Monday, November 30, 2009


In this post about ways to check your work, the artists responding to the poll were equally divided on two methods to check work. One method is looking at the work through a mirror and the other is looking at it through half closed eyes. I mentioned another method that I use to check and make corrections to work, and I can see from the comments that it is not uncommon to use a digital photograph as part of the process. In this underpainting that I've been developing for a Great Marsh painting I can illustrate how I've been checking and correcting work digitally.

This first image is the very first layer of underpainting.

So far so good. This painting is going to be as much about the clouds as it is about the marsh and I went in to add more detail and depth to the sky, while also adding detail and darks to the ground to balance.

I'm not unhappy with the results, but I can't help wondering if I might like it more with darker tones near the tree line and in the clouds. The surface is not dry enough to add a wash to it so instead I take a digital image and add the changes with Photoshop.

The changes are subtle, but it gives me the information I need and soothes my impatience at the same time.

I use this method frequently, finding that it's especially helpful and time saving on larger work.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Image Requests

Silk Mountain 24 x 28" oil
© 2006 Katherine Kean

Recently someone asked for permission to use an image of one of my paintings. I’m always flattered when someone likes my artwork enough to want to use it in some way. An image is usually requested for book or magazine covers and for websites, although once I received a request for permission to use a painting for a snowboard design. Once the snowboards were manufactured I'd receive a royalty on the sales. After some thought I turned it down. At the time I just couldn’t visualize it, but now I think it might have been kind of cool. These days I generally only grant requests accompanied by compensation – or at the very least an exchange that somehow acknowleges the work that goes into the making of an image. That could be free advertising space or a promotional article. This most recent request to use the painting above was granted free of charge after determining that it was not for profit and that it was for a student. I’ll be credited, and the use is quite limited – only four copies in all. I’m grateful that permission was even requested and not just taken. After all, I might never have known.

I've been giving some thought to posting some guidelines for image use that I can direct people requesting images to and just what I might include as criteria. Perhaps a fee schedule with a smaller fee for charities or causes that I support. I might include a limit to the number of images used and that permission must be granted for use. I might stipulate that the images cannot be altered in any way or used to create derivative works and that where an image is used that I am credited with the year and copyright symbol included, as well as a link back to my website if the image is used on the internet.

How do you handle image requests? Do you feel inclined to say yes or no?
Related Posts:
Cover Art
More Cover Art

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Something in the Wind

Leaves on the Wind
12 x 12" oil
© 2006 Katherine Kean

I’ve been reading about the wind. It’s high time, really. I live in a windy place - I guess everyone living near canyons and mountains does. It tends to be windy many mornings even when the rest of the city is experiencing calm. Then when it is windy for everyone we get extra.

When I first moved here with my then husband we were woken early one morning by half a house length of gutter that had worked loose from it’s mounting banging violently against the side of the house with each strong gust. It was beating the house so relentlessly that we were afraid that it would soon come crashing through the window. My ex husband bravely ran outside and wrestled the gutter to the ground. As the wind was showing no sign of abating and lacking a method to secure it he held it there in check while I searched for something to sever it with. A kitchen knife finally did the trick. Another time I was working in the studio on a windy day when I heard a loud BANG. I ran upstairs from the studio to see what was going on. On the deck I found that the wind had plucked the patio umbrella out of it’s holder and driven it straight into the side of the house where it remained stuck like an oversized, festive dart.

The book I’m reading, Jan DeBlieu’s
Wind: How the Flow of Air Has Shaped Life, Myth, and the Land explains the many facets of wind from a cultural and journalistic perspective. I'm reading about the speed of wind, where and how it forms, how it has affected historical events. I'm especially enjoying learning the many ways the wind is known from exotic names (scirocco, foehn), to weather terms and sayings (a backing wind), to poetry ("the wind's feet shine along the sea," Swinburne).

Monday, November 09, 2009

Group Shows Coming Up at TAG Gallery's New Location

It's Official - TAG Gallery is moving to Bergamot Station next month and is kicking off the transition with back to back Group Exhibitions.

Starting in December TAG Gallery will occupy the D3 space at Bergamot Station. The first exhibit will include the work of Anne Ramis and Eve Brandstein as well as an exhibit of small works by all of the TAG artists.

Another group show will take place in January of 2010.

More details to follow.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Great Marsh Sketch - Almost Raining

Katherine Kean, ALmost Raining, Great marsh, drawing, Cape Cod
Almost Raining Great Marsh Sketch
© 2009 Katherine Kean

Here is the last of the Great Marsh sketches, at least for awhile. I have more sketches to do, but right now I'm looking forward to working more with color.

I've been thinking a lot about color lately and what color choices to make. I rely most on value to create mood, but there's no denying the impact of color, whether used naturally or emotionally.

What are your favorite palette choices? Do you use color realistically or naturally, emotionally, or expressively, or another approach?

I've worked a lot with de-saturated color and black and white, and I'd include it in the emotional category.

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