Thursday, March 12, 2015

Visual Dreams

I have been away for too long.  I had a difficult time today even finding my blog.  Google had me so confused, it was ridiculous.  This is one of my latest doodles.  The more I look at it, the more images reveal themselves to me.  I was looking for my blog because I needed digitals of some of my paintings for an upcoming show's advertising. 

This is a medium sized piece, 24 x 30.  The only camera I currently have is the one that's on my phone.  I used to have photo editing software (Gimp) but I deleted the program as the last machine I downloaded it to, it came with viruses galore.  I had to reset the computer to factory specifications.  That was a chore I didn't need. 

I rather like this piece, though at times it scares me.  These images came from the paint on the canvas, and my choices of moving it around.  I've considered working it some more but decided to move on to other paintings.  I enjoy this process of letting the images evolve ... and then sit and wonder what made me choose to illuminate and develop the representational images I did.  Analyze self?  I doubt this post will have any attention, my followers are probably not looking for me any longer.  I've recently found the need to share my work, and will continue to do so.  This is only the beginning of new posts, so stay tuned. 

I will be showing my recent work in Portland, Maine during the month of April at the Roux Cyr Gallery of International Art, 48 Free Street, Portland, Maine.  If you're close enough, please stop by at the opening on the first Friday of April, from 5 to 8 pm.  Susan Roux and Paul Cyr have created an amazing gallery ... well worth the stop by or special trip. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Do not ask, I do not know

I have not titled this piece yet, but am considering "All my Relations."  I host a painting group in my studio on Saturdays and some of the artists were working on older pieces they had never finished.  I pulled this piece, an 18 x 24 gallery wrapped canvas that I had painted a few years ago for a show of "in the moment" pieces by several artists. 

It was originally a blueish celestial type of image.  There was a smear of white, and other colors forming images to my eye.  I decided to rework the entire canvas.  I considered the original to be quite dull.  Interesting image, but dull color. 

I started to develope largest face I saw, had it half done when another artist visited to see what I was doing.  Something in the image made her cry.  I did not have an idea where this piece would go, where it would bring me.  I was interested in using gold and blue to create the facial image.  As I continued with the piece, the other faces emerged from the paint of the original piece.  They bear no resemblance to anyone I know.  The woman on the bottom right began as a male with a long white beard.  The woman at top right center, originally looked male.  I just kept going applying paint at whim.  As a particpant in several visual conversations, a process that began because my artist's statement contains the phrase ... My goal is achieved when friends and strangers engage in a visual conversation with my work.  I think a piece is successful when it catches the attention of another human being, and elicits a reaction.  The type of reaction doesn't matter.  It's the communication from artist to viewer that is important.

The bird in flight was in the original piece.  That is the only part of that image to remain.  I wanted to balance the stark black of the bird and put in a dark shoulder.  There were several changes, overpainting, details added and subtracted.  I fussed and enjoyed it all.  The process was very similar to developing a Touch Drawing.  (See a long ago post)

Working over a previously done painting can be fun.  You don't know what will happen.  I wasn't thinking ahead, and wish I had taken a picture of the original.  I have another I have begun to paint over, and did take a digital of that one.  Not before I started, but I will have some record of the progression to the final product. 

I haven't posted here since April.  That appears to coincide with the start of my current employment for a steady paycheck.  I've had time to paint and did participate in some sunshine art fairs. 

At present, I'm not at all interested in marketing my work.  My artistic journey is changing direction.  Process brings me pleasure.  I'm always surprised at the results the journey produces.  I am enjoying the journey.  I'm always learning something new, and it comes easily, whatever "it" is.  I feel the flow, sometimes raging and othertimes quiet and gentle. 

I've made friends with the digital camera in my smart phone, so perhaps I will be more interested in sharing my latest images.  The one in this post is unusual for me.  As I wrote earlier, my journey has taken me to some different techniques.  Exploring them has been rewarding. 

As the holidays quickly approach, my best wishes to all for love and peace in their lives. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Using References or Not?

I wanted another sunflower painting, so I created one.  I was actually more interested in the pot or vase.  I had no reference.  I'm not in the habit of using any references for my paintings, but can imagine how much easier it would be if I had one.  I've watched other artists use their gallery of photographs, and manage to create an image that speaks more than the photograph.  I've also seen artists paint a photograph so exact, it might as well be an enlarged photo.  There is always something else to discover in the world of painting, no matter what the source of inspiration.  

I admire photographers, they have a much more difficult job to find, notice, and then photograph a pleasing image.  Then there are some that work magic with Photoshop.  It's all I can do to take the digital photos of my artwork, not get too much glare, hold the camera steady, and then transfer it to my computer.  Then, I also have to find it in the maze of files.  I do need to arrange the files better .... someday.  

The above oil is 18 x 18.  Working within a square has definitely been a challenge.  I thought this piece was done ... but after viewing the photo, I can see all the small things I can improve ... yet then ... I like my work to look like a painting, not a photograph.  It's just a personal preference  I've studied sunflowers.  The ones in the painting are not the "seed eating" variety.  We grew acres of those at times on our farm for cattle feed, and to brighten up the neighborhood.  One field was along the road, and there were always photographers present with tripods, people stopping just to look, and we knew it was special when wedding parties came to take pictures.  The flowers were all taller than 7' at a minimum, it was amazing to walk along the edge of a field and look up at the huge faces looking down once they were ripe.  Before ripening, they would turn with the movement of the sun.  Hang them upside down once they're cut, and the birds have a feast.  We found they weren't the best ingredient for cattle feed, but that's where the majority of them went, right into the bunker silo.  I have a wall hanging in my home of those, something I painted on fabric and sewed into a cloth frame.  

 This was inspired by an early  morning walk, the moon had not set yet.  I'm reminded of the scent of the flowers, the colors, and coolness of the air, clear skies and the waters of the river gently lapping on the bank.  The path was between the river and the edge of the field.  

This has hung in my house for several years now.  I was looking at it as a was writing, and having my camera handy and charged up, I took a quick photo and have included it here.  The size is approximately 24 x 40.  It is not as bright as one painted on canvas.  The oil paint seeps into the fabric, runs, and pretty much acts like watercolor.  The final product is quite soft.  The photo is a bit light, but then I'm not a professional with a camera.  

The flowers were well above my head, and having the moon visible was quite a treat.  

Back to the studio, there's a canvas waiting. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Clearing Clutter

I've missed the entire first quarter on 2012 writing here.  Now that I've completed some tedious tasks, it is my intention to share some of my creative discoveries.  "Raven III" 18 x 18 Oil Painting on Gallery Wrapped Canvas is at left.  This piece makes Raven number 3, I believe I have enough now.  Raven I is currently sitting on my mantle and it draws people into the room.  I recently had new flooring installed on the main floor of my home, and the place was a wreck.  Everything had to be moved out of each room, and a lot of sorting got done.  I found art supplies I'd forgotten I had.  I cleaned out a desk that had over 20 years of "stuff" stuffed in the drawers.  It was a good exercise, and I parted with things I hadn't used or needed.  Now ... if only I could do the same in my studio.  All the "stuff" that doesn't have a home somewhere else in the house, ends up there.  A couch, futon, bed, and all the dead computers.  "Someday" I need to fire up some of the old computers after I get them fixed, only to get digital copies of the paintings I no longer have.  


Would that be worth it?  I painted them, and sold or gave them away.  I'm wondering if I need the images.  I'm only going to continue to create more.  The Ravens were a labor to paint.  I spent a week on "artist's retreat" in February.  I'm just finishing up three of the paintings I started there.  It didn't take much to bring them to completion.  Once I had a good coat of color covering the canvas, it was relaxing.  I've learned how to "go back into" pieces that aren't finished.  Now with that success behind me, maybe I'll be able to finish up all those canvases I got frustrated with and gave up on.  Every piece can be finished.  Easier said than done. 

Next post will be of a vase of sunflowers, then a tree.  I don't know what planet the tree is on, but I like it.  Stay tuned!  I have made friends with my new digital camera.  That was a major accomplishment for me.  Now if the computer will behave!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Raven Number Two

This is the second of my raven series, the third is in progress and I'm planning on more.  I'm still making friends with my digital camera, and the download process to my computer.  

Why do I lose files?  Can't find them, then the camera reports there are no new pics when I try over.  I do believe my eyesight is one of the problems, and have taken measures to correct that.  Glasses should be ready in a couple of days.  I can see to read pretty well, but the small print on most web pages drives me crazy.  If I change the resolution and make it bigger, the whole site does not fit on my screen.  I'm not willing at this time to spring for a larger screen ... I see people with tiny computer screens managing quite well.  I don't have that patience.  

I did purchase a NOOK with credit card points.  I haven't read much in the past few years due to discomfort of holding a book in just the right place, in the right light etc.  Since purchasing the e-reader, I've read eight books.  If anyone has a suggestion of a well written interesting documentary or novel, anything actually, please be kind and make a suggestion.  I haven't kept up with the latest bestsellers.  I do like the fact that you can usually read the first chapter of any book for free before you decide to purchase.  

Back to artwork ... I don't know why I'm painting ravens, the idea occurred to me so I tried it.  I figure if you have an idea, any idea, from calling a friend to what you might include in an image, follow your instinct.  If you get stuck creating, just keep going.  I find a painting I'm not happy with for awhile will speak for itself, (your artist's knowledge) and will transform into a piece that is more than satisfactory.l  

Merry Christmas and a creative year ahead!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just for Me, Myself and I

I'm fond of Ravens, they're very intelligent birds.  Decided I wanted a painting for my house.  This was my first effort.  I like the background much more than the bird, there's no action.  I'm almost finished with my second effort, "In Flight."  I am almost satisfied.  I've started a third, this one a combination of spread wings and open mouth.  There may be more .... black (of course one must mix this dark neutral) feathers are fascinating.  They reflect, and there are so many combinations to create different blacks.  I'm experimenting. 

I haven't been painting much, got through the sunshine art shows during the summer season.  I had some sales, but nothing like past years.  The economy is still in the sewer, I don't care what the media says.  The media can't make up it's mind anyway.  I think they create some of the problems. 

I will have plenty of time to paint in the near future, I was laid off from my part-time job at the end of August.  Federal Funding Budget cuts reached out directly to me.  No one is insulated in this country. 

At present, I'm painting and experimenting, pushing along, seeing what happens, revisiting old discoveries, observing, and staying comfortable.  I recently acquired a Color NOOK.  Nice for reading blogs, but almost impossible to comment.  The "keyboard" is simply too small for my fingers.  I've tried using a pencil eraser, but haven't mastered that technique yet.  If it can be mastered, that is. 

Off to do some touch drawing, work on my second and third Ravens, maybe start a fourth?

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My digital camera died awhile ago ... why are so many things today disposable?  My appliances are 20 years old and still going ... however, the toaster became toast at least 4 times.  I now have a new camera, and am slowly learning how to use it. 

This image is a Touch Drawing I did at a workshop at the Rowe Conference Center in Massachusetts in January.  I added some color during my recent vacation.   I haven't decided if I will add or subtract some of the image.  This image is on tissue paper and I will mount it.  I'm considering mounting it on a painted canvas.  The color or colors of the canvas will show through once I use acrylic matt medium to mount it.  It is also possible to mount drawings on paper, wood, glass or plexiglass.  Possibilities are endless. 

I worked on a black and white drawing on vacation as well, one that fascinated me every time I looked at.  I mounted it on white gallery wrapped canvas and painted black edges into the drawing and on the sides.  I wish I had a digital of that to share, but I already gave that one away.  I had offered to create something for a friend for a certain space.  I painted a red nude (no digital of that either) and also gave her the black and white drawing.  The thought of giving the pieces away energized the work.  I was creating something that would have a good home.  I have several drawings I plan to relax with in the near future.  They're easy to pick up and play with, and easy to put down.  There's no pressure. 

I will be participating in a drawing exhibit this summer, and I think the Touch Drawings will be an interesting addition.  I posted one on the blog prior to this.  It was one I sold. 

If you're interested in the process of Touch Drawing, visit www.touchdrawing.com  The website has more information than you will ever need.  It's definitely worth a look.

I arrange exhibits where I work.  Coming up with titles for the exhibits is a challenge.  We've had "Comfort, Woe and Wonder" and the current exhibit is "Dream, Hope and Grow."  Any suggestions would be appreciated.  My workplace is a Community Action Program.  The administrative building can display between 40 and 50 pieces ... original art makes the decrepit space beautiful.  There is no charge to the artists, no jury, and no commission.  I think it's win/win.  I've probably written it before, but I believe art needs to be shared in everyday places.  The current exhibit has two drawings by young boys in grade school.  They are fascinating.  Over 20 artists are participating in the current exhibit.

I see so many beautiful creations while reading blogs.  If you don't sell or give them away, what do you do with them if they don't fit or you don't hang them in your home for whatever reason?  When I have enough for an exhibit, or sidewalk sale, I am sometimes discouraged from the activity.  Like now ... I'm working with drawings.  It's fun and relaxing.  Some great images have been created.  You would be surprised how strong tissue paper can be.  Yes, it's the tissue paper that you use in boxes containing gifts.  I'm going back to read my new camera book.  I have a new cell phone too ... I can barely answer it.  Sometimes progress is just too complicated.  Keeping pace with new technology makes me feel old.  On that happy note, I will press the button for this post.