Monday, February 28, 2011

Hillside in Sapphire

Keep Painting Until the Mother Ship Returns How do you get to be a better painter?  H.C Dodd, artist and juror, responded: "Paint, paint and paint some more -  all day, every day.  In due time you'll find the special language that's yours alone."    Asked what his goals were, young artist Jess Woods replied  " To keep painting until the Mother Ship returns!"  I love that. Press on, brave hearts!

I'm continuing my Hillside series here.  Trying to stick with blues and near-blues.
Hillside in Sapphire is 8x8" acrylic media and collage on panel.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Frustration is Your Friend - Danny McCaw recalls his famous dad Dan telling him this. Now first of all, it's pretty hard to believe Dan McCaw Sr. has any idea what frustration even is!   But assuming he does, and assuming he's right, I have a passel of friends in my studio.  I started this painting about 2 months ago.  I just couldn't figure out what to do with it.  I knew I wanted to try a dome, because I've been using a lot of angular elements lately.  But where is the dome? Since I've been working on the "through the trees" theme, I planted some birches around it.  I think it was one solution.  Again, I'm trying to stick with The Blues! 

Through the Trees; Sanctuary is 6x6" acrylic media and collage on panel.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Through the Birches

Where is my Tiger Mother?  Amy Chua has stirred up a delicious controversy with her new book about tough-love child-raising, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."  In one scene, she's insisting her 7-year old daughter master a piano piece.  She won't let her leave the piano until she gets it right.  Mom sits at the piano next to child, and they work through dinner, late into the night, no breaks for water or bathroom.  Chua says the house became a war zone.  The child was hysterical, and she herself got hoarse from yelling.  But, she says, she believed in her daughter, and they weren't getting up until that piece was perfect.   Deep in the night, her daughter finally mastered it.  Delighted and triumphant, tears barely dry, the little child played the song over and over, not wanting to leave the piano!  Tiger Mom's faith was vindicated.

Now, okay.  I've never done that with my children.  But part of me looks wistfully at Chua's daughter and thinks: "Where is my Tiger Mother?"  Don't you sometimes wish someone believed in you, so much, that they weren't letting you out of the studio until you had a beautiful painting?  You can't go get the tires rotated.  You can't start making dinner.  You have to stay here until you've got it.  But maybe we just got lucky.  Maybe Daily Painters Project (and the Believing Spirit who started it - you know who you are!) is like our own Tiger Mother now.  And doesn't she exhaust us!  She relentlessly pushes us beyond what we would have stuck out alone.  What would we do without her?

Through the Birches just did not come together easily.  I struggled, re-layered, tried another thing. How could something so small take so long?   I imagined Tiger Mom looking over my shoulder.  She had to be tough here.

Through the Birches is 6x6", acrylic media and collage on panel.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tumbling Garden

The Hithering Spill:  This enchanting term denotes a compositional expression sometimes attributed to Cezanne.  Isn't it a delicious way to describe the luxuriant foreground, falling right out of the picture frame? I have attempted the Hithering Spill here.  I wanted to evoke the abundance of an overgrown hillside garden near the coast. Come hither!

Tumbling Garden is 8x8" acrylic media and collage on panel.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Days of Birds and Flowers

Are We There Yet?  One question I have is; When you're painting more abstractly, how do you know you're done?  How much is enough, and how do you know?  When you paint plein-air, you decide to paint the barn, and when it looks more or less like a barn, you stop.  But what about when you're painting Springtime Romance?  And at the same time your technical challenge is space allocation.  Earthbound and reaching for the stars.  How do you decide it's right? Here I have tried to paint the spring in Valentine's wishes. I've tried to make the red-green combo bounce, and compose elements to express the vivacity, the mystery of joy.  Are we there yet?  A puzzle.
Days of Birds and Flowers is 8x8" acrylic media, collage and charcoal on panel.


Are We There Yet? II :  For Valentine's,  a meditation on Devotion.  How do you put that on a 6x6" panel??  Sometimes painting in this small format seems like trying to write the entire play "Hamlet" on a postage stamp.  You want to express many facets, but you have to realize that leaving quiet space is important.  Nuance without clutter.  Not easy.   So... Another springy thought. 

Devotion is 6x6" acrylic media, collage and charcoal on panel.