You often hear artist’s say that they enjoy the creativity of making the ordinary extraordinary. I like to describe my artistic journey as making the familiar, unfamiliar. That is, painting everyday things with a twist; opening the eyes of those who view my painting so they see things in a new way. Lately I have been revisiting former subjects seeing them with fresh eyes myself. Red Poppies is similar to a painting I sold about three years ago. And while it is a familiar subject, this time around instead of focusing on the nuances of their colors I really enjoyed capturing the way they dance in the breeze. A carefree feeling of airiness and dance is what I am after here. Hope you feel it too!
Archive for February, 2010
Last Fall I painted along the Consumnes River. Upon scoping the area for a vantage point to paint, the fog lurked over the wetlands. And just about the time that I set up my easel, the sun strained to break through the veil of mist. The atmospheric condition mother nature presented was awesome. How fortunate to be an artist and witness the beauty that surrounds us.
This morning the fog hung over the hills in Vacaville and it reminded me of that time in November. Serendipitously while packing the studio today I came across some Pastelmat peach colored paper. I had to put a halt to packing and from memory relive that glorious November moment.
Since a lot of my supplies are either packed or stashed some place that I can’t put my finger on them I used technique that I haven’t done in awhile. In thirty minutes I blocked in the masses, just enough to capture the feel. Then taking a paper towel I smeared the surface to give the “underpainting” a gauzy feel. A few more minutes and a few more marks is where I left off. Still more to do, but working from memory is challenging (there’s that word again!) and invigorating. Reality and the clock reminded me that boxes were waiting to be filled. I’v made a deal with myself. SIx more boxes than I can paint. Is that yet another “challenge?”
Studio and computer time is at a premium these days. Boxes sorting and packing have become a routine. And while we still have weeks before the actual move to the Pacific Northwest it has become dauntingly clear we will need all the time we have to pack 27 years of stuff. And to boot we don’t have a new address yet. Our new home won’t be ready for quite a while so an interim residence and studio will be a solution.
I came across Stapleton Kearns blog post on handling distance other than with atmospheric perspective. Its all about design using one of Emile Gruppe’s paintings to demonstrate his point. So while I go get another box take a minute and check it out.
Completed in the studio over a watercolor underpainting. I couldn’t decide whether to leave the telephone poles in or out, Decided on keeping them since I liked how the shadow of the nearest pole acted as another path for the eye to follow.
They are just drainage ditches along the road. After the deluge of rain over these past few weeks they are swollen with runoff. For some reason they fascinate me! In a matter of hours day they are filled with refections. Then just as quickly as they appear they retreat to shiny mud, then cracked earth. So on the easel is a watercolor underpainting of a local ditch. Its a bit tighter than I would like, probably due to current everyday stresses. But it’s workable.
I found myself revisiting a book authored by artist, Ian Roberts, Creative Authenticity. It addresses the difficulty that comes with the process of unfolding our voice as an artist. Creative Authenticity found its roots in a series of talks that Roberts gave in a small Canadian town library that was packed with artists, musicians, writers and others seeking to creatively express themselves. Sixteen chapters reveal sixteen intertwined “principles” that for Roberts are essential for authentic expression.
I flipped the pages to principle eleven, “Working Method:”
It’s painful to contemplate the number of paintings that don’t work, not just mine but also those in galleries and museums. Such failures may be adequately painted but they don’t sing. The paintings have left the studio but they aren’t happy…and for each of us there’s only one solution to this problem. We just have to make paintings and more paintings, and then for some reason all of a sudden we start to click…
The experience of the painting painting itself happens. We’re in the zone. After a month of starts and stops in the studio I long to get back in the groove. I feel rusty somehow and that lurking feeling can be treacherous. So this morning, I am headed to the studio with John Carlson in mind. He wrote, “confidence comes from experience.” I am in search of the zone!
I mentioned last week that painting time was at a premium these days. This morning I was able to eke out forty-five minutes and decided to go for it. So here is quick snow study. Didn’t quite finish it up but it was just refreshing to spend the time painting. Easel time works wonders for dissolving the stresses of the day.
Those of you who follow this blog know that I am a huge proponent of creating a painting with interesting shapes and strong value masses. I was thumbing through one of my art books this past weekend and was captivated once again by the works of JMW Turner (1775–1851). His edges are very soft which immediately negates having interesting shapes, or even any shapes at all. And many times his value distribution is within a very narrow range.
So why do his paintings work? Simply put, Turner eloquently talked with his brush. For sure he used a different language than mine, but it is one I can still embrace, understand and stand in awe.
My thoughts are he is trying to say more with less. Light, color and atmosphere is the subject. The vagueness of form engages the viewer to fill in the gaps and complete “the rest of the story.” The viewer is given a powerful invitation to bring his own interpretation of what he sees in the painting. The experience becomes very personal.
Anyone have other thoughts on Turner?