs so I’ve decided to shop for a new one.  And that’s where things get complicated.  When I spend that much money I want to see what I am buying and be able to ask a human person questions about it.  I would like to tell that person what I plan to do with the computer and have that person show me how it would be done on the machine I’m thinking of buying.  It would also be nice if it came with an instruction book.  That doesn’t seem like too much to ask, but it is proving to be almost impossible.

I’ve been using Windows on my computer, so I’d like my new computer to use that system too.  However, the only computers available in the two stores here in town that sell them all have Windows 8 and I have not been hearing good things about that system.  Husband thinks it would be too complicated for me and that I should buy a computer with Windows 7.  But I have discovered that the only way to buy such a computer is online.  I’ve looked online and can find computers with Windows 7 but there is no information about the other things I want to know, such as what photo system does it have and does it have a slot for discs?  Furthermore, the reviews of these computers do not always agree.

I know each computer upgrade is supposed to be progress but it just seems like complications and confusion for me.