The rebuilt redesigned refurbished recalcitrant (I just ran out of “r”s) website is now live! Here’s a shot of the home page, which in my not always so humble opinion is megamiles ahead of the old one. The galleries work much better too–just mouse over a photo and you get all the info about that painting. Click on it and enjoy the larger version. Even has a link to this blog if I remember correctly. I’ve spent so much time editing, proofing, changing, etc. that my brain does not always remember what I did or didn’t include. I did the final punch list today and hope I caught all the changes. If anybody sees anything weird, please let me know–but maybe in a week or so when I can process information again! Here’s the URL: http://www.allifarkas.com
Somehow I forgot to mention that I got two of my horse paintings accepted into one of my favorite galleries for a juried show. What’s unusual about this is that I normally submit landscapes for the juried shows but this one had as a theme “Getting There”–by any means imaginable. So of course horses fit right in and I submitted “Attitude” and “Partners”, two of my paintings of horses in harness, and they were accepted.
The reception for this interesting show at Tall Grass Arts Association in Park Forest, IL was this afternoon and I not only attended but also remembered to bring my camera. Here’s a quick tour:
It looks like I am in the website reconstruction business once again. I created my first website back in the 90’s sometime, but it wasn’t for my art business but mostly just to have a presence on the then new World Wide Web. The company that hosted it sold themselves out to somebody…don’t remember who and don’t care to…and I just let it die rather than move it. In 2009 I created my next one, this time for the art business. It became more of an archive than a selling tool, containing (almost) everything I had ever painted. And logically, it took a long time to put it together.
A few years later I decided to liberate myself from a prefab website and create my own with Joomla, since my hosting company once again “hosed” me by not supporting their platform. It took, just as before, a long long time to put it together, but when I had it finished it looked so super, being my own template instead of someone else’s. Only drawback was that it was a bear to maintain. So coincidentally just before I was ready to launch it, the hosting site fixed its problems and I decided to take the easy way out and just revise what I had with them by using a new template. Everything transferred to the new look with a minimum of fuss.
All was well until last year, when things started going south again. Not sure, but I think it was a combination of their old technology not being able to keep up with the latest browsers and the proliferation of mobile devices. So they gave me a web death sentence if I did not migrate to a totally new, “improved” platform. Supposed to be a lot easier to use, more flexible, more “modern”. The only part about it which is mostly true is the “modern” part. Nevertheless, I have been spending the last couple of weeks revamping my site.
I can say one thing for the new site. While the old one was admittedly a very fat archive, the new one will be on a crash diet. So if you want to see everything I’ve ever done you can visit www.allifarkas.com in the next few weeks before I finish the slash and burn.
This is Ben, another of a long line of horses who are no longer with us. The photo reference for this painting was taken the day before he died, and his owner loved the way the camera flare looked like heaven’s light shining down on him. The photo needed a little more light and contrast, so I emphasized the richness of the colors and the brightness of the rays, while leaving the background hills and trees fairly dark. There were also very strong highlights over the head, neck and back which I thought glowed beautifully so I made sure they showed through too. Ben’s owner got the painting today because my client just couldn’t wait two more days to give it to her. So you, dear readers, get to see it early too!
Man, I just love these Photoshop alternative versions. Every time I do one I discover a new way to disguise something. Lucky me!
I received a commission last week from a prior client requesting two portraits of the same horse, from the same photo. It turns out that the grandmother and the granddaughter both love this horse, a Haflinger mare named Misty. And grandmother and granddaughter are both getting an Aquabord™ painting of her for Christmas. I don’t know who will get which painting, but I’m sure both recipients will be happy!
The big challenge was the quality of the source photo. The colors were over-saturated so the horse looked red-orange, and she also looked like she had a really thick winter coat going on. She was in a pasture with a group of other horses, and the pasture itself was not exactly picturesque. So, thanks to the virtues of artistic license and Photoshop, I was able to pull her out of that pasture and also clip that winter coat. No extra charge for transportation and the clip job!
Thankfully I was able to get my rear in gear and finish this one. I must remind myself not to use this particular type of canvas again, though. I usually use gallery-wrap ready-made canvases from that ubiquitous art supply store, Dick Blick. The canvas on these ready-mades takes my painting style easily and doesn’t care that I’m putting on a bunch of thin layers of paint in total contrariness to the usual rules of oil paint. However, I had an old portrait that I used to use in my booth but had retired when better stuff came along. So I took that canvas off and stretched a new piece over the old bars. For some reason I chose to use what I had left over from a huge project several years ago, and that canvas has a lot of what we call “tooth” to it. It’s way more on the textured side than the smooth side. I discovered when I got to the dark areas of the painting that this canvas just did not want to let my thin paint sink to the bottom of the texture. As a result, I had all kinds of little pinpoint white spots showing through, no matter how many times I tried to go over the dark areas. So I ended up taking a small brush, loading it with paint, and pushing it into all those little spots. Tedious, but pretty much got the job done. What’s left is not distracting so I can live with that.
Way, way back when, I did a series of 16 paintings of lotus leaves. By the time I got to number 16 I was pretty much done with that subject. Now, about 25 years later, as I was sitting on my little dock on the pond this summer I took some photos and noticed that the water lily pads in the pond seemed to be floating in the reflections of the clouds. The result is a stack of photos suitable for another series which I am starting with the painting above. This is only a washed-in background which will influence the way the painting goes but will probably not be noticeable in the finished work. This background is totally random, and was created by brushing some paint on the canvas (quite large, at 32″ x 48″) and then dribbling turpentine over the paint and letting it travel where it wanted. The circle in the center is the result of a low spot in the stretched canvas where the turpentine eventually settled. Will have to make sure the canvas is nice and tight before doing the next step.
Posted in art, Gypsy Vanner, horse portrait, horses, oil paintings, painting techniques, Reins of Life | Tagged art, artist challenges, gallery show, horse portrait, horses, Reins of LIfe | 10 Comments »