Progress of my art December 2018

This December I have been very busy with a lot of commissions for artwork for Christmas. Most of the paintings have been of dogs, which has been incredibly satisfying to paint. The most recent paintings have been the really small paintings of dogs, which have been growing in numbers this month.  Amazingly enough, I think these paintings have helped the creative flow of my larger paintings and have caused me to take more risks.  Colors will always be a constant Drive in my artwork, though there is something so enjoyable about painting dogs.

My artwork is very much inspired by a variety of artists.  These last few weeks, I have been very influenced by Boldini, Thomas Moran, Albert Biersted, and Brice Neuman.  Just from looking at these artists I get subtle ideas on where to go next in each painting.  I truly believe good art never comes out of secluding your art from the art of our predecessors. 

Progress of my art June, 2018

This June I have been very busy with a lot of commissions for artwork that are supporting my "Almost Married Sale." Most of the paintings have been of dogs, which has been incredibly satisfying to paint. The most recent paintings have been the really small paintings of dogs, which have been growing in numbers this month.  So far I am up to about 20 small dog paintings. Amazingly enough, I think these paintings have helped the creative flow of my larger paintings and have caused me to take more risks.  Colors will always be a constant Drive in my artwork, though there is something so enjoyable about painting dogs.

My artwork is very much inspired by a variety of artists.  These last few weeks, I have been very influenced by Boldini, Klimt, Albert Oehlen, and Charline von Heyl.  Just from looking at these artists I get subtle ideas on where to go next in each painting.  I truly believe good art never comes out of secluding your art from the art of our predecessors. 

Progress of my art May, 2018

This may I have been very busy with a lot of commissions for artwork that are supporting my "Almost Married Sale." Most of the pennies have been of dogs, which has been incredibly satisfying to paint. This might change a lot of things with wear my art is heading. Colors will always be a constant Drive in my artwork, though there is something so enjoyable about painting dogs.

My artwork is very much inspired by a variety of artists.  These last few weeks, I have been very influenced by de Kooning, Julian Schnabel, Erin Jane Nelson, Miro's late work, and Van Dyke.  Just from looking at these artists I get subtle ideas on where to go next in each painting.  I truly believe good art never comes out of secluding your art from the art of our predecessors. 

Almost Married Sale on All Artwork

Almost Married Sale

I am just 4 months away from being a married man and am saving up for our big day.  I am having an art sale for the next 2 months on my website (Christianives.com).

March 14th -May 14th

20% off all non-sale items on my website

40% off personalized paintings

If you always wanted a painting of your family, pet or any other person, place, or theme you hold dear, just send me a photo and I will paint a one and only original oil painting for you.  I don’t use any digital assistance, and all of my work is made by hand and traditionally crafted.  Here are just a few examples of previous commissions I have done.  For more examples please see my website at ChristianIves.com .

12”x16”         $380 reduced to $230

16”x20”         $640 reduced  to $380

20”x24”         $960 reduced to $570

24”x30”         $1,440 reduced to $860

I will also be having a sale on my website for all non-sale paintings.  Just use the code WEDDING at the checkout to receive 20% off your total purchase.

If you are interested in having a painting, please contact me via my website (Christianives.com ), email at Christianives8282@gmail.com, by phone at (406) 880-1487, or by Facebook Messenger.

Progress of my Artwork in March 2018

This March started off with a winter wonderland trip to Montana to get our marriage licence.  Unlike most states, if you get married in Montana you need to get your marriage licence directly from the county you will be married in.  I'm so happy it worked out that way though.  Not only were we able to get our licence, but we had a lot of time to spend with family, friends, and the snow covered mountains surrounding our wedding venue. 

This last month I have been painting on wooden panels again as opposed to canvas.  If you have never tried painting on wood, I would highly, HIGHLY recommend it. The paint reacts very differently and  is a lot easier to scrape and move across the surface.  It doesn't absorb as much paint as canvas so I would recommend using a faster drying medium during your first couple layers of paint.  

My artwork is very much inspired by a variety of artists.  These last few weeks, I have been very influenced by de Kooning, Julian Schnabel, Erin Jane Nelson, Miro's late work, and Van Dyke.  Just from looking at these artists I get subtle ideas on where to go next in each painting.  I truly believe good art never comes out of secluding your art from the art of our predecessors. 

Progress of my Artwork From February

This February started off a little slow since both my fiance and I were very sick.  Even though I was sticking to my normal routine I could tell I was not making as much progress as my normal, healthy self.  This last week, though, has been absolutely amazing to work.  The one thing I do like about being sick is how incredible you feel once you get better.  No more coughing and blowing my nose all the time?  What a miracle!

This last month I have been painting on wooden panels again as opposed to canvas.  If you have never tried painting on wood, I would highly, HIGHLY recommend it. The paint reacts very differently and  is a lot easier to scrape and move across the surface.  It doesn't absorb as much paint as canvas so I would recommend using a faster drying medium during your first couple layers of paint.  

My artwork is very much inspired by a variety of artists.  These last few weeks, I have been very influenced by de Kooning, Erin Jane Nelson, Miro's late work, and Van Dyke.  Just from looking at these artists I get subtle ideas on where to go next in each painting.  I truly believe good art never comes out of secluding your art from the art of our predecessors. 

Progress of My Artwork from Late January to Early February

As the new year starts, it is so important for me to continue staying motivated.  I have just finished 2 paintings, and am working hard on another one.  This process is so much fun as it helps me reflect on what I have worked on and how I would like my paintings to evolve this coming year.  I never know what direction each painting will head until I am actually working.  Working in the moment has always brought satisfaction to how I work.

My artwork is very much inspired by a variety of artists.  These last few weeks, I have been very influenced by de Kooning, 19th century paintings, Barocci, Miro and Van Dyke.  Just from looking at these artists I get subtle ideas on where to go next in each painting.  I truly believe good art never comes out of secluding your art from the art of our predecessors. 

What a Bulldog and a Dove have to do with making your Art Great

There was a professor I had a few years ago that talked about using the Dove and Bulldog approach to learning.  We were going to cut copper that day with a jeweler’s saw.  He said in order to learn how to use the saw efficiently, you had to learn two methods: the bulldog and the dove.

The Dove:  The dove method is very soft, and very delicate.  Oftentimes when we first try something we resort to using this method without even thinking about it.  We don’t want to break anything, or even worse, mess up. This method is great for starting because we really are trying; we are just not sure how far you can push what you are doing.  Once you are able to, it is time to gradually push what you are doing to the Bulldog stage.

The Bulldog:  Anyone who loves, or doesn’t love, bulldogs know that they are anything but elegant.  I don’t care how adorable your little Fiona is, she is a sloppy and stubborn bulldog.  When we finally got comfortable with the dove approach, it became time to really test the strength of these saws.  By this we had to break the saw.  “How far can I push this until...shit!  The stupid saw broke!  Wait...I can replace the saw.  Alright, let’s try this again with a little less...damnit!  Oh wait, I think I am getting it…”

This could go on for hours…days.  It can be frustrating and nerve racking.  But it can also be the best thing to help you move forward.  Go ahead, give it a try!

Becoming An Artist in One Day

Art is about freeing yourself up; seeing the world outside the box.  Oftentimes in doing so, we must turn our heads away from things in life that will drain us from creating. Go out tonight with friends, or stay at home and work on your painting?  Hang out at the river, or add another page to your website? 

 

The one thing that determines what you will do in life, how well you will create, or how far you will make it in your art career is the one thing that is more precious to being an artist over almost any other profession.  That would be responsibility.  But now in the way you think.

 

But I thought being creative meant trying to lessen your responsibilities, not try to gain more responsibilities.  “Why would I need to clean my room?  I’m an artist, damnit! I am creative, free thinking, and can’t be bothered by adding more to my plate.”  Well, as it turns out, being responsible is one of the best thing you can do for yourself; whether you are trying to be a free and happy artist, a teacher, or anything else you want to do in your life.  Though it is not about adding responsibilities…quite the opposite. It is about admitting our responsibilities.

 

In the book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” Manson talks about how we are essentially responsible for everything that happens to us.  Got cancer? You are responsible for that.  Got robbed? You are responsible for that as well.  That was a hard bit of information to digest. How can you say we are responsible for something that we have no control over?  I read further. 

 

What Manson meant by this is that it may not be our fault something happened to us, but it is our responsibility on how we deal with it.  It may be the idiot with the Washington plates’ fault for hitting your car with his dumpy Ford Focus, but it is your responsibility on how you choose to react; how you choose to take action.  Are you going to yell and cuss at this man?  Call your insurance? Play dead?  Whatever you choose to do, you took responsibility and took action.  Even taking no action is, in fact, taking action.

 

So where does this come into play with creating? As much as we don’t want to admit it, it is our responsibility to make time to create, to make a picture you are happy with, and to get yourself out of the house and find people interested in your art.  It may not be easy, but it is nobody else’s responsibility but your own to make it happen. 

 

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve known that gave up on doing the art they loved because it was someone or something else’s fault.   “The economy isn’t great for art.”  “It is hard to paint with kids...with a job.”  “I have writers block.”  I’m not belittling anyone’s problems. 

 

These things are tough!  Your kids will require a lot of time.  Your job will require a lot of time.  I know.  I’ve worked a dead-end job where people yell at you for their TV bill being higher than usual, hour after hour in a smelly cubicle, and then expect to have enough energy to go back home and paint a beautiful picture.  It fucking sucks...but it isn’t impossible.

 

 

 

Over these last 3 years, I have made more artwork than any other time in my life.  Did I have more free time?  Quite the opposite.  I actually had less time to paint.  I spent, and continue to spend, a lot of quality time with my girlfriend, now fiancé.  I keep myself busy with work, spending time with family and friends, and making meaningful trips. 

 

The difference between now and then is I know I am responsible for making things happen in my life.  If I am tired after work, it is my responsibility to recharge (normally I go for a 30 minute walk or run).  If I am still exhausted, I do something I know will help me get back on track like clean a part of my studio or scrape the paint off my pallet (totally exciting I know, but it works).

Go ahead and try acknowledging you are responsible for your actions in life.  It will free you up in ways you never though were possible.

The Secret to Creating

I have read a lot of self-help books.  Why?  Because they are fun and always teach me something new about myself and reflect how I am currently viewing the world.

One thing I have tried over the last few years, and continue to do today, is to take action...even when I don’t “feel like it.”  Now to be clear, do I do this all the time? Of course not.  I’m only human after all.  But if there is something I need to get done (cleaning the house, looking for a wedding venue), I take action and start working.  Even if it feels like I am getting nowhere from lack of motivation, I am actually getting something done.  Plus, it gets me motivated to take more action.

So why then should it be different for anything that involves creativity? A part of the reason I looked so much at self-help books in the last years is I wanted to find a way to work on my occasional artist block.  Yes, that dreaded, self-destructive force all artists and creative folk have to deal with.  I would cover my walls with quotes from my books; highlighting and rewriting certain areas to make them stand out more.  I would be so excited one week with a piece of advice, and then the next week frustrated because it wasn’t working anymore.  There had to be a better piece of advice to help my poor inner artist. 

As if bitten by a magic muse fairy, I finally got an understanding that would continue to help me day after day for the last few years.  It is only by taking action that will help you move forward

Really?! It was as simple as that!  If I only painted when I understood exactly what I was going to paint, I would never paint anything.  If I only worked out when I was in the absolute perfect mood, I would weigh 250 pounds and watch Family Guy reruns all day. 

“Being ready” is just a state of mind.  Even if you are carving the statue of David and absolutely need to be in the right frame of mind, get yourself into that state of mind.  Sweep the floors, organize your brushes…hell, when was the last time you cleaned your studio?  I’m not saying you need to work all the time.  Even making yourself step away from your canvas from time to time is taking action.  

In my next blog I will discuss effective ways to take action, and how they can be applied towards anything you want to work on in life. 

Work in Progress: Yosemite Waterfall

Swirling beams of greens and blues dance around as we approach the giant blue cliff and sparking waterfall.  Currently I am approaching the final stretch of a painting inspired from my time in Yosemite National Park.  Though I say I am almost done, my fiancé reminds me (as she knows me better than anyone) that realistically I should say I am ¾ done.  It’s true a lot about how to make changes to a painting.  At the same time, this also means that my painting changes drastically along the way (normally for the better I always tell myself).

Yosemite piece has been a fun challenge to work on.  The view that inspired me to do this piece was of El Capitan (just a week before Alex Honnold broke the record for free climbing the face faster than anyone!).  It was early in the morning when I first drove into the park.  After about an hour drive I finally noticed the mountain.  It was immense. One of those views that leaves you breathless for a while.  I wanted this painting to capture that moment of first seeing this mountain. 

Why I Paint

If today were your last day on Earth, what would you be thankful for?  Would you have changed anything?

For me, the ultimate reason that continues to fuel me day after day, in my art and my life, is my emotional connections to the things in my life that matter.  The way I live, as so many others have inspired me to do so, is if this were the only life we had. 

This life is too short to focus on the negative and mundane routines we all get in from time to time.   It is ridiculously easy to get sucked into the evening news, or follow a mundane weekly schedule.  Life is about taking chances, connecting with others, and finding your own form of abundance (which I will talk about in another blog).

Painting is my way of giving gratitude for what is important in life.  The subjects I choose to paint are the things in life I am most grateful for.  Whether it is a moment I shared with someone, a place I visited and took the time to enjoy, or a person that impacted me, I am reminded day after day on how I would not be the person I am today without the people, places and events I have allowed into my life.  These are the things that are worth living for and worth sharing with others.  

What I hope you get out of my art is the same thing I hope you get out of this life; a sense of awe, love and appreciation for the things in life that are most important to you.