NEW! Note Cards of Jeff’s most popular paintings

Embrace the lost art of sending a handwritten thank-you note. Show your appreciation to the people who make a difference in your life. A handy assortment of blank note cards make life simple, just drop it in the mail (and avoid that trip to the store), a thoughtful surprise for that special friend. They’ll remember that gesture, wouldn’t you? (Even better, bundle a set with a ribbon and give them as a gift!) 

(Mouse over/click on the image for number and title.)

$3.50 ea.    •   minimum order 6 cards/envelopes, card size 4 1/4 x 5 1/2

 

  •  6 cards: $21    (+$1.68 CA tax, $2,32 shipping)   $25 (within CA)
  • 12 cards $42    (+$3.36 CA tax, $3.64 shipping)   $52 (within CA)
  • 24 cards $84    (+$6.72 CA tax, $4.28 shipping)   $95 (within CA)
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Thank You!

Words That Paint Images: In Praise of Ivan Doig

urban landscape by Jeff Yeomans

afternoon bus 24×30 original oil
www.jeffyeomans.com

I love to read, especially when I find a book I can’t put down. Because when I do, I don’t paint, get other work done, or pay attention to the world. If I could make a living by reading, I might not have made art my career. But when I discover someone who’s writing puts compelling images and unforgettable characters in my mind, I can’t get enough.

So before a recent vacation, I bought a book to take in case of down time at the airport. The title is what caught my eye, “Last Bus to Wisdom” by Ivan Doig. It started out a little slow, but as I continued reading Mr. Doig “sank the hook.”

During a summer in the mid-1900s, a young boy in the midwest being raised by his grandmother gets shuffled off to another relative due to his grandmother’s illness. Traveling by bus, he encounters a series of characters that travel a distance and then depart, all providing the story’s wonderful series of funny, sad, riveting and ultimately life-changing experiences for himself and the wonderfully described people who pass into and out of his life. As in any good story, you become invested in him (and his well-being) and the inventive narrative of what becomes a twisted series of events is  believable and connected to this era following the great depression. I really didn’t want the book to end, I enjoyed it in so many ways.

I hope that in my lifetime, I can paint as beautifully as Ivan Doig writes.

After “Last Bus” I researched his work and found that there are about a dozen books that tell a wonderful series of connected stories about the mid-west and the immigrant families that settled there. I think that since Oct 2016 I’ve read about half of them. Surprising to me is that a Southern California surfer/artist, (me) has found that stories based in the mid-west more than 100 years ago  so compelling. Doig is a masterful, gifted storyteller. Sadly he passed away several years ago, but not before being recognized as an important American writer. His work is contemporary in a way that is timeless, about shared experiences, hardships, love and persistence. To me that describes what life (and even a good painting is about). Words, music, art and personal expression are integral to a life lived to it’s fullest. I wish I could personally thank Mr. Doig for his writing, but hopefully, sharing his work with you, my audience of friends and artists, will help grow his legacy and provide you the hours of enjoyment I’ve been fortunate to discover in his work.

I suggest you get on “The Last Bus to Wisdom.”

Laugh, learn, live….

Looking Back(wards)

I’ve found that as I go in search of the next exceptional painting, the harder I look, the more likely I don’t find what I think I went in search of. I often find what I’m looking for when I least expect it. I’ll turn around and start to head home and suddenly there’s a “eureka” moment. By looking back at what I overlooked going in a different direction, the light, the scene, the subject matter, something,reveals itself. There’s the painting, staring you in the face. Paint it, photograph it, do something… but don’t overlook it. The past was yesterday, the future is tomorrow, that’s why they call today “the present”. This painting is Catalina Island’s west end, far less visited than Avalon, Catalina’s main town. I found this view walking back to the Banning House after a long day of painting. It reminds me of how almost all of California’s coast looked 100 years ago. (Day 3 of the 7 day challenge from Robert Goldman.)

Hills at Two Harbors

Hills at Two Harbors

After Dark

santa barbara chevron  9x12 oil www.JeffYeomans.com

santa barbara chevron 9×12 oil
www.JeffYeomans.com

I like the challenges of painting night scenes. There’s something compelling about light and shadows that are a real challenge to paint well. I think Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks at the Diner” is one of the most well-known nocturnes in the world. It has a familiarity that is universal, It could almost be in any town in America, but we have all seen something like it in real life, in our lifetime. These are 2 gas stations, one in Santa Barbara, one in Laguna Beach. I was drawn to paint them because of the light, like a “moth to a flame”.

classical gas  12x16 oil www.JeffYeomans.com

classical gas 12×16 oil
www.JeffYeomans.com

Being Confident

confidence 6x6" original oil painting

This blog is in response to an article about an artist that wouldn’t enter her work in an exhibition due to her fear of having her work rejected.

I think confidence is a result of being realistic. It’s not magic. Confidence comes through success, often due to very small “baby steps ” that move you toward a longer term goal. Self discipline needs to be part of the equation as well. A friend once asked me if I knew what self discipline really was and went on to say “It’s remembering what you want.”

That really applies to everything — losing weight, learning a new skill, etc. Perseverance is the one most common denominator of most of the people we think of as confident or successful.

I have often “waffled” or considered not showing up or signing up for an event, art show, reception etc. What I’ve found is that opportunities I never would have dreamed of, happened because I just “showed up.” I have had many doors opened up to me by engaging a stranger in conversation at an art event. Sometimes it results in a sale, a new student in my painting class (this happens frequently), offers of a place to stay when I travel. I know I come across as confident to others, especially when I talk about art because it is truly my passion. I often am so enthusiastic talking about it people just laugh. My passion is creating it, teaching what I know, being inspired by other artists work, and just talking to another artist and forging a friendship through common experiences. I teach painting but what I really teach is enjoying the process. If you don’t enjoy something, why do it? Life is too short.

I’m over 60 and my high school art teacher is still a close friend. She gave me confidence by encouraging me to take risks and try new things. Thank you Linda (and John).

I think it’s important to measure yourself against your peers as a way of knowing if your confidence is false. If other people (not your friends and family) tell you your work is good, it probably is. But don’t rest on your laurels, use that input to be better at what you do, everyday.

As Jack White (and many others) have said “Just show up.” Life is full of confidence-building experiences. For a surfer, dropping into a wave is the critical part of riding it. After that, it’s all just fun. Sp as they say, you won’t know if you don’t go.

Drawn to Abstraction

Sunset Blues  6x6" oil on gessoed panel www.jeffyeomans.com

Sunset Blues
6×6″ oil on gessoed panel
www.jeffyeomans.com

Lately I find myself really paying attention to what makes a painting compelling to me. The work of other painters I admire often incorporates simplifying shapes and emphasizing negative space. As a representational painter, in some ways that contradicts what i know.
But when you think about it, what is left out is as important as what you put in. And a little bit of mystery is what makes life interesting.
A common question artists ask when they paint is “how do I know when it’s done?” The best answer I’ve heard is “when it communicates.” So I’m trying to find a balance between simplicity, design and eloquence as I challenge myself as a painter.

What is Your Style?

I recently read an article about “finding your style.” I think that if you have to search for your style, you have it backwards. Through growth, exploration, repetition and understanding, your style finds you. I was taken aback the first time someone said to me “I’d know your work anywhere.” I didn’t really think my work had a “style.”

But looking back, I was an illustrator and did a ton of graphic design work before I turned to painting as a career. I worked hard to establish myself as a dependable, creative artist.
I think that over time we establish ways of working, that are subconscious and from those deep places, a consistent look or approach eventually becomes your own. The key word is eventually. You can’t find it if you try to force it or hurry the process. We have all seen work by artists that is formulaic and boring. This is not style, it is an example of someone who is unwilling to invest the time required to challenge themselves enough to find their own voice and artistic path and continually grow creatively. Work to be the best artist you can be. Your “style” will find you.

Looking Forward

Welcome to my world, obsessed with painting. Not just my own painting, but any good painting. I like so many styles of art and have artist friends that continually push me to  rethink what I do, why I paint, what I know.

What I am finding out about painting is that all my work is a biography of who I am. Each painting reflects a part of my life, as a student, artist, teacher, husband. As I look back at past work, it is a visual diary of where I was at, at that time, wearing all of those hats. Looking forward, I often lay awake at night trying to resolve the next thing I should do so I don’t spin my wheels or waste a day. I’m fortunate to do what I do, and still feel I have something more to say.