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30 DAYS OF ART

30 Days of Art Challenge

DAY#1

Life Sketch by Andrew Gable

I have been contemplating doing this now for a while where i challenge myself to a walk a 30 days of art process where i publish something NEW i have created that day

to my social media. Initially i thought this would be a great way to share more of my art, art process, and Myself, as well as pushing myself to create new art each day. This is a quick sketch i did of my partner as we were in a cafe enjoying an afternoon coffee. For Christmas this year I asked for a small sketchbook that I could carry around in my pocket, so here is the first time I cracked it open!

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY#2

Today i worked on my orca painting. I had painted in some water ripples the previous day but wanted to restructure the flow of the ripples at the top of the painting. I had painted in 4 ripples initially but thought 3 would be better to slow the feel of the painting down a bit. So worked on that today.

Work in Progress – See More Like this in Wildlife Paintings Section

 

Day #3

For todays Art Share, i pulled a tarot card as a jumping off point and pulled the word “Conditioning” which showed a Lion surrounded by and covered in sheep. From there i observed how sometimes “conditioning” for me is like being covered and surrounded within and without by strings of memories, thoughts, pictures, emotions where you kind of have to start with one of those strings and begin untangling all the threads by just taking one point and walking it into understanding.

imaginative drawing in my sketchbook – See More Like This in Drawings Gallery

 

Day #4

Here i show some raw video of me applying a wash layer of green to the foreground of my painting. I would eventually take this further into the piece to create the affect that the Orca is submerged into his environment. As i get to know acrylics more i have naturally gravitated to using washes as a method to build the painting. Something that i never really did with oils.

 

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The Secret To Becoming An Artist

Original Drawing By Andrew Gable

 

My Expressive Period.

Throughout my process as an artist my style of the work I do has shifted, changed, and evolved. In retrospect I can begin to see specific phases and stages of the development of my art, and within that I can see the particular “values” that I was holding during those years that ultimately ended up shaping and forming the work. One such “value” that I see in looking back over the artwork that I have created during the years that is quite a prominent thread running throughout almost all my work is the point of “Expression”. Now in one period in particular I can see this point of expression was quite dominant and andrew gable artI held to be of the utmost importance when I created my work. I remember during this time that I would never pre-plan anything. My focus at the time was simply “creating in the moment” as a result I would be preparing my canvases and I would have no idea what I wanted to paint, but that this was done on purpose, and as such it was a kind of a rule. So, the rule, was that “I have no rules”, lol. This aspect has changed throughout the years, but I still do see it existing within me and it still does come up in the creating of my work in varying degrees. I can never recreate work I did in the past. It was specific to my beliefs, values, and situation at the time. My theory during my ‘Expressive Period’ was that I couldn’t use “I don’t know what to paint” as an excuse not to do art. In fact this reminds me of a very influential statement I read when I was around 16 or 17 years old that struck a chord within me and that would in a lot of ways serve as inspiration, direction and motivation for my art in the proceeding years, and even today, this statement I read at that time is still a part of me.

original drawing by andrew gableThe statement came from an Italian Renaissance workshop by way of conversation between the Master artist and his curious apprentice. Perhaps maybe the inquiry of a young Michelangelo or Leonardo. The young artist was curious about what made a great artist and what the secret was. The Masters response was grounded, and sober. “Draw Every Day Without Fail”…..When I read this, I stopped in my tracks. I realized the simplicity of becoming effective at art or anything that one wants to do. This statement was so inspiring to me and supported me during my early development and beyond which in part was why I adapted a way of working where I would not allow “not having good ideas” as a reason or justification to not create art.

 

So I would simply paint, whether I had a ‘good’ idea or not, or no idea at all. This allowed me to move through drawings that were very much free-flowing and expressive.

As adults we tend to get stuck in patterns, and hardened into routines and ways of being and doing things where if you observe a child, they are much more free and expressive and not so hung up on if what they are doing is right or wrong or what other people think about it, they just express, unconditionally, and so for me during my expressive period, my art was unconditional in a way, I was just exploring and expressing as an artist.

View my Drawings Gallery

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Inside The Artists Studio Update

Stone Carving, Andrew Gable, in progress

Today I worked on a new project that I started yesterday. It’s an alabaster sculpture of a sitting polar bear. My first one in this sitting pose. The alabaster is nice because it is a softer stone which allows me to work more with hand tools if I so chose. Sometimes I will spend some time shaping with a small rasp because in these moments, I can just turn the power tools off and slow and quiet things down for a moment. I especially do this while working on the faces of the animals that I carve.

 

stone art andrew gable
I was also finishing up another Custom project this week of a Samoyed dog sculpture where the clients wanted some stone inlays done and so I was busy with that this week which can be quite a tedious process.

Other than that I have been spending some time in the evenings after carving re-designing my website, aligning it in a way that is current and representing WHO I AM at the moment in my life and in my career. I have done this so many times, maybe 6 or 7 times since I first put my website live in 2012. The website is really an ongoing, ever-evolving process.

So this has been an interesting time for me as I continue to explore different directions with my art where lately I am pushing in a few different directions to see which one of these gets some traction. That is honestly what I like about being an Artist. I like the diversity and range of things that goes into doing this professionally where at this stage consists of carving stone during the week, and then doing some drawings on the weekends or in the evenings. Also, I work quite closely with the gallery that sells my sculpture, and I usually spend 1 day a week on the gallery sales floor speaking to customers and packaging any recent sales that I have had. Then in my spare time, I will work on my website, adding content, writing blogs, sharing photos, and doing my social media stuff. There is quite a lot to maintaining an engaging digital profile as an artist which I am still getting the hang of but find it deeply creative. Doing my online work is quite interesting to me because the internet is vast and it is a great place to showcase artwork as well as being able to interact and engage with people who are interested in my Art. Ultimately it is my goal to make sure that anyone that ends up on my website or any of my art pages, knows that there is a Real Human on the other side and not some ‘automated robot marketing machine’ which I think could actually be beneficial to have as a particular personality suit hat one has in ones closet to wear strategically enough to encourage sales of the work. But for me, one who has always been more of a recluse, I see its as important to really share who I am though my media channels so people that like my work can get to know me on a more personal level.
Okay, just thought I’d do a quick update from Inside the Artists Studio.

stone sculpture, contemporary art by andrew gable

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Embracing Selling Your Art – The Final Stage of the Creation Cycle

 

original art for sale

One important part of my creative process as an artist is the part where I actually have to sell the work that I make. To me, in this day and age, selling the work is an important part of the creative cycle that initially begins with the conception of the work, then moves into the actual creation of the art work, and then finally closes upon the sale of the work,  which then fuels the next creative cycle to begin.

Selling my artwork wasn’t something I became interested in until about 5 years ago around which time I realized how selling the work was actually a part of the creative process in itself.

For me, learning to sell my work has been quite an education process.

3 years ago, I started working closely with an Art Gallery which represented my sculptural work. After a few months of working with the gallery, I began spending some time on the gallery sales floor selling the work in the gallery and selling my own work. That is, if I was able to.

I was so nervous in the beginning, and still to this day, I am still very much learning the whole sales process and how to do this effectively and with integrity. But those early days, whenever a customer would walk into the gallery, immediately within myself a surge of anxiety would shoot up into what felt like my entire body, and I would freeze and go into a fear. Now from the outside you might not notice this happening, but it was quite an internal experience to have happen each time someone walked into the gallery. But during this time, I had already made a decision within myself to Learn how to sell my art and so fundamentally I understood that this meant walking through that fear/anxiety experience. In practical terms, this meant, moving myself out from behind my desk, even though there was a ball of anxiety in my chest, and walking over to greet the customer. Often times the words coming out of me initially were a bit shaky, but It was actually a cool process to walk through what seemed like such an extensive amount of anxiety to within minutes be able to be standing there chatting with customers about the work feeling much more relaxed, calm, and stable, within myself. That anxiety and fear would eventually just go away once I pushed through that initial intensity of it and just say ‘Hello’ to the customers that walked in, and then push myself to start talking them about what ever I could find or just make up to get the conversation moving. Ultimately, it was my job now to make conversation, and so I just would dive in and start talking often, having no idea what I was about to say. I remember one instance where my words were so jumbled I couldn’t even understand what I was saying, but I just smiled, and they smiled, and I just moved on, and found some other point to communicate about.

I just knew that, getting over this anxiety was something I had to do and in the moment, the only way I knew how to do that was to just walk through it and face my fear in a way.

I have become much more comfortable over the past 2 years in speaking and interacting to customers but I definitely do see still emotional reactions that I can support myself to overcome.

Ultimately, I really enjoy the whole sales aspect of creating art and would encourage any artist out there to embrace this side of the creative process.

Original Drawing - Tree of Life by Andrew Gable

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Embracing Myself and Embracing The Art I Make

 

Studio Wide View

 

So I am in the process of re-designing my website…….again. I have re-designed and re-aligned my

Fire - Original Drawing by Andrew Gablewebsite probably 10 times over the past 4 years since I put it online for the first time. To be honest, I find creating the website just as fun and engaging as creating the artwork to go on it.

This time around I am doing something that I haven’t yet tested out, and that is, to include ALL of my artwork. What I mean, is that you can now find my drawings, my paintings, and my sculpture all included on my website where previously I have tested out focusing on just one or two of those areas.

20150126_153738I initially tried separating my work because I found it to be quite contrasting, however at this stage, I am rather more embracing those differences which is actually all coming from ME anyways which means it IS ME, and so I have decided to simply include ALL of me into my website this time around. I hope this will also make the overall experience more enriching for myself and for those who come onto my website.

Recently, I also carved my second figurative piece where my main focus with my sculptures is wildlife. This again, is me simply testing out new ways to make art and not to pre-judge it, which really just prevents it from coming into existence so best to just do it and see what the response is.

And man, the inner talk I had going on as I walked this process of doing my second figurative sculpture was quite a lot and I had to often just collect myself, center myself and continue the carving process even though  a part of me just wanted to abandon it.

So Overall, as I walk my process with art, I am at the moment practicing embracing MORE of Myself and stopping that whole tendency to want to edit and control myself which in some ways is just based on Self Judgement.

I finished the figurative piece, and find it to be quite interesting, and already have more ideas to do more of them. So, I am grateful I didn’t allow my own self judgement prevent me from trying something new here.

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Using Photo References and The Meaning of Life

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Why I use photo references.

When I carve my wildlife sculptures I will use allot of photo references. I get my images from the internet of the specific species of bear I am working on in different positions.

Essentially I am getting as many angles as possible so that I can understand how to sculpt the animal in 360 degrees.

When you creating a painting you only need one angle because a painting is flat, and so you only need one angle. Painting is a different process than sculpting. There are similarities but there is differences also.

When I started carving I decided to use photo references in my process because I wanted to understand the accurate way to sculpt the particular animal I was working on. I have spent years working from memory or ‘no references’ and seeing what kinds of expressions come from that. I have spent years working directly from life doing life drawing and life painting and seeing what kinds of expressions come from that.

One thing I have noticed is that when you work from ‘imagination’ you are working from a picture. You are working from a picture in your mind. That picture in your mind was formed from all the pictures of the particular point you are referencing throughout your life. So, then, what is the difference between using a photo reference that you hold in your hand versus using a photo reference that you hold in your mind.

I have found that my mind tends to be a bit more transient where to hold a physical photo reference really helps grounding me in the information I am looking at where in the mind it seems the information I can extract is less specific and I lose sight of the image easily.

So maybe it is a question about access?

Accessing the information you have acquired where for instance I have found I am not able to access as much detail by looking at an image in my mind versus looking at an actual photo.

Now this brings me to the point of DIRECT SEEING.

One point that I am practicing when I use photo references is ‘Direct Seeing’

People have the tendency to ‘interpret’ things. But within this often the ‘truth’ get lost. Throughout the last 7 years of my life, I have more and more aligned myself with DIRECT SEEING. This Direct Seeing process actually has little to do with art. It has more to do with my real life and who I have become within my real life, and the CONSEQUENCES that INTERPRETATION has had on this World, and so I have recognized for myself the value and imperative for DIRECT SEEING rather than Interpretation where Interpretation is EASY. It is something that we do all the time. Have you ever read a news article where you kind of just scanned and jumped your way through the article to get the general gist of what was being said. That is Interpretation. DIRECT SEEING would be to read the entire article thoroughly and to understanding completely what was being said. I see the later as more valuable and substantial to the human being and human development.

One reason I have aligned myself with DIRECT SEEING and practicing this within my life is because I have realized how little I actually know about myself, and how LIFE FUNCTIONS where for instance from my perspective, the fact that we don’t actually know where we come from as Life is a result of a kind of INTERPRETATION, of not bothering to look at the facts. I realized that in my late 20’s that I had no idea how I created myself. I had thoughts, and emotions and experiences existing within me and I had no idea where they came from, and from a certain perspective I found myself overwhelmed by what was going on inside of me and so I began a process of DIRECT SEEING, of pushing myself to SEE HOW THINGS REALLY WORK, and stop trying to fill in the gaps with interpretation where you don’t actually understand the functionality of something but rather have an incomplete picture yet you have convinced yourself you understand. As a result, we LOSE DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLE of ourselves as human beings, as creators, because we don’t know how we work.

So I began to align myself with practicing DIRECT SEEING – Seeing what is really in front of me.

Another example is in communication, when you interpret someone’s words or – here’s a good one – where you create an IDEA in your mind about someone, like someone you like but have never really talked to at length, and then you think you really like this person, but then you finally go and talk to them and who they really are is NOT AT ALL what you interpreted and made-up in your head. So Interpretation is essentially just ‘making things up’. And I see this as making things up based on the information YOU ALREADY HAVE, and so from that perspective you don’t LEARN anything new, you just “Interpret” which is an expression of using what you already have and forming a particular opinion or idea or form.

So when I began carving 2 and half years ago, I used photo references to start to build up my information base of the animals I carve. I did not want to “make anything up”

I questioned what information I would use to fill in the gaps for instance when I was carving a bear and I didn’t have a direct reference for something like the back of the foot, or the shoulder. I could ‘make it up’ and it would probably look fine, and at times I do. But I at this stage push myself to understand the actual information and how it really works and fits together.

Look at the state of our world right now, wars, poverty, violence, everywhere, total destruction really. Yet no solutions on how to really go about fixing it. Most people have no idea how the system we live in functions or how money actually works, and i would challenge if those running the country even understand how things really work. Could anybody that truly understands how things work justify using violence against another life form as an apparent solution? To me, war and violence stems from a lack of understanding or ignorance of who we are as life, and so, I see DIRECT SEEING is important to start cultivating in this world to answer some of these problems we face.

So that is why I currently use photo references. Who knows, maybe someday I will lose the references and take the artwork in a different direction.

I am not to strict with myself. I am fine to interpret, but this must be a deliberate decision and not something done out of laziness.

When you write a research paper. It is important to do the research about the topic. If you do no research, you could probably write the paper but the content would likely be generalized and uninformative. This is the approach I take when I carve an animal. It is a research project, and I must do the research, about how the anatomy fits together.

Id like my projects to be expressive and Informative so I use photos as sources of information to utilize.

I also think that people respond better to ‘realism’ I think interpretation is easier and so that if I focus on developing a certain degree of realism that it will give me an edge in the art I make because I am actually creating something more ‘rare’ and so using photo references is also linked to this point of creating something that people will find valuable and see as unique. There is allot of art there, and I see ‘realism’ as a challenge that the minority of artists take on in their work. I don’t think it makes one persons art better or worse. Its a personal choice also of where I am at and what I see will benefit my own personal development and human being. For others, perhaps practicing letting go would be more beneficial to them in their lives and maybe someday I will be at that point, but for now, I focus on adding that dimension of realism to the sculptures I am creating.

So there is some insight into why I currently use photo references while I carve.

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My Creative Process for “Feareless”

SEE THE FINISHED PIECE HERE

 

Timeline

With this piece, the first thing I did was I actually cut and sanded a small portion of the stone to see what kind of stone it was. Then based on the different parameters such as stone type, color, size, ect, I decide what I am going to carve.

I was wanting to do another carving of a grizzly and after I noticed that this particular stone was brown alabaster I figured it would be perfect for a grizzly.

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Next I will decide what is the most effective way to utilize the stone to do the carving. Once that is determined I will cut a flat base which will be the bottom. I have learned over time that this stage is crucial. Doing a nice flat cut in the beginning will make sure all 4 legs of the bear will be firmly planted on the ground and will make the piece nice and stable in the end.

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I will often use a wax pencil to rough out a basic drawing of the pose. This is just a general guideline to get things started and to begin to get the size of the bear in place.
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Alright so here now I am starting to bring the shape out. With this guy and what I will do often is I will start to establish the face right away. I find the face can sometimes be the most intricate so I like to get started on this right away and start to lock it in. Once I have that in place, I can use it as a way to measure the ratios and proportions of the rest of the body.

Also during these early stages I am identifying any problem areas in the stone which would require me to alter the design. A problem area is like for instance a crack or fault that might end up breaking away later on.

Often the most fragile parts of the stone is the outer edges where once you start getting into the core of the stone its allot more stable.

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A Bear Emerges!

This is such a cool phase of the carving process where you start to see the character of the animal emerge. Here you can already start to see this guy coming out even after only a few cuts. At this stage I am working mostly with a 5″ diamond blade on a hand held grinder. This allows me to carve fairly quickly. I will explore different approaches to carving a piece where sometimes I move quickly and sometimes I will slow myself down quite a bit. This is to see the overall affect that this creates in the final piece. Whether moving fast or slow, I try and remain comfortable and natural in my movements.

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Okay I have the overall shape pretty much locked in. Now its just a matter of refining some areas before I get into polishing.

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Okay getting close now. I have the muscle definition pretty much where I want it and rounded off the feet. Next step is about 4 or 5 layers of sanding and polishing and then a coat of sealer and wax to shine and protect it.

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The final step before polishing is usually the nose, the eyes, and the mouth. I decided to keep the feet relatively simple for this guy.

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Done!

Looks Great.

Sanded, Polished and in the gallery. Really loved the patterning and coloration in the stone for this one. It kind of reminds me of pebbles or rocks or stones so thought this suited the rugged Grizzly Bear perfectly.

See you next time.

 SEE THE FULL PICTURE INVENTORY OF THE FINISHED PIECE HERE