Friday, February 27, 2015

Sidetracked by Van Gogh in the middle of abstracts

Ok I know I am doing abstracts right now but I went to a used book store recently and found a book I needed and discovered a huge selection of art books for a very reasonable price. The book was on Impressionism. There were several plates of Van Gogh's work and I thought hmmmm wouldn't it be fun to copy one of these. I was really struck by his self portrait. I wondered if I could manage the little strokes on such a small surface. I wondered if it would make a difference if I painted with acrylic paint and not oil.

When I was in my last year of high school my mother found out about a man that taught oil painting to adults. The wife of a one of my dad's coworker's went to his sessions every Saturday. They were all day long. I had to go and be interviewed by the teacher to get into the class. He agreed I had the right reasons and skills to be in the class even at seventeen. I would get a ride to my dad's coworker's house and I would drive an hour with her to the class. I had to bring my lunch and I would be in the class all day. I was the youngest in the class. Everyone was working at various levels of painting and all of them were copying works of the masters. No one was painting an original painting. I didn't expect that and I for some reason found this shocking, it went against my grain and I was seventeen. I knew and had already formed opinions about what I thought good art was. I did know that the purpose was to learn how to mix color in oil so as not to muddy the canvas. The teacher felt that copying was a way to learn. I felt that I was committing a mortal sin by copying. I was a small, opinionated lonely fish in a big sea of happy women and men happily copying famous paintings in oil. I was grateful for the lunch breaks and the afternoons seemed to stretch out for what seemed twice the hours they were and I was always glad to leave. When I would paint I always felt like I had to wait for the teacher to come around to tell me what to do. He would work on my painting to show me how to mix and how to add highlights. I was copying still life's. Eventually I got the hang of it. I already knew how to shade and add highlights. Oils were always challenging because you were always painting with wet paint on top of wet paint. I stayed with the classes long enough to finish about one or two paintings. The ones that I have from that class are fabulous paintings. Sadly, I quit because I just didn't see the merit in it. I have no idea why I felt this way. I often find myself wishing I could go back to those classes. Thank goodness experience has a way of changing our minds. I have to say I was excited by the idea of copying Van Gogh's self portrait. As I added the strokes in swirls of color I couldn't help but think about what he may have been experiencing. I wanted to know what he was thinking to have him create these beautiful blue green swirls of light around his portrait. I imagined him dressing and sitting in front of a mirror to paint. I enjoyed thoroughly the whole painting. I enjoyed the challenge of recreating the strokes. I enjoyed mixing my own colors to match his colors. My version has a little more contrast. His had lighter colors to create the outlines of his face. Overall I am very very pleased with  this painting. It's really very small which makes me love it even more. I'm glad I loved doing it. I learned a LOT. I worked on this two day's. I'm going to keep this one. I am going to go back to the abstracts every day. I don't seem to be able to do once in a few days. I am all in or sidetracked by life .. makes me laugh.

Hope you enjoyed the painting though either way. Thanks for stopping over and have a fabulously joyfilled day. Ciao.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Abstract #22

Today is abstract 22 and I guess this one is using some design from a previous abstract that I did. This one is very colorful. There is something about color that I've really been having a blast experimenting with combinations of. I like the contrasts of colors that are complimentary. And it seems that I have a tendency to create very graphic forms. This isn't always the case but it seems to go that way. I still get the sense of sewing while I am painting these.

Yesterday I went to a watercolor show nearby and saw a great deal of beautiful work done by local artists. Lots of talent there in the space that held the show. Then they did a little contest where five artists sat at a table with watercolor paper held down with tape and also previously drawn on by the artist. There was also a photo of the image that was being used. Five different artists had this same scenario. (All images were different). At the count of three they started painting for 15 minutes in the style that suited them. When the fifteen minutes was up it was passed to the next artist and this continued until all the artists had painted on every painting. All the paintings were signed by all the artists and they were all raffled off. I was surprised by the all the buzz this created and everyone seemed to enjoy the excitement of watching the artists at work. There were so many people standing at the tables it was hard to see what they were doing. I mentioned to one of the volunteers that they should video the artists working and project it onto the big screen they had nearby .. she looked at me like I told something in a foreign language. I didn't stay to see the end result. It would have been an hour and a half later .. five artists spend their fifteen minutes on each one and then get back their original work and finish up with final details. Looked like everyone was having fun!

Today's painting is about 12"x 12" on wood panel painted with acrylic. Email me if you are interested in purchasing today's abstract. Thanks for stopping by .. : )