Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Painting: Dreamscape- View of the Newark Reservoir

I finished this painting last Friday, the emotive landscape/dreamscape painting of the Newark Reservoir in Newark, Delaware:

My brush took me somewhere special.  I just kept painting and painting wherever I felt was right at the time.  I sketch for general composition, but not for details, so I did not really plan where I was going.  I am really satisfied with how it turned out.  To me, it was about depicting the emotional response I have to the landscape in the paint.  The saturated colors and exaggerated lines reflect how I view the landscape.  Even though it is abstracted and exaggerated, to me it looks realistic of the landscape as I know it.  Again, it is in oil on 24 x 36" canvas.

This painting is now on exhibition at the Newark Arts Alliance in Newark, Delaware.  It is part of the open juried show, "Landscapes/Dreamscapes of the Delmarva Peninsula" and is on exhibition until May 30th.  Come stop by to see it!  It's a great exhibition full of beautiful landscapes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Painting: Childe Hassam-Inspired Self-Portrait

Here is the third of my 3 self-portraits, also 9 x 12" and in oil.  It is inspired by Childe Hassam, one of my favorite artists, an American Impressionist:
My Self-Portrait:  
This was actually the first self-portrait I painted, which took the longest, but I feel I learned the most from.  I waited to post this one because I thought I was going to add a plant in the window, as Hassam often does.  I never painted it in, because I decided the canvas was small enough and detailed enough already.

Hassam created a series of paintings of women (usually using his wife as a model) looking out of windows, and/or with plants that reflected the women, creating a sense of longing.  I wanted to paint myself in this way, staring out the window at the landscape in the morning, something I do all the time, and could do for hours!  There is something about the beautiful pink and blue morning light.  To me, looking at the landscape is reflective, bringing me peace and keeping me mindful of the present.  This is probably why I am most drawn to landscapes as subjects for my art.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Idea: Using Cadmium Red For Vibrancy In Any Painting

I listened to this podcast, Views from Santa Flamingo (now Aisling D'Art) while I was working on my painting yesterday.  The name of the episode was "Little Things in Art and Life", which you can find here.  In the podcast she suggests using a tiny dot of Cadmium Red/Chinese Red in every painting to add a little spark to your paint, helping the eye to move all around the painting.  I tried it when I was mixing the sky color and the peach sunset color.  I think it did make a difference.  What do you think?

Aisling tells in another one of her podcast episodes that Claude Monet used to do his underpaintings in this color, to give each painting a vibrancy.  I usually do my underpainting in Cerulean Blue or Ultramarine, but I think I will try the Cadmium Red next time.  I hope you enjoyed this link, and stay tuned for an update on the painting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WIP Update: Newark Landscape Painting

Thank you all for the wonderful comments!  While I think I am pretty positive about my work, as I am an eternal optimist, these comments certainly encourage me to continue producing work and uploading pictures.  For that I thank you!  

Here is an update on one of my WIPs (Works in Progress).  I worked on the upper half today, trying to get the sky done first while the oil paint is still dry.  I definitely want the paint to create a mood of awe.  I am trying to create a smoothness and fluidity throughout the composition, introducing more and more colors, and mirroring the landscape below in the cloud formations.  I wonder where this dreamy landscape will take my brush next.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New WIP (Work In Progress): Newark Landscape Painting

I just started another one today, so now I have several paintings in progress.  It will be an "emotive landscape" of Newark, Delaware.  The Newark reservoir will be a little sliver in the background.  It is an oil painting on 24 x 36" canvas.  I would love any feedback.  Right now I'm just trying to put down main colors and tweaking the composition as I see it in my sketchbook.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Painting: Alice Neel-Inspired Self-Portrait

Here is my second self-portrait that I did last weekend, this time inspired by Alice Neel:
My Self-Portrait:
It's another 9 x 12" oil painting.  I have always admired Neel's portraits for their rawness and seeming effortlessness.  Neel makes her portraits by having the sitter sit in a chair for a long period of time until they move into their most natural sitting position.  I thought in order to express what I really look like, I could depict my terrible posture when I am sitting on a stool painting for a long time.  I started out with a heavy blue outline from sketches I did of myself, exaggerating the curves and length of the body, and added light washes of color to complete it.  I think it is a fairly good likeness, especially since this is a challenge for me.  I don't ever do portraits!  I had fun painting this because it was loose and free, and it didn't take more than a couple of hours.  Stay tuned for the third self-portrait I completed this weekend.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Painting: Edvard Munch-Inspired Self-Portrait

Here is one of the 3 self-portraits I completed this weekend.  They are all 9 x 12" oil paintings, inspired by a famous artist.  This one is inspired by Edvard Munch, specifically, his painting, The Voice.  I used Munch's painting and changed the landscape to one that has significance for me, Old Lyme, Connecticut, with views of the Long Island Sound.  
My Self-Portrait:
I like Munch's style, how he makes his figures look like skeletons, and the way the landscape is Expressionistic and dreamy.  Using this one for my self-portrait was a choice so that I could show the intuitive-side of my personality, using the landscape from my memories.  This landscape is a place I retreat to in my mind to ground me.  Those nights spent walking alone on the beach are some of my most contemplative and relaxing moments.  Also, the figure resembles the character I once was in a play, another strong part of my memory.  This was definitely an interesting project to undertake.  I like the smaller-format of these paintings because it was easier to work on in small spurts of time.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What I've been doing lately

I have not been updating the last week or so because I have been traveling to Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  I loved both places.  I learned a lot about the American South while there, visiting museums and interacting with people.  I definitely needed the break, and was hoping to do some sketching on the beach, but we had rain every day except for the last one.  

I took some good reference photos and hope to do some sketches based on them soon.  While there I was struck by the beautiful Neoclassical architecture, and how harmonious it was with the landscape.  This is something I have always believed about the American landscape, that it is possible to have something manmade living harmoniously with nature.  I will definitely have to develop this idea.

Also, I attended the reception for the Enclave Art Contest that I entered several months ago, and I was awarded with the Special Achievement Award for my painting, "Life Liberty, and the Pursuit of... Prosperity."  It was kind of a shock since this was the first contest I have ever entered, so I was incredibly pleased just to be a finalist and have my work on exhibition!  It was a great experience.  I felt like a "real artist" for the first time.  I need to hold on to that for times when my inner critic tells me I'm just "faking it."

As far as my paintings go, I'm still working on the last one, but I am also challenging myself to paint in subjects and styles I am not so comfortable with.  I am not sure I will post those when those are done, but I'm doing it to learn.  Back to painting!