A Watercolor Painting Viewed with Fresh Eyes


Women Before a Patterned Drape
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 10.5×7.75″

I am pleased to announce that I am now represented online by Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale Arizona. Here is the link to my Xanadu page: http://www.xanadugallery.com/Art/ArtistGallery.asp?ArtistID=6042

This is a watercolor that has been rediscovered. I make a lot of work and sometimes pieces get lost in the shuffle. I have taken to placing the masa paper watercolors and small rag paper watercolors into Itoya portfolio books just to keep me orgnanized. I can date portfolio by the year and then place each piece into a sleeve as they are painted or, at least, that’s the plan. I try to do this with some discipline but sometimes life gets in the way. There are few watercolors sitting right now in my car in my field kit envelope waiting to be examined. Some will be scanned and stored and some will be discarded. I need to not look at work for at least a week before I give it an ignominious end in the circular file.

Artists are their own worst critics. At the time I create a painting I am most critical. I have found that some the pieces that I have considered to be the greatest failures end up being some of my favorites. I am just too close to the technical problems while I am working to clearly assess the quality of it at that moment. I need some remove from it in order to see it with fresh eyes.

This is one of those pieces. I am so glad that I stored this piece rather that discarding it. There must have been something I saw in it to have saved it in the first place. I like the loose rendering of the figure, the distribution of the color and the quality of the light. It’s not an academic style of working. I am no academic artist. Some acedemic work can be so highly finished the personality of an individual’s mark making can be totally obliterated. I like to see the personality of the human hand in a work. I am a child of the 60s and educated in the aesthetic of the abstract expressionists. See this post for a further explanation.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Enjoy your family and friends. Have fun!

T F m
November 27, 2014

Variation on a Theme: I Need a New Painting Trope

Sleeping on the Beach
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 7.5×10.5″

The situation in this painting is very much like the situation from the last post. It has lain unfinished for several months. The woman was on her three pillows but nothing else appeared but the blank white of the paper. So I took my watercolors out and put her on a beach, a Lake Michigan beach. It’s a beach I know only too well. I added the striped blanket and the sand on which everything sits. I then dropped in the the blues of the water and sky and, lastly, I put in the plants.

The landscape and the beach seem to be my ‘go to’ subject matter when I have an unfinished piece. I have to come up with a new trope for the next unfinished piece crying out for completion. Trope is a nice artsy fartsy word for device or metaphor. It seems to be  a hot word in art speak these days.

As it stands now, the quality of light in this says warmth in the sunshine. I wish I had some of that right now! It’s snowing outside and the temperature is hovering at 20º. This too early in the season for such nasty weather. The winter season only just started and I’m sick of it already! My honey and I are traveling Friday to celebrate our grandson’s first birthday on Saturday. I hope the weather will moderate for easy travel. We are also having our family Thanksgiving. It allows the firefighter and the nurse to come and party for this significant event.

T F m
November 19, 2014

No Sea of White in this Watercolor Painting

Reclining on Red
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 7.5×4.75″

When I go to figure drawing, I am very concerned about making a visually complete image. I want to have something as close as possible to a complete pictorial space. That’s art-speak for not having my subject isolated in a sea of blank paper. I was hammered over that in graduate school. It’s considered rather passe, now, with the post modern. I see isolated image all the time. It’s OK as long as it’s a cartoon character or something like a rubber duckie. I just find it unsatisfying. So it’s beautifully rendered. So it’s ironic. So what? Ho hum.

Sometime time constraints make it impossible to achieve that finished space so I have to leave it for another time and think about what needs to be done.This image has lain unfinished for several months until just yesterday. She lay only with the blue pillow under her head and the green cloth under her hips and legs. Yep! otherwise she was isolated in a sea of blank paper; dead space. I was very pleased with the foreshortening of her arm so, I wanted a more finished look for the whole.

She is now outdoors with greenery behind her and a red blanket under her. Red is green’s complement so it seemed a natural choice of color. Having green in foreground and background with blue in foreground and middle ground, pushes the perception of the space. I have artist friends who disagree and contend that it flattens rather then extends the space. But I’ve seen the device used so many times in other artists’ works, that I’m sticking to my guns on my opinion. Besides the figure in its foreshortened view carves the space out very nicely. So there!

T F m
November 13, 2014