Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Discipline of the Artist By the Gallery Owner/Art Consultant, and Author of the Guidebook for Artists, “Living the Artist’s Life” Paul Dorrell’s B

Painting, "Share" by Michael Orwick 18x24 oils on Canvas
What many people outside the arts don’t understand is that succeeding in this gig takes as much discipline as it does for the CEO, Athlete, Lawyer, and Doctor. In many cases it takes more, since you already have the day job, and for your night job your calling happens to be to a calling that we almost never feel equal to, in which we regularly disappoint ourselves, and from which the check is normally late–often by a decade or two. Sticking with something for which you may never get paid–and doing it with full-blown passion for years on end–takes real discipline.
Define “success” how you want, but to me it means succeeding aesthetically first, and financially later–which for most artists simply means turning some form of profit. However you do define it, this kind of discipline is no screwing around. You don’t get there by going to all the parties, hanging out in all the bars, and talking about all the great work you want to do. If you believe in yourself, if your goals are realistic, and if you’re driven, then you clamp your mouth shut and work your butt off. Why? Because you’re giving something to the world that is bigger than you, and more important than you. In a sense you are serving others, and that requires great discipline. The end result will speak for you. Then you can go to all the parties and bars, at least until you start the next piece.
The misconception is that artists indulge in substance abuse, are hopelessly idealistic, and devoid of discipline. This is hogwash. Some of the most disciplined people I’ve known have been sculptors, painters, and glass-blowers. Not only did they work very hard, but man they had guts, laying everything on the line in a risky profession: their finances, their dreams, their futures. Some realized the dream, most did not, but every one of them lived with courage and dignity and often a self-effacing humor. It’s that last quality that will often save your sanity when all else is failing. Oddly, it’s also a quality that can allow you to laugh off your failures, and persevere through to success.
Sure this is a tough life, full of sacrifices and hardship (although not like those of a Vietnamese rice farmer). But I wouldn’t trade it for a million bucks–though I might for two.
Paul Dorrell’s Blog
By the Gallery Owner/Art Consultant, and Author of the Guidebook for Artists, “Living the Artist’s Life”

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Part two of Barney Davey's "Artists for Art's Sake"

Sauvie Island Farm by Michael Orwick 36x36" oils on canvas
for sale at City Arts LLC
www.cityartsoregon.com902 SW Morrison StPortland, OR 97205(503) 224-4777

For the artist, in addition to time, which has its own value, there is the cost of materials Canvas, paints and brushes are just the start. Mortgage or rent on a space to create art is included as well as the fixed monthly fees required to maintain such a space. There quite often is payroll for helpers in the gallery or in the office to generate marketing efforts and make sales. Even for an artist working part-time off the kitchen table, there is considerable expense to making art and creating awareness for the artist. Camera equipment and other digital and technology expenses are common. Maintaining a Web site, newsletter, direct mail list and blog are necessary time and money consuming components of the successful art career these days. A commission-based art rep can command 20% - 25% of an artist’s wholesale cut. If the artist is publishing works with a publisher, he or she can expect to earn anywhere from 8 – 15% of the net wholesale price. It is common for an artist to make less than $1.00 from the retail sale of a $40 poster.Given the difficulties of doing the work to begin and the challenges of making an art career successful enough to pay the bills, much less make a name for the artist, one could wonder why artists bother. Certainly working at the bank or for the city or state in some cushy government job with great benefits would be an easier path for most. The thing is, I believe art choose artists as much as artists chose art. Most I have known are compelled to create their art and in doing so express themselves in ways that don’t allow them to contemplate the path well taken. They are driven by determination to provide creation and to add a voice, albeit visual, to the conversation of life, of being alive and what it means to them and to us who appreciate their work.The point of this essay is not to pity the artist, not to belabor the difficulty of the work and sweat involved in creating art and an art career. The point is to celebrate the artists you find a connection with, to honor them with not just your vocal appreciation of what they have done, but to put your money where your accolades are and buy their work. This Absolute Arts site is a shining testament to the abilities, hopes, creativity and determination of artists from all over the globe. Your one job as a visitor here is to take time to explore the site, to find a gem of an artist, to discover a piece of art that resonates like a finely tapped tuning fork in your heart and brain and to reach out and bring that art home.I’ve attempted to elaborate a perspective of the artist’s life that I think most who surf this site and others like it rarely see or know. It is done so with the hope that having a deeper appreciation for what artists go through on a daily basis, and how much more they need you to support them to merely keep bread on the table that you will be so motivated to take the step towards owning art that feeds your soul and them as well. Perhaps knowing these things will make owning that special piece art that much sweeter? I am an author, blogger and speaker on art marketing topics.Barney Davey

Is it an arse or an elbow?

And now for a quick commercial break.

Look at each picture. Is it an arse or an elbow?

This fun little waste of time I mean quiz brings up a point I talk about in my classes. How we as humans or viewers are very willing to meet an image half way and well fill in the missing or vague part of the picture. This well help to define what type of fine art connoisseur you are and where your tastes lay.

So, what is it arse or elbow? paintings

Monday, September 24, 2007

"Artists for Art’s Sake" by Barney Davey Part One

Tori Amos by Michael Orwick
24x30 oils on canvas for the 2008 RAINN Calendar
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization. RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline and carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. One of "America's 100 Best Charities" (Worth magazine)

"Artists for Art’s Sake" by Barney Davey
They Work Hard to Earn Your Business and Respect - Please Give It to Them In the public’s eye, there seems to be two distinct notions of artists, the starving artist as a vestige of Van Gogh’s inability to sell his work to anyone but his brother and the celebrity artist as characterized by the current hype surrounding Damien Hirst. The facts are neither of these extreme examples epitomizes the life of most professional artists. Perhaps because Van Gogh’s work created the rare feat of being wildly popular with both the hoi polloi and art cognoscenti and because Hirst’s ability to publicize and promote himself and his work creates a seeming black hole of media coverage for other visual artists. For most artists who pay the bills by the fruit of their creative output, life is neither living destitute upon the goodwill of their relatives nor living large in an endless stream of openings, events and parties. For them, it is a daily struggle to balance managing their creative abilities to generate a steady flow of work against working at the business of art.This is not to pity them, as to a degree, it describes the experience of other small businessperson, especially one that creates and markets a product. Andy Warhol, never at loss for words is quoted as saying: “Why do people think artists are special? It's just another job.” However harsh, he has a point. What many art buyers and collectors may fail to realize is the extent of how difficult the job is. Most of us do not do jobs where the result of our work, which is a reflection of our creative vision, is put forth for public consumption and criticism. We toil away quietly hoping for the occasional atta-boy slap on the back when a supervisor recognizes a job well done. Our worst fears are we’ll be recognized for failing to do a job putting a career in jeopardy.Artists by comparison toil away quite often in solitude without the camaraderie and support found for most of us when on “the job.” Then the work goes public and the artist is thrust in the public eye open to praise and criticism with too much of either being damaging. Further, while many artists would prefer to stay working and creating, they are forced by circumstances to be thinking of how this completed work will get to market and how many more like need to be made and marketed to keep the bills paid. It’s a stressful situation for anyone, but when it comes to selling what one makes, it’s harder yet. To begin, an artist has to learn how to talk about what she or he has made in terms that heighten awareness and interest in themselves and their work. Again, difficult for most of us to learn how to do “job interview speak,” but at least we can drop it once we get hired. Not so for artists, they need a resume and artist statement. They need to rattle off with gusto the names of recognizable people who own their art and prestigious places where it is proudly on display. However shy or introverted, artists need to find a way to effectively communicate and positively without braggadocio to talk about their work and themselves.Learning to do those things is the first step in creating that public persona crucial to establishing their credibility as an artist whose work is worth owning. Once mastered, these things must be repeatedly presented to gallery owners, collectors, curators, media types and others. Savvy ones learn to replicate these efforts through the burgeoning plethora of available digital media such as Web sites, blogs, social media, social networking, social marketing, discussion boards and more. They need to learn to talk knowledgably with journalists, bloggers and other media types, and do so in a way that surreptitiously and yet pointedly helps them promote their art. These things take time and talent away from the point of creating art.It is the rare artist that manages to do these things as well as they paint or sculpt. It’s a demanding business. Speaking of business, the public and most buyers, probably even quite a few collectors don’t realize how the art dollar pie is cut. One might think the artist being the creative engine behind the work would garner the lion’s share of the retail dollar. In cases where the artist sells directly to a buyer, that may be true, but not guaranteed to be true.For most artists, creating the work is the first step to having it generate income when finally sold at retail. In the process and pipeline are all manner of other hands that become necessary in the traditional artist-gallery relationship. Most galleries pay an artist 50% of the retail price when the art is on consignment. Consignment means the artist takes the risk and expense of creating, framing, shipping and insuring a piece to get it ready to be sold at retail. The gallery takes the risk in rent, promotion and marketing to facilitate the sale. So, neither enjoy anywhere near a 50% margin after costs are factored.
Part two tomorrow, Thank you to Barney Davey at

Friday, September 21, 2007

Beginning Oil Painting class starts Monday, Hillsboro Oregon arts center

This is a reminder that I have classes starting soon in Hillsboro at the

Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center527 East Main StreetHillsboro, Oregon 97123

Beginning Oil Painting
13 years - Adult
Students will work with water-soluble oil paints and will learn to paint
figures, landscapes and still life by learning to measure colors and
values. Some supplies will be provided, but students will need to
purchase additional supplies. Michael Orwick

#14910: 9/24 - 11/19 (8 wks) Mon. 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
No class on 11/12Intermediate Oil Painting

13 years - Adult
Students will work with water-soluble oil paints and should have
some painting experience or training. Supply list available at
registration. Michael Orwick
#14911: 10/18 - 12/13 (8 wks) Thurs. 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
No class on 11/22

8 - 12 years old
In this fun class, students go through the process of making a picture
book. They’ll develop drawing skills while participating in games that
promote creativity. Materials are provided. Michael Orwick

#14893: 10/8 - 10/29 (4 wks) Mon. 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Please contact for further information,

Stephanie Meyers
Administrative Assistant
Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center
527 East Main Street
Hillsboro, Oregon 97123
(503) 681-5385

sun paintings

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Penguin Wings by Michael Orwick

animal printsanimal paintings
Mr. Orwick,
I've seen you a couple of times at the Comic Con in san diego. You signed a couple of prints for me. Thank you. I was browsing your website and you said you liked feedback:

I think my favorite piece of yours would have to be
"penguin wings" at first, it's just charming and makes you giggle, but there is a message of perserverance there."

This handsome little guy to the right (Penguin Wings By Michael Orwick) has been one of my most succesful images for the last year or more.
This whimsical, fantasy image of a penguin daring to dream big, he has built Leonardo da Vinci style wings and climbed to the top most Iceberg. He represents bravery, ingenuity and curiosity. 8x10” Printed Full color on heavyweight semi-gloss-finish paper. Comes in protective sleeve and is shipped flat. Penguin Wings is also available as a 5x7" greeting card, and a 16x20" signed Giclee printed on Canvas.

At a very close second is your piece "the offering" there's just so much about this that reminds me of myself when I was a little girl, down to what the girl in the painting looks like to her sense of fantasy and imagination. The Offering is available as a 5x7" greeting card, and a 16x20" signed Giclee printed on Canvas.
I also find "cuddle" extremely endearing. Thank you for making such unique, heart touching pieces of art. Keep up the good work! -Gina

All the best, Michael Orwick Orwick Arts
My online store to be opening in the next few days, so please check back in soon.

Cuddle 18x24" oils on canvas by michael orwick
available please contact the artist

baby paintings

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Michael Orwick: Landscape Paintings Without End, an article from

A great article about me from a fantastic art web-site, Thanks to Dan over at

the exact article can be found at

Oregon Artist, Michael Orwick: Landscape Paintings Without End

This week’s featured artist is Michael Orwick, a fellow Oregon native and painter, whose landscapes are soft reminders of nature’s far-reaching beauty.
On his website, Michael suggests that each painting tells a story, or creates a setting for the viewer to fall into and create a story of his or her own.
The soft edges and wispy atmosphere in the painting above, entitled Golden Tapestry, certainly help to do just that. With a winding river and far-off slumbering hills, it’s a place that belongs.
I also love Orwick’s use of golden light throughout his paintings. In Western Oregon, with our clouds and rain, it’s often one or two rays of sunlight glancing through overcast skies that really enhance the beauty of a landscape and add a dash of drama.
In A Beautiful Muddy Morass, below, Orwick shows a scene that might even be unremarkable without those glorious sunlit trees.
Oregon is known for its lakes and rivers, which are often framed in picturesque wooded forests and hills—and although I don’t know for sure that all of these paintings are from Oregon, they do look as though they could be.
You’ll notice how Michael makes great use of those rivers, adapting water’s natural winding pathways to draw the viewer’s eyes deeper into his landscapes.
Even so, his paintings don’t look contrived, which can easily happen when artists use this compositional technique without basing their painting on a real landscape.
And while many people might not enjoy Western Oregon’s cloudy skies, there is one benefit: spectacular sunsets, as shown in these last two paintings.
If you’d like to see more of Michael Orwicks landscape paintings (as well as his more whimsical illustrations) take a moment and visit

Monday, September 17, 2007

Portland Open Studios artist #93

This is my 3rd year taking part in this great Portland wide event.

I'm artist number 93 on the tour guide and I would love to see all of you come by, so please mark your calendars for OCTOBER 20, 21.

Also if anyone still needs their tourguide/calendars/maps please get a hold of me at
503 693 7639
2007 OCTOBER 13, 14 Eastside & OCTOBER 20, 21 Westside

Portland Open Studios invites you to visit 98 individual artist’s studios throughout the Portland Metro Area. You will see artists painting, sculpting, blowing glass, and more, in all kinds of settings from elaborate lakeshore studios to modest spaces in houses and garages. You are welcome to ask questions about materials and methods as you watch the artistic mind at work. You will even have a chance to purchase memorable artworks from the artists for a truly personal connection.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Artist's Duty

Artists are not only mirrors of the world, but also keepers of the soul. We must often work not only to editorialize on current events and the sentiments of the masses, but it is often our job to also work as a counter balance. In a world of greed, we need to give more than ever; in a world of pain it is our chance to console; and in a world of doubt and uncertainty, it is our job to evoke hope and to remind ourselves of the beautiful basics of humanity.

Paraphrased – Michael Orwick
horse paintings

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Artist Statement

There is a reason we are drawn toward beauty, it is the language of God and nature. To me there is nothing more provocative than beauty, it inspires deep reflection and motivates me to create.

I mix from a primary color palette, painting wet into wet and with layers, to both reveal and hide what lies behind; in this way I entice you into the painting. I love it when people share the feeling and stories my paintings evoked.

It is my sincere wish that you will want to revisit these beautiful locations and painterly stories again and again.

My Life In One Page

I was born in 1975 on a sunny day in Astoria Oregon. Despite my near death experience at birth, my Mom thought I was perfect. My Dad, a physician, knew better. These assessments continue today.

Within days of my recovery, my adventures began. Our small family moved to the Olympic Peninsula to live on the Quinault Indian Reservation as Dad served in the Indian Health Service. Most of my memories from those very early years involve an ancient Indian woman known as Gram Black, eating live clams on cold foggy beaches, and our performing circus poodle.

From two to four, our family moved to Boise. My parents got me a Golden Retriever who taught me the joy of peeing outside, and they adopted my Colombian sister who taught me patience and the importance of proper grooming.

At the age of four I became the seventh generation on my mother's side to live in "the town that friendliness built," Lebanon Oregon, home of the world's largest strawberry shortcake. Over the years, my family created a sort of odd animal sanctuary and hobby farm with a revolving cast of colorful creatures to ride, observe and endlessly scoop up after. My bedroom was in the tack room, which I shared with my youngest sister's goat. To this day, there is no love lost between me and the nasty rooster who cock-a-doodled any old time.

Very early it was discovered that I had dyslexia, and that I saw things differently from most. School was difficult, but in hindsight this was one of many blessing that have led and helped shape my artful existence. I was also lucky to grow up surrounded by beautiful creeks and evergreen wilderness, and within a family that loved to travel, encouraged curiosity and following one's heart. And my heart has always told me to create.

I started college at the University of Oregon, and for reasons I cannot recollect, I majored in business. Two years in and losing motivation, I jumped at the chance to move to Australia for half a year where I filled up sketch pads with drawings and small paintings. The thought of returning to business classes never crossed my mind.

I spent the next year a transient, sleeping on friend's couches and beanbags putting together a portfolio, and starting to date my future wife, a beautiful Bulgarian named Gabriela.

Gaby and I started our life together in Portland, Oregon where I majored in Illustration at Pacific Northwest College of Art. I discovered that oil painting and the method of working from dark to light really worked with my "backwards brain."

When I'm not illustrating books, I still find my whimsical images and my landscapes to be very illustrative. I love creating art that invites you on a journey, in which you're invited to form a story and explore your world within.

Gaby's and my daughter, a creative, inquisitive two year old, has kept me in touch with my perpetual child within. Throughout my life, I have been lucky to know beauty and comfort, laughter and joy. These are a few of the things I hope to impart through my brushes.

I look forward to continuing my adventures, inviting inspiration and beauty into my life, and sharing it with you through my paintings.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Artwork of Michael Orwick

Painting a Story
The Artwork of Michael Orwick

“Michael Orwick at his best melds pictorial storytelling with a hauntingly familiar world. He creates compelling views of our world that move beyond time and place – full environments for your mind to explore, your senses to imagine…”
-Mari Rockett - Curator, DragonFire Gallery

Growing up in the Oregon Cascades and the Willamette Valley, nature and the rich landscape have had a profound impact on Michael. He has always been awed by the extraordinary ability of landscapes to tell stories, just as art does.

Michael’s career in art started in animation (Will Vinton Studios) and moved quickly into illustration, where he enjoyed bringing the ideas of others to life.

Today Michael is creating what he calls “Inspired Expressionism,” painting his own ideas on canvas and inviting you to provide the narrative.

Michael offers hints of the mood through atmosphere and serene colors, suggesting a place and a time of day. It is what he leaves untold that grabs you, though. He shares his enigmatic vision and invites you to imagine your own story. And often you can’t help the feeling that you have ‘seen this place,’ as if through a car window or in passing to somewhere else…

Orwick’s paintings grant you the rare chance to go back and explore a special place that fuels the imagination.

Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist. -Magritte