Monday, December 31, 2007

CONTEST!!!! Who is it?

"Opposites and contradictions- this is our harmony. Composition on the basis of this harmony is the juxtaposition of coloristic and linear forms that have an independent existence as such, derived from internal necessity, which create within the common life arising from this source a whole that is called a picture."
Sentences like these are why I often just look at the pictures in my art books! But a highly influential artist (and one of my muses) said this. Who was it? I've included a pic of him when he was 6, about as helpful as his adult photo as he is not recognizable like Picasso or Dali. Here's your chance to gain recognition as a highly erudite person or just someone with too much time on their hands. Each month I will be posting a pic of an important artist and a quote from or about said artist. Use the comments section for your best guess or start doing some real research. Immediate family members and persons with whom such members are domiciled are excluded from this contest. G, that means you! First person to get 3 correct wins something, I haven't figured out just what. No time limit! Go for it!
Click on the COMMENT pencil -

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Narrative Past

Asta Yawns oil on canvas 25 X 38"
Since I was a kid I've created narrative paintings - pictures of objects, landscapes, people etc. Lately my work is becoming more nonobjective, impressionistic, abstract and expressive.
Here is one of the first paintings I thought was worth framing and showing off. It was one of 2 pieces I submitted for a juried arts show, it wasn't chosen though my second entry (a portrait of my mother) was selected. Of course this one will always be a winner for me, it's my dog Asta yawning nervously. Painting the fur gave me fits but I loosened up and out it came. Two glasses of wine helped release the inner fur painter in me.

Mixed Reviews

"green & gray" acrylic on canvas 20 X 40" (click to enlarge)

This painting is getting mixed reviews. M, the artist who lives down the street, was immediately drawn to it to noting some hints of Wolf Kahn. M has politely ignored my earlier work that is traditionally narrative.
My friend W was practically rhapsodic about this piece:

THIS is my favourite! There are strong determined brushstrokes here. No doubting, very confident and assured. But, at the same time, flexible and highly sensitive. The transition from marsh – to sky – overlaid by light brushstrokes of mist is cleverly done. I wanted to say “a vaporous blending of blue and green”, especially at the horizon is masterful. The long slender wisps of paint complete the scene. It is contemplative and yet, evocative. This piece really takes my breath away. It is powerful.

Of course I love to quote W! However the folks at WetCanvas website Critiques are not quite as impressed with this piece:

I see where you're going, but you're going to really be careful that when you simplify, you still have a powerful compositional stance. This one is lacking in strong value patterns, or center of interest. It's simple, but I am left wondering what it was about what you're trying to show us. The things that make you love this should be apparent.


I myself, to be not find this work speaking to me, not as yet who and what I am in life, and apparently what I respond. Perhaps that is what I personally and individually demand and expect of art...and ultimately says more about me than about your work. Am I majority? Am I in the minority? Does it even matter? Who cares? Have I become numb to such? I'm not sure...but if the work is important to the artist...and if the artist has intent for the world to understand the importance of its then becomes an issue of importance to the indvidual making the work.

The 2 main critics at WetCanvas are excellent, one is primarily a landscape artist, the other a superb portrait painter. I respect them both.

All that being said this painting is currently my all time favourite work I have ever done. It soothes my soul, I rest, am at peace and my breathing slows. I can, at least for awhile, forget about global warming, the death of the oceans by 2050 and colony collapse disorder. (It's time for another news fast.)

Starting in the Middle

I have probably started at least 10 art blogs, some here and some at WordPress. I've wrestled with trying to come up with really clever intro's, a great bio and a nicely ordered presentation of my art. The blog just wasn't coming together so now I've decided to just jump in, where I'm at now, and add the sensible stuff later. Or not.
Here's a recent painting-

"August" 23 X 40" mixed media on canvas

I have been painting a lot of field pictures, trying to capture their simple beauty in a loose impressionist or abstract way. This one was done outdoors and if you click to enlarge it you will see the help I had from Mother Nature. While working it started to rain softly, leaving dots on the wet acrylic. This happy accident added to the feel of the piece and I didn' try to correct it. Since then I have tried to copy the small rain dots on new work using a spray bottle. But it has been impossible to recreate the lovely dots of real rain.