Friday, February 3, 2017

THE ARTIST'S LIFE... Still life in Process

Finding Solace and Inspiration in Cherished Treasures.

A CLEAN SLATE…  Whenever I begin a new painting, I clean shop. For me at least, sweeping away traces of my last oeuvre by cleaning my palette, brushes, tools and work space is tantamount to wiping back a canvas to make room for fertile possibilities and the promise of fresh starts. As T.S.Elliot said, “To make an end is to make a beginning."

Capturing the soul of a vision... I especially enjoy taking simple objects: timeless vintage vases, colorful blooms, all manner of reflective surfaces, nature’s bounty, and giving them human qualities; creating a storyline that people can respond to emotionally, visually, intellectually and/or spiritually. Sometimes a concept springs to life on its own. Like stream of conscious poetry that flows from within fully realized, such serendipity is a welcome blessing. More often, though, themes and compositions need to be coaxed into fruition. That’s when I look to my trusty treasure trove of props, music, favorite writers and artists for inspiration.
Guided by the Light…  With a goal of introducing beautiful imagery through incisive compositions that have the capacity to entice, involve, provoke, inspire, I scour my stash for subjects that speak to me. Arranging objects in ways that draw the viewer in via luminous north light, I choose what best describes my inner vision, take photos for perishable references and, finally, engage the canvas.

Note the comparison of my initial idea and the final set up. In the final, I have strengthened the narrative by pumping up the light stream, adding a small American flag and a Veteran's poppy and pin.

Building Blocks…  Underpainting Sketch: First Pass of Color.
Using a mix of ivory black and cadmium red, I begin by doing a sketchy drawing. Massing in large dark shapes and wiping out the lights, I address color once the first layer is dry. As the work progresses, I may add or modify elements for the integrity of the painting. (Note the heightened vase, addition of the US flag and the pin in the final painting.) Eventually I will glaze and push back certain elements, as in this case, the leaves.  I will also work on strengthening the light flow across the box from right toward the left.

Favorite Accoutrements…  Having heard fellow artists persistently praise EdgeProGear’s versatile pochard box, I have happily joined the ranks. Easy to set up (I’m using my own tripod), I love its sleek, grey-toned glass palette, practical magnetic accessories and the fact that when taken down it is so portable. It's the size of a portable computer. Using it now in-studio, but can't wait to add it to my  plein aire toolbox. Brushes: Rosemary & Co. and Robert Simmons; Michael Harding and Gamblin oils.

WORK in PROGRESS: (Oil on Linen 16 x 16)" HEART of my HEART"  is homage to my US WWII Air Forces father and Royal Air Force mum. Trying out my new EdgeProGear PaintBook and LOVING IT! SHOUT OUT to  The Artist's Magazine for highlighting my process in the March  2017 issue. 

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