As promised, here is Part 2 of Blick Art Materials‘ live Facebook Chat with me.
We had a huge turnout, and it was difficult keeping up with typing all those answers to your questions! So Blick has posted the answers in Part 1 and Part 2 on their Facebook page (copied below)…The topic was “The Blank Canvas” and we discussed helpful ideas about inspiration and LOTS more. Enjoy! ~Lori
We’d like to thank everyone who joined our Jan. 23rd live Facebook Chat with professional artist Lori McNee! Thanks to an amazing number of active participants, Lori was unable to answer all of the questions posed during the Chat. That’s why she’s addressing them below! Read on to learn about everything from Lori’s foray into art and personal process to her promotion techniques and motivation tips. Enjoy!
Questions from Lara, Ari, Ariel
Q: Lori’s passion for the wilderness is very inspiring, and I want to ask Lori are there certain times of the year that you happened to feel more influenced by the outdoors which are essentially your pallet?
A: Because I live in the north and the winters are cold, I tend to paint landscape during the warmer months when I can easily get outside. The winter lends itself to painting indoors, so I get a lot of still life painting done during the winter. However, you might find me skiing in the backcountry with my pochade painting box and my dogs on a warm winter day!
Q: Why do you paint birds?
A: When I was a little girl I use to try and capture the birds that flocked to our yard. Frustrated, I decided to capture them on paper with a pencil. I have been drawing birds and animals ever since.
Q: Do you ever do week-end workshops?
A: I usually do weeklong workshops, in fact I am teaching one this week in the evenings. Contact me if you are interested in a workshop and I will put you on the list.
Q: How did you find your way into the art world & manage to become this guide of knowledge for so many?
A: I was born with a pencil in my hand – but seriously, I have been creating since I was a young girl and I studied art in college. But, my own art career developed between loads of laundry and between my kids’ naptime! http://www.finearttips.com/2012/05/10-lessons-learned-from-a-creative-mompreneur After an icky divorce, I wanted to ‘give back’ instead of feeling sorry for myself, so I started blogging http://finearttips.com 4 years ago and using social media. My followers have been very supportive and I truly appreciate them.
Q: Who are your favorite artists?
A: Oh wow, that is a tough question….I have very eclectic taste. I love The Dutch including Jan Mankes, and the American tonalists like Innes, Henry Ward Ranger, Twachtman, Dewing, just to name a few. I love the color-field paintings by Rothko and Marcia Myers. I love Gustav Klimt’s landscapes, Emil Carlsen’s still life paintings and Morris Graves flower paintings, and I am a big fan of Robert Bateman, Lanford Monroe, T.Allen Lawson, Michael Workman…my list goes on…
Q: What are your favorites books on painting techniques?
A: Over the years I have bought many books and art catalogs. I learn so much from just studying the images. When I first started painting still life, I found Helen Van Wyk’s books were very helpful. Even though she is not the world’s best painter, she is an awesome teacher! Her books and videos are really helpful for traditional still life painters. I also love the how-to books by Richard Schmid, David Leffel, and flowers by Patricia Moran. Kevin MacPherson’s plein air book is a good one.
Q: What has been your most unique tool in creating art, non traditional tool?
A: As a traditional painter it has been fun to loosen up by using a putty knife! I have enjoyed getting random effects with it. http://www.finearttips.com/2011/10/painting-with-a-putty-knife
Questions from Julie, Ari, Keith, Dave Fry, Linda Schrader, Joy Argento, Connie Bennett, Lara, Jason Catiis, @sirensidyll
Q: What do you do to start a painting?
A: For a landscape painting, I usually have a small plein air painting as reference along with photos I’ve taken. I sometime manipulate the photos with Pixlr.com to help add some creative ideas. When painting a still life, I am either inspired by the vase, color idea, shape or the bird. Once I know my subject I begin on a gessoed surface. I prefer painting on linen on board. I usually tone the linen with an acrylic underpainting.
Q: Is there any object you start out with first?
A: Since I primarily paint in oils, I usually block in the darks first and work from there. In the landscape I tend to work from the background to the foreground, and with the still life I like to mass in my vase/subject and then block in the background around that.
Q: Do you start all of your paintings the same way?
A: I like to experiment with different underpaintings, surfaces, and textures. But, when I am really crunched for time, I do have a ‘system’ of working that is efficient to get the job done.
Q: Do you sketch out your idea?
A: Over the years I had gotten a bit lazy about sketching until this past fall. Now, I sketch out my ideas before beginning a painting. I do a few thumbnails sketches and often surprise myself with the composition I choose.
Q: What is your favorite surface to paint on?
A: For years I painted directly on acrylic gesso on hardboard. Lately, I have been mounting acrylic primed gesso to hardboard or gatorboard. I will also paint on deep edge canvases for larger pieces.
Q: Do you see the completed painting in your mind when you start it?
A: Yes, I usually do see the finished painting but I always allow myself room for happy accidents and spontaneous changes.
Q: Do you paint over pictures or do you keep all of your work (ie canvases)?
A: I am rather ruthless with old, unsold paintings. I will cut them down, or re-stretch, sand and re-gesso them! They usually turn out much better…
Q: What time of day are you most creative?
A: I usually take care of business things like emails, social media, etc in the mornings and paint in the afternoons and evenings. I have always enjoyed painting in the quiet of the evenings.
Q: What brands of canvasses, paints to you use?
A: I have just discovered Claessens acrylic primed linen and love it! I bought a large roll and I glue it to Gatorboard. It has helped my painting quality jump up a notch. I bought my linen through Blick:http://www.dickblick.com/products/claessens-universal-primed-linen-canvas-rolls/
For years I painted in acrylics and I still use them for underpaintings. But, I have been primarily painting with solvent free paints for 20 years. I have tried all the brands and find Cobrahttp://cobra.royaltalens.com to have the best pigment strength. You can get them through Blick :http://www.dickblick.com/products/royal-talens-cobra-water-mixable-oil-color-sets
Q: How do you get in the groove to paint?
Please click here to continue reading the rest of the Blick Facebook chat.
*I’d also love to meet you on my Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page, on Twitter, Google Plus, and on Instagram lorimcneeartist. Be sure and check out my boards on Pinterest! Please checkout my art too LoriMcNee.com and my fine art prints and notecards. ~Lori