Petcasso! 2014 is coming up, October 19th and 20th: sponsored by Pets In Need Of Greater Cincinnati, it will be held at the Mayerson Center in Amberley. I hope you can join me there. Great artists will be on hand, with beautiful works for sale, for a great cause. I plan to do a graphite portrait or two, maybe of you, or your young'un! (or your pet, if they sit still long enough!)
Shown below: "Exploring: The Thompson Boys and Their Dogs"
(oil on canvas, 40" x 60")
The artist takes a blank canvas, white, stark. Placing it on his easel, he takes a step or two back and stares into the empty space before him. Already the scene is complete in his mind, the work is finished.
Colors are mixed, brushes are chosen, and the work begins. Along the way, mistakes will be made, wrong choices corrected. The problem is with the artist, not the canvas. His hand-to-eye coordination is imperfect. His vision is imperfect. He will do his best. The artist must learn to be patient with himself.
Once upon a time, an artist took you, and me, blank canvases as it were, and placed us upon his easel. In his mind, the work was already completed, for he declares the end from the beginning.
The artist begins. Along the way, mistakes will be made, wrong choices corrected. The problem is with the canvas, not the artist, for the artist is perfect, and if we allow him to do so, he will perfect the things which concern us.
The artist is patient. He is patient with the canvas.
Katydids zizz and chirp back and forth, gossiping ceaselessly about the overnight events. The air is heavy, as dawn's dew burns off to the morning bake. Breakfast dishes are gathered from the table, set in the sink, the gentle clattering tumbles through an open window into the yard. A screen doors whines and slams, and the day has begun.
The Color Of Summer Series, No. 2:
"Chores" (oil on panel, 9" x 12"). $175.00.
Contact Dan for details. Paypal available. Framing is available. Shipping is free.
I have been called a patient man. It used to make me laugh, because I know me. Recently, though, I decided to begin receiving the compliment with thankfulness. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), and it's certainly something I long for.
Like fruit, we have good seasons and bad seasons...a little too much rain, a little too dry...there goes that patience! Thankfully we don't have to wait until next year to recapture the delicate balance. We grow as we go, don't we?
This beautiful yellow Lab has a certain composure about him. He seems to be saying, "I'm fine. I'll be right here when you're ready for the next move."
Sooner or later, the next move will come, better in God's timing than ours. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings, as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
(The Vineyard Path (oil on canvas, 9" x 12")
Overlooking the blue hills of Northern Kentucky, a vineyard rests beneath a warm sun, its leaves tousled by fresh breezes. An excuse to stop and breathe along with the trees, sway for a minute in the wind. A Moment Of Serenity.
This week's featured painting in The Color Of Summer series is "The Vineyard Path"...free shipping, and a free set of notecards while the painting is up.
I've begun a new painting commission.
A sweet old yellow Labrador Retriever named Cody has had a job since he was a pup: he brings the morning newspaper from his family's front yard into the house, sits, delivers it to his "man", gets his daily wage (a biscuit or two does the trick), then takes a break. (I loved hearing how, when Cody was young, his owner stepped onto the front porch one morning and discovered every paper from the neighborhood all piled up, with the dog hovering over them proudly as he waited for that biscuit!).
So this artist's task is to capture Cody doing his job, bringing the paper, aiming to please, driven by the sweet, gentle, God-given nature nestled deep in his little soul, which just can't rest until that newspaper is where it belongs.
We took video footage, and I found just the right moment for just the right pose.
This is the sketch I created for a composition to show to Cody's owners.
The Kids At Loch Ness (oil on canvas, 18" x 24")
copyright 2007, Daniel Grove
Some years ago my neighbors lived in England. While there, they visited Loch Ness in Scotland. It is a beautiful place, and among the pictures taken, there was one of the three children, all pre-teen and younger at the time. The image is full of motion. The wind whips through their blond hair, and churns the waves in the lake behind them as they peer out through an ancient castle window. Young, happy, and probably a little chilly, they look like a good gust would have landed them out in the deep...(somewhere near that monster, probably).
Years later, when the family moved across the street from us, and discovered that I am a portrait artist, it was decided that this occasion deserved more than a snapshot in their history. It was a grand moment in time, and it needed to be painted.
You can see the process in the images shown here. I knew I had to nail it, since...well...they're my neighbors. Upon primary completion, mom said that one of the kid's noses was just a little off. I took the painting home and saw the error. After that, we were good. And if mom's happy, everybody's happy.
The glorious process of painting settles over the artist like a highland fog, or maybe like some song, enfolding us in its own rhythm and blues. Back and forth we go, color to brush, image to canvas, vision to reality, doubt to triumph. I sometimes say if I don't scare myself to death at least once a day, I'm slacking off.
But we churn on like the waves. We keep coming at it until we know we've exhausted and emptied everything we have in our arsenal up to that point. Richard Schmid says, as much as possible never let a canvas leave your studio with one wrong brush stroke.
So we strive for that kind of perfection, knowing we will, if we are successful, only move the bar further away. There it will stay, singing that siren's song to us again when the next grand moment comes along.
The Glorious Process. Images copyright Daniel Grove 2014.
Having just completed a portrait of "Chief", a sixteen year old grand champion English Pointer, I've been in an "old dog admiration" phase, thinking back through the various pets I've owned, and the bittersweet brevity of my time with them.
We love those dogs, don't we? They guard us when we're toddlers and play with us when we ourselves are pups. They ride along in our back seats as we conquer our universe...and sometimes guide us when we need their help a little further down the road. Other than parrots, who can outlive many of their owners (and giant tortoises I guess), most of our little best friends come and go way too quickly. I'm sure that fact contains a lesson which none of us wants to learn, but we all must: Life is short, so live it!
For heaven's sake, by the grace of God, live it!
"Field Commander" (oil on canvas, 16" x 20" copyright 2014 Daniel Grove
"...forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14.
I'm sure I will make some New Year's resolutions. It's deep in our nature, this urge to clean house and start fresh. But I am grateful, as a believer, that I'm not limited to my own "hoarded resources" when it comes to changing the really important issues in my universe. My vows generally don't last until Lincoln's birthday. But God's strength is made perfect in our weaknesses, as we continually bring them to him. In this way we draw close to him, which is what he wants most of all. And he pours his mighty grace into our lives, which is what we need, most of all. Happy New Year, from Dan and Jan.
Staying In Tune, By Grace.