Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Background Check

You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over. (Richard Branson)



Unnamed (and unframed) Painting, 48 x 48, which is hanging in my newly renovated bedroom
(the local color of the flowers was "white," which I translated to greys and purples so they would show up).


Of late, like for the past three years (!), I have been favoring light backgrounds in my floral and still life paintings, and for that matter, figurative paintings as well.  Perhaps because I came out of a watercolor tradition, or because I like that look, or because my paintings seem to call for light and atmosphere...not totally sure, but when I am painting, light is what I am wanting!  The painting above, currently in my bedroom, was painted over a dry background previously applied...I painted the canvas with the wall paint used in the room (Benjamin Moore Sail Cloth :-)...just an experiment, but I kind of liked it.  By nature, however, that treatment is very flat, without paint dimension.

Looking for more texture in this recent piece, I used the spatula pictured below the painting to place chunks of pale paint in shifting temperatures.  Since the subject matter is strong and simple, I wanted the background to have visual interest, yet play a supporting role.

Infinite Possibilities, 36 x 36




Silicone spatula from Bed, Bath and Beyond



And, in another background variation, the piece below features white roses; of course, a white background wouldn't cut it.  Here I mixed some lively, yet subtle, color and washed it on the canvas with lots of solvent right after I had placed basic flower shapes with vine charcoal.  I left bare canvas peeking through, creating a light-shot effect (yet another experiment)!


Sunshine and Roses, 30 x 30


Backgrounds serve to support the central idea, but sometimes it is fun to push it a bit and see what happens; to me, traditional subject matter can be enlivened with an "abstract-ish" supporting backdrop.  AND, change is easy to effect if background overpowers the central idea -- another reason I love painting in oil!


“Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” ~Picasso



Thursday, July 31, 2014

It Would be Natural



Abundance, 14 x 20

...to say I am a "floral" painter, or a "still life" painter, but I still like to think of myself as a "painter," period!
With that in mind, I recently booked one of my favorite Atlanta models, Annie Jefferson, to sit for one morning at my last two Alla Prima (supposedly still life) workshops.  This shift in expected subject matter turned out to be a success!  Without my forcing the participants to paint from the figure, all of them chose to do so for the morning session.
After all, we are translating light and form to the canvas, and it is almost irrelevant what the what of it is!  What IS important, at least to me, is the "buzz" I get from what I am seeing.
It's that response, when I am able to catch a bit of it in paint, that makes a painting more than the sum of its parts.

Annie at Atlanta Artists Center Workshop, June, 2014


Annie at the Art Loft, Workshop in Dahlonega, GA, June, 2014



Annie at Dianne's studio in Roswell, GA, for a private painting day, last year


La Parisienne, 24 x 20
  
(Thank you, Annie, for inspiring me and so many others)!

I feel that my subjects choose me rather than my choosing them... it's like a seed planted in my mind that develops gradually until the painting takes form. (David Band)








Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dream Your Paintings



"I dream my paintings, and then I paint my dream,"
Vincent Van Gogh



"Andy," 12 x 12,
Thirty-Minute Workshop Demo,
Atlanta Artists Center, May, 2014


Recent Study,   "Her Own Magic," 16 x 16


Below is an excerpt from my handout for the workshop I will be teaching June 13th and 14th at Atlanta Artists' Center.  I am honored to be able to share these times with fellow painters!

Paint is the language we are using to communicate. We are the lucky ones.  Not many people have this ability, this fine journey, this camaraderie, this evolution of seeing… PAINTERS DO…. We get to spend our time in this absorbing quest, while trying to slow the clock from its swift passage. 
Remember, we are ever-evolving; that’s what keeps us intrigued and staying with it; life is ever-changing.  We never get it done; we just ride the wave and enjoy the ride -- reaching new stages, then jumping beyond.  AND, every now and then, a painting magically paints itself; practice in drawing and in direct painting can make those magic moments more likely to happen.

Two spaces have opened for this workshop; if you can attend at the last minute, contact Zindi at Atlanta Artists Center (404) 237-2324.





Monday, June 2, 2014

Synergy

You Honor Me, 30 x 30 
A tribute to my art friends and fellow painters

Yes, synergy!  I have been enjoying conversations and critiques with some very talented painting friends in the Atlanta area, and am finding the sharing helps us each to be more.
Synergy is so much more rewarding than split energy -- i.e. doubting oneself, over-analyzing one's own work, trying to produce rather than to create.   
My workshops are great for synergy too -- we all lift each other, joining forces to get excited again, finding the freedom in the stream of positive sharing.

So, get with a few (serious, dedicated) painters who like to have fun, and watch what happens!

Very simple set up


 Bonjour, 36 x 36, first (kinda boring) finish


Bonjour (same painting, perked up), 36 x 36
I gave it some new life, thanks to synergy and great art discussions!


It comes back to dancing that line between joy and skill -- we want to stay fresh and engaged through our connections to others; the FUN is what it's about.

  
A designed beauty of synergy is that is serves only to add, never subtract." 
 Barb Rentenbach

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's about Time

Or ... It Takes a Long Time to Paint this Fast

Graceful, 30 x 30, Gallery Wrap
2 hour timed study (with a few touch ups)


Later this week I am teaching a workshop -- so, it's time to get ready.  Since I often ask participants to do a series of timed studies, I asked myself to do three the other day.  Well, it was a fun, if exhausting day!  Above is one of the results from my garden cuttings -- 2 hours, plus about 15 minutes.  I like the gesture here and the "pose" of the azaleas, ready to droop any minute.

Meanwhile, the viewer may ask:  What?  Only 2 hours to paint that canvas?? But as I heard the late Ted Goerschner answer that very question: "Well, it took 4 hours and 40 years."  His reply sums it up nicely.  If we commit to painting, truly painting a lot, sometimes an inspired, fresh result flies from the brush: then it's time to celebrate! 

"Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” - Andre Gide 


12 x 12, 45 minutes

16 x 8, 1 hour


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Stretch



"What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, 
we need to stretch our minds," Wayne Dyer



My Serenade, 16 x 12



Something About It, 12 x 16


Oh Winter -- Go Away!  Now, here in Atlanta, spring should be all around; instead, it's windy and quite cold, at a usual time of warmth and sweet shiny sun.  
The sun, however, IS shining in my studio, no matter the weather, as I am painting more --
I have three times my old space; three easels are set up.  
Stretching my limbs literally in the morning can lead to a stretch of my painting self ... well, why not?  
The above oil sketches were done with an eggbert brush (new tool for me); the top one was done from a model photo and the bottom from a life set up of David Austin roses.  This long-handled and lean eggbert brush helps me to doodle with paint in a fine and random fashion; now that is some FUN!
Of course, my most-loved, go-to brush is a Rosemary Ivory flat, but adding the delightfully loose eggbert to the mix is a stretch...just what the doctor ordered!



"I'm going to Australia, but first I've got to put my swimsuit on and stretch," Jarod Kintz



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Interpretation - Let's Dance!





Sing to Me, 40 x 30




Photo of Set Up


We may be painting from LIFE, whether in the studio, with a model, or in the field, but it is the translation that makes magic.  I want to use what is before me: what is real and true and actually there!  BUT ...  more importantly, what can I leave out -- it's the "leaving out" that creates freshness, lets the viewer participate, and that keeps it painterly!  Oh, it's a fine dance, non?

I've been busy this month: I taught a workshop at Quinlan Art Center in Gainesville, GA and then 2 days last week in St. Simons Island, GA; both were truly a great cure for the winter blahs.  
These painters were just what the doctor ordered -- they lifted me UP with their willingness to try new things and their inspired paintings.
After hibernating during January and much of February (with unusually cold and snowy times in Atlanta), I found these gatherings to be wonderful! 



 Wonder, 12 x 12