Saturday, January 14, 2017

“Secret Sycamore” Juried into American Impressionist Society National Small Works Exhibition

Secret Sycamore
12x9 oil
by Michael Chesley Johnson

I’ve just received word that my painting, “Secret Sycamore” has been juried into the American Impressionist Society Small Works Showcase National Juried Exhibition.   This is a "small works" show, so all the paintings will be 12x16 and under.  As many of you know, this is right up my alley!

Here are details:

AIS Impressions: Small Works Showcase
National Juried Exhibition
March 11-25, 2017
Opening Reception Saturday, March 11th 6 to 9pm
Randy Higbee Gallery, Costa Mesa CA
Judge of Awards: Peggi Kroll-Roberts AISM

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Relative Sizes of Images on Your Website

As I go through the process of designing my new website, I ask a couple of colleagues whose opinion I value for input.  One concern that came up recently has to do with relative image size.  One draft of my new site had painting images "hard-cropped" to a square format.  Such a grid has a clean, contemporary look to it, and I've seen many artist websites displaying their art this way.  However, because the crop is automatic and you have no control over what you crop out, it can dramatically change the painting's design.  What's more, the uniform squares give you no indication of a painting's true proportions.  My colleagues emphatically did not like this approach.  (Of course, you can always click on the thumbnail and get the large, uncropped version.) Here's how it looked:

My second option was a "soft crop," in which the longest dimension of the image is retained.  This way, both a painting's design and proportions are preserved.  Because this gives you a much better idea of how any individual painting looks, I've chosen to use this approach.  Here's how it looks:

But there's still a problem, a rather major one in my opinion, and I haven't seen it discussed in any of the literature.  Because you are reducing an image to fit a pre-defined box that is applied to all images, a painting that is 12" wide will look just as wide as one 24" wide.  This is not a problem if you are making square paintings, but it is a problem if you are trying to view 12x24 paintings next to 9x12s—as you can see in the above image.

Ideally, each image should be sized so it follows the same scale as its neighbor.  A 12x24 should look like it covers more real estate than a 9x12.  In the example below, I've chosen a rule of 12" = 400 pixels.   The 12x24 is 400x800 pixels; the 9x12 is 300x400 pixels.  They look just like they might on your wall (except for the orientation of the second painting.)  Here's an illustration:

Other than hand-tweaking every single image, I know of no way of doing this automatically.  In every image editor I've seen, you can either scale all images as a percentage or to fit a box of pre-defined dimensions (e.g. 400 pixels x 800 pixels.)  What's more, the web design software also has to be able to handle this solution and not impose its own. If anyone has a solution, I'd love to hear it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Demonstration for Arizona Pastel Artists Association

Photos by Judy Quimby

This past Sunday, I spent an afternoon in Phoenix demonstrating for the Arizona Pastel Artists Association at its monthly meeting.  What a welcoming and eager group!  About 40 members attended, and I got many questions about my materials, process and workshops.  For the demonstration, I was asked to show how I handle Sedona's famous "red rocks" – the best time of day to paint them, tips on plane changes and lighting, and what to do when a drawing goes bad.  I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with them and also meeting all the members.  I look forward to teaching a workshop for them in the future.  (And in the meantime, if you're a member reading this, don't forget I teach in Sedona now until mid-April!)

I want to take this opportunity to plug the Arizona Pastel Artists Association's very first national open exhibition.  Jurors of selection are Lorenzo Chavez and Terri Ford, with the Judge of Awards being Kim Lordier.  This is a top-notch jury, and it'll be exciting to see what they select for the show.  Plus, there are $5000 in awards!  Here are the details plus a link to the prospectus:

Arizona Pastel Artists Association 1st National Show
In Sedona, AZ 
April 13 through 25, 2017
Deadline is March 7, 2017
Jurists: Lorenzo Chavez and Terri Ford
Judge of Awards is Kim Lordier 
$5000 in Awards
Prospectus and Event Registration is on line at

I hope you all apply and help make the APAA's first national open a great success!

More Art & Painting Blogs | (List Culled Periodically of Non-Posters!)