Painting Demonstrations and Other Events

Armand Cabrera
With spring and summer approaching fast, there are some things I want to let you know about  in the Northern Virginia Area. I will give a free painting demonstration On April 2 and again on April 9 At Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane VA.

I will start from a blank canvas at noon and complete a painting in about 3 hours.
Feel free to bring your dog, sit on the wonderful patio with incredible views, drink wine, listen to music, have a picnic lunch and watch a plein air painting being created!
I will also explain my process and answer questions as I paint.

I plan to do these free events as time and weather permit throughout the summer and I will post the information on my website and here as we lock down more dates.
These events are a lot of fun and I never know how many people will show up. I have had as few as 6 and as many as 100 come out to watch.


I also have a couple of workshops later in the year up and down the East Coast. These are already filling so make your plans soon if you would like to join me at one of these venues. More info can be found on my Workshop page on my website or using the links to the contact info below

In the fall I have a workshop in Maine at Acadia Workshops, the dates are Sept.19-23.  More info here

October 3-6 I will conduct a workshop through Anderson Fine Art Gallery on St Simons Island in Georgia this will precede my one man show at the gallery. Contact Anderson Fine Art Gallery for complete Info 912-634-8414

October 13-16 Northern Virginia Fall color Workshop. Come paint fall on my new home turf. More info here

Road Trip

Armand Cabrera

Sorry for the delayed post. I’ve been teaching in California and have had limited access to the blog for some unknown reason. Here are some of the outdoor paintings I’ve painted while here. I will post the complete process for a couple of them when I get a chance.

The weather has been mild and perfect for painting outside. Painting the ocean from life is always satisfying. I’ve been working  on 12×16 linen panels. Just having one size makes travel a lot easier.
I shipped the OMS to the hotel ahead of time. and there was only one slight hitch with that.

It seems you can’t ship OMS or any solvent in containers larger than 32 ounces in CA anymore. Of course the way the law is written, you can ship as many 32 ounce containers as you want ; go figure. So instead of shipping a gallon can of OMS in one box, I had to buy and ship four 32 ounce cans in one box, which is still a gallon last time I checked. So all this law has done is made it more expensive to buy  and ship OMS because you are now buying it in smaller units. I love government.

Carmel Mission Demo

by Armand Cabrera
I was in California this last week teaching a private one on one class with one of my students. We had a great time and painted all the sites around the central coast there in Monterey and Carmel.
One morning was spent at the mission. The property is still active and has tours all day long but we picked a spot against a wall to paint out of the way of the crowds.
I started with a careful drawing made with my number four brush and a thin wash of paint. The first thing for the drawing was to establish the longest axis of the mission ( in this case the Dome and tower) within my picture plane, this insures everything will fit into the picture. All my subsequent marks will be measured against this as proportions of its height
Once my drawing is done I check it and correct any inaccuracies before starting to paint.
Because I am looking into a bright foggy sky I establish my dark areas to keep me from painting the mission walls and foliage too light.
Next I work on the middle tones throughout the painting at this point in the day the fog is starting too lift and I have to bounce around the canvas more than usual while I wait for the light to stabilize.
I paint the larger shape of the plaza and paint the shapes of the details on the mission, leaving the rendering of their forms for a little later.
I fill in the sky and work on the garden areas surrounding the mission and the patterns in the plaza.
Just as the sun breaks through the fog, I finish up with the tree and plants and model the more precise architectural details on the mission and within the grounds. My total painting time is three hours.
Carmel Mission 12×16 oil on linen.

Village Square Demo

By Armand Cabrera
I had a great week of painting with my friend Paul Vosper who was out visiting from the Seattle area.
One day we drove up to Winchester and painted in Old town there. It was a beautiful spring day.
We were both drawn to this café scene of the Village Square Restaurant. They were just opening for the local lunch crowd so we set up and got right to painting.
First I made a relatively careful drawing of the scene. Scenes like this one require a more careful approach than your usual outdoor landscape painting. I decided on the placement of my larger shapes and marked those on the canvas.¬
Next I placed the elements in relation to my initial drawing.
Since most of the scene was in shadow I started blocking in my darkest shapes so I wouldn’t paint the rest of the shadow planes too dark.
I then proceeded to work around the canvas to establish the big color shapes of the various elements. Usually I just focus on the value and colors aspects at this stage having already locked in my drawing but in this case because the drawing was so complex I am correcting small errors in size shape and angle as I go.
As the lunch crowd arrives I place them for interest before going on with the rest of the painting. While patterns of light move through the scene I pick and choose their placement to enhance a sense of movement.
I finish with the trees and background buildings and tighten up the people. I let edges go where I think it is appropriate. The complete painting time is three hours. This painting will be the basis for a larger studio painting of the same scene.
 The village Square 12×16 oil on linen

Starting a Career in Art

By Armand Cabrera

I see a lot of young people coming out of art schools these days saddled with high debts and little to prepare them for the real world of a working artist. I thought I would offer some advice on making a living as an artist.

A portfolio is worth more than a degree

Your portfolio is your strongest asset, degrees don’t matter. When you start looking for work avoid jumping into the market too soon if your work isn’t at a professional level. This is the biggest problem I see for most students when they decide to get into art. They compare themselves to the bottom of the professional market. Always compare yourself to the top of the market and work on your skillsets to achieve that quality.

Know what you are worth

Decide on a price for your work before you ever approach a venue with a portfolio. Do your homework for the industry you want to work in. Know what salary ranges are and what is expected from you as an artist. Never apply for a job beyond your skillsets no matter how much you want to work. Make sure you know what you need to make each month monetarily to pay your bills. Know how long it takes you to paint each piece in your portfolio. That way you know how much work you have to finish each month to live comfortably.

Never undersell yourself.

While it is good to start low and work your way up, don’t give away your services –ever. Respect the process and your craft and it will provide you with a living. There is a lot of noise about how tough it is to get into the industry. There are more opportunities now than when I started. There are so many venues now; social gaming, online gaming, plus all the consoles on the market and all the TV and Movie opportunities. There is a lack of qualified artists in the industry mainly because schools are cashing in on the art craze but aren’t training the students properly.

Start small and work your way up.

I started getting work locally then regionally then landed bigger national jobs. I didn’t start by trying to get a job at the top. I built a portfolio of solid work at every stage that I was proud to show.
I went to conventions a couple of times a year and showed my work. It is how I landed my first jobs in the industry.
I did the same with competitions when I wanted to get into galleries. I entered local, then regional, then national competitions. I Stayed and competed at each level until I received recognition and awards.

Go where the work is

When you are starting out you can’t really afford to stay in East Gall Bladder forever if there are no jobs there. Those smaller markets tend to be more saturated because of the limited jobs opportunities. The pay tends to be lower and the skill requirements do too. That can help you find work if you are properly trained but probably won’t sustain you fulltime. Once you conquer the local market it is time to consider going to where the jobs are. You have a much better chance of getting an art job in Los Angeles or Seattle than South Dakota.

Create your business identity

This is often overlooked starting out. Have a professional looking website or blog and show only your best work. Secure your domain name and use an email with it for work. Don’t advertise for Hotmail and Google. Your email should be your name. Like Join as many professional networks as possible. Avoid creating blogs where you express your opinions on aliens and the illuminati conspiracy.

Have business cards that have all your contact information. Get in the habit of handing them out. While it is okay to have a digital business card to share if you have a smart phone but smart phones only make up 19% of the market.

I will come back to this  in a couple of weeks with more on the actual process of running a business. Invoices, contracts, tax strategies for a sole proprietor and the like.