High Noon At Love Flats

SS23

Shadow overslept. Again.

And then suddenly the sun burst out, and oh boy, there was Heart Apple in the middle of Love Flats without her Shadow!

Maybe nobody noticed, thought Shadow. Maybe she managed to scoot in under Heart Apple without anyone noticing.

But Heart Apple noticed. “It’s OK Shadow, but if you’re not there, it’s like I don’t exist. And without me, you don’t exist.”

Shadow tried to take this in.

What if nothing was separate, what if everything was just one big thing that looked like a bunch of different things?

So Shadow decided to ask Desert about this, because Desert had wide knowledge…

 

Oil on canvas, 10″ x 10″

I create illustrated StoryStarterz for children and their creative (and sometimes too busy!) grown-ups:

SpyderWebbFineArt.com

patreon.com/spyderwebb

The Worry Trees

SS22

StoryStarterz 22

“The one in the middle doesn’t look so worried.”

“Well, no — it’s turned that job over to the other trees.”

“The other trees look really, really nervous, they’re looking around all over the place.”

“Sure. When someone’s worried they’re always nervous, looking to make sure what they’re worried about doesn’t happen.”

“So what are they worried about?”

“Oh, well life for a tree isn’t always so easy, you know. Especially in the land of the dancing flowers…”

 

PLEASE NOTE: Introductory pricing ends at the end of the year. Prices on all StoryStarterz will go up for the new year. If you’re thinking of a gift, this would be a good time to purchase before the  prices double!

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I LOVE big paintings! (Here’s why I don’t paint them.)

(these paintings are: Red Faced Tree: 6″ x 6″; the other 2: 8” x 8” all from 5 years ago)

Let’s face it, there’s just something awesome about a big painting.

Oh, yeah — what’s “big?”

For me,  big art maybe starts at about three feet by four feet. A big painting has a presence about it. It commands attention. I’ve painted a few in my career, but not that many.

There are practical reasons having to do with producing work at that scale, and reasons that have nothing to do with the nuts and bolts of creating large works.

First, the nuts and bolts:

  1. Studio space. You just need a certain amount of room to paint a larger canvas, although it is possible to paint large works in surprisingly small spaces.
  2. Storage space. No place to store large paintings in my small house. (Renting storage space is not an option.)
  3. Materials expense. It’s tough enough to be able to afford paint and canvases. Working on large paintings devours those things and the budget to pay for them faster than a dog can gobble a kibble.
  4. Relaxed mind. If I make a painting that didn’t work out I lose a lot more time and money if it’s a big ‘un. So I’m a little freer and devil may care with the small ones. Which is good for the art.

Now for some intangibles:

  1. There’s something intimate about a small painting. Something very personal.
  2. You can hold it in your hand, or you can display it on a shelf over your desk. Small art invites closeness.
  3. You can put it in a small space where you want some art and would love some color but you can’t fit a larger work.
  4. I often think of tiny houses and flats, and there’s no reason people who live in them shouldn’t be able to hang original art on their walls.
  5. Small paintings are almost always more affordable than large works (lots of exceptions, but it’s a good rule of thumb). As an artist I like to see my paintings go to people who will love and cherish them, whether they’re especially well heeled or not. (Of course I still have to pay my bills, so there’s that. . .)

Having said all that, I constantly picture some of my smaller doodle paintings at 48” X 48” or larger. In fact, sometimes I can hardly hold myself back. But then there’s the budget. And the room. And. . .

Well, maybe some day.

If you’d like to support my work and truly partner with me to keep me painting, it would mean the world to me:

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

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The Curious Case of Phib O’Nochi

SS21

StoryStarters 21

The Curious Tale of Phib O’Nochi*

*For math fans: Look up “Fibonacci Sequence”

Young Phib loved to play with numbers. Now, keep in mind this was a long, long time ago before there were numbers.

Well actually there were numbers, and of course people could count, but the numbers they used were very hard to work with.

So Phib, being the curious (and brave!) fellow that he was, went traveling as soon as he grew up. And let me tell you, traveling wasn’t easy way back when ago in those old days before cars and airplanes and such.

But Phib travelled to many far off and exotic lands, and learned many things. Finally one day he came back home from his wanderings, and wrote a book about what he had learned.

And the people were gobsmacked. Astounded. Astonished. And absolutely delighted, because what Phib taught them (mostly things about numbers and how to write them) made everything work so much better.

But he also wrote down a secret that hardly anyone paid attention to for a long, long time…

An original signed 12″x16″ oil painted with love on canvas for you and your special young ‘un (or maybe just you!). Introductory price: $77.00 + actual shipping. Includes printed StoryStarter & Certificate of Authenticity.

If you’d like to support my work and truly help keep me painting, it would mean the world to me:

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

SpyderWebbFineArt.com

Why I Stopped Painting “Things” (and what I paint now)

104 Samsonia

You know: “things.” Material objects. In my case, mostly landscapes, cityscapes, houses although with a few portraits and a little surrealism along the way in the earlier years. And a smattering of Civil War themes, mostly from photographs taken at reenactments when I lived in Virginia where such things are abundant.

I didn’t start taking art seriously (for myself) until I was an adult, or nearly so, and without any formal training I suppose I was a little insecure about showing my work to others.

Of course self embarrassment was an issue also — I just couldn’t stand looking at a piece I had done that looked amateurish. I thought anything other than realism done to a high standard would show (especially show me) that I wasn’t a “real” artist.

But I plugged along and by brute force I accomplished what I wanted. I developed a photorealistic style and I must say I thoroughly impressed myself. And I didn’t do too badly sales wise.

Then I got bored. There are ten thousand artists who can paint these things as well or even better than I, with less effort, and it was getting to be more like work (drudgery) than fun, so — what’s the point?

But I loved the little doodles I always did, so I started playing with them. Enlarging them to wall sized paintings. Although I sold a few, I didn’t sell enough to make sense financially.

So now years later I’m back playing with my doodles and having oodles of fun. Nobody else is doing my doodles. They come straight out of the end of my pencil (where they were before that, I have no idea). A few look interesting enough to turn into paintings.

And so here I am with StoryStarters, AKA painted doodles. (The stories come after I’ve got a painting.) And I feel very secure and comfortable as an artist doing these. I haven’t looked for external validation for a long time now.

It took me a long time to get to where I could feel happy just painting non-realistic things and colors. (Or maybe they are realistic in another, more metaphysical, sense…)

#4But I’m having the best time painting that I’ve had in decades.

 

The Right Side Up Tree

SS20

“What are you doing hanging out of the sky all upside down and everything?”

“Say what?” said Tree, “You’re the one who’s upside down!”

“Huh-uh!” said the boy, “I can prove it, too!”

“Go for it.”

“You dropped a leaf and it’s falling down, so that means you’re upside down, so there!”

“Hoo boy,” said Tree. “Everybody knows things fall up here.”

“What do you mean ‘here’?” asked the boy, who was getting frustrated by now.

“Things aren’t always what they seem, you know. For instance, you probably think you’re awake right now…”

8”x10” Acrylic painted with love on 140 lb watercolor paper. $24.99, (shipping included US only). Includes printed StoryStarter & Certificate of Authenticity.

Three Cacti And Five Shadows

SS19

They’re offstage, of course. Not in the scene yet. But they’re there, waiting for their cue.

In the meantime, we at least see their shadows. We know they’re coming. But who will they be? What changes will they bring?

The only thing we know for sure is that when they enter the scene their presence will change things.

Will they be friends? Teachers? Bullies? Will they make us laugh or cry? Or will they just be bo-o-oring?

Well yes, they’re all teachers one way or another. I remember one especially unpleasant actor who entered my scene, but who turned out to be someone who taught me a lesson I’m glad I learned.

It all started when…

 

An original signed 12″x16″ oil painted with love on canvas for you and your special young ‘un (or maybe just you!). Introductory price: $77.00 + actual shipping. Includes printed StoryStarter & Certificate of Authenticity.

If you’d like to support my work and truly help keep me painting, it would mean the world to me:

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

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I Never Wanted To Be An Artist

Boy drawing

Fact is, I never knew what I wanted to be.

When I was in elementary school, I’d answer with something that I thought sounded acceptable to grownups. I think my favorite answer was an aeronautical engineer. Very impressive!

Of course I had no clue what that entailed, but I had to have some kind of answer and I liked to draw airplanes.

Secretly, the idea of a mad scientist sounded very appealing to me. But being an artist never crossed my mind as a career path as far as I can remember.

I do remember in 4th grade when we moved back to the US, there was some kind of art project where we were free to make anything with colored chalk. Of course my creation got put up on the wall with everybody else’s, but I remember my teacher didn’t know what to make of it, and her reaction really crushed me. Not because she was mean, because she wasn’t but I could see she was just being polite.

I felt so shut down. Clearly I wasn’t up to snuff in the art side of things…

So although I loved art and admired the artists I met, it never occurred to me that this was a path I could follow. Still, I kept drawing. And drawing.

All the while I still had no idea of what I was going to “be.” I thought kids (and certainly teens) were supposed to know that.

So after I dropped out of college and failed rather spectacularly at being a big time rock musician, I met a neighbor who was an artist. He saw some of the things I was drawing out of depression and frustration with my lost (and mostly imagined) music career. He encouraged me, gave me some lessons, and I became obsessed.

I finally got the idea that maybe I could actually pursue art as a career.

And although music has come along for me in a very surprising way, my wife being an incredibly talented songwriter (we’ve now recorded 15 CD’s together) art became my career.

A career I never thought was available to me. (Come to think of it, an artist is kind of like being a mad scientist…)

Isn’t it funny how life can take you in the most unexpected (and sometimes wonderful) places?

 

If you’d like to support my work and truly partner with me to keep me painting, it would mean the world to me:

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They Ripen By The Light Of The Moon

SS18

So there they were, all gathered together —  waiting, one by one, for the moonlight to shine down on them.

And although Moon loved them all equally, she loved every single one — well, one at a time. They were all the same in a way, they all grew on the same bush, but each one was different in its own way.

And then there it was — even though a soft light shone on them all, there was also a special bright ray that gently touched each heart in its own special way.

But the hearts (being young hearts and not fully ripe yet) sometimes didn’t like it when Moon shone down so strong on one of the other hearts. Oh yes, and there was one special heart who thought he was more special than the others…

PS: I was thinking of those families where there are more than one child or maybe even a classroom situation — anywhere that young ‘uns may be (in their minds, at least) competing for attention.

An original signed 8″x10″ acrylic painted with love on 140 lb watercolor paper with a Certificate of Authenticity and printed StoryStarter for you and your special young ‘un (or maybe just you!). Introductory price: $24.99 (shipping included US only). Includes printed StoryStarter & Certificate of Authenticity.

If you’d like to support my work and truly help keep me painting, it would mean the world to me:

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

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When you’re done you’re done (even if you’re not!)

Related image

I see a question like this pretty often on some of the artist boards: “Is this painting done?”

Same thing applies to writing books though, or putting on your makeup, and of course you do have to stop shopping at some point whether you’re really done or not, if only because you’ve run out of money or the stores are closing.

So at some point I have to stop working on a painting, because when it’s done it’s done.

Even if it’s not.

I almost always think I should’ve done this or I could’ve done that and it would make it better, but this is just another version of paralysis by analysis.

Art is a body of work, composed of individual art pieces, and art is a work in progress. At some point I just have to let go of each piece and move on instead of endlessly tweaking the last thing I did. I try to remember some of what I shoulda woulda coulda done and then do that on the next painting.

And the next. And so on.

It doesn’t really bother me much any more. When I sign my name it’s done for better or worse and I move on. Of course I’ve tried to make it as good as I could while I was working on it, but a painting will never be perfect (though some are more perfect than others!) and I just need to get to the next one.

Some paintings will be good, some won’t — so what? Just keep painting. If I don’t keep painting, the good ones will never have a chance to see the light, and the bad ones will naturally fall into oblivion (that’s good!).

I have this great quote on my wall from who knows who, but here it is:

“Art is making a thing, and then trying to make a better one, and you keep doing this until you die, and that’s a pretty good life.”

I like that.

How about you — does this sound familiar for something in your life too?

 

If you’d like to support my work and truly help keep me painting, it would mean the world to me:

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

SpyderWebbFineArt.com