Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Tang Horse #2"

"Tang Horse #2", 6x8 inches, oil on linen on panel


Recently I've been busy painting some larger works in my studio, so haven't posted for a bit.  After painting in such a small format the past number of months, it's really a treat to go back to something on a larger scale. 

This Tang Dynasty horse is one from the series I painted.   Early on in my career I painted real live horses and as a kid spent hours drawing horses and dogs.  I always wanted my own horse and have had a lifetime love of all things to do with them, which my Dad passed along to me.  

I've had to satisfy myself with sculpting them in paint - this seems to be working for me fine. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"Mr Bear", oil on panel, 6x6 inches

"Mr Bear", oil on panel, 6x6 inches


This teddy bear belonged to my daughter and now hangs out with a gang of stuffed animals in her baby's bedroom.  I must admit, since becoming a grandmother, I'm finding many things to do with babies suddenly very interesting to paint. 

Painting dailies allows me to experiment and challenge myself with all the quick starts and finishes that a small format provides. One of the best things about painting these little miniatures is that I can paint anything I want to and have fun with it;  Mr Bear was no exception.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Crabapples", oil on panel, 5.5x6 inches

"Crabapples", oil on panel, 5.5x6 inches
One of the great things about taking on a project to paint dailies is that it's a wonderful way tochallengeoneself, keep your work fresh and develop as an artist.  It's with this pursuit in mind that I begin each new painting.  I love to begin paintings and for me, this is the easy part.  The challenge is always in finishing the work in such a way that it retains its freshness and doesn't get overworked.  

Our neighbour has the most beautiful bounty on their crabapple tree and I could hardly wait to snip a few branches to set up for one of my little paintings. I'd been looking forward to painting these little rosy apples and so was totally sandbagged by the difficulty that was presented. 

It was, by virtue of the small format, a very simple concept; no difficulty there.  But as I quickly got into the painting I struggled with areas of it, not the least of which was dealing with the speed in which the greenery wilted. In the end, since I worked on it over a few days, I just went with the wilting, curling leaves and tried to make the most of it.

There comes a certain point in every painting where aesthetics trump the concept - or the reality. An artist must always be cognizant of this and be willing to look for possibilities that present themselves along the way, for the beauty of the painting.  

In this particular instance, it became increasingly clear that the table top that I'd set up my still life on was competing with my beautifully rosy round apples and sabatoging my painting.  Once I'd established this and altered the surface to a more neutral colour, allowing the beautiful apples to be the star of the show, things began to hum again.