EBSQ Blogger of the Week: Gwen Bell

This weeks EBSQ blogger takes her inspiration from the world around, including everyday objects. Paint brush in hand, she brings to life a bowl of fruit, a loved pet, and a child’s amusement. It’s impossible not to smile when browsing her diverse portfolio!

Who and where are you?

I am a self-taught artist living in Dallas, TX.  My family has lived in Dallas for 5 generations so I feel very rooted here. My 2 sons are grown and I am now in a position to commit to full time painting. I am relatively new to Fine Art Painting. My background is in Commercial Art which is an entirely different animal. A little over a year ago I began pursuing Art for Art’s sake, experimenting with style and small goals of moving my work forward.

Green & Blue, 6X6, oil on masonite

How did you get started art blogging?

I read an article in the newspaper about a local artist who was a “Daily Painter”. It mentioned her Blog and how it has been instrumental in her art career. I had never heard of either Daily Painting or Blogs so I Googled them and discovered an exciting new world. Blogging has been such a wonderful experience! I initially thought of my Blog as a way to track my progress but soon discovered that it was a doorway to a very supportive, encouraging community of Artists.
My Blog has also become my best marketing tool. The majority of the paintings I sell are sold through the Blog. I make sure to have a Paypal Button on all posts making it convenient for viewers to purchase a piece. Many of the commissioned pieces I’ve received have also been through Blog contacts or Followers. I do not have a website so I use my EBSQ Profile/Portfolio as a Portfolio for my clientele.

Marbles, 10 X 10 oil on masonite

Any tips for other EBSQ art bloggers?

The most important tip is: Post Consistently & Post Often! Blog Followers like to see something new, grow bored very quickly and move on if there isn’t something new to see. I rarely let a week go by without posting something new. If I don’t have a new painting I will post an older one and write something witty about what is going on. I always keep the subject Art related. After all, it is an ART Blog, not a Facebook page.
I consider my Blog a very valuable marketing tool and treat visiting and commenting on other Blogs as part of my “job”. I currently have over 211 Followers and try to visit as many of their Blogs as I can and always leave a comment. Over the course of a month I will visit all of them. I also have Favorite Blogs that I comment on each time they post. I never know who reads their comments and who will click on the icon by my comment and discover my work. Many of my Followers found me through other Artist’s Blogs.
I attempt to trade links with my Favorite Bloggers. More links equal higher hits on search engines. I choose Artists I admire and who have a lot of Followers themselves. I never ask someone to link me. Instead, I contact them, compliment their work and ask if I may link them to my Blog.  I find many times they will reciprocate by linking me to theirs.

Lemon Basil, 6 x 6 oill on masonite

What’s your musical inspiration of choice when you’re working in your studio?

I listen to Pandora.com. It is an amazing site where you can program your own music stations. I keep the sound low, and depending on the mood, will listen to soothing Ambient Spa Music/Nature Sounds, Alternative Rock or Old 60’s-70’s Bubblegum. Regardless of the Genre, there must be music when I am creating!

Tea & Quackers, 6X 6 oil on masonite

What’s coming next from your easel?

I seem to be settling on Still Lives. I have recently changed my painting surface from Primed Masonite to Raymar Canvas Panels. I like the hard surface and the tooth of the canvas, plus, unlike Masonite, it is Archival quality. I love the square format. Although I will always paint the 6 X 6 size for my Blog, I would like to start doing some 16 X 16 & 20 X 20 paintings with the goal of showing in Galleries.

http://gwenbellsdailypainting.blogspot.com/

Thank you Gwen for the an EBSQ Blogger of the Week!

If you are an EBSQ Artist and would like to be considered for Blogger of the Week just add us to your blogroll. I’m searching EBSQ profiles weekly for links to artist’s blogs. If you aren’t an EBSQ Artist, what are you waiting for?

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EBSQ Spotlight on Still Life: Colleen Brown

This month’s featured gallery is Still Life. A still life is a collection of inanimate objects depicted in an artistic composition and is a genre that has always been a staple for artists. Setting up a still life is an exercise in composition. Painting or photographing the composition is an exercise in technique. The result of these efforts is a work of art. Throughout the month of January, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of EBSQ’s still life artists.

Colleen Brown

Oranges Too - Colleen Brown

In the early years of my art career I didn’t paint still life, I painted landscapes and people.  My attraction to still life came about initially through geographic relocation and enforced confinement to my house due to extreme weather conditions.  The people in my house were also not willing to sit still as long as a piece of fruit, a vase of flowers or a teacup and saucer.  Further, I love the absolute control I have over elements such as lighting, cast shadows, colour palette and textures.  My current works in still life are largely representational and aesthetic rather than delivering symbolic messages about material decay and the futility of worldly life exhibited by 17th century Vanitas or Memento Mori paintings.  Although, I find that as I continue to grow in my art, I am looking to incorporate more meaning and gesture rather than merely making pretty paintings.  I try to live a simple life, but endeavour to share my vision with others of how the simple, everyday things we take for granted can also become the beautiful. – Colleen Brown

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EBSQ Spotlight on Still Life: Torrie Smiley

This month’s featured gallery is Still Life. A still life is a collection of inanimate objects depicted in an artistic composition and is a genre that has always been a staple for artists. Setting up a still life is an exercise in composition. Painting or photographing the composition is an exercise in technique. The result of these efforts is a work of art. Throughout the month of January, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of EBSQ’s still life artists.

Torrie Smiley

Cherries and Shadows - Torrie Smiley

What do I find compelling about Still Lifes is such a hard question to answer! I had to really think about it and what I discovered, to my amazement, is I love still life paintings. So many times when I set up to paint just for fun, it is still life. Landscapes and portraits seem like work.

When visiting galleries, I always gravitate toward the still life paintings. The different compositions- the setup, the lighting, the everyday objects depicted in a way to capture your imagination. The differences in technique can make the same still life look so different. I love detailed realistic still life and at the same time enjoy loose impressionistic still life paintings.

I often find myself looking at everyday objects the way the light is hitting it, the random placement, and immediately I think “that’s a painting”. I was in eating at a restaurant in Ohio not long ago and from across the room I saw their water table set up, the light was hitting it in such a way it was beautiful. I immediately grabbed my camera and discretely took several photos.

I guess what I am randomly trying to say is, I never set out to be a still life painter – my brain just led me that way. – Torrie Smiley

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EBSQ Spotlight on Still Life: Gwen Bell

This month’s featured gallery is Still Life. A still life is a collection of inanimate objects depicted in an artistic composition and is a genre that has always been a staple for artists. Setting up a still life is an exercise in composition. Painting or photographing the composition is an exercise in technique. The result of these efforts is a work of art. Throughout the month of January, we are going to take a few moments to catch up with some of EBSQ’s still life artists.

Gwen Bell

"Fresh Limes - Framed" - Gwen Bell

Just over a year ago I started on my Daily Painting journey.  Initially, I could not decide on a subject and found myself struggling to find focus. Gradually, I settled on Still Life.  I find the convenience suits my needs better than gathering photos from my daily activity and I also enjoy having control over my subject—the positioning, the lighting, the combination of objects. I have no Art Education, but after painting Still Lives for a year I understand why so many Master Artists chose Still Lives for their subjects.  An inanimate object with its hard edges and strong values can be very challenging.  Now, when I do have the occasion to paint animated subjects I find them to be much easier than they used to be and I know it is because of the difficulty of painting Still Life and the beneficial lessons I’ve learned from it.  In the beginning, many of my paintings were done from photo references but now I try to paint from life as much as possible. The way the light hits a 3D object is so magical and cannot be fully captured in a 2D photo.  I prefer to paint in an Alla Prima Impressionist style on Masonite primed with a black base. The majority of my canvases are small and painted in a square format which works well with the centered cropping I like. While I do not always meet my goal of finishing a painting daily, I try to paint a little every day and never tire of the endless challenges and surprises that Still Life offers. – Gwen Bell

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Simon Sez: Fruit – Oh Yeah, we have a winner!

This week’s Simon Sez winner is Noelle Hunt. Everyone had fun with Simon’s – aka  Muriel Areno, choice of fruit as her theme.  Noelle’s winning photograph was a fun alteration of another photograph entered by W. Kevin Murray. Muriel said “While Kevin’s image was awesome as always (love the shadow!), it’s Noelle’s thought process that won me over.” To see Kevin’s entry, as well as all the other entries, head over to the EBSQ Forum and look for “Simon Sez: Fruit” in Challenge Central under Members Groups, Challenges & General Art Discussions.

Noelle Hunt
Noelle Hunt

If you want keep up with Simon Sez, be sure to go to the EBSQ Forum and check Challenge Central. Challenge Central is the place to check on current and past Simon Sez challenges – complete with all the entries, as well as all other EBSQ Challenges.

Congratulations Noelle! We look forward to your turn as Simon.

Simon Sez: Fruit

Simon Sez: Fruit. This week’s Simon is Muriel Areno. She chose fruit as the theme for this week’s Simon Sez and here’s why: “After loading up on carbs all winter, I am craving luscious, juicy fruit.  Show me what you’ve got! Fruit in any form, on or off the tree, cooked, whatever. Any medium, 5 max. Here are some Pinot Noir grapes from my native Champagne to start you off. ”

Muriel Areno
Muriel Areno

All Simon Sez challenges are open to everyone. To enter  Simon Sez: Fruit and to see  more than just the above entry,  simply go to the EBSQ Forum, find Member Groups, Challenges & General Art Discussions and then go to Challenge Central. All the challenges past and present – including Simon Sez, can be found there.