Monday, March 28, 2011

Castleberry Spring Craft Show at Rockingham Park (Salem, NH)

This last weekend, I had a booth setup at the Rockingham Park in Salem, NH. This was the first time that I’ve attended the Spring Craft show, but I had done the Winter one several years ago. This is not my show. Although there were a number of people that attended (receipt sales show 4500 people), I really sold only a handful of prints and one small painting. The standard comment was “I love your work and the prices are extremely reasonable, but, unfortunately, I can’t afford it.” I felt like my booth was more of a gallery showing than a sales booth. There were lots of people standing around just checking out the paintings, but no sales (outside of prints).

This Castleberry show, as usual, was incredibly well organized. I love Terry’s shows. I was given plenty of information prior to the show about set up time, hotel stays, etc. During the setup and the show, she could easily be found, if there were issues (I had none, but I noticed her walking around at various locations). Also, break down was quickly done. The only issue that I had with the show was that the Rockingham Park is extremely drafty. So, if you were near the outside of the building, you quickly learned to have multiple layers on.

The show itself was the standard price for a mid-size show. The flow of the show was a basic circular pattern, kind of like a racetrack, with vendors on both sides. When Saturday morning started, there were a significant number of people waiting in line and the crowds were pretty brisk in the morning. The nice part was that the crowd was generally pretty steady the entire two days. There were no parts where you saw nobody. At least, you would see about 5 or 10 people at some vendor’s booth.

Now, even though the crowds were good, my sales weren’t. That’s not to say that people weren’t buying. The table across from me had a solar lamp on some decorated wooden blocks. These lamps would be placed at next to your door at a permanent summer camp. Those were selling like hotcakes. The family kept running out of product and by the second day, they had sold almost 100 of them.

Me? I sold some prints. The other photographers and painters were in the same situation. I didn’t really see anyone carrying paintings or prints (there were a total of 8 photographers and painters). I did see a lot of woodwork signs, rustic signs, pillows, and jewelry being sold. After talking with the promoter a bit, she confirmed that this is a tough show for Fine Artists and Photographers. So, this definitely is not a show for me. Other’s? Absolutely… just not me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fishies, Fishies... Where are the fishies?

What can you do when you are creative? You can have atypical fun. Actually, anybody can do this. However, being an artist who loves strong colors, this was REALLY REALLY fun. So, it's my sister-in-law's birthday last weekend and, as usual, I made another cake for her. This time, my wife saw an article in a Family Fun children's magazine, that my nephew gets, about how to make simple fish on cupcakes. They looked awesome!

So, we decided that that was the cake we were making this year. I took out my cake decorating kit, got some white frosting, M&M's, and candy fruit slices. I mixed up the correct hue (color) that I wanted and tinted it a bit with some black/white frosting to get the value that I wanted. Once the different frosting colors were set, it was time to decorate.

She loved it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cast Study

Studying apples worked! One of the main reasons for doing the apple study (in January) was to get a feel for creating realistic round objects. This process is needed for a lot of different objects that a person could paint.

Well, it worked. Last night, at my oil painting class, I was able to use two different techniques that I've been working at: ghosting and rounding. The ghosting technique (which my instructor calls it) is a method where you mass in all of the values and then using a soft brush, you smooth everything down. Then, you subsequently add more and more stronger value paints until you get what you want. This help create the roundness because the edges are now more subtle. Also, it's a great way of tying in all of the various paint values together.

So, working on a cast of a head last night, this is what I came up with. I'm pretty proud of it. It doesn't quite look like the model, but it definitely looks like a real face. The cheeks/forehead and neck is rounded appropriately.

Now, let's see if I can repeat this for Saturday's live model.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Figure Study

Well, had some time last night waiting for my wife in the Emergency Room (She hit her jaw on the coffee table because she tripped while playing with one of our dogs. She's okay.) so I whipped out the old iPad and started working on some figure drawings. No, these nude models were not just hanging out where I was (which would have been nice... but they weren't).

Actually, there's a great new website that I found that has some awesome pictures of nude models and a timer. The site ( has nude male, female and animal pictures that can be studied. Not all of the images are great (there's a small percentage in which the photographer used too much light and washed out the model), but there's a significant number of them that had decent shadow/light contrast depth.

Now, this definitely doesn't replace painting/drawing from a live model, but, in terms of figure practice, this will work in a pinch. As always, I try to make sure that I do more life studies and try to translate that to my photographic studies.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Landscape Study: 2

Newest landscape study. This was based on a photograph that I took when we were on vacation at Webster Lake, New Hampshire.

Man! Do my trees need work. So, do the foliage in the front. I was having trouble with this due to the fact that I laid on too much paint for the underlying structure. Once that is done, alla-prima is difficult to get the bright lights and dark-darks placed on the painting.

The part that I do like about this is that you get the feel of the water moving and the distance is definitely apparent. Also, there is a sense of "energy" with the painting. In my eyes, I can see the movement of the water (which is the main goal that I was trying to create). Also, the shapes for each section are interesting and non-static.

Another fun part of this painting was that I tried painting with my palette knife. This was done to lay down some textured areas in the trees and to smooth out the water (before laying in the ripples). It was fun to do. It's kind of neat "swishing" the paint around to see what happens.

Since this is only a study and not for sale, there is a sense of freedom to just play around and not worry about the results.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Important Things

So, last night, I was getting set to work on my next landscape study. However, didn't get to it. My dog, Fizz (a two-year-old Bedlington Terrier puppy), has not been his usual jovial self for the last 4 days. Not eating that much. Not drinking much water. Not playing that much. Just wanting to sleep. So, my wife and I took him to the vet to see what's going on. Fortunately, nothing serious. He has a raging urinary tract infection. We got the medicine and he's mending out great.

So, as I was saying, last night, I headed over to the easel, got out the paints... and there was my little buddy... dragging his large stuffed bone over to me and just looking at me. Want to play? Of course, little Dude! So, we played tug for a while, then he went outside to play in the snow with his sister. After they came back in, figured, okay... I can now get some work done. So, I sat down on the couch to figure out what photo I wanted to study next (on my laptop).

Mr. Man (one of our nicknames for Fizz) is standing on the couch next to me, just looking at me. What? What do you want? Oh... my lap. So, I moved the laptop and he curled up on my lap and went to sleep. Now, I definitely couldn't get up. He hasn't wanted to do this for the last 4 days. So, I let him. No painting. Just hanging out on the couch with my bud.

I like to paint and I definitely need the practice. However, a sick dog who wants to just curl up with you and play with you, always trumps that.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Landscape Study: 1

Well, since doing a lot of small apples was definitely helpful in working some of my issues with still lifes, decided to try it with landscapes.

So, I have on my still life setup, my laptop positioned with a lot of landscape images. The purpose of these studies is to study tree, atmospheric effects, rocks, etc in order to have a believable landscape painting. In the summer, when I start up doing plein air painting again, these lessons should come in handy.

The one nice thing about working with photographs is that you can do multiple paintings of the same photograph in the comfort of your studio. The hard part is to not use the photograph as the actual image, but just general shapes. For me, that means that I have to remember that the things in the distance are duller and not as detailed.

So, my first attempt last night. This was fun. I like the idea of just playing around with small 8 x 10's to get the feel of the landscape, rather than the actual detail down. That will come later.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Photoshop: Images are different on the web

Well, yesterday, I was trying to post the image of my latest painting for the web and couldn't figure out why the image was so saturated. I tried to get the correct color and couldn't. Did some more research about it this morning and learned something about Photoshop and color proofs.

When creating your image for photoshop, the standard method to create the image for the web is to use the "Save for Web & Device". This runs the old ImageReady program. However, there are times that the image is so over-saturated. I thought that it was due to the web colors. Not true. It's due to the color profiles that are stored with the image file.

To see the image as accurately as possible, use the menu option View->Proof Setup and you will see different choices. When creating the images for the web, you should choose: Monitor RGB. This shows how the images will look on your monitor (depending how well the color is calibrated on your monitor). If you select the default, Working CYMK, this will show you more accurately how the printing of the image will come out.

As we see in my current painting, there is a large difference between the Working CMYK (actual image) and the Monitor RGB (Web Version). The image on the left is a fairly true representation of the painting. The image on the right was the “Save to Web” version of it. It’s too highly saturated and there is too much red in it. So, by setting my view settings to “Monitor RGB”, I was able to correct the image in Photoshop to the true colors. When I posted it on the web, it was showing the colors that I expected.

Recommendation: When creating images for the web, immediately set the View->Proof Setup to Monitor RGB. Then make your adjustments to the image. When saving the image using “Save to Web”, you should see the same image as you see in Photoshop.

Note: Using this option will look good for most monitors. However, not all of the monitors. It is highly recommended that you set the color settings correctly for your monitor before creating these images. This is a simple procedure by going to Control Panel->Color Management and following the rules to calibrate your monitor. Gives the best chance of creating the correct looking image.

If you are used to using the Adobe Gamma program to calibrate your monitor, it is no longer available for Windows 7 or Vista.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Latest Painting: Apple, Vase, Grapes. Oh My!

"Apples, Vase, Grapes. Oh My!" is an original 14" x 18" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting is presented as unframed (Sides are painted).

Traditional still life involving, you guessed apple, a vase, and some grapes.

All Artwork is copyrighted to Doug Hoppes Studio and is not to be copied or reproduced in any form without the permission of the artist. Sale of this item does not transfer its copyright.