Paint Like A Chess Player

This morning while at the easel, working on the landscape portion of my painting of “Rachel”, I noticed that for me to accurately depict the layers of the painting, I am going to have to think it through like a chess player would ; Layers meaning elements that are coming forward and elements that are moving back in space.

Wikipedia defines as:
“Chess strategy (or positional play) is the aspect of chess playing concerned with evaluation of chess positions and setting of goals and long-term plans for future play.”

This is exactly how we should work as artists. Let’s not just paint by the seat of our pants but let us have definite modes of thinking to achieve our long term goals and future play of the painting.

An example would be the landscape that I am working on. I have to stop and ask myself, ” How am I going to paint the leaves in the foreground which are in the front of the tree?” The answer is to think four or five moves ahead. It’s more important to set up to a position to add the leaves rather than to execute them in the beginning. If I was to draw out the leaves first it would be an act in futility. Also if I paint the tree too dark in the under painting the leaves would not cover the darker tree in the later stages of the piece.

I am a chess enthusiast and enjoy the strategy aspect of the game. I also see many parallels between chess and painting. Each game is different and has its own set of riddles and problems to solve.

As chess players think out every move , we need to solve our visual riddles with clarity and forethought.

God Bless,

Passion in Each Stage

Do you ever go through the motions during the week, waiting for the weekend? Have you watched the clock on your computer monitor hoping that your lunch break would arrive already? Believe me when I say to you that this describes me quite accurately 🙂

We are always looking to the destination so that we miss the joy of the the space between here and where we are going. Granted,where we are is usually not as exciting as where we are going. This is usually an excuse to move through periods of our lives flat and uninterested; are we not afraid that such an experience might effect where we are going? Everything we do does have a ripple effect, there is no escaping this result.

So this is where it relates to us artists; if we want to paint and draw pictures with passion, we need to have that passion in each and every stage of the work. Without passion in any one stage, will have a ripple effect onto the subsequent stages and ultimately to the final piece.

This does include the planning stage and the organization stage of the work. Make sure you that you don’t rush through that either, to get to the act of drawing or painting.

Passion throughout the work will create pieces of art that are stronger in both content and technique. It will be finished, when it gets done. One amazing piece of art is better than 1000 mediocre works without passion.

God Bless,

Expanding Your Circle

I remember when I was in high school I had seen a movie that blew me away. It was called “Vision Quest”.

At first glance it appears to be just another teen age coming of age movie with gratuitous sexual content but it’s so much more than that! The main character Louden Swain, (played by Matthew Modine), is a high school wrestler and decides that he wants to wrestle the most feared wrestler in the state.

After making this decision he works day and night to follow the path he has chosen; everyone believes he is crazy but he remains steadfast.

Towards the end of the movie he is close to achieving the vision he had set his heart on for so long, he starts to question the validity or worth of this quest. It’s there the people in his life, who witnessed his journey, remind him of its importance, not just to him but to those who had seen the struggle, the early morning runs, and the courage of his vision. Because when someone sets out on a vision quest, it’s not the answers that are important; It’s reaching a higher level in order to ask new questions.

It’s when we reach our vision quests we lift not just ourselves but also everyone who is around us. Watch this clip and you will see what I mean.

Esther is completed

My paintings are like chapters in my life. Each and every morning, I wake up to my easel to refine the crude beginnings, little by little, into finished, fully realized paintings. It takes about three months to finish a painting. I pondered why do I take so long? Then it occurred to me; its because I would try and cut corners and slack if I allowed myself to worry about the time element. If we are going to create anything of merit, time can never be a factor.

Her name is Esther. Her story is in the Old Testament Book of Esther. She was an orphaned Jewish girl in an occupied land. Her Uncle Mordecai took her in and took care of her.  During this time, the King of Persia had his men grab all the women (virgins) from all of his provinces, so he could choose the one most beautiful woman, inside and out, as his queen.

My painting depicts Esther, some time after she was taken to the palace, before she was chosen. Here she is scared and confused but trusting in God that God has a plan for her life.

Later in the Biblical account, Esther is chosen to be the Queen of Persia. In her obedience to God she is able to inform her king of a plot to kill all the Jews and save all of her people.

Esther 4:14 (NLT)

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Esther is very important to me. In my life, I too get confused as to why things happen to me. I wonder how can any of those things make any sense what so ever. However being a christian, I know that with God, there is always hope. Waiting on God is not easy. I like fixing things and striving to make life better. However God instructs us to know that He is God and to wait.

Psalms 130:6 (ERV)

I am waiting for my Lord, like a guard waiting and waiting for the morning to come.
This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
Now its on to “Rachel”. She is the third installment of my “Women of the Old Testament” series. ”  “Rachel” is about waiting. Jacob waited 7 years for Rachel and the Bible says:
So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
Each piece of art work is a piece of me.
God Bless,