October 1, 2016
It has been a challenging summer dealing with various health issues. But now I have energy again to share some of my life with anyone interested.
Making artwork has never really stopped. Some weeks after the op, I was already painting a copy of a Matisse stillife. Spring inspired me to paint trees, then I got sick in June and things ground to a halt for awhile. Around that time I started sewing a quilt by hand, having bought 2 packs of beautiful Tilda cotton squares on sale. I liked the slow pace and the kind of mindless precise work.
Fall brought new inspiration. My last post had been in June and, with the onion paintings, I had broken through to a new way of working, .
It was kind of intimidating to try and pick that up again, I’d tried and failed a few times. So I decided to ease into painting again by doing something familiar. I feel most comfortable working in defined areas, like patchwork really. My oil pastel drawings tend to begin as grids, so I chose a few of my favourites and began copying them in acrylics.
It is so true that just working, regardless of being inspired or not, most always opens up the next step.
Even though I stopped again after completing these 2 below, doing them launched me into a new phase in my painting. More about that in the next post. Meanwhile…
When stuck in one medium it is often helpful to go to another. I decided to make collages out of some old oil pastel drawings. I did one a day for a week, here they are:
take care, til next time.
December 16, 2015
There is a lot of movement happening in my life, and it is reflected in my painting. I’m leaving old ways of seeing, and familiar approaches, and embarking on ‘The adventure of a lifetime’ (A plug for Coldplay’s new single YAY!!). The freedom I have in inventing when working in oil pastels has finally transferred to paint. I’m working in acrylics because I like layering and they dry fast.
I won’t take you on the complete journey, but this particular stream started months ago. I have mentioned that I do collages for relaxation and processing of any issues up for me. I always really like them, they surprise me and are fresh. So this one, with the painting by Alexey Kvaratskeheliya at center stage inspired me to try an oil pastel painting using the same kind of little shards of concentrated colour as Alexey K.
Which resulted in this piece:
Working with colour in this way feels very natural to me. (This piece is in our currently running show at Scherer design store. In a few days they will have our exhibit announced on the site.)
I wondered if I could work this way in paints, but it is different when you can reach for one of 121 concentrated oil pastel colours, or you have to mix them yourself and keep using clean brushes to apply them.
But one evening I took a little piece of cardboard, and intuitively began working in small colour areas. That freed me up to take another step- I took all the leftover colours on my palette and made a background on a previously painted canvas with the partly dried paint and palette knife:
Then I painted over it intending to work into the result below, but I like it so much I’m leaving it as is.
The next two happened around the same time:
They are both painted in acrylic over previous paintings, taking cues from the background and at the same time evolving their own unique forms.
This method of working really suits me. I work messily and spontaneously on an already painted canvas and things just happen.
Gee that Flora Bowley book mentioned in the last post must really work, I haven’t even read it yet and my work is undergoing a major reorientation! 🙂
All of the preceding are quite small format- around 30 x 30 cm. Then I retrieved one of the fairly free paintings from this summer where I was trying to lose form, and painted over it. The tree emerged, and I worked into it some, but not much. It captures the energy I need most to connect with now as I face major surgery tomorrow. Hopefully I can bring it into the hospital where I can see it.
November 24, 2015
It has been ages, nearly 3 months since I posted. Hi again, to the handful of faithful followers who make this worth doing.
Crazy months dealing with health issues. There is an operation coming soon, and hopefully after that things will settle down into a more normal routine again.
My art is in a turbulent period of its own. I think I included some of the newer experiments this last summer,where I was letting go of form and trying to paint more intuitively. I’ve been more comfortable with watercolour sticks (a kind of crayon that is water soluble) and collage lately, than oil paints. I want to do quick, spontaneous studies rather than labour over one painting.
Rende and I have an upcoming exhibition in a high quality interior store here in the north of Holland. He’ll be showing woodwork and photography, and I’ll hang 18 pieces, oil pastels and oil paintings. I’ll link to the site when they’ve got our info there.
I know I’ve posted the art above before here, and probably the quote as well, but it is worth repeating:
What we need more of is slow art; art that holds time as a vase holds water: art that grows out of modes of perception and making whose skill and doggedness make you think and feel; art that isn’t merely sensational, that doesn’t get its message across in ten seconds, that isn’t falsely iconic, that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures.
In a word, art that is the very opposite of mass media. – Robert Hughes
June 8, 2015
Some time ago I had some prints made of a few of my oil pastels. They’re mostly sold out, but I have 2 left I’d like to make available for purchase.
SOLD Tuscan landscape is 36 x 30 cm (14″x 12″) (image area not including wide border).
(later) I just ran across one more of this one.
SOLD OUT Living Tree is 26,5 x 30 cm(10,5″ x 12″) (image area, there is a very thin white border).
Both images are printed on beautiful quality heavy watercolor paper. Acid free.
They are 60 Euros ($67 each)
or 100 Euros for both ($112). Includes shipping anywhere. They will be packed in a cardboard tube.
Payment by Paypal or bank transfer. Contact me through the comments if you are interested.
April 18, 2014
At the moment I’m working on two paintings at the same time. I have another one of the same subject as above at a further stage of development, but I just started this one today and wanted to record this part of the process in case it is of any help to other painters.
The subject is deliciously complex, with two patterned fabrics intertwining on a background cloth, with 3 vases of tulips. In the above picture, there are actually 3 stages of underpainting shown.
- First is a neutral light blue coat, (ultramarine and white with a good amount of heavy gel mixed in). I chose this colour carefully having learned from my work in oil pastels that the background colour can make certain colours glow and kill others dead. See in the example below, how the pinks and oranges come to life on the blue paper. In the painting I’m working on, there are some hot greens and vibrating turquoises that I want to keep alive, as well as the oranges and pinks of the tulips, so the neutral greyish blue undercoat will allow that.
- The folds of cloth with the pattern following them is so complex that I needed to establish values and contours before I started in with the oil colours. So I mixed some cobalt blue and burnt sienna into a dark grey and sketched in shadows and folds.
- After that, I mixed some bright colours with gel to form transparent glazes (so I didn’t cover up all my previous work getting the contours!!), and painted in fun colours, keeping complements in mind. Oranges layered over that acid green will make the tulips dance off the canvas. And the purply pinks will glow here and there through the green leaves, giving them depth.
I enjoy painting the oils over a supportive layer of acrylic colour, unexpected things happen, happy accidents of one colour against another, or letting the background colour show as a contour to give a subtle painterly effect. From previous paintings, I’ve learned to put the darkest colours where my lightest values are going to come. So that dark browny purple behind the middle tulip vase is actually waiting to receive a beautiful honeyed orange light. The blue cloth on the left will, in the end, be hot pink, gold and blue. It takes patience to work this way, but doing it like this is also a way to familiarise myself with the subject before I start applying the oil paint, so that stage proceeds with more confidence.
I will be following the dark values on this painting, something I haven’t done before, usually I let the lightest point lead the eye into and around the composition. But it happens that in this one, the darkest areas lead into the painting in a nice curving path that the eye can follow easely (pun intended, sorry). 🙂
November 17, 2013
These were made by one of my course participants after our pen & ink sessions. They are particularly heartening because she had a hard time getting a handle on the medium most of the session. Then right in the last 5 minutes she totally ‘got’it. The next week she came in with these sketches from a recent outing. Aren’t they lovely.
The last session this season, we combined collage and oil pastel to create a drawing from our imagination. We leafed through magazines for pictures which suggested a story, cut those out, then pasted them on white paper and worked into them with oil pastels. The results were free and colourful.