Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thought of the Day

     Last night, I was thinking that, due to some chance meetings with strangers, my life was changed irrevocably.  The unwitting strangers challenged me and I whole-heartedly jumped into the void without fear and grew beyond measure - artistically. The first meeting with a stranger was in 2008. I met a co-worker who had beautiful watercolors on her walls. We got to talking and she invited me to take watercolor classes with her. I had not thought about painting in over twenty years. I started painting at 16 and worked in oil for 8 years and stopped due to career pressures in another field. Fast forward to 2008 and I said ok I'll go for it and took watercolor without any prior experience with it. I jumped in, loved it and found a passion. Thank you my co-worker. 
     I was serious about art again. No fear, just did it and haven't looked back. Of course, the plunge meant really learning all sorts of things like learning to draw again, learning composition, perspective, values, as well as watercolor technique. So my soul mate husband, also an art lover, took me on an art history adventure with him and I learned about art of the past too. 
     Over the years since, I greedily immersed myself in art, honing my skills and trying to find a voice, a type of art that I could do and become proficient at in Watercolor - Experimenting and deciding what I liked and didn't like for me. Two years ago, my oil painter husband and I had a joint solo exhibition at a local venue. We had what can only be said to have been a successful show based on the comments from the venue which said it was one of the best shows there to date. Of course, the husband's work shone through like a beacon. He's a wonderful and thoughtful painter. 
     During the reception, a stranger comes up to me and liked my work enough to invite me to partcipate in an exhibit that she was curating on women by women artists. The challenge for me was to do portraiture for the first time. So again, no fear. I just jumped in and worked on a composition in watercolor for three months. I also painted a full watercolor sheet (22"x30") for the first time. I pushed my boundaries beyond what I thought I could achieve at that point. I had not painted a portrait in color. I had only done one or two pencil portraits. My watercolor painting was color, large and not only a portrait but a double portrait! I go the whole way when I take a plunge!!
     This year another challenge presented itself. I had to come up with story-telling painting and large. What did I know about story-telling and presenting a voice at this point? I was still just working on technique. I was pleased just getting something down on paper that reproduced my reference, never thinking about changing it up, moving things around for better composition. In watercolor, one has the constant technique predominance, the struggle with the water-paint thing. Having a voice seemed far far away in time, something that I may not achieve. The true magic makers of this ilk were the illustrators, those magic makers who could create a whole world from a concept. I figured in about 10 years I'd be able to voice!
     Well, again I dove in. I took on the figure, large canvas and worked in oil! Aside from a small painting in oil of a month ago, I had not done an real oil painting in over twenty years. By the time I decided to do this particular painting, I only had two weeks to produce it. I pushed myself beyond what I ever thought I could do at this stage. I mustered up everything my revered teachers had taught me, all of the learning of painting demos I watched. I pushed beyond exhaustion, the painting haunted my sleep for two weeks, pursued me during the day while I was at work and the clock ticked away. I never thought I could do any of this-tell a story, paint a person, compose by changing up what I saw, achieve a good design and serious attention to values. Oil painting does help! You can constantly correct your drawing and get your values right. While I am always going to be a watercolor painter, I concede that I accomplished something I could not, at this stage of my watercolor experience, accomplish in watercolor. It does not mean, I will never accomplish it in watercolor, I certainly will but not in 2014. 
     A challenge by a stranger... Hmmm! Helped me realize a potential I doubted I had. Who would have thought I'd be able to paint a figure in oil and large? There is definitely no pain, no gain and it helps to be fearless like me.
Thanks to the stranger who liked my work and challenged me to paint people! I found a voice! 

So the thought if the day is: take the challenge of strangers! push yourself, experiment, change it up, keep it real and don't settle for boring. You will amaze yourself!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quick Post: Art from the Museum: "Willam Fraser Reelig,"

"William Fraser Reelig"
Artist: Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823)
Venue: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

While some aspects of this painting are dated in the technique, I still love the blending, the youthful expression the artist achieved.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Quick Post: Art from the Museum: "Head of a Spanish Peasant"

Artist: Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942)
Medium: Bronze
Title: Head of a Spanish Peasant (Adolphe Ramon)
Venue: Metropolitan Museum of Art

The power of this sculpture is palpable. It is such a strongly composed piece that is exquisitely executed.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Quick Post: Art from the Museum: Saint John the Baptist

Artist: Mino de Fiesole (1429-1484)
Medium: Marble
Venue: Metropolitan Museum of Art

I stop at this bust every time.. it is exquisitely carved. The delicate treatment of the subject surprised me at first because usually John the Baptist is portrayed as a rough and tumble boy/man with animal skins to depict his wild life style.  Whatever the artists reasoning, his portrayal is successful

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Quick Post: Art from the Museum: Girl in White

Artist: Robert Henri (1865-1929)
Venue: Metropolitan Museum of Art

One of my favorites in the American wing

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Quick Post: Art from the Museum: "Midas Washing at the Source of the Pactolus"

Aritst: Bartolomeo Manfredi 1582-1622
Venue: Metropolitan Museum of Art

What I loved with this painting was the beautiful brushwork and shadows...excellent chiaroscuro technique.