Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Year In Review

2013 was a year of growth and change for me, expanding to new areas and pushing myself farther than before. It was also a year full of mountains and valleys, which I suppose is all to common to the working artist and small business owner. The year was marked by my largest month of sales ever, along with my smallest month of sales ever as well. I've often mentioned that I don't think success is always such a good thing, as it can cause the artist to plateau and stay in a place they find familiar and safe. I stayed at such a plateau this year for a while and I must admit I grew weary of the plateau, and began planning my ascent to the next peak. I'm excited for what 2014 may bring, and have a large scale triptych on the easel to kick off the year with that I'll be sharing here soon. But first, I thought I'd take stroll back through the memory lane of 2013 and share some highlights.

January was a month that featured many winter landscapes such as By The Bright Moonlight and Moon Sparkle. I began to incorporate the moon and sun into my work as a subject and had fun playing with the contrast and light source/shadows in my work. I was also contacted by Riverwood Gallery in Eau Claire Wisconsin to represent my work and have had a great working relationship with them this year, here is photo of the wonderful display they created with my work in their gallery space.

February was quite a whirlwind of a month as I created a new group of work for Stone's Throw Gallery in Bayfield, Wisconsin, including this piece titled Key Lime Cardinals, to prepare for the busy tourist season. But what was  really fun and scary all at the same time was the Fireside Chat I gave at Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, MN. You can view the chat here. It was fun to meet people and talk candidly about my work, it helped me to get an idea of what people see in my work, which is great as the only input I usually get are my wonderful children telling me 'that's nice daddy!'. :)

March was not only a snowy month but also a busy month as I prepared work for yet another new gallery in Ironwood Michigan called Z Place Gallery. I was having fun painting a new bird, the blue jay, and shipped several new paintings featuring this delightful blue bird with it's distinctive black, blue and white markings including this one titled Hidden Blue Jay. I love blue jays, they may be a bit of a bully around the other songbirds, but their loud call and large size makes them an imposing sight and fun to watch in the forest.

April was a month filled with snowstorms here in Duluth, MN where we set an all time record for snowfall. All in all, twelve and a half feet of snow fell in 2013, and we broke many records. Since I was shoveling basically everyday, I was not too fired up to paint, and thus I embarked on a mission to get back to creating again, enjoying the artistic and creative process. The painting featured here, titled Don't Stop Believin' was one of many pieces created this month that spurred me on and got me through an difficult time as the winter burnout and spring fevers were getting to me, much like they are today as I write this and it's 11 degrees below zero for a high, dropping below 20 tonight. Brrr.

April snowstorms bring May flowers and as the flowers pushed through the snow and the forest started turning green once again, I found myself painting up a frenzy of green. Spring titled and themed work was on the easel the entire month, and I enjoyed the warmth of the sun in the studio once again as greens, blues and golds were favorite colors on the palette. This painting here is titled Spring At The Lake and it sold at Z Place Gallery in Ironwood, Michigan to a collector.

In June I expanded to yet another location, this one being a business called Lake Superior Title here in Duluth. It was just another opportunity to show my work outside of the galleries to people who wouldn't otherwise view my work in person, and this piece is titled Gold waters. Other opportunities like showing work in a coffee shop or restaurant help in exposing my work to the public, and even if it doesn't always lead to sales, it's fun to hear comments and feedback from others. In this upcoming year, I have a show scheduled at a coffee shop in Duluth in February that I'm looking forward to.

July was another month filled with large scale canvases, one of which is still available at Lizzard's Gallery in Duluth titled In the Hands of Time. Another large piece from July is titled Somewhere North of Here, and this one was very ambitious as it features a lake with foreground trees, and distant trees as well. Compositionally it was a challenge, but I was pleased with the result, and so was the person who purchased it from Siiviis Gallery in Duluth. I'd love to have many large scale works for sale at any given time, but they are time consuming and so I don't usually have many in the galleries. I hope to work on that in the future though, working large which is something I'm known for.

In August I took a trip to Boston, MA where I toured the city and visited the Museum of Fine Arts where I was able to view three of Van Gogh's originals in person, along with a host of other impressionist artwork. It was a very rewarding experience for me, and consequently, I wasn't as productive this month, yet I did manage to create several vibrant pieces that were no doubt influenced by my trip to Boston like this painting titled Autumn River that was sold at Lizzard's Gallery.

September was a challenging month. I tackled a new subject matter as I was inspired by trips to Duluth's parks and the rocks and streams I viewed there. Painting rocks in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, along with the sparkling waters was a rewarding challenge. In the painting here titled Pine River, you can get a feel for the subject matter. The rocks add so much depth and visual interest to the work that I may just have to incorporate them more often in the coming year. I also spent the month preparing new work for an upcoming show...

October was exciting as I rolled out many medium sized canvases with the season of fall as the subject matter. The canvases were full of color and life, and I was excited to hang my show titled Fall Forests at First Lutheran Church in Duluth in their reception area which overlooks the rose garden and lake Superior.
While a few pieces have sold, the majority of the work is still available for viewing for the next couple of weeks, please stop by there if you can before the show comes down.

In November I expanded once more to a new gallery in Minnetonka, MN called Your Art's Desire Gallery. As you can see, the year was quite busy for me, and things just kind of happened, calls and emails were made, people connected with me who enjoyed my work and wanted it hung in their places of business. It was amazing and crazy all at the same time. The piece featured here titled Red Carpet sold at Your Art's Desire, along with many others, and I've been enjoying the ride so far. I greatly desired to have my work in a couple galleries and paint full time, little did I know what would happen as I've been painting the landscape around me, and I often reflect on how the work has found it's way into homes and collectors hands and how blessed I am to be doing what I love.

December .... what can I say about you? You came in like a lion, dropping two and half feet of snow on my birthday, the fourth, and then dropping into sub zero weather for basically the entire month. December is on it's last day as I type this, let's hope for warmer weather in the new year. This month I rolled out a new bird, the chickadee, and painted several vertical pine paintings such as this one available at Riverwood Gallery in Eau Claire, WI. Wow, what a year, I painted over 375 paintings, moved to a new house, shoveled too much snow, expanded to new galleries, and now I feel as though I'm ready to get into rhythm, keeping galleries stocked and enjoying the ride ... and remembering to make time for adventures into the landscape that makes up my subject matter and inspires me to paint. Happy New Year! All my best, Aaron

Friday, December 27, 2013

Winterberry Chickadees

Selection of 4"w x 4"h chickadees at Siiviis Gallery in Duluth, MN
I thought I'd end this year's painting blog posts with a fun selection of chickadee paintings currently available at Siiviis Gallery in Duluth, MN. There are half a dozen or so, and they're all 4"w x 4"h on 1.5" deep profile canvas. Just like the chickadee, the paintings are very crisp and graphic in color. The color pop provided by the bright red berries on the branches of these paintings reflect the fun, colorful and playful personalities of these delightful little birds. Perhaps these birds are stocking up, preparing for the arctic blast that will bring -20 below zero temps and highs below zero to ring in the new year here in Duluth, MN. The birds will be hunkered down just like the people, staying warm and thinking about the warmer spring weather that's sure to arrive soon. Until then, I sit by the heater, hot cup of tea in one hand, paintbrush in the other ...
Please contact Siiviis Gallery for more information on these paintings.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ice Blue Jay Number 1 and 2

I had a dream last night about a flock of blue jays. I'm not sure why, but there were hundreds in the trees outside. This past fall, a flock of about a dozen blue jays were at the feeder and that event may have inspired the dream last night. Whatever the reason, that dream inspired me to post a couple of blue jay paintings titled Ice Blue Jay Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. These blue jays think they are hidden amongst a cobalt blue sky and treeline, but their big white bellies give them away. Perhaps they should stop raiding my feeder and let the cute little chickadees have a turn. Have a great weekend! Please contact Riverwood Gallery in Eau Claire, WI for more information on today's piece.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Standing Tall

"Standing Tall" 4"w x 12"h
The third in a series of small vertical pine compositions featuring rocks and water. What gives me satisfaction with this series is how they each have such a life of their own, yet make a strong group when viewed together. This painting titled Standing Tall is the lightest and brightest of the three, the bright sky offsetting the pines and rocks of the foreground. As I work, I notice I get into grooves where the paintings flow naturally and are very cohesive. But at the same time, I notice when that happens I look for new tributaries to follow, looking for that little spark in the painting that signals a new direction. There is a little spark of sorts with these three pine paintings, and I'm excited for the challenge and new direction they may spark in my work. Please contact Riverwood Gallery in Eau Claire, WI for more information on today's piece.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Summer Green Pines

"Summer Green Pines" 4"w x 12"h
I must admit that the winter snow is pretty. The blue shadows cast by the trees along with the warm color of sunshine on the snow compliment the cool grays of the skies. Today the snow is softly falling due to a warm front rolling through bringing us a few days of reprieve from the last couple weeks of subzero weather. In a couple days, the subzero returns for the near future, and that has me thinking and dreaming about summer weather. Today's painting titled Summer Green Pines will help with the winter blahs. We're approaching the winter solstice next week which will mark the shortest day of the year. After that, we gain daylight every day until spring melts away the bitter sting of old man winter and the warm colorful carefree days of summer begin again. Please contact Riverwood Gallery in Eau Claire, WI for more information on today's piece.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sivertson Gallery blog features my work

Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, MN featured my work today on their blog, here's the link if you'd like to check it out: https://sivertson.com/blog/day-6-aaron-kloss-and-his-little-birds-too/
Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 13, 2013

White Pine River

"White Pine River", 4"w x 12"h
Instead of complaining about how cold the weather is here in Duluth this past week, I thought I'd post a summer painting of white pines along a lazy flowing river somewhere north of here. As I paint, there are works that have a natural satisfaction to them as I complete them, and there are works in progress as I like to call them, works that don't feel right. This was one of those in progress pieces, titled White Pine River, one that I wasn't sure was going to ever take off. I struggled with the sky, as you view the top of the piece, you'll see a deep cobalt sky, and it was just too dark for me. At one point, I wanted to start over, the whole piece was just too dark, but I took it as an opportunity to just load the paint on the canvas and see what happens. When it was all said and done, this piece was my favorite of the three in this series that I'll be posting here in the next couple of days. Because I started dark in color and added several layers, I achieved a depth of texture in this piece that may actually influence my work going forward. It's that time of year that I reflect on what I've accomplished in the past year, and going forward into a new year, there just may be some depth of color and texture that will give my work the visual punch I so often desire. Now, if only I could walk along this white pine river for a while, in the summer heat, listening to the water splash and tumble along the rocks, listening to the wind rustle through the pine needles ... please contact Riverwood Gallery in Eau Claire, WI for more information on today's piece.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Seven Cardinals, Chick Chickadee and Cold Sky Cardinal

"Seven Cardinals Triptych" 12"w x 12"h, Siiviis Gallery
"Chick Chickadee", 4"w x 4"h
I don't know if I can measure up to my son's awesome Cardinal painting I posted yesterday, but I thought I'd post some recent work available at Siiviis Gallery in Duluth's Canal Park. The first piece is a fun triptych titled Seven Cardinals featuring, well, seven cardinals. In the past I've painted male cardinals exclusively due to their bright red coloring, but I thought I'd mix it up a bit and have some female cardinals as well. The deep green pine ridge and lime green sky give this work a fun color punch. Also featured today are two small 4"wx4"h canvases titled Chick Chickadee and Cold Sky Cardinal. These were painted during some of the coldest weather we've ever had here in December. I haven't seen any birds during my morning walk, I assume they're staying close to the fire in this weather. Gotta keep those feathers warm.
"Cold Sky Cardinal", 4"w x 4"h

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Caleb's Cardinal

"Caleb's Cardinal",  8"w x 6"h, crayon and watercolor on paper
I'm been on a cardinal kick over the last couple of years ... on a quest to paint the perfect bird. There's just something about a bright red cardinal. Over the years during walks, I've observed people stopped and staring up into a tree. As I approach I see that they're watching a cardinal. The cardinal has such bright red coloring that they attract attention to themselves. While I'm not one to want to draw attention to myself, I love how the cardinal is not afraid to be who they are. In comparison to the male, the female cardinal has some red, but is mostly light brown in coloring. Perhaps there is some kind of natural defense mechanism built into this red coloring, maybe it intimidates other birds or just makes them jealous, making them wish they had bright red feathers. Whatever the case, I love to watch them, and paint them. Turns out, so does my son Caleb, who's painting is featured here today. While I quietly go about my painting life, my kids are always watching, even when I think they aren't. Caleb chose to paint this in his art class in school after observing my cardinal paintings, and I'm drawn to the black outline of his cardinal. The color is vibrant in this piece, the watercolor sky a cool complimentary blue. Perhaps this is a friendly little reminder that my kids are watching me, quietly observing what I paint and how I go about life. Someday they may be artists, they may not, but they'll never forget the love of the outdoors and the weekend romps through the woods we've had. So I'll make sure I set a good example to those who are watching me .. my little ones, the cardinals up in the trees, and the good Lord above all.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Red Feathers

"Red Feathers" 6"w x 6"h
It's been so cold here as of late that I just couldn't help but post a painting titled Red Feathers that is warm in color and reminiscent of a warm fire. The red cardinal is set against a red background, and the golden birch leaves add a little punch. While I'm frequently working so hard to create new and innovative work that shows incredible depth of color and texture, I often find the simple work so appealing. I also find warmer temperatures appealing ... and yes, this time of year us Minnesotans get excited when the temperature starts warming up to anything above zero.

Please contact Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, MN for more information on this piece.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cardinal and Birch Companions

Featured here today is an interesting piece which is on two canvases that was by request titled Cardinal Companions and Birch Companions. On the left is a male and female cardinal with autumn birches and colorful ridges, and on the right is a similar painting that has more birches and color and complements the composition of the painting on the left. Paintings like these always make me stop and wonder if the vision I have is similar to the one the person requesting it has. Hopefully, with enough details, the end result accomplishes the goal. One thing I've accomplished these past few days being snowed in here in Duluth, MN is snow shoveling. Reports of over 24" of snow make this storm one for the record books. The kiddos have been climbing the walls but have also had a blast playing in the new snow. While it's nice to have an unplanned mini vacation, it's also nice to get back into the swing of things. Looking forward to more paintings and finishing the year strong. I think I'll go paint now. I wish. I'm going to go shovel some more ....

Please contact Your Art's Desire for more information on today's painting.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chick Magnets

"Chick Magnets" 8"w x 8"h, $85
I had a little fun with the title of this piece, Chick Magnets. Chickadees are one of those subjects you'd think would be so easy, yet I find that subjects that should be easy are often difficult. It has to do with capturing the subject correctly, making it feel natural. I like challenges, and that could explain why I enjoy painting birds. Each one is different, having a unique quality that sometimes emerges with the last brush strokes. Fresh snow here in Duluth, MN today, perhaps I'll find time to paint some snowscapes, I'm up for the challenge. Please contact Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, MN for more information on this painting.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Warm Colors of Autumn

Forty eight. It may be December now, but out of curiosity, I just had to go back to last month and add up the total amount of paintings I finished in November of 2013. Forty eight paintings ranging in size from a mere 4"w x 4"h to a whopping 60"w x 48"h. My favorite artist, Vincent Van Gogh, painted 900 paintings in his lifetime. If I kept up this pace, I'd create 5,760 paintings in ten years, the amount of time my painting hero Van Gogh worked. I'm not trying to boast or compare myself to anyone, I'm thinking about how fast I'm working and how to make a living as an artist. Van Gogh sold only one painting in his life, Red Vineyard at Arles, which now resides in Moscow. I often wonder after a slow month of painting sales how Vincent did it. How did he paint for ten years only to sell one painting? Obviously, it was the love of the painting that kept driving him. He didn't earn much money but he left us with a much greater gift, his collection of work that revolutionized the art world and began the modern art movement. While I don't aspire to be a revolutionary, I do hope to create work that people connect with and wish to collect. I also want to have work priced for anyone who wants to collect it, which is why I paint such tiny pieces one day, then a larger than life the next. (The large work takes a week or more). I'd hope my work warms the homes in which it resides. And on a cold December day, this painting seen above seemed appropriate. Warm Colors of Autumn features a cardinal on a birch branch with a golden sky in the background which includes a warm brown distant ridge. Obviously I'm waxing poetic here on this Monday morning, the calm before the storm which may bring us over a foot of fresh snow and arctic air by the end of the week here in Duluth, MN. Time to burrow in and stay warm.
Please contact Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, MN for more information on this painting.