Friday, June 27

When Black is Not Really Black

Mister Black with Black Buds
20 x 20"
oil on canvas

Been working on this painting awhile. Several things different even tho I used what are beginning to seem like all the regulars, Mister Black, the buds, the blue vase, the round table, the magical violet window.
When I sit really still I can feel what it is I am trying to get at, but when I start writing, it gets farther away. And it never has formed into words yet, so I guess I'll just have to keep trying to paint it. But I almost feel like apologizing for repeating myself. It's not exactly a repeat, it's a revision trying to get closer to what I mean to say. Artists are crazy, you already knew that.

I was thinking of calling this painting Mister Black's Color Lesson. But that would veer from my usual Still Life-type titling. Oh snort! Veer indeed!

Several of the things I did differently:

1. I am using some new 3/4" thick canvases & brushes I ordered from Dick Good place - surprisingly lower prices there on some canvas sizes and Grumbacher water-based oils. I LOVE the new brushes, but they paint very differently than the cheapies I've used for so long. For one thing they paint thinner and I had to fight with them to keep from painting with realistic detail! Weird! I will get a nice pat of creamy paint and whoosh, the brush will smooth it out. Akkkk!

2. I used the same red buds that have been fascinating me since spring broke out, but this time I made them dioxizine purple to French ultramarine blue to phthalo blue. The brushes made them easy to keep tight. Something about tight little knots of color about to burst open like berry pies staining white t-shirts at a summer picnic. Oh I better be careful before I catch a case of the Norman Rockwell's!!!!! No really I am aiming at something else. Really I am. I know it's hard to see, just wait till I get closer. I'm aiming at a kind of happiness, but it's something more like rebellious exuberance. Look at how the branches flippantly wave around. See how they are almost sprawled out in front of your view. Even Mr. B. is carelessly sprawled.

Wiow! Lori, my black cat artist friend asks some great questions. She had me thinking so hard about how I'd answer her question about colors, that I inadvertently demonstrated my point in this painting.

See the tablecloth? To me the color, even tho it is de- intensified, is alive no matter how far away you are and if you look closely you see lots of opposite colors dancing around together. A lot of peeps think that the key to Impressionism is to make a lot of colorful dots, but the exact key is putting two opposite colors next to each other so they jump. The idea that it is not any one color you see in nature at any time. It is lots of colors next to each other that make nature so alive and enjoyable.

I use this idea in my own personal color-mixing theory. I have to say here whether you like Martha Stewart or not, she is a great colorist. She learned from her father in law who taught her never to use black pigment in anything. Maybe to paint a chalkboard. If you buy colors mixed according to her color recipes you will see black is never used. If the color is a grayed out green, there will be some sort of red added to the formula rather than black, to pull it to the opposite side of the color wheel.

Well this is what I will talk about in my color class. The whole thing begins with explaining about the diff between colors of light and colors of pigment but I am getting ahead of myself. For now just remember NEVER USE BLACK PIGMENT! It will kill the life out of any color.

Nature never uses it, except when she turns out the lights, and neither should we! If you get paint mixed at the paint store, check the recipe before you let them mix it, that is if you care about whatever you are painting looking non-dead.

OK I guess that was a little sampling of my first color lesson. Be sure to vote in the poll on the right side of the blog. And remember if you come to my color class you will get my color opinions... "ALL of them... beware!!!! Hahahaha!" she laughed evilly with a dioxizine purple and yellow ochre gleam in her eye....

RUN to Etsy!

Monsieur Noir Visits Giverny!

Monsieur Noir avec Soleil Fleurs

8 x 8"
oil on canvas board

I painted this last week in honor of my Dad joining the blog and forgot to post it. Mister Black was delighted when I spoke his name in French but he was not so delighted when I told him I was going to paint him in Monet's gardens at Giverny. He hates to travel. But then he was happy again when I explained he didn't have to fly, I would just insert him into this photo I Googled of "soleil fleurs at Giverny". Being skittish as he was after hearing the words "flying" and "cut" and" paste," Monsier Noir was a bit hidey all day. So you will have to work a bit to find him in this painting.

And I am not really sure if these are sunflowers or just sunny flowers. Thank goodness this isn't a French lesson! So just enjoy the painting but you can't buy it @ Etsy. You can however buy something else! Oh and hurry, because it is all set I am having a show soon at Night Sky Coffee House in Troy, Ohio, and when peeps see the paintings in person they will all be sold, eh?! Hurry hurry hurry!

Thursday, June 26

Color Time!


That is how I am feeling about the new color for our house. [the Asian lilies ain't too shabby, neither] Harry just began painting on the back side of the house and I can't quit going outside to look at it.

Some peeps have asked how I go about creating custom colors and this is part of it. If you aren't interested you are excused to surf elsewhere for now, but be sure to come back in a day or so!

You may remember last week when I wrote about how we picked the color together. Well then I mixed up a small batch of it with acrylic paints and painted a large area on the house. In the sunlight, the color appeared much faded so I had to deepen the hue. We waited a few days, living with the color during weather changes and times of day, noticing as we walked past.

It took several color adjustments but when I finally got the color we liked, I took it to the paint store. They did the computer color scan and mixed the paint according to the formula the computer gave them. The problem of course is that the pigments the paint store uses and the acrylic pigments I have are different. Add the fact that their computer program uses a diff color theory and so of course we ended up with a diff color than we really wanted. It was a too-bright pastel blue green.

So I took a bit of it & put it into a small tin and added a bit of yellow to warm it up and a bit more of magenta to de-intensify it. Took this to the color store and they color scanned this but of course the computer just told them to add black to gray it out. If you want yummy colors NEVER EVER allow the color store to add black to the formula!!! But the price you pay is that you will be there quite awhile adding units of color bit by bit until you get "around" the black to what you want. And if you get crabby paint store peeps, you also have to put up with them trying to make you feel like a nuisance.

So I was there a long time. Actually the paint store guy was really great and patiently allowed me to tell him what to mix into the can. First we added just a bit of yellow. Then we added increments of magenta cautiously, mixing and test swatching between each one. After six additions, we got the magenta right and added a bit more yellow. After an hour I think he really felt accomplished when I told him it was perfect... WE DID IT! I think I will take him some brownies as thank you. And maybe a photo of the house. No wait, maybe not a photo, he might throw eggs at it when he drives by...

But wait, maybe he won't if I put a link to their store Sherwin Williams @ 1884 W Main St, Troy, OH. Tell them the redhead with the turquoise paint sent you.

Of course there is so much more to color and some peeps have asked for a color-mixing workshop with my focus on intensity and my anti-black-pigment campaign. Think I'll post a poll to see if anyone's interested. Please vote. TNX!

Tuesday, June 24!

Woohoo! just finished setting up!!
I put up all the painting images since May 2 in a slide show like Harry's site. You can see them small all on one page or click one to begin a click-thru slide show.

Also hopefully will have a little show scheduled soon in downtown Troy!


Monday, June 23

Mister Black Practices Disappearing

Mister Black & Red Buds with Window
12 x 12"
oil on textured canvas board

Been busy redoing a few paintings but I also did this one. It is a sort of response to some questions the others asked. The main question is "How much can I disappear Mister Black and still retain his presence?" Have a feeling it'll be many paintings down the road before I answer this question, eh?

This painting is on the textured canvas board. Again the paint is creamier and the texture adds character.

Feeling like dis- appearing myself today so...

Friday, June 20

Mister Black and Those Orchid Lights!

Mister Black with Black Olives
16 x 13"
oil on textured board

Ahhh! The orchid lights continue to haunt Mister Black and me! The more I paint them, the more I seem to notice them. They are very anti-depressant so I guess I am hoarding them up for the winter. Instead of nuts, I squirrel away orchid lights.

I have been working on this painting for a week in between a few others. There are several things I did differently.

First of all I have been preparing the boards with the texture paint that I mentioned in the previous blog. Then for my undercoat color I used a color a bit darker than the maroon-mahogany color you see in the lower right. And the paint was a mixture of water-based oil paint and acrylic. The combo of the texture topped with the oil/acrylic created a very different surface to paint on than either the canvas board or the wood board. The paint went on more effortlessly and I didn't have to fight it so hard so it looks creamier.

Secondly I spent more time allowing the image and composition to come together and I made sure I was really drawn to it before I began to paint. I used an Alexander concept called "inhibiting". The thing that got inhibited was the urge to forge ahead and start dabbing paint on the canvas without first having something I was passionate to paint about. Sometimes I feel so like "DUH!" with myself!

Another thing I waited for was the colors. It is so tempting to try to please other people and do objects and colors that I know they like. But the voices in my head or rather the colors behind my eyeballs are calling out "Orchid Lights! Orchid Lights"

When I was in art school, actually my first painting class with David Conn, both Harry's and my beloved mentor, I found a tube of "cobalt violet light oil", or "orchid light" paint, took it back to the studio and began lavishing it all over a large canvas. I had no clue what to paint, I just loved this color! It was one of those pigments that has a tendency to disappear quickly into the other colors and I used up the entire tube on this one canvas.

In the thirty years since I always notice that color wherever I am. I look for it to magically appear scattering itself across a windowsill or land suddenly on a random object in a sunlit room. It is kind of like my own personal fairy godmother I guess. And I think that might be a clue as to the dots that keep making me paint them everywhere. They are also like cartoon bubbles with a message saying, "Now don't forget, this is not a narrative scene. This is a flat canvas with paint on it." Yeah, right. This is a story if ever I saw one.

Mister Black loves to taste my food. He and Doodle will play in the sugar bowl if I leave it uncovered. And they will roll fruit off the table, and yes, olives. I liked how the olives took on the same rich mix of primaries to make black. Even tho they are not furry, they are pretty similar to Mr. B. Flat, black, rolly. Haha.

So what was I saying? Oh yes, the colors. I spent a couple hours just mixing colors that I liked. Occasionally I would mix a color for a specific object, other times I would just mix a color and hope I could find a nice place for it in the painting. Funny thing is, when I do color this way, all the ones I like do seem to find a nesting spot.

That's all I have to say about that. I am showing my paintings tonight at our church fellowship hall. I am going to give a brief statement about them but I want to keep it short so I am doing all my talking here. If you really want to know what is going on in my head you will read this blog. See? Mister Black seems to be laughing at this.

Go buy him @Etsy!

Wednesday, June 18

More Opportunities!

Mister Black & Ivy with Turq Tablecloth
12 x 12"
oil on textured canvas board

Yesterday my Dad agreed to join my blog! He is pretty cool. I bet there are not too many octogenarians out there who know how to blog! So, Dad, welcome to my blog. [If this sounds like a goofy talk-show, sorry, I love my Dad]

I was hoping to post a nice new painting in honor of Dad but it just didn't work out. Sigh, you can never schedule good art. Well except in Harry's case but I will tell you about that after I tell you about this painting. After all, you all want to hear about ME more than Hare, right? Haha. I heard that.

OK so I have always experimented with different textures in my paintings. The coolest texture was for Dawn & Roy on their walls. So I tried some texturing on this canvas. However it kept soaking up the oil paint so that I could not squish the paint around before it dried. Bummer. But I am trying other solutions.

The next thing I wanted to show you in this photo is that the painting itself was just not finished even tho I was done adding things to it. But the photo here presents some ideas. Again the idea of the repetition of Mr. B. as a photo of himself. And something about that door opening into the scene. I love these colors but as you can tell the light from the window in the photo has much more to it that I failed to capture.

Dad, I hope you are still with us, after that artsy stuff. You will like this part. Dad recently returned from France where he visited Giverny, Monet's Garden. He brought back some photos and began his own Monet collection which I can't wait to see. So I Googled Monet's garden and found these awesome flower photos. I am working on one now, thank you, Dad for the inspiration! "Monseur Black with Sunflower", I suppose.

The final topic for today is Harry. He has just cracked it wide open. No really, he did. Checked my voice mail after church & there was this message from Harry. As I listened... "You have one new message..." I was worried because church is just two minutes from home & thinking he knows my cell is off at church so why would he call unless it was a bad emergency? Well I hear Harry in his most victorious voice saying, "Dear! I cracked it WIDE open!" If you don't know what I am talking about refer to the Blog Post from June 2nd entitled "Mister Black takes a Nap". Whew!

So I get home and what do you know, Harry really did crack it wide open. He has entered this whole new phase of his art. And what is so cool about it is that the Lowe is having a grand opening of its new Atlanta gallery in less than a month and will show his new pieces. This is where the paintings cooperated with the schedule for once!

He did some writing about it and you, my Dear Loyal Blogees, get to be the first to read it:
[I know, the honor is more than you can bear! Haha]

"The findings of my research were unexpected. The works of art produced shifted directions from representational to completely non-representational and abstract. The one aspect that continued to evolve is my interest in the spiritual and the primal, but even that bordered on the idea of "nothingness". Originally I began my research by investigating the art of the Ukraine and Burma expecting to find some link with my cultural past, but surprisingly that never happened. Instead an interest in the Iconoclastic Controversy of the 8th & 9th century developed from the Eastern Orthodox Church. "Iconoclastic Controversy" means "the image breaker" and I became fascinated by the destruction and the shrouding of the representational images during that time. Ironically I feel that the attempts to destroy and cover up those representational images only made the images more effective, more powerful, and stronger through their incompletenesses, hidden meanings, and their overall sense of mystery. The approach to content through evocation and gestalt rather than through representation has now become a major influence in my work."

I will post an image of his paintings when he is ready to "unveil" them. He is a Scorpio with a strong dose of Leo - secretive, but dramatic about it.

So that's the blog for today! Again so happy to have you "here", Dad!
Now go shopping @Etsy!

Monday, June 16

Mister Black with Pimentoed Olives???

I redid the Mister Black painting but now the red dots look a bit like pimentoed olives. I think it is better now.

Mister Black Moves Over

Mister Black & Ferns with Red Dots
12 x 12"
oil on canvas board

Mister Black is trying to edge himself off the canvas. He now realizes canned salmon is out of the question, at least on his dish, and he is on strike. Well it seems that way anyway. I just haven't gotten any good shots lately. What he doesn't realize is that this perfectly coincides with my latest Mister Black argument with myself, thanks to Harry.

No I really do mean thanks to Harry. Things would be so dull and routine without him. I would just be painting Mr. B. in diff poses with diff colors of fabrics locked forever into a formula. Soon everyone would be snoring and, well anyway.

I realized Mr. Black right in the center of the canvas was a contradiction in expressing the way he is in my life. He is usually on the peripheral of what I am doing. Oh he is definitely there, but I am always busy and he is the side distraction at best. So the paintings in which he was the focal point did not work because of this contradiction. If you interpret the paintings in terms of the way depth was used, he being the darkest object with the least texture should have been the farthest back. So when he was the farthest back, he worked. But when he was central in the composition, he didn't work.
OK now I get what Harry was saying.

I also like adding the quality of mystery to my paintings. I intentionally placed him on the edge so you had to think a bit to figure out what he was.

I always liked the way edges of ferns took on strange shapes when they over- lapped and when they went off the edge at puzzling places. So the mysterious black cat is now contributing in his own way to the mystery by being there even less.

You may notice the colors in this painting are not bright. They are mostly deintensified hues in the blue-green to violet neighborhood. Just those strange red dots for contrast. Sometimes it is cloudy and gray here in Ohio and you have to work to see color. In order to keep from getting depressed in the winter I squint my eyes & find colors in the gray and pretend there is more of them. I am counting on this diversion coupled with painting to get me thru next winter.

I have more to say about what is going on with Harry but I will save it for another blog post.
Go shopping @Etsy!

Saturday, June 14

Mister Black Takes a Second Step

Mister Black's Step #2
8 x 8"
oil on canvas board

There are too many thoughts going on behind the easel right now and it is all sort of jumbled so I want to wait to share until the dust settles a bit. Until then enjoy this little ditty and...


Friday, June 13

Quote for the day...

Quote for the day from Harry:

Never let your palette be better than your painting. Realize you are always in competition with your palette."

Paint fun!

Thursday, June 12

Mister Black Takes a Big Step

Mister Black's Step
12 x 12"
oil on canvas board

Harry is back. [woohoo!] He was unable to access the internet all week so today he got caught up on my week's worth of paintings/bloggings. As usual he knocks my sox off with his simple yet piercing perceptions.

The issue of Mister Black's flatness vs the patterney painterliness of everything else. If Mr. B is the focal point, then why is he played down?

Then he pointed out his favorite thing I did while he was gone - the foot in the orchid painting. So I stuck in the foot in this painting and, sorry, but copied Susan Rothenberg's horse foot. Mister B is always stepping into my business.

It is so obvious now - why I never thot of it - well I did think of putting in just parts of him but this is just the best description of life with Mister Black.

The foot stepping into everything.

I am trying out some new canvas boards. This one is 12 x 12" and painted very thickly in parts and thinly in other parts so you do see the tooth of the canvas. Not sure if I like it or not. Coating the next one with lots of gesso.

We will talk more later about areas of flat black and Mister Black but I've got to get dinner started so while I cook,

can go
@ Etsy!

Tuesday, June 10

When Paintings Talk...

Mister Black with Red Buds
22 x 23.75"
oil on wood panel

I know this one is sudden but you never know what the muses are going to dish out. I was planning on working in the garden and photographing some fresh buds and waving green appendages but I kept wandering back to this painting and trying to figure out what it needed.

For one thing I have been having problems with my greens. Just not happy with the colors I'm getting. I have suspected it was somehow the nature of the water-based oils I am using but I don't want to give them up. So I put down my brushes and went to the art supply store. I brought home some sap green. It was in the higher priced color series so of course it worked and I love it. Sheesh.

The other problems I was having were just that the colors didn't go together that I thought I wanted to use. So do I do what I want or do what I like? See how hard it is to be an artist? Oh how we suffer! I ended up repainting almost every object in the painting. Except of course for Mister Black. For several paintings now he has been pure dioxazine purple.

No really, no black at all.

Then I got to this point where I was beginning to write my blog in my head. Haha I thought of all the sassy quotes artists make about how they know they are done with a painting. I bet no artist has ever said they know they are done when they start thinking about what they are going to say in their blog. I noticed that the painting was starting to talk to me and I liked what it was saying so that was another cue.

Well we are all really tired here from all this modeling and painting & the cats are calling me in to take a nap.

If you like the nice expensive green & luminous orchid lights please ...
Go buy this painting @ Etsy... Mister Black and Doodle are petitioning for canned salmon so, hey, buy a couple ...

Sunday, June 8

The Beginning of Another MisterBlack

Someone asked me about the beginning of my paintings. I don't always do them the same but I snapped a photo of the next one. Yes, I started it right after I Etsied & Blogged the last one. I had to get the orange taste out of my mouth. Sorry to you orange lovers out there - still love ya, just don't love orange.

So yeah, it starts with the star of the show Mister Black. No really before Mr. B., it starts with an undercoat of usually some rich warm dark red. Usually I take all the leftover paint, except for white, on my palette from the previous painting and mix it together to be the next painting's undercoat. That way I am always using fresh paint. Since I never use black pigment, the color is a rich complex mixture of vibrant colors that sometimes leak out or bleed out into the painting. Pretty cool when this happens but hard to control. Here you see I roughly sketched in the outline of objects with white. Mister Black is always the first one to get fully painted.

Wish me luck on this one!


PS. I forgot to add about the last painting that I got the idea of Mister Black indignantly looking at his own portrait from Lori. She bought the Mister Black with Red Pear painting. Her black cat, Monty, sits and stares at it. If she sends me a picture of Monty staring at Mr. B. I will post it!

Buds for Mister B.

Mister Black and Buds with Salsa Tablecloth
21.75 x 23.75"
oil on wood

Maybe you noticed the paintings are taking longer. They are bigger, too. And more complex. Each one challenges the next. I never liked competition. It makes me nervous and irritable. Well I knew it would come to this. I really did good with the one before this and POOF created something I am not sure I can top. So I was tortured this whole painting. No, not tortured like Harry. But more tortured than I am comfortable being. Haha, oxymoron... "comfortable being tortured." Actually I think Harry is only comfortable when he is tortured.

But back to moi. This painting did not come easily. I had to run my brains in top gear puzzling out all the shapes and colors. For some reason I really wanted to try to do a really strong bright red-orange tablecloth with orange-yellow "petals". Orange is probably my least favorite color. It was one of my mother's favorite colors. The whole time I was doing this painting I was thinking of her. So I have had this urge to put these colors together and see if they could work.

Then there are the roses, which I really love. My mother grew prize roses and yes, she actually won prizes for them. They were large lucious reds and pinks, unlike these small buddy things. But I like the smaller buddier roses.

The next problem was the light in the doorway. It was really bright and white and blue yet the tablecloth was bright and indoors and orange. They fought the whole time and I am not sure if anyone won. I think it may have come out better if I had the scene just as it was to paint from, but I had to put the pieces together. I had a window with that light coming in, but no door. I wanted a door because Mister Black is annoyed with the battle going on in my head and he wants to bolt out the door. He thought this was going to be about comfort and coziness and domestic harmony.

He was also disturbed at the painting of himself on the wall. He was frankly astonished that I would paint his rumpus so incorrectly large.

I am so uncomfortable with the feelings about this painting I almost painted over it, but I decided instead to put it up and see what I think in a few days. Or what YOU think.

If Harry were here he would ask me what I didn't like about it. Well I told you that already. Then what I do like about it. OK I like the small buddy roses or whatever they are. The black gloss in Mister B twice and again in the door handle. The French Ultramarine Blue in the planter repeated in the Mr. B painting. The creamy blue & white & yellow light swirling around the buds. The buds swirling around Mister B. The slight turn of Mister B's head looking subtly shocked at his own portrait.

Lori and I were emailing the other day and she asked me how I handle decorating in my own home with my paintings. The problem of liking a painting but the colors not going in your home. Personally I think your home is different than a museum in the same way your choice of reading before bedtime will be different than your English lit required reading list. There are just times you don't want to be depressed or overwhelmed with some dissonant shocking color. So maybe if you have a room in which you would like to stir up arguments, you could ...
go shopping @ Etsy and buy a different one because this one is...

Thursday, June 5

Mister Black Dances with the Cobalt Violet Muses

Mister Black & Pink Buds with Purple Pillow
21.75 x 24"
oil on wood

Well I didn't crack anything wide open with this painting, but I feel I am certainly opening up my application of paint. And a bit of Fauvism seems to be trying to infiltrate my canvas. Harry is right, they can really take over things. They seem to live in the auras of all things living and not. They flash in & out of sight like summer night fireflies. And he is also right when he says they are always right. I for one am enjoying listening to them and I like the song they are playing which is "Cobalt Violet Light".

I had plans to do the pillow more like one of the yellow tablecloth paintings, however the dark purpley reds of the under-painting were suggesting something else. Maybe it is the influence of Bonnard that has me so enamored with the way outside light plays on inside objects like long cobalt violet fingers on creamy white piano keys. And right before the sun goes down the light draws a transparent curtain of cobalt violet over my bedroom and I just know some supernatural being will pop in at any minute, or maybe just Mary Poppins. I don't have those catholic spooks haunting me like Harry does.

Harry left yesterday to work at an AP Reading in Louisville for a week. I was worried about doing this painting without his head popping into my studio with potent questions. And thanks to Harry's teasing about the dead cat painting, I was really paranoid that Mister Black would seem dead. I wanted to paint Mr. B relaxed. He gets boneless when he really relaxes. And on this particular day he was melting into that pillow like a good Alexander student. Boneless, I tell you. I shifted the position of Mr. B's head a bit and he didn't look quite so carcassy. His eyes were closed, so there was nothing but his silhouette to do the communicating.

And yeah, did you notice the last painting on the wall? Not trompe-l'oeil exactly. And the scraffito is so fun. Harry, quit battling with your muses, and ask them to dance with you!


Tuesday, June 3

Two Harry Topics

Today I am starting a new painting so I don't have anything to show you, but I do have two really nice art topics to share with you. Both topics came from talking with friends, then further discussion with Mister Harry [alias Mister Gray]

I have mentioned my new internet friend to you before. Her name is Lori and she is the one who bought Mister Black with Red Pear and a couple other paintings, too. She is an artist and she emailed me about yesterday's topic of modeling vs flatness. As I was thinking of the difference and interplay of the two, I asked Harry to expound. I can always count on Mister Gray Harry to give me some really good stuff. In fact it was so good I decided to share with you here.

From the mouth of The Gray Hare Himself:
Modeling is going into a bag of tricks to create the illusion of depth. Flatness is a truthful acceptance of the flatness of the surface. Modeling, or illusion, means deception. Renaissance painters depicted the epitome of illusion because they were the ones who developed linear perspective. Modern art was a movement against the Renaissance to reaffirm the flatness of the surface. For example The School of Athens by Rapheal shows tremendous depth by creating the illusion of space using linear perspective, aerial or atmospheric perspective, & overlapping.

When Neoclassiom came along soon after the Renaissance, artists began to create a shallower depth of field, thereby ushering in the beginning of the modern movement. An example is David's paintings such as the "Oath of the Horati" seen here.

A good example of modern flatness would be Matisse's paintings with the flat un-modeled patterns throughout. Even his un-modeled goldfish seem like a flat decorative

A lot of the modernists were influenced by the Asian cultures which never accepted linear perspective. For them, things did not recede to a vanishing point, but opened up into all of space.

Cezanne provided another example of this. His paintings used shifting vantage points.
Linear perspective relies on a single vantage point. The way we actually see is by constantly shifting vantage points which when used in a painting looks very awkward and flat. That's the essence of modern art.

Remember too that Picasso along with Matisse collected African art. African art really challenged the visual depth of the Renaissance because the African cultures thought that the copying of nature, naturalism, was a creative weakness and did not belong in an art that was dedicated to appeasing the unearthly world of the dead, etc.

The second topic of conversation [are you still here? are you sleeping in class...tsk tsk... you may be graded on this you know...] came from an email exchange with Annette. She was responding to my blog where Harry was saying that painting is torture to him.

Annette said:
...But it seems that Harry needs to paint from his passion, not his compulsion....which is what I thought he did. He needs to break it wide open! But then what do I know. I need to pick his brain on this. Maybe I misunderstand but life is about being happy not torture? right? Or am I just too naive? But I don't read torture into what he paints. I thought Van gogh committed suicide because he was tortured with manic/ depression, schizophrenia, or bi-polar disease?

Harry asked me to publish his clarification/response in my blog:
It's an undeniable compulsion, an intense love-hate relationship. The studio is a battleground for control. My ideas versus their illogical demands. They summon and I resist. Finally they break me, finally I listen. They're always right. I'd rather be doing something else; fortunately they won't allow it.

If you read this far you get an A+.

Monday, June 2

Mister Black Takes a Nap

I was sick all weekend and took a lot of naps. Mister Black was faithful to keep me company. At one point I noticed Mister B sleeping in this most delicious pose, his fatness sunk deep into the quilt. I wanted to get my camera but I was too sick to move, so I memorized the shapes and forms and the feeling. It was dark in my bedroom but sunshiney outside my window. The light sneaking in thru the yellow curtains was catching on objects here and there trying to cheer me up. When I began to feel better I sketched out the scene and here it is painted to the best of my memory.

Harry was watching the Jackson Pollock movie tonight and between painting I'd go in and watch a bit. There is this one part where Pollock is just beginning to do his drip paintings and Lee says, "Jackson, you've cracked it wide open." Well I think that is a swell scene but Harry made fun of it. Harry says Lee just egged Jackson on & he only did a few good paintings in his life. The only thing he really is famous for is being the first American modern artist, rather than European, to finally be accepted in New York. Big Whoop. Harry says Jackson was not the first one to make art flat, the orientals, the Egyptians, & the Greeks did it thousands of years before.

So I was painting and Harry walks up behind me and says, "Dear! You've cracked it wide open!" A bit later he sneaks up to the outside of the office/studio window and says, "Dear! You've cracked it wide open!"

But I learn so much from Harry. I will miss him when he has to go back to GA. He really fuels my painting in spite of the cracking wide open comments. One thing he said and so non-confrontationally, too, was, "What are you doing about flatness and modeling? Which way do you think you will go with this painting?" And I realized that there were areas that were modeled and other areas that were flat and it made the painting look like I was just bad at modeling, either that or had no clue. Had no clue, I think. Haha. But thanks to Harry's hint, I noticed the inconsistency and am working on it. I am trying to tune into what makes me model things, because that is what seems to be messing the paintings up.

Another time Harry was watching me paint and I asked him if he was dying to jump in and do it right. And he said, "Heck no. Why would I want to torture myself?" I said, "Is the painting THAT bad?" He said, "No not at all, painting is just torture for me. That is why Van Gogh committed suicide. It is so hard to get it right & you never can get it right." [Go to Harry's video where you can hear his actual voice saying this: ...big whoop?]
Me: "So why do you do it?"
Harry: "Compulsion. I am just driven to paint but it is hell. But you, you enjoy painting. You are SO HAPPY. I don't get it."
Me: "Haha. I don't get it either."

I have sort of been tortured about something, but really torture is way too strong a word. Concerned, maybe. I worry that my paintings are silly or shallow. Harry to the rescue again. [Sheesh, too bad he can't rescue his own self.] He brought up the pattern and decoration movement again. He said it was about being feminine, the home, comfort, repose. It was a "happy movement" and made fun of by some but considered most valid by others. Well that is certainly what I am all about. And as I have said before, when I am concerned about others validating me, I am wasting my time. I only have one life to spend and I need to spend it being happy doing and saying whatever I am capable of to the best of my ability. If all I can do is all I can do, quit fretting and get going. [Harry, are you listening?]

Ok here it is.
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detail shots:

Sunday, June 1

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