Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Paint Horse Racing and Pranked Car Sitting

Very, very sleeeepy. Very. But, oh, I wanted to post this little painting (5" x 7," oil on art panel) of one of the horses I photographed last month at the Rillito Race Track. This is my way of sneaking up on portraits with my new style. We'll see how it goes.

I'll bet you can tell I really enjoyed the mask this horse wore. The horse was pretty frisky, too. Fun to watch most definitely. They were all so well loved and cared for.

I started another painting and will probably add it to this post tomorrow. Unfortunately, I didn't photograph it before it got dark.

Today, I finished the following and wanted to include it in the post. This is awfully real. Wonder if I'm a little anxious about the new, freer style. Hmmm.

But, here's a funny. For a serious, reclusive, sometime deep thinker (ha) like me, I do like a friendly prank on April Fool's Day. Always the challenge--to be funny or clever while maintaining safety and the law.

So, here are a couple of photos of a prank some people (I resemble that comment) very close to me pulled at a school well known around the country, if you read Newsweek, and also very close by...but I know nothing! Disclaimer: no autos were harmed in any way during these playful activities. I blame Christo.

Happy April Fool's Day. What could you do to make a day fun while maintaining a semblance of decorum?!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

El Fuerte And A Plassion for Painting

No time to paint this last week--too much staying up late, visiting with our college boy and submitting three pieces to the TMA's Arizona Biennial '09. While this is something I've done for the past eight years, always rejected alas, it is still a thrill to consider the possibility. A good exercise, yes, to keep going, not caring about rejection, not marking any particular event as an ultimate goal, but always looking forward to the next opportunity?! So, it was really nice to sit outside this morning and make a small caran d'ache drawing of our little adobe (5 1/2" x 8," on Moleskine paper). Looks like it's smiling. I think this week it is--having the pack altogether again. And then, I visited Barbara Paints and, to my surprise and delight, she listed me and others for the Passion for Painting Award! How cool is that?!! I hope you'll visit her blog and drink in her colors and her passion for life and art. It is such an honor to be named with the fabulous artists she also awarded. Please take a look at their work too. 

What are the seven things I'm most passionate about? Ah... 

1. Doing some kind of good each day, looking for some opportunity to help someone, encourage someone or to offer a small measure of gentleness to a person or animal in need. 

2. It is very important to me to stay informed about politics and how it will shape our collective future. Haven't we all learned that being educated, asking the right questions, taking time to think about the serious issues are not mere hobbies, but affect each of us locally--sometimes in short order?!

3. Family...need I say more? 

4. Color 

5. Composition 

6. Artists: from the past, male or female, and the contemporary ones working today. Mostly, I am passionate about the artists working in the last 50 years because they don't get enough recognition. 

7. If I could sum up the heart of my passion, I would have to say living as authentically as possible, being true to that still small voice within you that knows what is right...and not wavering to please others, no matter how well-intentioned, or to be or do something that just doesn't ring true. 

Here are seven artists I think share in this kind of passion for painting: Jeane Loriann Signori Joyce Washor Katherine Treffinger Karen Phipps Susan Hong-Sammons Joan Breckwoldt

Friday, March 20, 2009

Skipping Step #3

Reading a bit of Art & Fear today brought to mind the new process I've been working with. Just in the first couple of chapters, I've seen how good 'ordinary' feels. 

Sounds rough, doesn't it? Really, it's liberating. The locus (bonus word of the day) from which the authors begin their treatise is that "creatures (perfect beings) having only virtues can hardly be imagined making art. Art is made by ordinary people." 

This being so, this thinking provides freedom for us to paint in a way that is uniquely our own. Karen asked, in a comment recently, how I feel as I approach these new landscapes. 

I feel ordinary, like me. Ah, ha! As I was pondering this subject, I realized that I had changed my mind about painting. You know how it is. You decide that something isn't working for you, and you drop it. There isn't a great epiphany or anything at that time. You merely do things differently. It's almost as simple as deciding not to touch a hot stove. And when something pleasant happens and you don't get burned, well, you experience a revelation. 

There is, of course, the fact that we are all visiting fellow artists online and enjoying certain elements of each of their works. If we collect the most successful of these and apply them to a painting, we cannot help but imbue the work with our own distinctive and personal signature. 

There is something else that I'm finding, too. I'm now approaching the work without any concern for audience. Again, sounds rough, but you'll understand how subtly we artists are influenced by the push toward pleasing others (approval/sales). What if we let that go, too? 

So, I will choose an image that I find interesting, start a painting of it, see too much detail (get annoyed here--step #3), wipe out detail, and finish by stepping back and analyzing what I do enjoy about the image graphically, color wise, etc.

Today, I was able to skip step #3.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Molino Basin #2 Study in Process

After an exhausting week, I've only got a quick post of another version of the Molino Basin in my new and improved process. This painting is also 9" x 12." I got stuck in step #3 for awhile, but this may be done now. I took a chance on revising a landscape from a few weeks back, too. I think it's better, but sometimes it's hard to tell without a bit of distance and time. This is also a 9" x 12" painting.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quick Study After Many Hours

"Success is not a function of individual talent. It's the steady accumulation of advantages." --from a very smart scientist whose name was torn away when his picture and quote were snagged from a magazine article on talent, luck, and the success that 10,000 hours can bring to anyone sufficiently diligent, blessed, and a little bit crazy, and how they can enjoy the benefits of success as long as they have patient and supportive family members who will help maintain an environment for growth, practice, and occasional appropriate praise, and then, placed on a refrigerator for perusing and meditation each day, as one reaches for the vitamins that sustain the body but not the soul--like paint and canvas and the smell of medium and good Blues music wailing from the boom box in the studio. Whew! (Gee, I love a run-on sentence now and again...) Actual credit to Malcom Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success.

But, I digress. This painting is of an area near Molino Basin at the base of Mount Lemmon. It's about forty minutes from my home It's a great spot to see the transition between the desert and the Catalina mountains. It is 9" x 12." Again, I am attempting to start with the image and then react to how the landscape influences mood.