Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Are you a painter or a camera?

In my classes this month we have been painting from vacation photos.   I have been trying to get the point across to my students that to create a good painting does not mean you try to paint a perfect copy of your photo.  We are after all, not cameras but painters.  Painters create.  I believe photos should be used as the source, the inspiration, the beginning for what evolves into a painting.  

Here is the example I brought to my classes.  I took this photo in Corneglia, Italy a few years ago.

I loved the light coming through the arch and spilling down the stairs, the window leading to nowhere, and the textures are great.  However,  the camera lense distorted the angles of the walls and windows.  Can you imagine how wrong my painting would have been had I just traced this photo and painted it? 

My painting below captures the light spilling down the stairs, the window to nowhere and the textures I found inspiring.  But my creativity let loose in the colors I chose making the painting definately not an exact copy of the source photo.

"Via Fieshi", 24" x 18" watercolor $850.00

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Year of Growth

May 2010 be a year of growth for us all.  As artists lets stretch our talents as far as they will go and then some.  Let us study, search, experiment and play.  Remember art is suppose to be fun! 

I have been experimenting with a new surface for my watercolors, clay coated board called "Aquabord" by Ampersand.  I have learned to create luminous florals on the surface like this painting which appeared in the "Value" column of Southwest Art Magazine and sold in my two person show in August at Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento.  I also found the clay surface works well for detail as in this zebra painting.

I will be demonstrating watercolor on Aquabord for several groups this year and teaching some classes and workshops using this surface in the future.  If you belong to a group that would like a workshop in this technique please contact me.

Those of us who teach should remember to also learn.   For me, that has always meant taking at least one workshop each year from an artist who works very different than I.  My work covers several subjects and mediums, but my best and most consistant work is my watercolor florals.  So in 2009 I took a workshop from Nancy Reynor an  acrylic abstract painter, and a workshop from Brian Davis, a floral oil painter.  Both are excellent teachers and really stretched my knowledge of painting.  Such fun, such growth!  So here is an example of this watercolor flower painter's attempt at an acrylic abstract.

I have not painted in oils for a couple of years, but Brian Davis taught me so much that I now feel more comfortable with the medium.   I am currently working on more oil paintings at my home studio, here is the one I painted in Brian's workshop.

I began 2010 with a one day workshop with the very creative experimental painter, Myrna Wacknov, where we used gesso to explore new and unusual surfaces for painting watercolors.  What fun!  Myrna will try anything!  Visiting with my friend Bonnie and taking this workshop with the group of painters she belongs to made it extra special.  No photo from this workshop as we did not create paintings, only working surfaces.  However,  I learned a lot and will continue to experiment with these techniques, so stay tuned.

So, I say again, "May 2010 be a year of growth for us all."