Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not Finished, but getting closer....

I worked on this piece again a couple of days ago, and am getting ready to get back into it today.  I think I will be close to finishing it by then.  I have really enjoyed painting large again.  Although the small paintings are quick, and fun, painting large has a whole different set of fun with it.  To paint large you have to think almost as if you are a part of the painting, as if you are inside all those colors, a part of them.  You also have to stand back a lot, or you are literally inside the painting too much.  I will post this when I finish it.

As for a smaller painting which I did a few days ago, this small little one of a girl driving a donkey was fun to do.  The Art Center in Orange has said that they like having donkey paintings as there are people over that way that like donkeys.  So I have several small donkey paintings for them this time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Favorite Subjects

"Special Spots" - oil, 6"x8.5"

I take a painting class through the local art school.  I love the class, as it challenges me to keep my painting improving, and understanding all the nuances of color, shape and space.  I was working on another painting, which I will post soon, when I saw some photographs that Ron, our instructor had taken, and left out for us to use.  My eye caught a particular photo, which I immediately was drawn to, no pun intended!  It is the kind of subject that I love to paint, a rooty, woodsy, back-lit location.  Perfect!
I have a couple of things I might still work on in the background, but it is basically done.  I did it on a bright red toned/gessoed watercolor paper.  I love letting that hot red show through!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Choices, Choices

"Choices, Choices" - oil, 6x8.5"

When we paint, there are so many choices to be made.  We have to decide are we doing the painting vertically, horizontally, what medium, what subject,  and how we want to describe our subject.  We also have to figure out how much of the subject do we want to use.  This little painting was done yesterday.  It was done from a photograph I had taken in Stockholm a few years ago.  The photo included a lot more than just these two people looking at the flower stall.  I have been working on simplifying my paintings and I wanted to work on something which gave me a real challenge, because of all the things in the photo.  I finally narrowed my subject down to a tiny piece of the photo.  It feels ok, but still just a part of my artistic journey.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Learning from The Muse

"Just Me" - oil, 8x8", $450 framed

Although this is almost two years old, I thought it appropriate to include today.  I painted it "alla prima", or "all in one sitting".  I had started taking a painting class from a local artist.  The same one who is still teaching the plein air classes.  I was so taken on that particular day of class, that I came home, sat down, and painted this little gal.  It was as if the paint rolled right off my brush, amazing!  "Be one with the Muse"!  I worked from a reference photo, although I took some liberties with the piece.  But for me it has taught me a lot to just keep looking at this little painting.  Less is more.  Simplicity carries a big message.  Lost and found edges, and don't over-think things.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Time Spent Painting Outdoors

I paint with a plein air painting class every Wednesday.  We go to various locations around our area, chosen by the instructor.  Everyone is working on something a little different, including the one artist who works totally abstractly, but loves being outdoors to paint with other people.  It has been a wonderful experience, over the three years I have been doing it.  I have made great gains, and as any artist knows, that never stops.  You never seem to get to the "end" of learning, there is always something new to learn, new to try, new to change.  That is the wonderful things about painting.

The other wonderful thing about painting is that the actual painting itself can teach you, and tell you so much about what you are doing right, and wrong,  or at least not as well as you would like to be doing.  

To the left is the set-up I use when wanting to work on several small works at one time.  It works very well when I am outdoors, as it gives me small enough space to finish one or more in the day, and have more panels to work on as the light changes.  They are watercolor paper with gesso, then sometimes toned a different color.  The whole thing is cardboard that has been spray painted and sealed.

The whole thing fits together with another cardboard piece which has a spacer.  The paintings can't rub, and the whole thing is held together with velcro, and has a handle.  Very light weight.  You can see it on the right, on my easel.

This time out painting taught me, or should I say, got through to me, the use of simplifying shapes, in order to say more.  The little barn, which is across the river from where I am set up, is ok, but lacks the punch that I like.  The others that are still in the blocked-in stage, should have more punch.  The abstract one on the right is just going to stay that way as a reminder to simplify and how colors can sing when they are next to each other.  A good day.  I knew it was a good day when I realized it had already gotten to be past the time to quit, and I was still going.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Staying With the Program

      Keeping a steady pace of creativity can be tough when all the things that go on in our lives pop up.  But doing the work has it's own reward for keeping the artist adept with his or her medium, tools, equipment, and even our thought patterns.  If we are in the mindset of creating, it helps us created, even when we aren' "in the mood".  

      I am staying on the course of simplicity.  This small oil is one that I was thinking constantly, simplify, simplify!  It has the feeling I want, and I'm on the right path.  I just need to keep walking that path, over and over, and over!  Not a bad thing to have to do at all!  Matter of fact, it is one of the best.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Miniature paintings on Miniature Easels

"By the Sea" oil, 3.5 x 4.5", $40

I had been looking for something different for some of the galleries, especially around the holidays. I came up with the idea of doing some miniature paintings. When I found some truly miniature canvases, with tiny easels, that seemed like a perfect idea. They are tiny little jewel-like paintings. I have done several tiny landscapes, a few horses, and for one gallery in particular, I am doing several tiny donkey paintings. I am also do some larger ones, although still quite small, which will be on slightly larger easels.

In these economic times, when people may still want to purchase original art, but can’t afford large pieces, some of these tiny paintings make sense. They do not take the place of large paintings, but they do offer a change for both me, the artist, and someone looking for something economical, as well as portable. I have painted small, 5×5 inch oils for some time, but these tiny paintings are interesting.

It is particularly interesting to paint them. I need to not over-state something, or become too abstract, less they become mere globs of paint. In order to keep them recognizable, while at the same time keeping the painterly quality that I hope for, I need to think minimally. Ha! I know what you’re thinking, she already thinks minimally!! Not that kind of minimal thinking though. Rather I need to keep the shapes simple, while at the same time saying more, with less. Enjoy!

Five Requirements for Change

"My Father's Knife"  oil, 5x7", $100

       Change.  It is almost like a bad word to a lot of people, but there is no way we can escape it.  I was given  a list of the "Five Requirements for Change", by a wise person one time.  I would like to share them with you.  They pertain to almost anything you want to change.

1.  Unequivocal desire to change.
2.  Change stated in the positive.
3.  Change has to be specific to a context or behavior.
4.  Change has to be self initiated and maintained.
5.  Change has to be future oriented.

       What I am working to change, in my artistic life, is working towards simplicity.  So much harder than it appears.  You would think it would be simple to be able to simplify paintings down to the barest of marks, the barest of statements on the canvas.   Nooooo, not so.  I am continually working to say the most, with the least.  To say the deepest statements with the least brush strokes.  Not an easy task, but one that I will continue to strive towards, in art and life.