Tuesday, October 30, 2007

'Apple Blossoms & Pear'

Detail - 'Apple Blossoms and Pear'
Oil on linen, 18x14
'Apple Blossoms and Pear' is now complete....it was painted from life with a branch picked from an apple tree, in the spring, and completed only now. The blossoms are now just a memory, and the fruit long perished, so in finishing I really had to rely on my memory and the concept that was so firmly in my mind. Because the painting was completed without the set up in front of me, I left areas in their original, roughly painted state, which I'd grown to like very much. All of the focus and beautiful brushstrokes have been devoted to the pear. Please see the detail of it above, and click on it for a close up look.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

'Teapot with Shallots' - by Bobbi Dunlop

'Teapot with Shallots' - Detail
Oil on linen, 11x20

This is the first painting completed on my beautiful Utrecht linen which I primed from the raw state and demonstrated in my blog, Dunlop Demonstrations If you click on the images above, this will enlarge it and you might catch a glimpse of the beautiful canvas, peeking through the paint. Preparing my own canvas from scratch and stretching it onto stretcher bars is rather time consuming and most artists don't feel they have the time to do this, nor do they want to. Personally, it is a joy for me and I derive such pleasure from applying brushstrokes of paint onto a canvas knowing that every mark on it is from my own hand. There's just nothing like it, to my mind, and it is well worth the time and love that goes into it. In addition, I feel that I am experiencing a practice that was not optional for the great Old Masters, such as Rembrandt, who personally ground and made his own paints. This painting isn't varnished yet and I will rephotograph it once it is. Varnishing always brings life back into the paint and the painting.

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'Girl with Basket' 1981

oil on canvas board, 24x18- 1981

It's been awhile since I've posted to my website and my blogs. I have been working on several larger pieces and will post the most recent one today. But, more importantly, I wanted to share this painting with you.

'Girl with Basket' is a painting that I did very early in my 'career'. I was 24 or 25 years old at the time I painted it - 1981. This is not my original painting, but a copy, and I'm very sorry, I do not recall who the artist is to give them credit. If anyone knows the artist whose original I copied, please let me know. I hope this artist will take satisfaction in knowing that they served to inspire a very young artist. At the time I painted this, I was dabbling in pastel, pencil and oil. Soon, I discovered watercolor, a love affair which was to sustain me for fifteen years.

My oldest daughter, Danica, and I have just returned from a trip to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This prairie city is my birthplace, where we travelled to visit my beautiful Mom and Dad and my brother, sister and their families. My family has given me immeasurable encouragement and support since I was a very little girl. Their enthusiasm and steadfast encouragement through the years has meant everything to me and has been instrumental in bringing me to this point in my life.

My parent's home is a virtual art gallery of my personal work. My sister, Jacquie, visited me in my studio over the years, and with eagle eye would discover paintings that I'd rejected for one reason or another. This is one of them. Frequently, she'd resurrect paintings destined for the garbage. I must admit, I was never too happy about this at the time, but I am now so grateful that she saw something in my work that I couldn't see. That she had an unconditional appreciation for my work that I didn't have.

When I painted this in 1981, it was during a time that I passionately wanted to be an artist, and was trying very hard to be one. I wasn't too sure how to go about accomplishing this and had no idea yet how tough the road I'd travel was going to be. Self-taught, I had the discipline, to be sure. I had, in my heart, the burning desire and passion. And, I'd always been tremendously adept at flying by the seat of my pants. I guess those were the most important attributes for an artist to possess. Plus, I'm an eternal optimist. In retrospect, knowing what I now know, I'd do it all again, happily. Thankfully, my husband has been the one to support me through this wonderful journey and made it possible for me to follow my heart, while also embracing motherhood. I would wish that all artists out there have someone like him to stand behind them and be their dragon at the door.

After 25 years, this painting has stood up quite well. My sister has treated it lovingly and it has always hung prominently in her beautiful home. After this trip, however, I've brought it home to give it some tender loving care. I've noticed some areas where the paint has chipped and when I painted it, I didn't know anything about varnishing, so the painting has shown some deterioration as a result. Yesterday, I cleaned it, touched up the paint chips and will varnish it soon. It will be good to go for another hundred years, I'm sure.

My daughter got a chuckle out of the left hand of the woman, which is out of proportion. There is also a striking resemblance to myself, which is often the case with portrait painters. It is apparent that I didn't know a great deal about color mixing in those early days and what I did was purely instinctive with my limited knowledge and palette. What is in evidence, however, is the inspiration by a now unknown (to me) painter, and the passion and desire a young artist possessed. All these years later, I have a huge appreciation for this piece, with all its flaws, and I am able to glimpse the eager young artist who painted it.

No longer am I critical of the apparent lack of skill, nor do I remember the struggle and hard work that went into it. Gratefully, I now possess a healthy respect for my old painting; simply, for what it is..... I have become 'friends' with it. And like a good friend, feel an unconditional love.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

'Rome Bus Stop - Study'

Oil on linen mounted panel, 7x8

In May, my husband and I went to Germany to visit our oldest daughter who was completing her degree in Reutlingen. After exploring the beauty of this German city for a few days, the three of us travelled to Venice and to Rome. This was my first trip to Europe and as my husband told me it would, it changed my life and my view of the world forever. For one thing, it certainly has made it a lot smaller. Since then, I have had so much time to reflect upon this wonderful experience. I am hoping to paint from my travels and this is perhaps the first painting of many to come.

While hustling through the streets of Rome one morning, dodging umbrellas along the sidewalk, I happened to glance over and catch this little grouping at the bus stop. I couldn't resist it....such a wonderful scene but one filled with the flavor of this historical city.

Since then, my daughter has returned home and now our youngest daughter has set out to explore this wonderful world of ours, in her own way, too. She just celebrated her 19th birthday in Paris and has tasted the culture and history of England, France, Netherlands and today she's in Berlin. How I wish I was with her....in Paris she saw the beautiful works of Monet and Van Gogh, among others, at the Louvre and also at Musee D'Orsey. Wouldn't you know, she made a special trip to see the Rembrandt exhibit at the Louvre, just for me, and that was the day that particular exhibit was closed! Rembrandt is my favorite artist of all and has filled me with inspiration enough to last a life time.

Please email me if you would like to purchase this painting.

Monday, October 8, 2007

'This is my studio...."

Today is 'Thanksgiving Day' in Canada....just a reminder to me that I am so thankful for so much in my life. It really couldn't be more perfect with my great friends, my ever supportive family, my chosen profession.

This is a photo of my studio, the place that I spend hour after hour in a pursuit that I love. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about how lucky I am, and thankful to be doing what I love so much.

My studio is my oasis, and visitors often comment on the sense of this when they stand in the space. Often, it looks like a garage sale waiting to happen with all the shelves containing pots and objects that make their way into my paintings. My husband often finds things that have been missing from home. He never knows when he'll see them again!!

My studio is the perfect artist studio. It's attached to a car wash and the space was thoughtfully designed. A flower shop was in the space before I came upon it and I've kept up the original awning which says, "Mayflowers". It used to say "Mayflowers Florists" but I had the 'Florists' part taken down. The space has a high 12'ceiling and beautiful north windows. It also has an east window, but I've covered those with blinds which I close when I'm working, in order to use the single, perfect north light source.

My focus is to paint from life. This is easy to do when painting still life, which comprises most of my work these days. I set up my still-life arrangements under my wonderful northlit windows. When I have a model sit for me, for portrait work, I take photos which I load to my computer to work from later. It's not nearly as rewarding, nor as fun, as painting from life, but my models can't possibly sit for me for the time required. I've found that having the initial hours of painting the model from life, it's truly remarkable how much information stays in the mind and can be recalled later, so the photograph becomes merely a tool.

For a number of years I taught students in this very space. At that time it was full of tables and easels; a busy, thriving workspace with several weekly classes as well as weekend workshops in oils and watercolor. I set the teaching aside about 3 years ago to concentrate more on my own work. To meet so many requests, I plan to offer a workshop schedule at some point in the future.

This past week has been a busy and productive one in my studio. The little 'Rome Bus Stop' study has not been neglected. But, as is often the case, I was held up by wet paint....hope to post it for you soon. In the meantime, I've got a new larger piece, also near completion, that I will post once it's done.

And, if that's not enough.....my first newsletter is actually on the horizon! So, if you are interested, please sign up on my website at Bobbi Dunlop Fine Art I'd love to have you onboard.

In the meantime, Blessings to you all....

Monday, October 1, 2007

'Rainy Day In Rome' - Work in Progress

Oil on linen mounted panel, 7x8
One rainy day in Rome this bus stop scene stopped me in my tracks......so many wonderful moments from our trip to Rome and Venice in May. Hope to post this painting soon!