Ask the Expert – Buddy Odom

This week’s post is from a different perspective, it’s written by Buddy Odom husband of artist Kathie Odom. Buddy writes for Kathie’s blog and he does so in the form of letters. In this week’s post he writes to a friend and examines what he feels being a supportive spouse to an artist and wife truly means.

Dear Matt,

We often get so caught up in the hurry of life that we forget to ask about the things that matter. But after our lively conversation over drinks last week, I was reminded how good it is to simply catch up with an old friend.

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You were very curious about my relationship with Kathie. And you often seemed puzzled over the amount of time and effort I invest into the pursuit of her art career. Most striking to me was your statement as you were leaving, “Well, I guess it’s my wife’s turn to do her thing now!” I think I was misunderstood. Right or wrong, here are some truths:

-­‐ Yes, as soon as Kathie and I married, I gladly took on the burden of financial provision for our family.

-­‐ Yes, we worked hard to find a vocation that intersected with my passions.

-­‐ Yes, I found a great measure of personal satisfaction upon finding that job.

-­‐ And yes, even while shelving her creative gifts for almost thirty-­‐five years to raise kids and send me into my new found mission, she deeply enjoyed watching me thrive!

I can see, Matt, how you might think I have allowed Kathie to now “have her turn” in this rocketing art career of hers! And I can see how it looks to watch me champion, promote and support her in every way I can think of.

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But her new path was not mine to give. Plus, this cheerleading of mine was not born out of a need for equity or fairness. Instead it began with an honest look at two things.

First, I started to look at my own ignorance. (I mean this word in the truest, not meanest, sense of the word). I ignored several things that were perfectly within my vision to see, mostly Kathie! I was so consumed with good things that I quickly began missing this young woman with whom I made vows. A few years ago after her career started to blossom, she asked me, “What were you thinking when you married an artist?” Frankly, I had no answer for her because I was busying myself with the pursuit of a wonderful life. You know… three kids, two cars, one house and a full belly.

Secondly, Kathie conveniently hid behind this wonderful life we had (have). But it was easier, much easier for Kathie to not paint. While extraordinarily demanding, it was somehow simpler to be the generous and kind woman who loved and encouraged a family and worked odd jobs while neglecting that once-­‐fascinating and forever-­‐stimulating joy of creating! Sure, she kept her juices flowing and hands busy with productive endeavors, but something was missing.

Make no mistake, Matt. While this life together is not completely ironed out, both Kathie and I are living with no regrets. And we know this crazy life cannot be settled with simplistic rules of fairness. Meanwhile, we want to live vibrantly today while not knowing what tomorrow holds. But (and this is a big but), there are longings deep within one another that need a lifetime of careful and intentional conversations to uncover.

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The poet, Rainer Rilke, puts it this way: I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Clearly, there is a celebration going on over Kathie’s quiet success. Her oil paintings continue to evolve as do her relationships within a vast art-­‐loving community. She is not hiding as much… and I am, thank God, not quite so blind.

As you know, I am one proud husband that will follow her anywhere she wants to go. But I must remember. She is a book written in a foreign language.

Man, I love this book,

Buddy

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To learn more about Kathie and Buddy Odom click here.

 

 

 


 

Adobe Spark-20

CLICK HERE to enter the August Art Muse Contest – To be eligible simply enter the August Art Muse Contest.

Three lucky artists names will be randomly drawn to win a Craftsy online class ($39.99 value)!

Craftsy offers online classes of all types including painting, drawing, photography, quilting, sewing, jewelry, gardening, cooking and much more.

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Art Cafe…Painting as an Olympic Sport?

Who knew that at one point in Olympic history that the arts where part of the competition. Did you know that in 1912, someone won a gold medal in painting? I say, let’s bring it back again. Click here to read the article.

Musee des Beaux-Arts, Tournai, Belgium
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Tournai, Belgium


Art Muse A with Logo

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15 Minute Challenge…Graphics

We live in a visual world as well as working in one, yet, I see some of the most boring posts. People just snap a photo and post. If you are trying to promote an event, workshop or even share your own work, take a little time and make it POP.  I try to create a new image (like the hats) every few weeks for my Artist BFF website to give a visual to what I offer. There are so many programs that can help you add interest to your posts. I have used Canvaand PicMonkey (just to mention a few) to add text, filters and create collages. You can create Facebook posts, covers, Instagram posts with your own photos or there are many free images that you can choose from. Most of the options are free or very inexpensive (like a $1). They are easy and quick to create and make everything look more professional.


15 Minute Challenge

 

1. Create a new Facebook cover. Include your art and some text using Canva. It’s like getting an instant facelift to your Facebook page. It’s fun but a warning…it can be addictive.

2. Play around in Canva and see what else you can create for your blog, Instagram or Facebook posts.


For expert help with your art marketing needs, contact Kelley Sanford, Artist BFF and see a list of my services, visit my website.


Check our monthly Art Muse Contest. Great cash prizes, opportunities for gallery representation and exhibition plus other cool prizes.

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Paul Kratter – From Sketch to Finish

Question: Painting plein air can be challenging. Do you have any suggestions for getting the most out of plein air sketches?

Answer: From Sketch to Finish.

One of the most overlooked aspects of plein air painting is the thumbnail sketch. This seemingly simple step can solve so many early problems in both composition and design.

When I arrive at a painting location I will wander around looking for a unique point of view with four to six strong, graphic shapes. I don’t get my paint kit out, but rather just take my sketchbook with me. Once I’ve decided on a subject, I determine the format – whether it’s rectangular, horizontal, square, or panoramic.

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Next, I sketch in an outline of the outside format (a square for instance) and determine the horizon-line, or eye-level. This is a very important element to establish. As I sketch in the main elements using a ballpoint pen, I’m looking for three values, which fall into categories: black, white, and grays.

I use a crosshatch technique to create my values. Overlapping different directional lines creates a value pattern. I may also darken the outside lines of specific shapes to strengthen the graphical work.

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As a former illustrator (22 years), I see the major elements as graphic shapes. I try to simplify them clearly, looking for hard edges. In the paining, I’ll lose or soften edges, but not in my sketch. This is also the time to edit elements from the scene. I ask myself what’s important to the composition? Does this shape help tell a story or compliment the scene?

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If there’s an architectural element, I work out the perspective and the shadow pattern on the building. This can be really helpful as the shadow often changes with weather; I can refer to my sketch for the shadow shapes. Organic elements like trees are important and need to be designed well. I give them specific, well designed shaped, keeping in mind their unique characteristics.

The whole process might take five to ten minutes, but it solves so many issues before I pick up a paintbrush.

Now, I get out my painting kit. I redraw my composition in pencil on my board, just so I know where the elements belong. I then use thinned burnt-umber oil paint to block in the painting. I may make slight adjustments, making sure my perspective is correct.

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Now I’m ready to paint. At this point, I ask myself what is going to change the quickest that I must capture first. It might be a long shadow. It might be the sky or the reflections in the water. I might paint these areas completely and work in other areas later. I prefer to block in the whole painting first, but that’s not always possible.

Using a fairly thin oil wash in the shadow areas, I block in these darks first using large, bright brushes. I’ll mix my colors on my palette in one general area shifting colors slightly to give them more interest. The next step is to block in the major light areas, using more opaque colors and slightly thicker paint. The goal is to have a harmony of color and capture the light of the day. These areas are mixed separately on the palette and I use a clean brush for each major color.

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Next, I’ll block in the major light areas, using more opaque colors and slightly thicker paint.

At this point, my canvas is covered and I always step back to see the overall look of the painting. This is a critical step. Again, I ask myself, what adjustments do I need to make in value and color? What jumps out that I need to fix? It’s easy to fall in love with a brush stroke or a passage of color, but stepping back let’s me see the whole painting.

The last step is refinement of shapes. I’ll go back to the shadow shapes and refine color and value. In the light areas I’m building up a thicker, more opaque paint using directional brush strokes. I soften the edges of the trees and add sky holes.

In Good Company 12x16 oil w

I may add some texture with a palette knife and/or add smaller details, like telephone poles, fences, or tree branches. Sometimes the sky is done last (if it is a small area) and I’m careful to keep it clean. Often, I scrape my palette and add more white paint so the color is clean. Stepping back frequently during the last stage allows me to get a better overall view of my piece.

The thumbnail sketch may seem like a quick exercise to get to the finished painting. I find it to be an essential aspect of the process and critical to the success of my painting.

Garnet048To learn more about Paul Kratter visit his website by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Adobe Spark-20

CLICK HERE to enter the August Art Muse Contest – To be eligible simply enter the August Art Muse Contest.

Three luck artists names will be randomly drawn to win a Craftsy online class ($39.99 value)!

Craftsy offers online classes of all types including painting, drawing, photography, quilting, sewing, jewelry, gardening, cooking and much more.

 

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