My story of art, music, cartoons and this website.
I am not a natural born artist. I’ve been drawing all my life, but not without great effort. There are teenagers who can draw and paint circles around me, even now. I am not jealous or envious, because I have a fire under my fanny that drives me to do what I do. Always striving to get better and better.
When in junior high and high school the schools provided art classes, but because they were taught by non-artists, for example a physical education teacher and a ceramics teacher, they didn’t really care about art, and didn’t bother to teach the basics, or even how to draw or paint. It was mainly a place to do homework for other classes or gossip about teenage crap. Tempera paint in high school, really? Ok, so my side of town was less affluent, whereas the richer side the students were taught how to oil paint real pictures. Still, that is no excuse. They gave maybe a five minute lecture about some crappy artist from days gone by to fill the tax quota on Monday, and then let you go free to do whatever. Tempera paint on typing paper, what is this kindergarten? Yeesh. Here’s a tree and a sun, can I stick it on the refrigerator? Public education can take a flying leap.
On to college. It was an extension of crappy high school education. The teacher provided a piece of popcorn and said, draw it on a large piece of 24×18-inch paper, and did whatever in class. No instruction, no help whatsoever. Second semester was the same. Where do you begin such an odd request? How do you start to draw? In college, I still didn’t know anything about art! Yea, I didn’t finish college, but could you blame me? I was paying out of my own pocket, working full time at a gas station, and wasn’t learning anything except how to be deeply frustrated!
There was no Youtube back then, and the artists on the public television stations only showed up during school hours. There were libraries, but were anemic in the art department.
I purchased acrylic paint. I learned every aspect to acrylics, taught, and sold acrylic painting. I lived and breathed acrylics. Even wrote a book called Learn Acrylics in Five Days! But found it difficult to convince art collectors that acrylics were Kosher, and acrylic students were a little less apt to learn the craft.
If I heard “That’s a great painting, but it’s plastic” one more time I would have probably gone ballistic.
In lieu of furthering my college education, I sought out oil painting artists with what I thought was fantastic art, and paid them the amount I would have paid for in a college class to teach me how they paint. For one month, for three hours, every weekend. Some were better at teaching than others. But an aspiring artist approaching you from out of nowhere is a little odd, I know. But I had learned what I liked, and learned what I hated.
What I hated, is that more than half of the teachers stated they were teaching me oils of the old masters… but used acrylics as their base coats and under paintings. OK, call me ignorant, but I don’t think they used acrylics in the 16th century… What are you using to teach me really? All of them – Helen Van Wyk’s book Welcome to My Studio. Seriously… this whole time, hundreds of dollars and you all have been teaching me from freaking TV painter?!? It wasn’t even Johnnie Lilliedahl!
I was so mad at that point, I put away my brushes for about three years.
At the same time, my computer was having software issues. A new computer was absolutely necessary, but wasn’t able to wrap my head around paying $1700 for a Macbook, plus $50 per month for Adobe tax, and another who knows what for a Wacom tablet. The iPad Pro with the pencil just came out… There is a God.
I turned to cartooning and graphic art full time, playing guitar part time. Snootle was comic strip that had been updated off an on since 2004 at Snootle.com. I wrote two books; Snootle and Snootle In: How to Treat Your Puppy, both of which came out in 2018. It was a great run, but it is back to updating only every so often, I needed to get back to painting.
I started with watercolors in the spring of 2018, and started to seriously build this website. It took about three months of countless hours at the easel, with tears shed to get remotely to where I was before in terms of art quality. I chose watercolors because it didn’t have as bad of connotations from my past art experiences, and also, most of my old oil paints dried up.
During the summer of 2018, I decided to go back to oil painting on my terms. I didn’t want anything to do with volatile paint thinners, and nor did I want to wait three weeks for a picture to dry. I chose a limited palette of oil paints that were quick drying. They were regular tubes of oils, but some colors naturally dry faster than others. I had figured out ways to paint with oils and clean equipment without the use of paint thinners, but still have the stability of a traditional oil painting.
This is where Colorful Easel comes in. I have always had an art website of some sort. So many in fact, some executive at Go Daddy probably bought a fancy car with all the money I gave them. So, why is this site different from ArtoftheCosmos.com, LearnAcrylics.com, PaintingJournal.com, CanvasVision.com, or the myriad of other websites?
Much like painting, websites too are telling of stories, the paths taken, the evolution, progress, and personal growth of the author who created them. ColorfulEasel.com is just that. It is about the journey of art and music, and how to get through the trials and celebrate the triumphs.