I was an art professor at the University of Central Missouri for 22 years. This May faculty, emeriti faculty, and students will be exhibiting and selling artwork as a fundraiser for the Student Artists Coalition. Works are 6″x 9″. Student work will be priced at $15 per piece or two for $25. Faculty work will be priced at $50 per piece. All proceeds are donated to SAC. April 23 to May 3. If you are near Warrensburg, come in and buy some art, support a cause. Here is my piece — a landscape of Marr Park in early spring.
I finally finished this self-portrait. My sister always comments how stern I look — but one doesn’t smile while painting oneself. Serious face for a serious bit of concentration. And I’m dressed in my polar fleece vest because we keep the house heated at 65 degrees in the winter, and that requires a few layers of clothing. I guess the takeaway is that most of us who do self-portraits have got some much cuter images taken by other people somewhere.
I taught a two-day acrylic workshop this weekend. What a great bunch of students. They all came with enthusiasm, and ready to work. I was impressed at how good they got at mixing colors and thinking about design. We saw a lot of growth in just two days. To Loreta, Jean, Amy, Susan, Bev, Paulette, Linda, and Lana — I enjoyed you all.
I have three works exhibited as part of the collaboration with Les Femmes Folles, the group show, Femme Qui Bercent “Women Who Rock”, which debuted March 1st, at The Noyes Gallery in Lincoln, and moved to Top Shelf Wine Club for the month of April
In celebration of Women’s History Month, ten talented female artists created an event depicting not only the strength of the female artist, but also the beauty of the form, and power and integrity of the gender.
and Chairwoman Susan Woodford
Our featured Guests included: Fran Higgins and videographer Greg Higgins with an intimate portrayal of the artistic process behind the collaborations by Fran, Sally Deskins, and Rachel Mindrup.
Also, Les Femmes Folles Poetry Reading featured special guests: Sally Deskins, Rebecca Faber, Fran Higgins, Connie Spittler, Marilyn Coffey, Denise Brady, Deborah T. McGinn, Laura Madeline Wiseman, Rachael Wolfe and Cat Dixon to preview Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2012, the second anthology of art, poetry and interview excerpts from femmesfollesnebraska.tumbl
Here is an article written by Sally Deskins about me. Thanks Sally.
Kansas Giverny and Swope Park Winter were accepted into the Heartland National Juried Show. The show is at the Tim Murphy Gallery, Merriam Community Center, Merriam, KS.
Show runs March 2 through April 3, 2013
Juror: John Roush
Reception: March 2, 2013, 5-7pm
Almost every artist that I know uses photos. But how they use them is what makes the difference.
Yes, I use photos. I also draw from life as much as possible. Often, if not usually, the photos are BACKUP for the life studies/drawings/paintings. I use them as reference, not the whole enchilada. I’m currently doing an interior scene of some friends’ house. I drew the interior while I was at their house. After several thumbnails, I worked through the composition that I wanted and the perspective issues. Then I took photos. Lots of photos. Because the time of day gave different light. Because people and cats kept walking in the room. Because I kept rethinking what I was doing. So now, back in my studio I have 13 or 14 photos, plus several painters that I like, all hanging up around my canvas. Now it is about the painting not the interior. The chair is better red than brown. The cats have changed a bit. The floor has lightened. Some things are absracted, rearranged, changed. Because I don’t care if it looks like their house. I care if it becomes a good painting and if I learned something.
I talk to lots of artists, and I’m surprised how many artists are just looking through magazines or photos for ideas. Or they just copy their friend’s photos. And maybe there are no copyright issues here. Maybe these are all their photos or their friends gave them permission or whatever. But there is a creativity issue here. If the photo is so good, why does it need to become a painting? These same people seem always to have difficulty coming up with ideas about what to paint or finding photos to copy.
My best artist friends seldom if ever run out of ideas. And if they are using photos, they aren’t just making lovely copies of photos.
I have a lifetime’s worth of things I will never have the time to paint. I paint plein air. I will never run out of places to go, seasons to relish. I paint figures and still lifes. I will never run out of interesting people that I want to paint. I will always be able to dig up stuff around the house to paint into a still life. And I am always thinking about colors, design, surfaces, paint quality. The photo supports my work. It is not what drives the work. The life around me drives my work. The process of making art drives my work.
Go paint from life. You will see color better. You will see form better, you will be responding to the real world. You will take more risks. If you want to move to the next level, get rid of the photos for awhile. And when you return to them, think of them as a support system, not THE system.
One of the joys of being an artist is being able to visibly see change. It feels like a good period right now. Carmel Gardens was an unresolved painting that sat in my studio for over a year. One day parts of it were cropped from view by stacks of other paintings — and there was the painting that it was meant to be. I unstretched it, and restretched it into its newer, smaller, better composition.
The markets are companion pieces, although one of the companions sold, so they are separated.
Most Wednesday mornings between 9 and noon you’ll find me figure drawing with an amazing group of artists at the Buena Vista Studios in Roeland Park, KS. We do short poses from one minute to 20 minutes. Once a month on Saturdays I meet with another group of artists for longer poses. It keeps me looking, thinking, measuring, staying loose, and just drawing without concerning myself about the results. Sometimes we should just begin! Here is some of the work. To see more go to this link: http://www.chriswilley.com/portfolio/figures/figure-studies/
Went on a fabulous plein air painting trip with some other artists. I love traveling with other artists. Being surrounded with other artists in a new environment really encourages growth.
We are going to FRANCE the summer of 2014. You are invited along. Contact me if you are interested in going.
Here are some of the results of the New Mexico trip.