Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Love Oil Paint

Londolozi, 6 x 6

While at the easel today, I kept thinking -- "I love oil paint!"

It's just so versatile... thin and sketchy, or expressive and juicy, or thick and sculptural.  As a former watercolorist, I am always aware of the flexibility of oil.  I can smusch edges, drag color into other areas, or just wipe totally off if needed.  This afternoon, I probably should have been finishing some large paintings in progress, but instead, I did 4 or 5 small pieces (6 x 6) and just had a great day!  It was nice to be enjoying the paint, and enjoying the freedom from "production" mode.  When doing small studies, one is less committed to results, an attitude that often leads to freer, more soulful expression.  For me, that's the ticket!

Les Aubergines, 6 x 6

Monday, August 15, 2011

Commissions vs. Inspired Ideas, A Comparison

My Balloon, 18 x 14

Well, I just read a post at, (the Huff Harrington Gallery blog) about commissions, and since I had been recently working on the one above, I was contemplating a few comments myself on that subject.  

My Balloon is a good representation of the subject in a photo taken by a friend, who wanted this painting of her grandchild.  I like the striped robe, but generally feel that this painting is tighter and has less soul than I aim to capture.  The buyer might as well be sitting on my shoulder, as my response to the subject is more timid, less interpretive.  Wish it weren't the case, but that seems to be my mode, confirming for sure that portraiture or anything even close would not be a path to personal happiness!  My hat goes off to those painters who welcome the commission challenge and make it work for them.

In contrast to the balloon girl, below is one created from my photos, done simply because I liked the light effect and pose.  The piece evokes a certain je ne sais quoi -- that elusive quality that makes for a better painting (and thus a happier me).

Solo, 16 x 12

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Donation Thoughts

Tulip Dance, 10 x 10

Anticipation, 10 x 10

Well, these two were painted specifically as donations for an event held annually benefitting the High Museum here in Atlanta.  The request was for small gallery-wrap paintings, 10 x 10 or 12 x 12, to be auctioned online and at a luncheon in the fall.  The top painting of tulips was done for last year's High Arts Day, and I did the Tiffany box for the one to be held this year.  

In most cases, however, when I receive donation requests (usually for silent auctions), I give a piece I already have on hand.  Several times I have donated a custom painting of a child, to be created after the purchaser wins the auction.  I don't recommend this, unless one is looking for more to do.  It gets complicated, as the last one of these (which I am just now completing - almost a year after the auction) ended up with the buyers wanting not 1 but 3 kids and ay yi yi!!  They paid the charity a lot for it and I had made a promise, so there you go.  Below is an image of that one.

Sittin on the Dock, 20 x 20

I think my new plan going forward is to donate 3 - 4 pieces annually of current work and to call it a day!