Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Mushy Stage

Stop Along the Way, pastel, 11x14

In previous posts I’ve talked about starting a painting with connected shapes. (Click here to read one such post.) Even if you’re able to master that step, it can still be a confusing journey to go from blocking in shapes to the finished painting. We often feel compelled to rush too quickly from those big shapes to the finishing touches—those small, crisp, “eye-catcher” marks.

If you can restrain yourself from rushing into those finer details, you can better focus on pushing each of your original shapes to their correct value (light/dark), temperature (warm/cool) and chroma (bright/dull). You’ll want to be aware that, at this point in the painting process, you won’t yet have the variety of edges to give the landscape form and depth, and it will likely have an overall “mushy” appearance, which can be disconcerting. But be patient!

Shown below is an early stage of the painting shown at the top of this post. At this point, I’ve addressed each shift of value, temperature and chroma over my block-in. The only area that I allowed just a bit of tightening at this stage is in the area that I know will be my focal point … just below and to the right of the darkest trees. All other marks are kept loose and vague (mushy).


The early "mushy" stage of Stop Along the Way.

It’s important to back up at this point and check value/temperature/chroma. Make all necessary corrections before you move forward to finer marks.

After a few more tweaks to this phase, it was time to add the finer details that you see in the finished painting.

Keep in mind, it’s important to let some of the original undefined, vague areas (those mushy parts) stay that way, especially in the tree foliage and grass. This will enhance those special areas that you choose to make more defined.


UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

Dahlonega, GA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Jan. 25-27, 2018
"Landscape & Light"
The Art Loft
Contact: Anita Elder, aelder1@windstream.net, 706-429-6008
$485

Fresno, CA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Feb. 15-17, 2018
"Composition Boot Camp"
A Sense of Place Fine Art Gallery
Contact: Ginny Burdick, gburdick@sti.net, 559-392-6775
$375

Providence, RI - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
March 23-25, 2018
"Painting the Poetic Landscape"
Providence Art Club
Contact: Angel Dean, angel@providenceartclub.org, 401-331-1114 ext. 16
www.providenceartclub.org
$425/members; $525/nonmembers (nonmember fee includes lunch each day)

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com




My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Up, Down & Around: Painting Skies, Water & Trees

Water on the Move, pastel, 11x14, workshop demo

This past week I taught a new workshop I’ve developed called Up, Down & Around: Painting Skies, Water & Trees. I was real happy with the format, and it was well received by a very enthusiastic group of artists at SageBrushers Art Society in Bend, OR!

Following below are progression shots of some of my “warm up” paintings that I did just prior to the workshop. For the actual demos painted in the workshop, I talked through each step, addressing the why and how for each step.



Clouds Dancing Over the High Desert, 8x10, oil

For skies, comparing values at the base of dark clouds to values on the ground is critical (photos don’t usually give accurate information for this area!), as is comparing cloud edges to edges elsewhere in the landscape.




Power and Poetry on the Deschutes, 8x10, oil

For water, paying close attention to color temperature shifts between sky reflections on top of the water and what lies beneath, contributes to a genuine capture of translucency and reflective light.




Sunlit Discombobulation, 8x10, pastel

For trees, starting with the big shape without over-defining edges (keep ‘em loose and vague!) and carving out negative space later is important if you want to avoid a “stiff” tree.

I’ll be teaching this same workshop again this November in Bridgewater, NJ (see below) and may also teach it at more venues in the future.


UPCOMING WORKSHOPS:

Landgrove, VT - 4-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio with some plein air, weather permitting)
Oct. 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs)
"Painting the Poetic Landscape"
InView Center for the Arts at the Landgrove Inn
132 Landgrove Road, Landgrove, VT  05148
Contact: Tom Checchia, vtinn@sover.net, 802-824-6673
$480

Bridgewater, NJ - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Nov. 3, 4 & 5, 2017 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
"Up, Down & Around: Painting Skies, Water & Trees"
York Art Studio
350 Grove St. #4, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
yorkartstudio@gmail.com
908-392-0998
$400
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com

Dahlonega, GA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Jan. 25-27, 2018
"Landscape & Light"
The Art Loft
Contact: Anita Elder, aelder1@windstream.net, 706-429-6008
$485

Fresno, CA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Feb. 15-17, 2018
"Composition Boot Camp"
A Sense of Place Fine Art Gallery
Contact: Ginny Burdick, gburdick@sti.net, 559-392-6775
$375

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com




My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

When The Sky Isn't Blue

Summertime Haze, pastel, 11x14

When you photograph a large area of the sky on a vivid, blue sky day, your camera usually cooperates, and you have nice strong, saturated blue in our photo. But sometimes when you photograph just a low portion of the sky (near the horizon), or when the sky is blue but not a strong, saturated blue, the camera sometimes plays tricks on you, and it appears more like a white sky, even though you knew the sky was fairly blue when you shot the photo. Some artists will make the mistake of putting a vivid blue “back in” thinking the saturated blue must reach all the way down to the horizon, when it might just need to go lighter and warmer at that lower portion of the sky.


Reference photo for Summertime Haze.

Another common mistake is for artists to turn the sky blue when the lighting conditions are actually a very warm, glare, especially low in the sky in the early morning or evening. Capturing this warm light in the sky can be every bit as dramatic as a vivid blue sky. And one more mistake often made is to copy that type of lighting condition exactly as it shows up in the photo, resulting in a very flat, greyish-white depiction of the sky.


A Frosty Glow, oil, 11x14

For most people, to view a bright, clear sky in person when the sun is low, you either need strong sunglasses or you need to squint in pain to look in that direction…IT’S BRIGHT!!! Your camera rarely captures this intense light accurately.


Reference photo for A Frosty Glow.

Understanding the color temperature of this type of light will help you create this strong light sensation, which lends itself to a dramatic light capture in a painting.


Morning Glare, pastel, 11x14

The paintings shown in this post (all recent workshop demos) are all examples of this type of light. I’ve included the reference photos so you can see the difference in what the photo indicates in the sky and how I’ve altered that color to create the effect of what I knew to be the accurate light I observed on that day and time at each location. 




Upcoming Workshops: 


Bend, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Sept. 23, 24 & 25, 2017 (Sat/Sun/Mon)
SageBrushers Art Society
117 SW Roosevelt Ave., Bend, OR  97702
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com
$375

Landgrove, VT - 4-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio with some plein air, weather permitting)
Oct. 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (MonTues/Wed/Thurs)
InView Center for the Arts at the Landgrove Inn
132 Landgrove Road, Landgrove, VT  05148
Contact: Tom Checchia, vtinn@sover.net, 802-824-6673
$480

Bridgewater, NJ - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Nov. 3, 4 & 5, 2017 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
York Art Studio
350 Grove St. #4, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
yorkartstudio@gmail.com
908-392-0998
$400
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com




My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Variety is the Spice of Life...and Artwork!

Evening's Hush Over The Marina, 12x16, oil;
partially based on the pastel study below


It seems to be human nature to favor consistency. We don’t have to think as hard when we do something the same each time. Have you noticed that beginner artists tend to keep shapes and spaces between shapes in their paintings fairly equal? (And artists of any level tend to do this when they get tired or lazy…myself included!!) But with artwork, or really design of any kind, it’s variety of shapes and sizes that grabs the viewers eye. Whenever I struggle to find an eye-appealing composition within an awkward or dull view of my subject, I look for opportunities to place large shapes against proportionally small shapes. 

Sunset Glow on the Marina, 8x10, pastel (SOLD);
plein air study

When I painted the pastel study shown here, I arrived late to the first painting location of the 2017 Plein Air Convention, along with several hundred other artists painting along this marina in San Diego. With having to squeeze into one of the last remaining spots to set up my easel, I was pretty much stuck painting one of the only available views left. So I looked for a composition in which I could contrast large shapes (the flat, open water and the larger foreground boats on the right) with smaller shapes (the smaller boats in the left, and the finer lines of their masts). I also went for contrast in edges, with the more vaguely defined distant trees and loosely defined smaller boats, contrasted with the sharper edges of the larger boats, bright highlights, and the thin masts.

“Traveling a New Road” (below, pastel, 9x12) was a demo I painted at a workshop I taught at the recent IAPS convention in June. Briefly, the challenge was to begin with five shapes structured in descending size order, with each shape half the size as the one larger than that shape. The goal was to be deliberate about designing a composition with a purposeful variety of shapes.


Traveling a New Road, 9x12, pastel
Available at The Artful Deposit, Bordentown, NJ

I find that my favorite compositions tend to be ones that have a more dramatic contrast between large and small shapes. Now, of course, not every subject lends itself to this type of composition, but finding even a subtle variety of shapes may spice up an otherwise dull composition!


Upcoming Workshops: 

Richmond, IN - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Aug. 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (Thurs/Fri/Sat)
Richmond Art Museum
350 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond, Indiana, 47374
Contact: Lance Crow, lance@richmondartmuseum.org, 765-966-0256
$395/member; $450/non-member

Bend, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Sept. 23, 24 & 25, 2017 (Sat/Sun/Mon)
SageBrushers Art Society
117 SW Roosevelt Ave., Bend, OR  97702
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com
$375

Landgrove, VT - 4-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio with some plein air, weather permitting)
Oct. 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (MonTues/Wed/Thurs)
InView Center for the Arts at the Landgrove Inn
132 Landgrove Road, Landgrove, VT  05148
Contact: Tom Checchia, vtinn@sover.net, 802-824-6673
$480

Bridgewater, NJ - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Nov. 3, 4 & 5, 2017 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
York Art Studio
350 Grove St. #4, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
yorkartstudio@gmail.com
908-392-0998
$400
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com



My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.
















Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Peachy Pink


Okay, so I say “peachy pink” a lot. I use the term when I try to explain to students how to handle light-value warm color temperature in the landscape. Some of my students in a recent workshop were teasing me about it.

I’m not sure how I came to start saying “peachy pink.” I guess it’s just the easiest way to get across a color that’s between a pink and an orange. And it’s often a go-to color I use when I see a strong highlight on something like a tree trunk. When working from a reference photo, that sort of highlight will often appear white in the photo.  But if you painted it that way, it wouldn’t appear sunlit.

Aspens Reveling in Evening Light, 12x16, oil

This peachy-pink color also works well for sunlit areas of snow. Where the snow is most directly sunlit, I’ll also use a very light-value lemon-yellow on top of my peachy-pink.


Snowshoe Weather, 12x16, pastel

Hopefully the silly memory of hearing “peachy pink” so many times during my workshop will help students remember to carefully consider how to approach those light-value warm areas of the landscape!


Upcoming Workshops:


Cumberland, MD - 1-day Plein Air workshop (all media/demo will be in oil)
June 25, 2017 (Sun)
Part of the Mountain Maryland Plein Air event happening June 19-24.
Contact: Chris Sloan, csloan@alleganyarts.org, 301-777-2787
$150

Bainbridge Island, WA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio & plein air) - 1 SPOT LEFT!
July 19, 20 & 21, 2017 (Wed/Thurs/Fri)
Winslow Art Center
278 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Contact: Martha Jordan, martha@winslowartcenter.com, 206-715-6663
$400

Richmond, IN - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Aug. 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (Thurs/Fri/Sat)
Richmond Art Museum
350 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond, Indiana, 47374
Contact: Lance Crow, lance@richmondartmuseum.org, 765-966-0256
$395/member; $450/non-member

Bend, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Sept. 23, 24 & 25, 2017 (Sat/Sun/Mon)
SageBrushers Art Society
117 SW Roosevelt Ave., Bend, OR  97702
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com
$375

Landgrove, VT - 4-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio with some plein air, weather permitting)
Oct. 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (MonTues/Wed/Thurs)
InView Center for the Arts at the Landgrove Inn
132 Landgrove Road, Landgrove, VT  05148
Contact: Tom Checchia, vtinn@sover.net, 802-824-6673
$480

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com


My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Don't Beat a Dead Horse

My purge pile that’s collected over the past year.
Each one of these takes me closer to my best painting yet.
I try to keep reminding myself of that to keep my sanity.  

In the art world, everything seems to happen in the spring. I’ve had many more commitments than usual over the past several weeks, and my calendar isn’t slowing down for the next month and a half. I couldn’t seem to squeeze in any time for a post last month, but I managed to carved out a little time this month to explore a common frustration among artists.

Artist friend Colleen Parker recently wrote a great article on her blog about discouragement.  When I was teaching a workshop for her group in South Carolina, she and I had a great discussion about how often most artists actually have failed painting attempts. I thought I’d share a bit about why that’s really not a bad thing.

So, you get started on a studio painting, with high hopes for the outcome. The start goes okay.  You finish your painting session for the day, unsure what to think about it. You give it the overnight test and come back with fresh eyes. Not as good as you thought.  You keep going with it, trying to fix some things. This might go on for days. Or weeks. Or more. Something’s not right, so you keep reworking areas. Over and over.

Chances are the painting might be overworked at this point. But for most artists, there’s always something driving us to FIX it. I think we do this for a variety of reasons. One is that we’ve invested the time, and we don’t want to see it wasted. Another is that the supplies we used up are expensive! ... And we really hate to see that wasted! We also just hate to fail.

This is when you need to determine that fine line between when to stick with a difficult painting, and when to abandon it and move on.

I’ve learned to never see a failed painting as wasted time, money or supplies. Well, okay, truthfully it still burns me up a bit, but deep down I know that every failed painting takes me closer to my best one yet. One of the things (among billions) I’ve tried hard to learn is to determine early on in the process if a painting idea is worth pursuing.

I always start with a thumbnail. If it makes it past that (many don’t), then I try a small study. If I like what I see there, I’ll take it larger. And even with all that preparation, the larger piece sometimes loses something special that was maintained in the small study. The hard truth is that not all painting efforts are going to work. You’re not a bad artist if it doesn’t work. It just means that you need to keep trying more painting ideas to find one that does work.

So if a painting just isn’t coming together, you can certainly put it aside for a while and possibly see a solution at a later time. Sometimes you do indeed need to push yourself to figure it out. But if you continue with a painting that has lost its way, and the original visual concept no longer excites you, or there are just too many things you wish you had done differently at that start, you’ll just end up beating a dead horse and wasting even more time with it. Better to toss it in the purge pile and move on. Not every painting attempt for any artist is destined for wall space.


I’ll end with sharing a couple of recent demos from my workshops last month in California.


Winter Pines Bathed in Light, 11x14, pastel

Sundrenched Field, 11x14, pastel

Upcoming Workshops:


Oregon City, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
May 19, 20& 21, 2017 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
"Landscape & Light"- An emphasis on capturing light in the landscape for various lighting conditions. 
"Meet & Greet" Thursday evening (5/18)
Carrie Moore Studios, Oregon City, OR
Contact: Carrie Moore, carriemoorestudios5@gmail.com, 503-866-5507
$400

Cumberland, MD - 1-day Plein Air workshop (all media/demo will be in oil)
June 25, 2017 (Sun)
Part of the Mountain Maryland Plein Air event happening June 19-24.
Contact: Chris Sloan, csloan@alleganyarts.org, 301-777-2787
$150

Bainbridge Island, WA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio & plein air)
July 19, 20 & 21, 2017 (Wed/Thurs/Fri)
Winslow Art Center
278 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Contact: Martha Jordan, martha@winslowartcenter.com, 206-715-6663
$400

Richmond, IN - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Aug. 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (Thurs/Fri/Sat)
Richmond Art Museum
350 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond, Indiana, 47374
Contact: Lance Crow, lance@richmondartmuseum.org, 765-966-0256
$395/member; $450/non-member

Bend, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Sept. 23, 24 & 25, 2017 (Sat/Sun/Mon)
SageBrushers Art Society
117 SW Roosevelt Ave., Bend, OR  97702
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com
$375

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com



My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

So What Exactly is a "Study"?

Frosted Shimmer Along the Deschutes, oil, 20 x 24
Completed from the two studies shown below.
Available soon at Mockingbird Gallery, Bend, OR,

Early in my painting journey, I would hear of other artists mentioning their “studies” they painted before completing larger versions. Back then, I don’t think I quite understood what exactly they were “studying” in those smaller versions. I always used to think that once you became an accomplished painter, you would just know how to paint any subject.

But I didn’t realize that the more your painting skills progress, the more you want to push yourself to explore all the possibilities.

When you learn to see your paintings in terms of abstract shapes and color combinations, not merely replications of the subjects, you find that you want to have a rough idea of how those shapes and color combinations will look once assembled into a selected composition before diving into a large format. 

My studies are basically various explorations of a painting idea. From study to study, I sometimes alter the composition if I find that it could be strengthened. Or I’ll alter the color palette. Or maybe push the overall color temperature warmer or cooler. Or maybe handle the hard and soft edges a little differently. It’s difficult to make those decisions right at the start of any painting. It’s best to see a preliminary draft (or two, or three, ...) to see if those initial decisions were the best ones, and if it appears that any part could be strengthened.

When I like what I see in a study, I may explore it some more in another study and/or refine it in a larger version. To keep things interesting, I often like to switch back and forth between oil and pastel if I’m painting several studies of one painting idea.

I recently explored a snow scene shown in the three paintings included here in this post. The location is Sawyer Park and the Deschutes River that runs through this park in Bend, Oregon. When this spot was coated with a thick, fresh coat of snow, the area took on a shimmering, magical appearance in the late afternoon sun. That’s the idea I wanted to capture.

In my first (smallest) study, I painted just a loose composition juxtaposing warm browns and earthy greens against the cool blues and blue-violets of the shadows in the snow. In this study I rendered only very rough indications of how I might handle the edges. My main objective was to establish a color palette that would best feature the shimmering light contrasted against the shadow areas.

Winter Frosting, oil, 8" x 10"
My initial study for this subject.

For my next study (just a bit larger), I switched over to my pastels to see how the subject matter could be interpreted in this medium.  With this one, I wanted to see how I might like the color palette with a bit more emphasis on the blue-violets. I also further explored the edges and how I wanted to handle the more delicate details.

Winter Frosting Along the Deschutes, pastel, 11" x 14"

In the final, largest version (shown at the top of this post), I switched back to oil. My goal was to keep the same palette of cool blues and blue-violets as the pastel, but also bring back a little more of the warm browns and earthy greens from the original oil. I also followed much of the handling of the edges and delicate details from the pastel version. I had decreased the values of the shadows in the lower right in the pastel, but decided to bring them back closer to the oil version, feeling that it needed the contrast to strengthen the delicate highlights on the foreground bushes.

From one study to the next, there are always those special, favorite areas that I can never seem to duplicate. However, the goal is to create successful original artwork, not to duplicate anything. In both smaller studies, there are some features of the delicate bushes, and shadows in the snow, that I do indeed like better in the studies. But I’m happiest with the overall solution I arrived at in the final, larger piece, “Frosted Shimmer Along the Deschutes” (oil, 20" x 24"), which will be available at Mockingbird Gallery in Bend, OR in a few weeks, as soon as get a coat of varnish and frame on it!

One other thing to note about studies is that not every study makes it beyond that stage. I paint lots of small studies. (In the studio and on location.) I find that it keeps my skills fresh if I’m continually exploring new painting ideas. But it’s only logical that some of those ideas may not work, and many simply don’t interest me enough to take them any further. Sometimes a study will sit on a shelf in my studio for many months until I gradually see potential for exploring it further in a larger format. And it’s quite a thrill to me when an idea makes it from a baby study to a grown-up finished painting!



UPCOMING WORKSHOPS:

Redondo Beach, CA - 3-day, 2-day & 1 day PASTEL workshops 
3- day workshop: April 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (Mon/Tues/Wed) - ONE SPOT AVAILABLE!
2- day workshop: April 20 & 21, 2017 (Thurs/Fri) - FULL
1-day workshop: April 22 (Sat) - FULL
Pastel Society of Southern California
Contact: Arturo Fribourg, Fribourgarch@aol.com
$325 (3-day), $220 (2-day), $110 (1-day)

Oregon City, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
May 19, 20& 21, 2017 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
"Meet & Greet" Thursday evening (5/18)
Carrie Moore Studios, Oregon City, OR
Contact: Carrie Moore, carriemoorestudios5@gmail.com, 503-866-5507
$400

Cumberland, MD - 1-day Plein Air workshop (all media/demo will be in oil)
June 25, 2017 (Sun)
Part of the Mountain Maryland Plein Air event happening June 19-24.
Contact: Chris Sloan, csloan@alleganyarts.org, 301-777-2787
$150

Bainbridge Island, WA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio & plein air)
July 19, 20 & 21, 2017 (Wed/Thurs/Fri)
Winslow Art Center
278 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Contact: Martha Jordan, martha@winslowartcenter.com, 206-715-6663
$400


There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com


My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.



ONLINE CRITIQUES - Visit www.proartcritique.com where I and other painting instructors give quick, affordable online critiques of your work.



Thursday, February 23, 2017

Being Your Own Juror

Afternoon Refuge, oil, 14x18
My first accepted entry into an Oil Painters of America show, 2013.

If you’ve ever served as a juror for a competitive show, you know it’s a real eye opener. I can honestly say that my own experience jurying shows has enabled me to understand why good paintings often get declined from shows. It has also helped me to not lose sleep over having my own work declined from a show. Here’s why…

For most of the shows I’ve juried, I can often narrow down to a slightly smaller number of entries fairly easily by assessing basic skill level. And I’ll usually notice a handful of standout pieces that I know I’ll include. But after that, the painful, tedious part begins when I’m assessing a still large number of outstanding paintings, and very competent work must still get weeded out in order to narrow the count down to the required number of paintings for the show. If I were to go back at a later time through those last, say, 20 paintings, that I had reluctantly placed in the “no” category, I would probably still find them to all be great paintings. And I’m sure those artists all wondered why they were declined. If I were one of those artists, I’d sure wonder why I didn’t get in.

One of the most painful things that goes through my mind as I move an entry into the “no” category is that it might very well be that artist’s best work to date. And that part is truly agonizing for any juror.

I look back at work I did 15 years ago and there are some pieces I painted then that were indeed my best work yet. But I still had a very long way to go before I could ever dream of being accepted into some of the shows I’ve juried recently. One of the difficult aspects about developing as an artist--or really developing a skill in any field-- is that in the early stages, you don’t always realize what you still have yet to learn.

Students have asked me, “What do I have to fix in my paintings to make them good enough to get juried into national shows?” In many cases, it’s not just something that needs “fixing.” It’s usually a combination of skills that still need developing within the artist. To those artists, I say be patient. Allow yourself the proper amount of time to develop the necessary skills, as well as your own unique artistic voice in your work.

If you want to get more into the mindset of what a juror sees, look up the previously accepted entries in the shows to which you aspire. Compare them one by one to your own. Consider the technical skills (composition, values, color temperature, edges, mark-making, etc.), and really scrutinize those skills in the accepted work and in your own work. Also notice any unique qualities of some of the previously accepted work, which pushes it out of the “typical painting” realm. (A juror sees LOTS of “typical” paintings in the jurying process.) Imagine the juror is seeing all of these accepted entries, one after another, and try to gauge where the level of your own work lies. Be honest with yourself … that’s how you’ll stretch yourself as an artist.


Aspen Road at Sunset, pastel, 9x12
My first accepted entry into a Pastel Society of America show, 2010.

I remember being anxious to get my work juried into the big national shows, getting rejected, and not quite understanding why. I look back at that work now and clearly see that my skill level just wasn’t there yet. In some of my workshops, I show a slide presentation of what my work looked like when I first started painting, to how it has evolved over the past 17 years. I show this in order to stress that developing as an artist takes time, patience and deliberate, persistent growth … not necessarily natural-born talent.

Many artists have a goal to get their work accepted into their dream shows. And that’s great if it’s pushing you to improve your work. I think juried shows are kind of fun to enter, and who doesn’t get excited about winning an award. (I have a bit of a competitive streak in me.) However, I honestly believe you’ll flourish even more if you focus primarily on just achieving the best work possible in your painting journey. 

Beware of putting too much emphasis on getting into shows and winning awards. Yes, they’re one way to gauge your progress (over time, NOT based on any one show). But shows and awards aren’t the only way. Be the juror for your own personal painting growth. Learn to self-critique. Take stock of how your work has progressed over time, and don’t forget to applaud yourself for the strides of improvement you’ve made over the years. After all, this painting thing isn’t easy. I know.


UPCOMING WORKSHOPS:

Kiawah Island, SC - 4 day OIL workshop, studio & 1-day plein air - ONE SPOT JUST OPENED UP
March 14, 15, 16 & 17, 2017
$450
(This workshop wasn't previously promoted since it was filled from within the group hosting it.)
Contact: Colleen Parker, cpainter100@gmail.com 

Redondo Beach, CA - 3-day PASTEL workshop - MORE DATES JUST ADDED!
3- day workshop: April 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (Mon/Tues/Wed)
2- day workshop: April 20 & 21, 2017 (Thurs/Fri)
1-day workshop: April 22 (Sat)
Pastel Society of Southern California
Contact: Arturo Fribourg, Fribourgarch@aol.com
$325 (3-day), $220 (2-day), $110 (1-day)

Oregon City, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
May 19, 20& 21, 2017 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
"Meet & Greet" Thursday evening (5/18)
Carrie Moore Studios, Oregon City, OR
Contact: Carrie Moore, carriemoorestudios5@gmail.com, 503-866-5507
$400

Cumberland, MD - 1-day Plein Air workshop (all media/demo will be in oil)
June 25, 2017 (Sun)
Part of the Mountain Maryland Plein Air event happening June 19-24.
Contact: Chris Sloan, csloan@alleganyarts.org, 301-777-2787
$150

Bainbridge Island, WA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio & plein air)
July 19, 20 & 21, 2017 (Wed/Thurs/Fri)
Winslow Art Center
278 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Contact: Martha Jordan, martha@winslowartcenter.com, 206-715-6663
$400


For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com

My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.


ONLINE CRITIQUES - Visit www.proartcritique.com where I and other painting instructors give quick, affordable online critiques of your work.