My studio tour this weekend is open to the public. I’d love to have you stop in. Unfortunately, I’m not going to get a chance to put everything online before then–not even close. But, you can see a few things online. Click here to see the Shroud series. All but one will be on display this weekend. Click here to see the paintings I did on site in Israel. These will all be on display this weekend.
These will also be on display:
And there will be many others, including a few gems in progress. Stop in Thursday or Saturday from 6 to 9 pm.
In a previous post, I included a picture of the tiny blank panels I took with me to Israel. The reason for the trip was not primarily to create these little paintings, but rather to gather information and inspiration for a host of new paintings throughout the years to come. However, these little paintings were indeed fun to make–little bite-sized memories of my trip. By the way, you’re invited to come see all of these originals in beautiful custom frames at my next studio tour, May 17th and May 19th here at the house. Email me if you want an invitation to the studio tour.
The first painting I did was this one of the Sea of Galilee. It was beautifully misty most of the time I was there–at times, the far side of the sea wasn’t visible through the mist.
This little piece was painted from the Mount of Beatitudes, facing away from the Sea of Galilee. I imagined Christ walking these paths.
A tiny painting of the Mount of Beatitudes and the church that sits among the trees.
I loved this view from the Mount of Beatitudes. It was easy for me to imagine a large crowd of people gathered to listen to Jesus at this spot.
Nazareth is populated and full of traffic. According to Wikipedia, the population is 81,400, and mostly Arab. I took advantage of the traffic by snapping photos of people on the street from behind my tinted windows. School was just getting out, and there were hundreds of school children in school uniforms out in the streets.
I think I saw this woman near what is affectionately referred to as “crash corner”–an intersection with no stops or lights, where people have to force their way into the fray and hope they get across safely to the other side.
This young man was the shop keeper next to where I ate my first shawarma.
As I was painting this at Skull Rock, a lovely Arab woman began a conversation with me. The little tombstone poking above the top wall, which I was then painting, was her own grandfather’s tombstone. She was visiting from Chicago and stopped in to see Skull Rock and the tombstone. It turns out she lives just blocks away in Chicago from where my own mother was born and lived as a young girl.
This place is amazing. Really, a gorgeous facility.
People come to the Jordan River in droves to be baptized. Both of these were painted at Yardenit, just south of the Sea of Galilee.
I loved painting at the garden tomb. Stepping into the empty tomb was definitely a highlight of the trip.
I painted this view of the old city from a balcony at the Jerusalem Center.
One of the school boys in the street.
I was alone in the Synagogue at Capernaum, and then there was a beautiful moment when an African man dressed in the whitest white came in and started praying.
This was the second painting I began during the trip, but it took multiple sessions before the painting began to make sense. I’m still frustrated that I couldn’t quite capture the atmosphere and greenery of these orchards in Tiberias.
This view of the old city was painted from the lookout on the Mount of Olives.
Painted not far from the Golden Gate of the old city.
Painted not far from the Golden Gate of the old city. This church had some particularly lovely paintings inside.
This view was painted from inside the Augusta Victoria compound, where I was staying.
One of the highlights of the trip was painting this ancient olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane. They say these trees are over a thousand years old.
This scene happened at Peter in Gallicantu, where Peter is said to have denied Christ, and where Christ is said to have been held and scourged before being delivered into Pilate’s hands.
Okay, I’m turning the blog over to Amy today. Before you read it, though, you must know that I have imposed my creativity on Amy, to the point that she is now doing art shows on her own, of her own paintings. This Friday, 11am-2pm, at the downtown SLC Deseret Book, Amy will be the guest artist for the Lunch and Learn series. Pop in and say hi to her! Oh, and here’s her website.
And here’s Amy:
Married to Someone Creative? Join My Support Group!
by Amy Tolk Richards
Kirk asked me to write a blog entry about whatever I wanted. I’m not a strong writer, but I accepted the challenge because I thought it might be therapeutic for me, and maybe helpful to a few other artists’ spouses out there. We probably need to have our own support group (if you’re interested, let me know!). I’m married to a creative person who makes a living doing what he loves. On that note, I wish everyone could make a living doing what they love, and feel joy and purpose in the work they do each day. Some choose not to follow this course because they don’t want to ruin their passion by putting a price tag on their gifts and creativity, which they prefer to keep as a hobby or method of relaxation. Others choose not to make a living doing what they love because they believe it’s not possible, or that the sacrifice and burden placed on their family is too great.
Kirk and I have been creatively self-employed since our marriage in 1999. I came from a family with a steady and substantial income, from employment, and for me this new life was a shock. I knew nothing about business (I majored in History and English at BYU) and I had an extensive learning curve ahead of me. But, I recognized Kirk’s talents and believed the mountain of trial and error ahead of us was definitely worth the climb. I don’t pretend the path to where we are today was without great frustration and tension. I was quite out of my comfort zone, not knowing each year how much money would be coming in. My need and passion for planning the future was at times impossible to fulfill. I am someone who likes to be very involved in our livelihood–I can’t sleep well at night without having a hand on the pulse of our business. The unpredictability of our small business caused me strain, but simultaneously forced me to loosen up my need to control every detail of life.
In the beginning, I watched with envy and embarrassment as I saw my siblings and friends with more conventional career paths heading towards a certain, successful end. It was hard to stomach that our intelligence and hard work weren’t paying off as quickly, towards our uncertain end, as we forged a path of our own. Thank goodness we have been blessed to have encouraging and loving families who have been supportive along the way.
I decided I could contribute by learning about the business of art, and about how to run a small business. I took financial planning classes. We lived frugally and I tracked all our financial details. I also talked to other artists about the practical aspects of making a living. And Kirk, in addition to creating, wasn’t afraid to market his own work. We set up many of our own art shows and entered local juried shows.
Being business partners hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we are not just business partners, but we are also husband and wife! Add kids into the mix, and the juggling act gets pretty complicated at times. Since we work at home, it can be a challenge to separate work time and family time.
Our greatest asset (aside from Kirk’s talent) has been our patience. We were willing to live humbly and sacrifice for a better future. We kept our expenses low. We didn’t spend money on movies, restaurants, new clothes, or trips. My generous parents and siblings saw this and treated us to a few of these things along the way. Our income has grown slowly and steadily for thirteen years. Kirk’s more expensive work has gone from $10,000 a piece to $36,000 a piece. He has gone from finishing twenty paintings each year to finishing one hundred paintings per year. We’ve slowly been able to create a more comfortable lifestyle. We have control over our business and don’t have investors, etc. placing pressure upon us to compromise the integrity of the art. Kirk can paint what he loves, even if it is huge painting that doesn’t sell for five or ten years. Kirk has the flexibility to take artistic risks.
So, what’s my point? I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for all people and their creative spouses. This is just our own situation. Sometimes supporting someone’s creative gifts is a mission that pays off financially. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it pays off in other ways. I can definitely say, we have seen miracles along the way as we have stuck with our goals.
Was it worth it? For me, yes. I’m enjoying my education in the various facets of the small creative business. I’ve learned that patience is a powerful tool. It’s rewarding to see something work that we’ve put so much time and energy into, and have our kids close by to watch. Probably most importantly, I’ve seen the impact that Kirk’s art has had on many people. I’m not saying that the whole world is in love with Kirk’s artwork (although I think they should be ). When I see tears come to a viewer’s eyes at an art show or read emails about how an image has strengthened someone, I feel that our sacrifice has definitely been worth it.
I wish anyone else with a similar career path the best of luck and success.
My name is Amy and my husband has been a professional artist for thirteen years. Join my support group!
In preparation for my upcoming trip, I prepared all these small panels so I can paint scenes from Israel en plein air. If you’ve been, tell me where I need to go, so I don’t miss out on anything. Hopefully I’ll come back with a handful of nice little landscapes.
The title of this post is also the title of the painting pictured below. The painting depicts this scene from the New Testament, particularly verses 15-17.
The painting depicts the fishermen tending to their nets. The resurrected Christ urges them to leave their focus on worldly pursuits in favor of a spiritual ministry.
The sunrise in the background reflects off the water and is reminiscent of a sunset. As the sun sets on Christ’s mortal ministry, it rises on the ministry of his apostles, who will take on the challenge of growing His fledgling church. Their future service will reflect Christ’s past service.
The painting will be on display at the Church Museum of History and Art through October. Every three years, the museum hosts a competition, inviting artists all over the world to submit spiritually-themed artwork. This painting is my submission. There will be an opening reception this Friday, March 16th, from 6pm to 9pm at the museum. If you’re extra-interested, the event begins at 6pm with an awards ceremony in the Assembly Hall. It usually lasts about 45 minutes, after which the crowd in the hall moves over to the museum to view the artwork. The event makes a great date night if you like to people-watch and see some really great spiritually-themed art pieces.
I’ve included images of my painting in various stages of progress for those who are interested. The photography and lighting differs for each of these images, so a direct comparison is not easily made.
You can see in the working sketch how many different figures were drawn and re-drawn–looking for ideal gestures and positioning within the compositional rectangle.
Here’s the color sketch. I wanted to base the composition on a gradient of color–a smooth horizontal bands of color.
An early version of the painting shows the addition of bright red fire coals and a man on the right hand side. If I remember correctly, those were added to bring the viewer’s eye into the lower part of the composition and up around the right side, as well as to tell more of the scriptural story.
The bold red of the fire in the previous version was too strong–particularly when the painting is seen in person. This version punches up the contrast and saturation in the sun and sky while playing down the intensity of the fire. Unfortunately, I felt like those changes went to far. I also missed the nice flatness of color from the previous version.
In the final version I tried to bring back some of the flatness and boldness of the coals, emphasize a few things, and make other things more subtle.
In the end, none of these images are quite representative of the original. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit the museum and see the painting in person.
I found these two wooden carvings in Mexico. The gallery owner told me the heads were each originally attached to a cross, but he detached them. I think they are great stand-alone works of art. Actually I feel bad that the artist put so much work into these for such a tiny amount of money–I think I got the two of them for $50.