"Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
- Robert Frost, 1915
November 6, 2020
America's greatest strength has always been its hopeful vision of human progress. - John McCain
As I write this post tonight the American election for President hangs in the balance. I don't really want to talk about politics in this post, there are too many people talking about politics already, I'm just recognizing the situation in my country. We all hope for a peaceful outcome and to see every vote counted, which is the foundation of any functional democracy.
Some big news for me this past month. I published an eBook. It consists of the sketches and paintings and in the exact sequence they exist in the original sketchbook. It contains all the work I did this summer, as I shifted from watercolors to gouache. The book is available for Apple devices as well as eReaders and Kindles. I used the online publishing site, Blurb.
Here a link to the book if you are interested in buying it and owning digital copy of my work. I also added commentary to the book, which explains the work and my thinking at the time. https://www.blurb.com/ebooks/739617-marty-owings-sketchbook
"With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells...
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;"
Excerpt from the poem, "To Autumn", written in 1820 by John Keats
I was reading somewhere that fall will be short and the winter will be more snowy and likely longer than average up here in Minnesota. Every Winter brings it's own set of challenges in the Upper Midwest, but this year will be different. We are in the middle of a global pandemic and many people have already been isolating for months and months.
The wintertime in Minnesota usually heralds a period of isolation for most of us regardless, but in the days before the plague, you could get out to the mall, or walk through a Target, or go to a concert or play. Now those things pose a dangerous health risk for many, and those people are going to look for ways to survive and even prosper this winter. They will want to ward off the inevitable winter blues and cabin fever.
Why not take up painting or drawing?
If you already paint and draw, why not plan out how you can improve those skills. I've made a commitment to sharpen my own craftsmanship and to try to help others. I'll be posting videos on my YouTube channel which will demonstrate some of the techniques that have helped me over the years, and there are literally hundreds of great channels out there, offering this content for free.
I'll be sharing a list of my favorite places to learn in a future post, but for now you can check out Steve Mitchell at the Mind Of Watercolor, or James Gurney's channel. If you are into art, crafting and saving money, check out Lindsay the Frugal Crafter.
For my own part I am scheduling time to draw and paint every day. It's all about making something a habit, even if it only means I spend ten minutes on a sketch, at least I am doing that much and that much is often enough. I also want to study more on the fundamentals of color theory and light, because unraveling the mysteries of art is very rewarding and very interesting.
Here is some of my recent work in a 3 minute sketchbook tour.
August 20, 2020
"Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing–and keeping the unknown always beyond you.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe
Lately I've been doing more sketches of every day places and objects. Water towers are a common site her in the Midwest where I live. Familiarity of objects that surround us, but we hardly even notice, as if they were part of the set, in the stage that represents our lives environment. If you look very closely at these objects, whether they are old buildings or water towers, they have a unique character.
Creating paintings of the places and objects of our lives is an interesting challenge. How do you make power lines or water towers the stars of a scene?
Using a limited pallet and sometimes just two colors, is also something I'm getting more used to. I'm studying the work and instructions of James Gurney, the author of Dinotopia and extraordinary painter of both imagined and every day places and objects.
I think you can connect with these common objects in interesting ways when you decided to see them differently or put them into a dramatic scene. It's wonderful to explore a variety of, "stages", and, "sets" for these objects and places. Here are some recent paintings and if you want to see these as I complete them, please check out my Instagram at Owings Art.