I completed a number of drawings of fresh or dried sunflowers. In order to push the work in a different direction, away from solely observational drawing, I used a variety of media (watercolor, marker, mixed media) on top of the drawing or I cut up the images and rearranged. These works feel more personal, more about my natural tendencies.
As the sunflowers age the leaves and petals curl into interesting shapes. I’m using a bamboo handle and sumi ink. It’s really not possible to get the ink to flow smoothly so the line has lots of variation in size and tone.
I love both fresh and dried sunflowers. Of course the model for both is Van Gogh’s drawings and paintings. I did one drawing in pen and ink using one freshly cut flower and two somewhat dried flowers. Then I used a paint program to add some color. I’m still working on ideas about how to work with this subject. I’ve also now added watercolor, ink and colored pencil to the original line drawing.
I had a great time creating a portrait of my daughter’s good friend’s 14 month old baby. I took pictures of the painting in progress and made a short video that shows the painting as it transitions from beginning color blocking to finished work with details. It was crucial to me that I get a perfect or close enough likeness of this child. Charlie’s parents were kind enough to say it was acceptable. I relied on friends at the studio to give me suggestions about color, value and planes and this made a big difference. I also used a linen panel which gave me the fine texture and firm support for the brushstrokes.
These are some works that I recently matted. They are all in 11″ x 14″ mats which fit into a standard frame. Instant original art! I work out ideas and experiment with materials on watercolor or drawing paper. I will give you a good deal if you are looking for art for yourself or a gift. Just drop me a line.
Still Life with Glass of Red Wine, Ozenfant, 1921
I’ve been doing a lot of research for the Impressionism to Post Impressionism art history class I am currently teaching . I have a book by the French cubist painter and writer Amédéé Ozenfant. I really enjoy his writing and it has been fun to just spend time with his book Foundations of Modern Art. Here are some passages in relationship to how art evolved at the end of the 19th century/beginning of 20th. Some of these can be applied to broad concepts, not just about art:
– The free thinking rationalism and materialism of the past have brought about individualism which is responsible for lyricism, irrationalism and anti-realism… Such demolition was necessary in order that art might one day attain the truest freedom from every limiting influence.
– Art would perish if it went on idiotically admiring its navel and repeating that it was free, free, free.
– The aspect of the arts changes, not because of fashion, as is often thought, but because the new conditions that affect society and the artist brings with them new demands… This does not at all imply that ancient masterpieces are out of date, for certain demands within us happen to be permanent. [Beauty, structure, order, variety, contrast (my thoughts)].
– Any creative effort is truly related to its epoch when is can satisfy the totality of needs of that epoch, including those which are still inarticulate and of which the greatest artists have as it were a presentiment. The needs of an epoch=eternal needs+recent needs+tomorrow’s needs.
– The search for intensity dominates the whole of modern painting. There can be no intensity without simplification and no intensity without distortion.
Another activity I’ve pursued during the stay at home time is making watercolor instructional videos. A few neighbors are interested in learning watercolor so I decided to try my hand at youtube videos. The learning curve has been rather steep but I’m getting better and really finding the process satisfying. I keep thinking of different videos I want to do, based on my 20+ years of teaching art to children and adults.
Here is the link to my youtube channel. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions. I will take requests too! If it is something I have experience teaching, I can try making a video about it.
It’s April 28, 2020. I have to check my calendar because days and even hours run together. I’m working from home right now, although my studio has opened up partially. I’ve taken the time over the last 5 weeks to do a variety of things. My art studio is doing weekly challenges that keep us engaged in our practices and with each other. I’ve really enjoyed these because it focuses the mind and gives me a deadline. Deadlines are very helpful! I tend to experiment a lot in my practice anyway but I’ve come up with a few new paintings that are rather spontaneous. These are both acrylic on 8×10 canvases. I usually don’t work small but, again, it’s helpful with a smaller space at home.
The painting on the left is from a challenge using the Zorn palette of vermillion red, ivory black, yellow ochre and white. No other colors are allowed. I used a life drawing sketch for the portrait. The second painting came from cleaning my palette from another painting session and just playing with marks. An image emerged of two figures.
I would appreciate comments from you! It is fun to create these statements but if often feels like I’m talking to myself. Let me know what you think!
These works are all made with permanent Chartpak markers. I am exploring the colors and how they react on different types of paper. I was particularly intrigued with how the bleeding effect creates an optical effect so the work appears slightly out of focus. I am enjoying the white negative spaces, similarly to how I approached the botanical watercolor work. The blank white paper is very satisfying. All of these works are on mixed media paper.
As I walk my neighborhood in the fall I always collect leaves that catch my eye. This year I picked up some of the ones with brilliant red and orange colors but I noticed even the more mundane or muted leaves had incredible details. This lead to a series I call leaf portraits. Each painting is on watercolor paper and each leaf is the exact size of the the leaf. The oakleaf hydrangea paintings are on 18 x 12 paper because these leaves are quite large! I’m continuing in my exploration of plants by doing branches from various trees and shrubs. My first painting is a branch of a cedar tree.
The oakleaf hydrangea:
A cedar branch with berries: