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.
In Xanadu, did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree
So begins Samuel Coleridge’s famous poem. Xanadu Gallery in the heart of downtown Scottsdale, Arizona, might not exactly rival the ancient city of Shangdu, China, but it’s an inspiring place, nonetheless, featuring a variety of beautiful and innovative artworks created by artists all over the country. So I consider it an honor to have some of the paintings in my Red Mountain series included in their latest catalog, which will be going out to all their clients shortly. You can check out an advance copy here. (My pieces are on page 25.)
In my previous post, I wrote about using a 12 x 12 format to express a single idea, but sometimes, I need a bigger canvas to capture the moment. A River Runs Through It reminds me of the colorful river towns perched on the hilltops in Spain. The water rushing down the mountains, the clean, fresh air! Aah–how delightful.
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.
I’m excited to announce that some of my Fruitful Relationship paintings are currently on exhibit at the Caffe di Moda, 1012 Burlington, Lisle (right across from the Lisle Train station, Main & Burlington). The cafe is beautiful, the food is delicious and as an extra bonus, you get to see some gorgeous original paintings by some of the members of Studio 630. Be sure to stop by soon.
Girlfriends, oil, 12 x 24, $190.00
This week, I began draft #5 of Death on the Danube. I finished the 4th draft about a month ago and decided to just let it sit for a while. In the meantime, I let my husband read it. He thinks it’s really good, but he had some helpful suggestions, too. I’ve been mulling things around, and now I’m ready to approach the project with a fresh eye.
The story is done. The mystery is solved. (Hint: Bella Sarver provides the key information, though she has a lot of help from the German and Romanian police.) But now it’s time to really whip this book into shape.
This is my fourth novel, and I’ve learned quite a bit about the writing process. It’s all very well to come up with a basic mystery, but fleshing out the characters, letting them tell the story in their own words, and letting the story go its own way is where the work part comes in. It’s fun, too, though, a new adventure every time. So back to work, and I’ll keep you posted on progress.
Breakfast, Oil, 16 x 20, $425
Abstract (adj.) – to draw from, separate [L. <ab(s)-, from + trahere, to draw]
(Wesbster’s New World Dictionary, 2nd College Edition, Prentice Hall Press, 1986)
Most of my recent paintings explore the notion of abstraction. When does a representation go from being very realistic to being abstract? I think it has to do with the artist removing the context of the objects being depicted. In “Breakfast,” the viewer is required to focus just on the objects, without being able to tell where the breakfast is located or who might be starting to eat it. An abstract painting can certainly consist of shapes and colors, without relating at all to reality. An abstract painting can also adhere to the literal meaning of the word “abstract,” by separating the subject from its surroundings. In that sense, surrealism is also abstraction.
Apple, acrylic, 14 x11 ($125 + $10 shipping)
I just saw a fascinating documentary, “Tim’s Vermeer,” produced by Penn & Teller. It’s the story of Tim, who theorizes that Vermeer used a camera obscura to create his amazingly realistic paintings. This theory is well known, but there are problems with it. Tim set out to overcome the problems. He made and modified a camera obscura, and actually built the entire scene of “The Music Lesson.” He then painted the scene, using his invention. He proved that Vermeer could have similarly used his own camera obscura to achieve the great level of detail in his paintings. At the end of about 130 days, Tim had recreated an exact replica of Vermeer’s painting.
Yet something was still missing from the painting. It lacked the magic that Vermeer brought to his work. Why is that?
An artist must master her craft, surely. More than that, though, the artist uses composition, the effects of light and color, the choice of subject matter, to elevate the craftman-like work to the level of art. It’s seeing ordinary things in a different way. Maybe it’s a sort of magic, after all.