Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Quitters Curse

The hardest undertaking in my art career so far and it isn't even artistic.

Quitting smoking is hard, now don't let me underplay it, it is incredibly damned hard. Even now as I sit here 2 months after quitting, I pause now and then as if to stop and reach for my cigarettes. I don't have any, and There is nothing to reach for, but the act of sitting here at my computer, is setting off triggers to old and terrible habits.

I realize this even more when I sit down at the easel. Every little pre-work action (which previously had been done while smoking) is another trigger trying to pull you back in. As soon as I enter my studio I am immediately hit with that feeling, which obviously means I need to back off. I am getting better and I have implemented a set of steps to conquer in order to get back to it, but that is taking just as long as quitting is.

Last week I went into the studio and just sat there for an hour. I didn't do anything. I didn't think about painting, I didn't think about setting anything up to record... I just sat there, and even that was difficult.

This week I am going through the motions of setting things up and then just taking it all back down. Just trying to make these things as second nature as the reaching for a smoke was. These are the steps I am having to take if I want to continue making art and doing a decent job at doing it.

What once was normal is now equivalent to discomfort and anxiety. (I just did the pause and reach thing again... see what I mean.)

I am hoping that sometime this week or next week I will be able to actually attempt to put something on canvas or paper, but I also think it still might be to soon. It is very frustrating and I hope that with time, I can learn to art again without these impulses.

So I would like to put it out there to you guys... Have any of you quit something you did while doing something else that has negatively impacted the something else? Would love to know if I am alone in this or not. (I know I'm not, but confirmation is pleasing... lol)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

AntiSocial Media

Is social media  becoming antisocial?

More and more it is becoming apparent that social media platforms are trying to think for us. They are constantly updating algorithms that take your interests away from you. You can see it happening all over the place, on many different platforms and if you ask me it is beginning to get out of control.

The first time I had realized this was on Facebook. When you have a page (not just a profile) on Facebook, it is your job to promote that page as best you can, but do you have the power to even do that anymore? The answer is no. Facebook has taken your power away from you and more and more they continue to make your page less visible to the people that like your page because they want to see your stuff. They limit who sees your work and only let it out to a choice few of your followers. If they randomly pick the few followers that are only lookyloo’s who do not like or comment, than your post is stuck in limbo waiting for another random follower to either come to your page and look for themselves, or maybe it gets dropped into their timeline at a later date… but the chances of that are slim.

Then Instagram started to do the same and people eventually started to notice they were not seeing everything, but only what Instagram wanted you to see. They followed the same example as Facebook, but without the monetary incentive Facebook uses to try and make you purchase views.

Well, now YouTube appears to be jumping on this bandwagon and is now slowly starting to limit views. I have started noticing that channels I follow are not getting put into my “subscription” feed. So I started checking around with other people I know and asked them if they were seeing this as well… and lo and behold, they are. How far will YouTube take it? Are they just limiting views or are they going to take it to the Facebook level?

One of the main reasons people use YouTube is the possibility that you can make some money down the road, (don’t even get me started on the 10,000 view thing) but what happens if YouTube eventually decides that it is you that should be paying them to let people that have subscribed to your channel get notifications from your channel?

Am I being an alarmist here? Maybe I am, but with the increasing amount of sites that are getting into the limiting business, shouldn’t I be worried about it? Are you?

Would love to hear your opinions on this, if you have something to say, feel free to leave a comment below.

For the record: YouTube actually started to do this back in 2012, but has recently made some changes that is making it far more active in its subscription hiding.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

LOST in Transition
"LOST in Transition"

18" x 24" Acrylic on Canvas
Available for purchase

This painting was a challenge indeed. Not just because it is not the painting I started out making, but because I was trying to film it and kept having tech problems as well.

All was going pretty well until the first glitch hit and my phone stopped recording. I lost a lot of the sky work to the gremlins and came back to it with this idea that I was done with the sky when I wasn't.

I then drew on my tree and afterwards realized I hadn't finished my sky to a low enough point. Originally It was just going to be a big green tree against a blue sky, but I had a horizon line to fill in and need the midground trees and bushes to fill that space. Having done that, I couldn't just drop a big green tree in front of them, even if it was good, it would be lost from a distance and we can't have that now, can we?

So this is where I decided to do the color shifting tree and abandon the idea of the summer green tree. Now I know that a tree with this much shift is near impossible, but I think that is what makes it striking. You might see greens and yellows or yellows and red / oranges, but you wouldn't often see all of them together and this is what I wanted to create.

All in all it is what it is and I had a blast doing it. I think it came out great and I hope to be making something new as soon as possible.

There is also a video on YouTube.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Joseph Finchum's AT/Art Thru-Hike 2018

Dear Family, friends, hikers, campers, artists, and travelers,

For a long time, I have had two real goals in life, basically the top two of my bucket list.

One is to make and sell art for a living... Making enough to support myself and not starve.

Two is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. (South Bound Yo! This is a SOBO hike, it’s a challenge not a party, not that I wouldn’t join a party.) This is something that I am constantly putting off; because of number one above as well as the fact that I am a stay at home care taker for my mother while my father still works his 9-5. He retires late in 2017 so I am shooting for a Spring 2018 start after I no longer have to be 24/7/365.
This is yet another camping excursion that takes the average person 5 to 8 months to complete. Hiking the trail in its entirety, 2,189.1 miles from Maine to Georgia. Living completely by mail drops and resupplies in towns all while carrying your home on your back. One stretch at the beginning of the trail requires you to carry 10 days’ worth of food, no stops along the way… at all.

Help Fund My Art Trip on the Appalachian Trail 

So a thought occurred to me the other day... "What if I combine the two?"
What if I could hike the trail and paint it along the way or quick sketch it or at the very least get the reference photos to paint them at a later date (off the trail) the former being the preferred method.
Well this would be an extremely daunting task for a few reasons.
From on top of Mount Katahdin In Maine
1) As an already struggling artist, money is always tight. I have most of the gear I would need already (I am an avid hiker camper) but adding the weight of painting supplies is slightly insane, there are also many specific costs along the trail that would be out of my reach at present, including water purification, permits, camping fees, emergency cash, shipping and handling food resupplies. The average hiker burns around 6000-9000 calories a day and replenishing that is costly. (Food man, Food!)

All the way to Springer Mountain, Georgia
2) The trail is long and hard and weight is always a factor in packing for this kind of hike. My gear without art supplies comes in at 29.66 lbs. w/o water, food, and fuel.  Adding that plus my current art supplies brings this up to a whopping 60-70 lbs. Calculations for the longest unsupported stretch.  This would be an absolute nightmare on the shoulders, back, hips, knees, ankles and toes while walking 2189.1miles. Carrying a lightweight plein air setup would be the optimal piece of gear, but this I do not have and most of my gear has never been used for longer than a weeks’ time, so weight wasn’t a considerable factor at the time. It also wasn’t lugged up 4,000+ foot mountains… and back down again… repeatedly... for months on end. (Ugh, it’s just like too darn heavy.)

3) Time is a factor as well when hiking the AT. The longer you take, the more it will cost. An average has been set at about $1.50-75 per mile. Stopping to paint along the way would add to that significantly. Cost goes up to around $3.00-$3.75 per mile.  $3.75 X 2189 = $8209.13

4) Going SOBO you have to start in some frigid but not freezing weather and walk smack dab face first into the summer heat and humidity of the North East and then into the South’s winter mountains.. So at some point, a different set of gear will need to be swapped out for lighter summer gear, and then back again. This requires shipping and receiving gear at some point along the trail, changing out clothing and sleeping bag for lighter and less bulky versions. These mailing costs are also part of the problem. 

The Appalachian Trail is 2,189.2 miles long

This is hopefully where my friends and family and strangers alike will help out. I am looking for donations to make this happen. Any small amount can and will help make this artistic adventure come true and inspire a whole series of paintings. If you have a buck or two lying around unused… please consider throwing it my way. I humbly ask for anything you can give, be it a dollar or a thousand, every penny counts.

So, what will the money be used for?

Help Fund My Art Trip on the Appalachian Trail 

$3000.00 will fund the trip end to end. (Taking reference photos only)

$5000.00 will make it not be as challenging and speed can be relaxed, making for an overall better experience. Allowing myself the ability to stop and take a zero day here and there to recuperate or rest an injury. (Injuries will happen.) Taking reference photos and sketching.

$7000.00 (a totally unreasonable amount I know) Will allow for improving gear and lowering weight overall, making the trip easier in the long run and more enjoyable, allowing for more time to get some art done on the trail. Taking reference photos and some painting or sketching.

$10,000.00 (Wow, I am really pushing limits here) would allow for ultra-light gear and the dreaded health insurance (something I have never had to begin with) while on the trail that would make life so much less of a risk. No one wants to get hurt but accidents happen and long miles can make one make mistakes, and mistakes cause injury. Uninterrupted phone service because being alone for that long is weird and last but certainly not least, the occasional stay at a place that has a shower and food meant for consumption by actual human beings. I’ll be painting and sketching throughout the entire journey.

Thanks to all those that help make a dream come true,
Joseph Finchum
2000’er Looking to get that SoBo Thru Hike done.

Help Fund My Art Trip on the Appalachian Trail

Saturday, October 29, 2016

No longer FREElance

Freelance isn't free anymore as New York City by a vote of 51-49 becomes the first city in the US to attempt to seal the deal for freelance workers.

The Freelance Isn't Free Act is the first bill passed in the US that will actually give freelance workers a legal right to uphold their contracts and I hope the rest of the US will follow suit. This is a great thing for artists as the client can not just worm their way out of paying for work done, as long as a contract was signed.

"The Freelance Isn't Free Act will make sure all workers can get paid for their work, on-time and in full," said Council Member and lead sponsor Brad Lander.

The bill also establishes a formal mechanism for the director of the Department of Consumer Affairs to enforce the labor rights of freelancers who are stiffed by employers.

While it still needs final signing by Mayor Bill De Blasio, but his staff has said that he is indeed in favor of passing the Bill.

This is long overdue in the US and I hope it gets its final approval as soon as possible.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

“Pumpkin Pile”

Just in time for fall I offer you my latest piece of art. This drawing/painting is a pile of pumpkins from my own reference that would look great on your wall.

This Color Pencil piece was made using (25+ year old) Prismacolor pencils… you know, when they were still good pencils, and blended with Mona Lisa odorless paint thinner. (a la Lachri)

I started by sketching out my subjects loosely but maybe a bit too much pressure, this was my first attempt with these materials and this was definitely a learning experience for me.

Then I added a single layer of my base orange colors with a little red orange thrown in for depth.

After this I blended the entire thing out to soften the look and really get that color onto the paper and into all that tooth, even though it was fairly smooth paper.
I then went in and added a second and third layer of highlights, shadows, and darks. While also making sure I was getting my lighting right and creating form.
Then I blended that out as well.

I then went in for a fourth and fifth layer that will not be blended softly. And give it those little details that finished it up.
After that I added where my highlights would be in a yellow orange and added some browns to where the shadowing was.

I hope you like the finished product and prints will be made available soon through Fine Art America and directly from Facebook.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Thinking Behind Thanking

Thank You GIF by Joseph Finchum
        I see a lot of artists on Facebook that post their artwork for others to see and comment on. They do this a lot, and they should, but what I don’t see is artist’s thanking those people who interact for the like or the comment or even for the view… if you know who it is.

     Now the reason to do this is not just to be polite, but to further your reach, being polite is just a side effect of this action. We all know or at least we should all know by now, that Facebook puts some limits on the reach of our posts. If you have 100 followers, Facebook will show that post to about 10 people. If only 1 person out of those 10 interacts with that post, it isn’t going to get out to that many more people after that, if it goes out to any more at all.

     But if you thank that person for their action… you have created another action, one that also reaches out. Friends of that person or rather, people that are not actively following you will see your post with that additional message of “Your Name” was mentioned in a comment or on a post. Now if those friends see your post and act on it in any way… you get a little more action on your post. It is a way of reaching back through your follower to their followers, which in turn can lead to new followers for you and if you are using Facebook for your art… you should.

So send out a thank you now and then and make sure you are tagging the person you are thanking, it can only work in your best interest… In my honest opinion.