The studio is open but we aren’t having a party this year. I decided to do a block printing project and also to have open studio hours when I will be working on the printing. So far I have completed 3/4 of the prints. I’m doing a reduction print which means that after I carve and print a series, I then continue carving on the block and do subsequent prints. It takes a bit of planning to figure out what to carve. Also, you have to draw your design in reverse. Many tricky components but also lots of fun. A good challenge.
The late summer/early fall flowers are blooming around the studio and in my neighborhood. The colors range from lilac to bright orange to pastel pink to deep yellow. The lanky stalks often are bent down with the weight of the flowers. They liven up the scenery, especially on these clear blue sky days. These paintings are oil on primed paper which has been attached to a stretcher bar frame (22″ x 30″).
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.