Monday, August 25, 2014

Blue Garden

Blue Garden
pastel on paper

This is a pastel that I created today.  I used a photograph taken in my backyard of my cone flowers.   I've used the same photograph now at least four or five times and each time with a variation in color and orientation.  I generally don't like working from photographs but have found it more successful lately.  It is important for me to work directly from observation and I had not done this very much with my abstraction.  I really found the need to draw from observation this summer.  It is grounding and gives me direction.  It is a very meditative experience also.  It centers me and then ideas come to me more easily.  I have been taking a large sketch pad and drawing outside in different locations.  I know that the lines I am creating will benefit my abstracts and abstract realism like these flower abstracts.  I wanted something more from my pastel abstracts and the flowers are giving that to me right now.  

I will be taking off to teach a workshop next week in the Asheville North Carolina region.  I will also be reconnecting with a friend I haven't seen in over twenty five years.  Then I will be going to the PSA school in October and spending time with my cousin in NYC.  My workshops are bringing me together with people I have not seen in a long time.  Reconnecting is something I'm really looking forward to very much.  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Take Time to Play

Oil on canvas

It is important for me to take time to experiment with materials and different approaches.  I went from working only with pastel to combining acrylic underpainting and pastel.  Then I went to working with acrylics and painting.  It took me at least two years to figure out how I wanted to use acrylics.  I did a lot of not so good paintings.  Now I've figured out how I like to work with acrylics but it has taken a lot of trial and error and experimentation on my part.  Now I'm bringing oil paints into the mix.  I'd stopped using oil paints many years ago because of the toxicity.  I had purchased some water-based oils but was never happy with them so I stored them in the basement.  I am now experimenting again.  Oil paints do have a luminosity that I like and it is fun to play with mixing colors on canvas.  This was just a painting experiment only.  I used some new colors to see how they looked.  I listened to some Moody Blues and old music and just had fun with it.  Not everything has to have a purpose, end up in a frame or have the intention on being sold or in a show.  Take time to experiment and play!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Combining Mediums and Approaches

acrylic and oil on canvas

I have a lot of ideas right now.  Things are synthesizing and coming together.  It all started with my drawing flowers during the Vortex of 2014.  I found that I really enjoyed creating lines from observation.  That has carried over to the summer months and drawing outside.  Now I have some of my flower contour drawings lining my walls.  I've begun to incorporate these lines into my abstracts.  They are becoming "plant like".  Lines are reminiscent of nature.  I always come full circle and revisit the past.  Now I am using multiple layers in my paintings and pastels.  One thing always leads to another.  I covered  up a painting that I really didn't like and decided to just do what I wanted to do - not what someone else wanted me to do.  This painting has colored gesso, gold gesso and lines, black gesso, acrylic paints and oil paints as the final layer.  I'm almost finished.  May let it sit for today and go back into it tomorrow to finish it up.  It is 95% finished.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Peninsula School of Art

Cone Flower demo from workshop

This week I've been in Door County Wisconsin teaching a three day workshop at Peninsula School of Art.  I've had a really great group of artists ready to explore the world of abstraction.  Working abstractly can be both exciting and frustrating at the same time.  It can be hard to get away from that reference of a photo or object to guide you.  I am sure that people sometimes feel "where am I going?"  It is a whole new way of looking at things and "abstract is a state of mind".  You have to readjust your way of going about things even if the inspiration is based in nature such as a flower.  It has been a great workshop.  People have been open to experimenting and trying new things.  I know it will take them time back in their own studios to continue experimenting and discovering what will work for them.  But I do hope it has opened up some new possibilities for all of them.  Next I'm on to North Carolina!  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cone Flowers

Cone Flowers
14x21.5 pastel on Rives BFK paper

I feel very challenged with my abstracted flower series right now.  It is helping me to stretch myself.  I wanted something more from my pastels but haven't been sure what it was.  I enjoy the non-objective but I wanted to return to drawing from life also.  I have always drawn flowers but got very bored with them.  Now after working almost totally in a non-objective style for several years I feel I can bring in some realism to my abstracts.  Drawing flowers gives me an excuse to explore different qualities of line.  I also enjoy the "zen" of sitting, clearing my mind and drawing what I see in front of me.  It really is a type of meditation for me and always has been.  I don't concern myself with rendering realistically but only following a line.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Drawing Flowers

Summer Garden
acrylic on canvas

I took a very long break from drawing flowers of any kind.  Until this past winter it had been years since I had drawn a flower or plant.  I was pretty bored with drawing or trying to depict flowers.  Then during the brutal winter I bought flowers at the grocery store with no intention on drawing them.  I decided to give it a try with my pastels.  Did my usual abstract underpainting and then drew the flowers from observation on top.  I liked it and it was nice to draw from observation again.  I have been preoccupied with my little garden of day lilies, cone flowers and other assorted flowers and plants this summer.  I've gone outside and drawn mostly blind contour drawings of the flowers.  I've taken my drawings and taped them to the wall and am using some of the lines in my paintings.  Now some of the lines in my abstract pastels and paintings echo my flower drawings.  Things always seem to come full circle.  

I will make a few small changes in this one before I declare it totally finished.