Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Paint Fast and Use a Big Brush

Untitled Abstraction in Gray and Yellow
40x30 acrylic on canvas

I have been fascinated with yellow and gray for quite some time.  I think it is one of the most beautiful color combinations.  I have some small pastels I have taped to my studio wall in similar colors to this painting.  Today I decided to try something a little different.  I took my largest brush and painted most of this painting.  I began with doing some charcoal drawing, acrylic washes, colored gesso to create the basic composition.  Then I got out the four inch flat brush and just went for it.  I worked very quickly which is my usual speed.  I started and finished this painting in three hours.  Lesson to be learned is work fast!  Big brushes add more gestural qualities and movement.  Big brushes also make layering much easier.  Now on to the next one!  

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Challenges of Abstract Art

One of my abstracts from several years ago.

See the article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors on my book Abstract Art Painting: Expressions in Mixed Media.  Go to the link below to read the article,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bouquets and Flowers

A Moment in Time
27x21 pastel

This past year I have returned to a subject from my past.  Really never thought that I would go back to flower drawing again but last winter brought out the flowers again,.  I have found new possibilities in this subject.  Yesterday I had a discussion with an art consultant who told me he thought they were beautiful and accessible to a larger population.  I suppose that is true and I'm happy about that.  Today I found my self thinking about flowers and bouquets and their significance.  Are they symbolic?  To me they are and I did some reading about the symbolism of flowers throughout history.  To me bouquets, flowers and gardens symbolize life and its impermanence.  Beautiful, fleeting and ephemeral. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Walking Into a Painting

Small pastel color study

New painting in process (not finished yet)

The past few days I have been painting on unstretched canvas on the wall.  If we ever sell this house I'm going to have to paint that wall black!  My first one was an abstract realistic horse painting and this one is more to my liking and current inclinations.  I have not painted this large before on canvas. It is a whole different world.   I found myself pondering what type of atmosphere I wanted to create and almost walk into.  I thought about yellow.  Aren't we all thinking about yellow at this time of the year.  I wanted something sunny, ethereal and organic.  Something to draw me or the viewer into it.  I used my contour drawings of plants and flowers from last summer.  They have proven to be so important.  Important to draw from observation and valuable material to mine for ideas.  I will be doing more of these paintings in the future.  My wall is only so large though so 60 inches long is my limit!  I do like the idea of walking into the atmosphere of a painting. Many ideas to explore with that thought.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Painting a Memory

After the Rain
18x18 pastel on sanded paper

Goodyear workshop

Goodyear Workshop

Goodyear Workshop

Okay so I might become an official "snow bird".   This was my second winter to go to Scottsdale, Arizona during February.  I needed a vacation but I also taught a one day workshop in Goodyear.  The workshop was like a vacation for me also.  It is so fun to be around other artists and I really do enjoy teaching.  I'm a "people person" and I enjoy the high energy of a workshop environment.  So fun to see people try new approaches and new techniques in their work.  I think I come away with as much as the artists who attend.  This workshop had both pastel artists and acrylic artists.  One day is very "fast and furious". One day is more of an introductory course in abstraction.  Get your feet wet and give it a try kind of workshop.  There were people of all backgrounds and experiences and it seemed to work very well.  This workshop was organized by an artist who took my online course through Artists Network University.  Looks like I will be going back next year for a more in depth and longer workshop in Phoenix.  More about that when plans are confirmed.  
I took a break from my own art work and visited many galleries, art expos and did all sorts of sight seeing.  I also visited Wilde Meyer gallery in Scottsdale that carries my work
The pastel at the top was created from memory.  On our way back from Sedona we drove through a rain storm.  We stopped at a rest stop and I took a few photos.  The landscape had such beautiful colors of greens, ochres and gray.  There was also a rainbow which my camera did not record.  The colors of the land made such an impression on me that when I came home I just had to put them on paper.  I'm not a landscape painter but sometimes I am struck by the beautiful colors of the land.  Instead of doing something realistic my landscapes are more impressions from my memory.  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Expansive Vision

Expansive Vision
21x21 pastel on sanded paper

I felt the impulse to do a larger pastel on the new sheet of Uart paper that was sitting in the drawer.  I had two things in mind and they were "red" and "dark at the top".  I didn't know where else I was going  except for those two thoughts.  I've also enjoyed going back to the oil paint underpainting.  I used oils when I first began to work on abstract pastels but switched to fluid acrylics.  I love the fluid acrylics on Rives BFK but not on sanded paper.  Water-based oils work much better on the sanded paper and I have found there is little if any buckling of Uart paper.  I also like beginning with big brushes as it helps me with the transition between painting and pastels.  Using brushes in the beginning gives the process more of a painterly feel.  All surfaces bring a different quality and result.  This is my last large piece until March.  I'll be traveling and will only have time for a little drawing but it will be outside!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Testing 1,2.3

small color study on uart 240

Color study in acrylic on canvas

I do a lot of testing with materials and color.  I buy small inexpensive canvases and paint six paintings at one time.  Each one is a variation of the one before it.  I practice making lines in different ways.  Sometimes I make lines with paint, charcoal, gesso or pastel.  I put color down in washes and draw over it to see how it will look.  I wipe it out after I put it on to see how that will look.  Experimenting is part of my process.  It is how I discover things for myself.  I am always asking myself "what if"  questions. It is a process of discovery.  When I find something that I like then I can proceed to a larger surface with more of a plan.  So today's experiment was following a thought of "what if I use red lines instead of black?" and try the new surface of uart 240 to see if I like it.  It is highly textured and I do like texture.  Experimenting and playing around is an important part of what I do.  Its like dipping your toes in the water or saying testing 1,2 3 to see if the sound is right.