Thursday, May 11, 2017

On Being Less Literal


"If you always do what you always did -- you'll always get what you always got," 

Unknown


Lately, I have been trying to be less literal, i.e. using my set-up for a starting point, but not necessarily sticking with that exact representation.  It's OK to change placement, colors, background, whatever, and still retain the power of painting from life...
Duh!  I guess it took me so long to be able to catch in paint the subject before me that I forgot or feared changing things as needed on the canvas.  Often this is a problem as well when en plein air or when using a photo reference.

Below are some peonies purchased last week from Trader Joe's, which I randomly placed in a sparkly glass and added a light source.   I've painted this-type subject a TON in my life, and while I do love white flowers, and the movement of stems in glass vase, I switched it up, as seen in photos below.



I made the decision to roughly paint in a grey-toned background, meant to  pop the pale peonies; the flowers were laid in with lots of palette knife slashes.  When I saw the grey, I thought -- how about a bright vase?  Below is a progress shot, where I have most of the peonies as seen, but then realized that something was needed on the upper left of the canvas.



So I pulled one peony from the glass, in order to see the light effect.  After adding that shape to the painting, it was obvious that the addition helped matters!   I used to be too nervous to change the arrangement (being my literal self and wanting to be able to reproduce the flowers as they appeared). 

Needed peony


 Progress photo with addition of new flower


Then, after correcting a few items, I decided to leave the background way less refined than usual, and was pleased with the pops of light and the spontaneous feeling.  I had to put this one in another room, however, so I would not work on it.



An artist never really finishes his work; 

he merely abandons it," Paul Valéry





Wild Sweet Things, 30 x 24, Oil on Linen




Just found out that three spots are available at the last minute for my Alla Prima workshop at Atlanta Artists Center next week (May 19 and 20th). If you can come, we will have some fun: painting fast and loose and being less literal😎   To join us, call Zindi at AAC -- 404-237-2324. 










Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Gesture, Feeling and Truth


"Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence," 
Henri Matisse 




That Magic Girl, NF, 24 x 12, 2017, Acrylic on Linen


Back to the drawing board!  I have been spending lots of time producing -- and not enough time on filling the tank.
Luckily, recently it's become quite clear to me that a return to the basics was in order. And, oh, the answers sought are right there -- just by drawing, even for 5 minutes, each evening.

For this painter, catching the essence of the subject is the goal.   Details and rendering are NOT!  Life is easier if I am fluent in seeing...and SEEING is honed by sketching, drawing and observing.  

Below are a few paintings of mine, one recent and others through the ages, as well as wonderful collected paintings here in my home...which serve as reminders of the truth of quiet study and easy flow.


Quiet Moment, NF, 16 x 8, 2017, Oil on linen





A couple of my studies from the (somewhat ancient :-) past:


Michael, 9 x 12, NF, c. 2000, Oil on canvas




Pensive, 16 x 8, NF, c. 2008, oil on linen



Sarah at Five, 12 x 9, NF, c. 2012, oil on linen



Now look at these gorgeous paintings in my petite collection, illustrating the humanity and universality of the subjects --  done with an ease of expression possible only from confident practice and frequent studies:



Conte Crayon Drawing, Susan Lyon, c. 2008




Simple Pose, Diane Eugster, c. 2003




Knowing Glance, Scott Burdick, c. 2002



For me, perhaps a bit of growth has happened, but for sure, the nice paintings in my home serve up constant inspiration, if I just remember to LOOK!

FYI, yesterday a few spaces opened in my figure study workshops next week here in the Atlanta area.  The first workshop is on April 4 -5th, and the second April 6-7th.  If you have interest, contact Rae Broyles, Fountainhead Art Space , raebroyles@me.com!




Quick Study of Annie, 9 x 12, NF, oil on linen, c. 2011