Hello my friends. I am sorry that I am a day late again, but I did find everything I needed off my master disk that I needed to work with you and work on my 'How to" books. I found as many of the notes that I could that I made when I was training, and this is so good stuff. One thing I want you all to understand is that in a lot of cases, you don't have to do things the same way I do them or someone else. As long as you understand the lesson, how you travel the road is totally up to you. Every one does things different, and what I want you to do is learn what I am telling you, but learn to do it the way you are comfortable with. We will get to the lesson in a little bit, but first some news.
When I last blogged, I was feeling good, but the day after I went downhill again, and wound back in the ER. They FINALLY put me on Insulin, and I am feeling much better now, and feel alive. It takes a little getting use to, but giving myself a shot 3 times a day isn't as bad as you may think. The needles are so small these days, you can hardly feel them. The prick you do to your finger for the blood sugar test hurts more than the shot does. As a matter of fact, you don't even feel the needle, and I feel much better these last 2 days. My sugar levels are finally starting to level off to a good range around 100.
They took me off the steroids altogether, which in one way is great, but I am still have a Colitis Flare up, so I hope it clears itself up, because they don't want me back on the prednisone any more, and I have no ideal on how they are going to stop the bleeding without the steroids. Do any of you have Colitis and know some things I can do to stop the bleeding? I do apologize because I realise this is not a pleasant subject. I just wish they could me straighten me out without causing another problem to fix another one. My determination and strength of mind are really being tested, and to be honest, I am getting tired of it. For three months straight my body has been put through hell, and the year altogether has been a nightmare as far as trying to keep healthy. I could really use some loving energy from all of my friends.
On the art end, a lot of things are happening that are a total surprise to me. I am superstitious about some things, and I am starting to think that talking about a projects before the contracts are signed is bad luck. But let me just say that one of my biggest dreams is happening, and I didn't even go after it, it came to me. I should be able to tell you about it in a few weeks. In a way it's really funny, because you know not even a month ago I made this announcement that I unless it was something I REALLY wanted to do, I wouldn't even think about it. Just 10 minutes ago I turned down a job from a Movie company that really likes my work, but the company makes non-fiction movies, and I just couldn't see myself doing something like that. I watched the Trailer and it looks like a first rate movie, but I know I would be miserable doing it.
It took me two full days, but I got the main stream interview done. Tilly asked me some really juicy questions, and I got to talk about my "dark" side a lot. This is a fresh interview, and it's going to be in print everywhere. I love it when interviewers take the time to read all the interviews done with me in the past, and in case you didn't know, most of them are posted on my website under the media section. Talking about the website, I will be posting the lessons that I have shared on here on the website as well.
I want to talk business for a minute, and I need you to take this to heart if you are coming here to learn. I said a few weeks back that I was going to raise the price of the prints to 20 dollars at the first of Oct. 20 dollars is the standard price that most artist charge for their normal prints, and I was being put under pressure from my fellow artist (just a handful) to raise my price. They felt that I was trying to undercut them and that by selling them for 10 dollars I was selling myself short. An then there where some that where just plain angry about it. So I announced that I was going to take my prices up to the standard.
After running this around in my head for a while, I decided to keep them at 10 dollars, except when I am at convention. When I am at a convention, my cost are a lot. I have to make at least 800 bucks just to break even, so I have to charge 20 bucks at the conventions. But when you buy them from my website 10 dollars is plenty, and the whole reason I want to charge 10 bucks, is because I spent 35 years being a blue collar working man. I know how tough the economy is right now, and 10 dollars is a lot to spend compared to when Clinton was in office. I feel like most of my fans are hardworking folks, and if they honor me enough to buy a print from the studio, I want to keep the cost as low as I can for them.
If you folks want to meet me in person and see my original paintings, that takes money, and that money comes from the sale of prints. When you spend 10 dollars on one of my prints, 7 dollars go to the convention fund, 2 dollars to the Shriners burn hospital for children, and the last dollar covers the cost of the print. If you are a member of the fan club you can get better deals like 3 prints for 20 dollars, and I also throw in one of the old Dark Angel Prints as well. When you order, just let me know your part of the fan club.
The money also allows me the time to work up these lesson and blogs for the students out there. So please, help me make these things happen and do it for free. The money has to come from somewhere, so please buy a print when you can spare the 10 dollars. Ok, enough said about that.
I think I told you we had a photo shoot this last week, and it went wonderful. Madeline and Darius are awesome to work with and you will be seeing them in my work for years to come, here is a few of the shot's I took of them...
Madison had a great time too. This was her first photo shot, and she had a blast. She was grinning like a little kid. Over to the right, you can find links to Madeline's model site and also here spiritual accessory store in the mall. There is also a link to Darius's site as well. I was impressed to learn that Darius just retired from the armed forces, and he was the personal body guard to a General in the Middle East. That is impressive, like he is. You will probably get to meet Madeline and Darius at some conventions with me this coming year.
Ok, on to this lesson. We're going to talk about learning values and a few tips. These tips of for oil paint only. If you have worked with oils before, you know that dark colors dry much quicker than light ones. So if you have mixed up a dark color, that is going to be a main color on your palette for a particular painting, and the painting is going to take more than 3 days to complete, mix one or two drops of clove oil into the dark color and mix it in. This will keep the color soft and buttery for weeks. But you only need a drop or two. Clove oil is not cheap, and I found it at a herb/health food store. It comes in very small bottles and a bottle is about 12 bucks. But if you compare that to having to try to mix a dark color a few times and it being exactly the same as the first time, the clove oil is cheap, and like I said, it keeps the paint nice and buttery.
Another tip that you will find most helpful if you are and Illustrator and you are up against deadlines. Buy a Product called Liquin, and before you start painting the area you are going to tackle next, put a medium coat of it over the area you are going to paint that day. In most cases, that area will be dry by the next day. Don't use it as your medium though, if it gets into the paints on your pallet, the paint it got into will be dry the next day as well. Use your linseed oil or turpentine as always as your medium. I use it because I like to be able to rest my hand on the painting instead of a wooden bridge.
In the last blog, I showed you how to make a perfect pallet that will help train your eye in values. Now it is time to use that pallet. One of the first things the Master had me do was take a color photo and paint it in black and white. (We talked about this last time) So this is what you should do if you are serious about your art. Use lamp black and titanium white and mix the value scale beside the one on your pallet. Once you have done that, and you have the values correct choose a subject to paint that has texture and strong values, and once again, it must be a color photograph, and then you paint. I did about 15 of these so far, and I will do about 2 or 3 a year just to keep at the top of my game. These are small, around 9 x 11, and I only allowed myself to spend a total of 5 hours per piece. Here are 2 of mine.
These where also the first oil paintings I had ever done. Daniel sent me the tubes of paint to use for these. So, if you think you are ready to paint, lets see you do a series of these for a couple of months. In the next lesson, we are going to step back and learn about drawing. In each blog, we will alternate from drawing to painting. If you would like my opinion on how your work is coming along, post it somewhere and send me a link to it, and I will give you a positive overview on how you are doing, what needs work, where you are really strong and so on.
Until next time, much love to all of you, and "May the Darkness Comfort you"