Thursday, August 29, 2013

Uh oh, my painting is getting rusty!

And the painting is peeling!!! Well, not the painting's oil paint.

My artistic inspiration sometimes comes from unusual places. A case in point: Stuart's Apple Farm (my neighborhood orchard). But it's not about rolling hills with rows of trees and fabulously farm fresh apples. Not this time anyway. It's the fascinating old rusty farm stuff like this gas pump. What a relic!

Rust and peeling paint have been intriguing me lately. Maybe it's the patterns, or the lack of a predictable pattern! You can't have preconceived notions about how rust should look. You just have to go with it. This old gas pump has rust and peeling paint - which made tackling painted type worth the challenge!

"Fuel Fossil" 9x12" ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze
In other art-seeking adventures I recently visited the site of a historic home being renovated by the Somers Land Trust. I had gone in search of an interesting chunk of old wood to use as a surface for still life objects but ended up taking lots of photos of old wall studs and peeling window sills. Oh the possibilities. Just wait.

Meanwhile, back on the farm... literally: apples are already available at Stuart's. They are crisp and tart and sweet. Seriously, is your mouth watering yet? Go get some. And while you are there, pay homage to an original "fuel fossil," in the rust... so to speak.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

What I did on my summer vacation...

It's almost "back to school" so I thought I'd share what I did on my summer vacation. And I'm happy to say it wasn't a break from painting!

My trip south this year was a little shorter than usual, but amazingly, in between Little League games, swim meets and family visits lots of painting were completed. Many were inspired by trips to the wonderful farmers markets (where I amused my family by choosing fruits and vegetables for their form and color rather than taste).

Standing Figs, 5x5" ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze
There were gorgeous figs. I never get to eat the figs - they are always way over-ripe by the time the painting is finished. Luscious peaches, red cabbage...and quail eggs! The eggs came home with me... very carefully.
Southern Peaches, 6x9" ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze

Lots of other art-activity as well. We visited every gallery in Charlotte this summer. The best was McColl Fine Art where it felt almost like visiting old friends since so many names were familiar.  Many are former classmates of my teacher Todd Casey and modern masters of representational painting, in my humble opinion. I felt like I knew them already but actually seeing the work itself was fantastic and inspiring. Paintings by Carlos Madrid, Joshua LaRock, Travis Schlaht, Nicholas Hiltner and Donald Jurney as well as other wonderful contemporary realist painters are exhibited at McColl. What a treat!

A couple of road trips added to the art adventures. This painting was part of a plein air excursion to Olana, the home of Frederic Church in Hudson, NY. Such a beautiful estate! The morning painting was comfortable but it got up to around 90ยบ by afternoon and we melted so I have nothing to show from after lunch (they told me plein air was an extreme sport, it's true).
Olana Hudson View, 9x12" @2013 Dorothy Lorenze

Last week we took a short trip to Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme to bask in the beauty of American Impressionists and imagine what it was like to be part of that illustrious artist colony! It's a fantastic museum on beautiful grounds, including a restored, historic home less than 2 hours from Somers. I can't believe I'd never gone before! And the shore towns along the way are just full of fine galleries. Plus when you need a break, there is water-view dining or happy-hour at historic inns. Gaze and graze. It's perfect.
Jule 6x6" ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze

And finally, this portrait of my grand daughter was painted for the upcoming portrait show at Katonah Museum. Another new and challenging art experience but truly a joy in the end! Which is totally appropriate for this sweet girl.

Summer's almost over but you can still take a look at my summer's bounty of artwork. Stop in at Who's Cooking in Croton Falls through the end of September. I will also have several paintings at Katonah Museum of Art and Ridgefield Guild of Artists in Ridgefield, CT during September. I hope you have enjoyed a creative and happy summer!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cookin' Up Art

Cooking and painting are kind of connected. Quality ingredients, imagination and spice (culinary or visual) matter. Onerous and odorous tasks have their place as well.

Most paintings go through an "ugly duckling" stage when shapes are blocked in but nothing is well developed. It's discouraging and you can't believe it will ever look like the intended subject (whose idea was it to paint a dozen garlic heads, anyway?!).

I think of it as the "cutting onions" stage, a painful step in the process of cooking. Painting can be like that. You have a sense of the finished piece but getting through that stage where nothing blends together is no fun. Let's skip cutting onions and get to the part where we savor the stir fry! As Rousseau says, "Patience is bitter, but it's fruit is sweet" The philosopher probably wasn't talking about cooking or painting, but you get the point. Patience, perseverance and the belief that it will eventually come together keep us going.

Ottawa Garlic Braid © 2013 Dorothy Lorenze
This braid of garlic was started nearly a year ago. I blocked in the forms, got distracted (or discouraged?) and set it aside. The canvas sat there in the "cutting onions" stage mocking me for
months. And stinking up the studio! In fact there was such a strong smell that I attributed it to a studio-mate's onion still life, but no, it was my garlic braid screaming for attention!

Modeling the form of one garlic head was complex enough, but then there was another, and another... x12.  Patience! After spending nearly two weeks painting the garlic, I was pleased. But now that I see it finished, I'm just crazy about the shadow. Go figure! I hope you like it. It's 8 x 16" and has a beautiful antique style frame from Custom Frame Solutions.

Here's another connection between cooking and painting: an exhibition of my paintings at Who's Cooking in Croton Falls. Stop by to vote for your favorite of the "Nostalgia Captured in Oil" group. I'd love to know what captures your attention, what is it that appeals to you? Fill out a ballot and stick it in the box. At the end of September, one name will be drawn to receive a set of note cards depicting their chosen painting.

And while you're there pick up something delicious from Who's Cooking! It's a great place to stop for tea and sweets or take home a fabulous home cooked dinner. (No one needs to know that you didn't cut the onions).

Front Street opposite the Croton Falls train station