Thursday, May 24, 2012

playing hard to get

Guess you could say there is a double entendre for the title of this painting.

The pear on the left just wouldn't cozy up to the pear on the right! So it did seem to be playing hard to get.

The other elusive element was that da*n yellow in shadow!

I almost gave up. I thought the problem was the color of the pears but it was really a problem with the surrounding color! It started out with a dark navy-ish background which had worked well on an earlier painting of pears. That one was a trio of pears on a wooden plated and the yellow stood out well against the dark so I figured it would be good for this painting.

But it just didn't work with this composition. The important element here is the relationship between the pears. (I know... they're PEARS not people!)
Anyway, the area of interest is the push/pull of distance and connection in the space between the pears. Light from the pear on the right reflects on the opposite pear and you can tell they have a lot in common.

But the pear on the left? It's just not sure yet, weighing it's options.

There's no competition with a grey background - it creates a neutral environment that makes sense.
(Neutral and non-competative... which is good if you are thinking about how pears might have relationships that they are sort of ambivalent about...) And yet I know - pears are not people.

In any case... I'm happy with the yellow in shadow. And that was the whole point, right?
(unless you are a pear... and then maybe it's about playing hard to get!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

just say NO!

Oh what a week!

Painting is challenging, but you know what's really hard? Committing to yourself as wholeheartedly as you do to other people and responsibilities.

And by "you" of course, I mean "me."

This week I was busy with projects for our choral group. Somehow, I let that take over my life and I never got into the studio. While I feel very good about working with the chorale, I don't feel so good about letting myself... and my artwork... down.

I think I need an attitude adjustment.

Creating artwork is so enjoyable that even though it's called artWORK, the word doesn't quite fit. So I need to remind myself that this is what I want to do in life. My work.

Oddly, I feel more comfortable describing myself as a "painter" than an "artist." Somehow it feels like painter is more of a "doing" role than artist which is kind of philosophical, emotional or cerebral, maybe. To paint well you've gotta be in the studio consistently, doing the job of painting.

It was a long and windy road, but I think I got there: I am a painter. That's what I do and how I hope to earn a living... which means studio time matters!

Fellow painters - How do you keep from letting distractions take over your studio time?
At the risk of distracting you... tell me how you manage to just say no.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

got lemons? paint lemonade!

I like yellow things - pears, lemons, sunshine...yellow labs puppies! who doesn't?!

Yellow paint? that's another story. I have two of the most beautiful yellow pears in my studio. They are supposed to be the luscious subject of a new still life, but they are far from luscious... so far.

What color is yellow in shadow anyway? brown, grey, rusty, greenish? Sometimes it's even kind of purple! You see the problem.

Yesterday was a rainy, dismal day and my yellow paint was equally dismal. So to keep myself hopeful that there is real lemon yellow somewhere in the palette of my mind, I'm posting a more successful journey into the sunny world of yellow via lemons (with artichokes lurking in the shadow). I know I struggled with the lemon shadow color for this painting too because I was tempted to turn them into  lemonade!

I hope to post my yellow pears soon... when we are on better terms.

If you love artichokes, sorry to relegate them to the background, but this painting is all about the juicy yellow lemons!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

In the Merry Art Month of May

I'm have a very artsy month of May! Paintings are on display in four shows this month and I've just learned that 7 have sold already!

Stop by the North Salem library to see what's new! It's a beautiful space and my 30 paintings really fill the wall. Lots to choose... for now at least!

Or come to the Mamaroneck Artists Guild reception for their Small Works Show on May 19th, meet all the artists and say hello.

You can also venture to Kent, Ct for a great juried show at the Kent Art Association.

And last, but not least, Arts Westchester has selected a group of my paintings for display and sale at their annual ArtsBash event next weekend.

I can't wait to get back in the studio and prepare for the next exhibits!

Happy Mothers Day ladies!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tribute to Produce Pete

I start my day with tea and the NBC Today Show. And you never know where it will lead.

Last month Produce Pete was talking about asparagus. You know Produce Pete - he's the vegetable guru on the Today Show and he's pretty passionate about his veggies. He has caught my attention more than once (St. Patrick's Day cabbage inspiration, for example).

Of course it's quite possible that I just enjoy the organic forms of fruits and vegetables but Produce Pete gets me thinking about all the beautiful colors and shapes of the season and it's a great way to start the day.

So last month, at the end of his segment on the stately asparagus Pete held up a bunch, stuck in a glass of water and said, "THIS is how you keep asparagus fresh!"

Like a trophy in his hand. And all I could think was "Here's to you, Produce Pete!"

So there you have it - my Tribute to Produce Pete. (if anyone out there is best buds with Pete, let him know that somewhere, there is a painting with his name on it!)

I don't know if Pete was thinking about the refraction of light through water and glass - probably not - but look how the straight stalks of asparagus shift underwater and behind the different thicknesses  of glass. Love it!

That Pete sure knows asparagus!

Friday, May 4, 2012

painting alla prima

This painting was done in the traditional "alla prima" or "direct" method of painting which involves painting wet layers upon wet layers. It has been used for centuries by artists from the early Dutch masters to the Impressionists and beyond (not that I'm comparing...)

The other traditional method is glazing or "indirect" painting which involves adding thin layers of paint on dry under-layers to build up the color - which basically takes more patience than I have! 
Oil paint dries  s l o w l y .

The beauty of alla prima is that you can't over-think it! That's helpful to someone like me who tends to obsess about capturing details in graphite drawing and even graphic design (Q: how many fonts do you need to try to design an invitation? A: about as many as you have!)

So, for me, it's a challenge to capture the essence of a composition without over-working it. Alla prima painting stifles that obsession - in a good way. It means honing in quickly on what you want to express. In this painting the thing surprise observation that interested me was the warmth of reflected light in the shadow area of both the vase and the grapes. It links the objects in an unexpected way since you generally think of shadows as cool. Everything else is painted to support that relationship.

Of course, the fact that this painting was done in Leah Lopez's class at the New York Academy of Art didn't hurt. Nothing like knowing you have to finish within a three hours to help FOCUS!
(to be completely honest... I did add some finishing touches at home)  

You can see this effect more clearly in person. And just your luck - this painting is part of my solo show this May at the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library in North Salem during library hours.

Stop by!