Artists are often advised to present a consistent body of work to the public, for very good reason. If you’ve developed a following, you owe it to your “fans” to give them what they expect. But as an artist, this is easier to say than to do. Creative people naturally want and need to experiment with various art forms, different media, interesting techniques. Even if you absolutely love abstractions, as I do, there’s nothing to stop you from also loving detailed landscapes and intricate still lifes.
When I exhibit, I make sure to maintain consistency. But in my own studio, anything goes. Here are two of my latest efforts, one completely abstract, with lots of texture and one in which I tried to capture the misty chill of a Scottish Highland stream.
Maybe you’ve noticed–I love color. I love how different colors play off each other, sometimes soft and soothing (analogous colors), sometimes bright and jarring (complimentary colors). I often combine my colors with various mediums to create texture on the canvas, too. But for “Sculpture in Gray,” I decided to try something different. To begin, I just glopped on a pile of black and white paint loosely mixed with fiber paste and started spreading it around with a large palette knife. The painting sort of took off on its own from there. I glopped on more paint, dribbled on some silver, sprinkled a little glitter and–voila!
At first glance, you might think it’s just a gray painting, but as you look at it, you notice the swirls and layers, the shadows and lights, and you begin to lose yourself in the richness of the painting. I’ve been studying it in my studio for about a month now, wondering if I need to add any of my signature colors or maybe some defined shapes. But I’ve decided I love it just the way it is. Minimalism has certainly been around since at least mid-twentieth century, but now I find myself appreciating it much more deeply than I ever have before.
Sometimes we all need a little inspiration, a little push to get us going again. The world is so full of colors, you’d think you’d never run out of ideas, but sometimes–you do. So I was thrilled to be able to spend time at MOMA last week, to see their special exhibit, Matisse’s Red Studio. I just love his spare shapes, bright colors, and the way he puts these elements together to create a mood and to tell a story. I wandered the galleries, trying to take it all in, and when I left, a couple of hours later, I really felt refreshed, and ready to get started in my own studio again.
I just finished an interesting piece, which I’m calling What’s Your Hurry? I thought about adding to it, giving it some embellishment, but then I decided I like it exactly as is. What do you think?
Sometimes people ask me how I come up with my titles. Well, I enjoy naming my pieces almost as much as I do creating them in the first place. I try to invent names that give the viewer a hint of what I was thinking while I was painting, but at the same time, something that leaves a bit of mystery, a little question in their minds. I’m calling this piece Gothic Bazaar. Why? Well, the pointed arch is a bit of Gothic architecture, isn’t it? And the colors remind me of the time I visited the bazaar in Istanbul, full of golds and secret passageways and hidden corners. Touristy? Sure, but all the same exotic and fun. Everything about this–the design, the colors, and yes – even the title, says Whimsy. A bit of whimsy to brighten up a cold winter day.
I love working in a small, 12 x 12 format. It forces me to really think about what I want my painting to say, because the small space doesn’t lend itself to a lot of miscellaneous flourishes. Here are a few pieces I’ve done in the past few months. By the way, Facebook has somehow removed my page (and no–I haven’t been posting anything horrible!), and I’ve decided to just let it go, so if you have a comment, please post it here on WordPress, or just contact me directly. The pieces here are all 12 x 12, Acrylic and mixed media, framed and ready for display.
My paintings and designs have been taking a whimsical turn for a while now, using a variety of different paints and applicators. Here I’ve used the marvelous Golden Fluid Acrylics, plus a variety of paint markers, to see what would happen if I just let ‘the spirit move me.’ My three most recent results say go with the flow and enjoy! Framed very simply, & ready to brighten up a corner of your room.
A definition of “whimsy” is “playfully quaint or fanciful.” I think that aptly describes this collection of small paintings, on display at the Lisle Library now through the end of January. I’ve been having a great time creating them, using the simplest objects around the house or just my imagination as the starting point for designing the various bright and colorful compositions.
The Lisle Library, 777 Front Street, Lisle, will be hosting a reception on Saturday, December 7th, from 2 to 3:30 pm. Refreshments will be offered. So mark your calendars and hope to see many of you there.
Join us on Sunday, October 27 for the Studios 630 Fine Art Show Artist Reception, 3 – 5 p.m. at National University of Health Sciences, Roosevelt at Highland, Lombard (Clinic Building B). Refreshments will be served. Come meet the artists and enjoy the exhibit of fine art in the gallery.
I used acrylic paint for finished paintings in Arizona, because I was in a rented house and didn’t want the fuss and mess of oils. I was surprised to find that not only does acrylic paint dry much faster, but that it also influences a painter to use different techniques. With oils, there is time to soften edges, play with the paint, blend colors, scrape and wipe out. With acrylic, the painter doesn’t have this luxury. Instead, you have to work quickly, and I found that acrylics lend themselves to harder edges, more glazing colors over each other, and brighter colors. Which way is better? What do you think? Compare my landscapes, all done in oils, with my latest acrylic still life paintings.