Art on the Horizon Newsletter
Monthly Archives: February 2016
La-di-da-di-dee, la-di-da-di-dah...my painting class goes on and I finally put my Fish Houses painting to bed. I say put to bed because, while it's not perfect and it could use a lot more work, I'm done with it. I needed to move on, so I did. The following pictures are of my third pass (I really wanted it to be my last), a revisit of the original inspiration painting and then, finally, my final pass on Fish Houses.You can see the progress in some areas but other areas really didn't get a lot of attention. I did learn that acrylic paint dries darker and that's why the building on the left got a bit of blue green that was a lot more intense than I wanted. I like how I resolved it in the final version along with the sky, which I feel is clearly the most successful part of the painting. Considering I felt clumsy, frustrated and completely out of my depth while painting this one, I guess it's not too bad for my second painting. I was happy to move on to a new canvas and a new inspiration painting by Christine Lafuente, Old Spruce on Somes Sound. I love Christine's work and this painting is gorgeous, the palette, the looseness, the mood. Yum. And, here is my first pass, just a quick 30 minute under painting. It will develop in next few weeks. I don't know how close I'll stay to the original painting, it may go off in a different direction, for instance, I may or may not add the old spruce. We will just have to see where this one goes. But I'm so happy doing this painting. I love these colors and the loose, sloppy brushstrokes. It's fun and freeing! La-di-da-di-dee, la-di-da-di-dah...
One of my resolutions for 2016 was to become more active in the local art scene. Last week, I joined Artsbridge in time for their annual members show which opened last weekend and runs through the end of the month. The show is housed in the beautiful and historic Prallsville Mills in Stockton, NJ, located picturesquely on the Delaware River. The reception was a wonderful event with food, wine and music. As you can see, the joint was jumpin'. I knew this was a talented group, but I was very pleasantly surprised and delighted to learn it was so large and diverse. Members were only allowed one piece in the show and there were almost 225 pieces in the exhibition ranging from paintings, mixed media, photography, sculpture and fiber. I was very pleased to see at least five textile pieces in the show. Artsbridge is a group of artists of many disciplines - painters, sculptors, photographers, writers, actors, musicians and filmmakers - who have gathered together on a volunteer basis to foster and promote local artists and to make the arts available to all segments of the community through education, exhibition and performance. And, I'm happy to be in such good company.
Week four of my painting class... I neglected to include some details of the artwork that I'm working from for my second attempt at painting in my on-going painting class. It is a 1921 piece by Bernhard Gutmann called Fish Houses, Monhegan.As I continued working on this piece, right side up this time, I found myself getting very frustrated and I realized I'd made a mistake in selecting this painting to work from. It's entirely too busy, too busy for my novice level and too busy for my taste level. I like large simple fields without a lot of detail or compositional elements. I guess that's why I like the sky, the water and the building on the left. You might be asking what made me choose this one in the first place (for heaven's sake). Well, I was drawn to the rough texture and loose detail, but I guess even loose detail is too much detail for me. Lesson learned. So, there I was making a mess and getting confused when my instructor Maureen came over and turned it upside down again. This is to force me to just see shapes and not get caught up in detail. Here is what I ended up with by the end of class, upside down... And right side up...a little more detail taking shape. I will give this painting one more go at the next class and then I'll move on to something simpler...I hope.
My painting class continues and I learned a lesson in the importance of focusing on shapes when painting landscapes and a trick in how to do that - paint upside down. No, not painting while standing on your head, though that might provide some interesting lessons in how to amuse your classmates, but rather turning the picture your are working from upside down. This forces you to see only the larger shapes, without context, to avoid getting caught up in focusing on the details too early. I'm afraid I neglected to capture a shot of the painting I'm working from (I'll provide that next week) but here is my painting upside down and what I saw as I was painting it.I really felt very foolish and incompetent while doing this. The only parts I felt good about were the larger spaces, the sky, of course, is easy for me, the bit of water and the buildings to the right and left. I felt the top part was a hot mess but I was having fun slobbing the paint on. Then, at the end of the class I turned it right side up and voilá... Mind you, this is mostly under painting so it's missing a lot of detail, though I'm already liking the sky, water and those buildings. I didn't realize while I was painting that the lower center vertical shape was a man, currently with no head. Details, details...c'est la vie. If you look closely, you will see some blotchy spots. When I was gathering up my things at the end of class, I prepared my canvas for transport by putting a layer of plastic wrap over it but then was worried about it sticking. I lifted it off and sure enough it did stick to some wet spots, lifting off some of the top layer of paint revealing a different color underneath. Oops! I showed it to my instructor Maureen and I think I startled her when I explained what happened and that I liked it, it created an interesting texture. She agreed and I think she even learned something new, too. After all, this is the kind of thing we textile artists do all the time...add color, discharge color, embrace the happy accidents. Stay tuned for the finished painting. I'm not promising that it will be good so...
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