Sunday, June 21, 2015

18 small paintings 6 21 15

These 3 5/8" X 5 5/8" paintings were painted together on one sheet of watercolor paper. I created the grid with drafting tape and coated the paper with gesso. At the end of this post I've put a picture of what the paintings looked like at the very first stage.

The series will be featured at a solo show from next week through October at the Nano Gallery 
(which specializes in small pieces) in the D.C. Art Center, Adams Morgan. 

They are primarily acrylic, with charcoal, chalk and oil pastel, and some collage. 

Below is how they all started. The use of ochre over charcoal comes from classes I took in traditional oil painting at the Hagerstown YMCA as a kid. I wanted to begin with some semblance of composition and used images for reference from a small book I picked up at a museum shop on the architecture of Tadao Ando. Not a lot remains of these under-paintings, but some hints of them can be seen in the finished pieces. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

2 summer paintings + 1

The first two paintings here are 14" x 20". Both were done to enter into the Berkeley Arts Council show "Summer Bloom". I like the challenge of an assignment, so here was an opportunity to see what I could come up with on a summer theme. 

They started out quite differently ~ huge swipes of very bright yellows, golds, reds. There were critters hidden in the branches. But I just wasn't happy with how they were going and I ended up toning them down, making them more subtle, and just about the trees.  

These paintings gave me a hard time coming into being. There are MANY layers from all the changes. I thought the last painting I did had a delicious surface, but now it looks plain compared to these.

This one is 20" X 26". It may look as though the photo is blurry, but it is the illusion the texture creates. There are a lot of layers in this painting, too, and I might have gone further with it, but I just wanted to stop at this point. There is something spontaneous and raw that I like and didn't want to cover up. I thought I'd just let it be what it is. Definitely not a "summer" painting, though.

I used acrylic, charcoal and pastel on all 3 of these paintings and the addition of ink on the last one.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Painting 6 10 15

This painting is 20" X 26". There are many layers of paint. A lot of scraping, covering, repainting. With acrylic, charcoal and some collage. 

The surface is delicious. I hope you get to see it in person or at least enlarge the image so you can see a detail.

I added tiny accents of color, their locations determined by the shapes created when I drew the lines into the wet acrylic paint with a charcoal pencil. The strong, dark almost circle is a piece of Thai banana paper, brown, covered with pastel to push it back a bit and help it blend into the painting.

Just for fun, I'm showing here one of the layers under the finished piece. I started this in March, 2013. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

6 small paintings ~ June 6

Six small pieces. The first four are 5" x 8". The last two are 8" X 12". They were all painted at the same time, using acrylic, charcoal and pastel. 

I took these paintings, while still in progress, to my crit group a few days ago for some feedback. They were just started and quite different. My friends gave me some fun suggestions, like making a bold mark, then walking away! This was after I said that I never seem to be able to leave well enough alone, I always feel the need to change a mark in some way rather than leave it raw. 

Another suggestion was to do something totally counter to what I might normally do, like use a color I never choose. I tried both of these things. The large red area in this last painting is a sample of making a mark and leaving it alone. The painting above had a huge smear of a yellow I wouldn't have normally reached for. It got covered up, but can be seen through the layers.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Critters in the Landscape

A few nights ago I was given the opportunity to talk about my work to about 30 people at Bridge Gallery (Shepherdstown, WV) where my work has been on display for the past few weeks. It was a casual gathering and was mostly a Q & A session. I was asked a bunch of fun and interesting questions; one by my friend, Nancy, who wanted to know if I ever have an idea of what I'm going to paint before I start. I gave her an emphatic "no", because that usually is the case. I rarely have an idea of what a painting is going to turn out to be and I'm generally surprised!

However, for this painting, which is 20" X 26", I had scribbled and scraped in the background to start, and before long I knew I wanted to do trees with little things hidden here and there. I've been asked to put up some work at a local library for the months of June and July, so I want to fill the space with paintings that kids might get a kick out of.

I used acrylic and charcoal for the trees, then added details with charcoal pencil, highlighted with dabs of paint. There is some chalk pastel on there, too, to adjust background colors that weren't working. 

The details were fun. There are some recognizable things, but also some made-up critters, and fish hanging from the branches (living fish...swimming in the air, I guess). I hope the kids have fun exploring. The rest of the pieces in the display will have other animals and whimsical scenes. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Twin" Paintings in Stages

Here are two paintings I did together, side-by-side...another pair that I call "twins". What follows are 8 pictures of the stages that the paintings went through before completion.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The painting that talked back

Here's the painting I was making such a fuss about in my last post, the one I said I was working on that felt so special.

It still feels special. I've been sitting with it for the past few days to see if it wanted anything else, but it doesn't seem to and so it is done. I could have added tiny details forever. It is already full of them. Probably not easy to see here, but maybe in the details below.

Much of the background color was applied with large, flat scrapers from the hardware store.
Then, relying on intuition, I found random shapes and figures in all the layers of textures and accented them with color or line.

The painting is acrylic and charcoal on paper, 40" X 40". It's not pretty. And it probably won't end up in anyone's living room. But it is totally me. Painting it was, for me, for the first time, an experience of having a true connection with what was happening. An involvement, a dialogue.

Why do I think this painting is successful? I feel that it has a cohesiveness over the whole composition. All parts are strong and equal. I'm drawn to the texture and build up of space on the surface. And I love the teeny details that draw in the viewer, inviting further exploration and discovery. I hope you get a chance to see it in person.