The Next Level

I have been painting for almost 15 years. When I started with my first workshop in France, I had no painting or drawing experience or skills. I was drawn to art at a young age, but I did not know I wanted to be an artist or that one day I would be painting. I had no innate artistic skills.

When I came home from that workshop in France with 10 days of painting experience, I knew that if I wanted to keep painting, which I did. I needed many hours, or perhaps years would be a better description, to develop into the kind of artist that I wanted to be.

ann hart marqui looking at france The Next Level

Looking at France, acrylic on canvas, 11×14 inches, 2001. ©Ann hart Marquis

Since the beginning I have wanted to go to the “next level,” regardless of what that level would entail. I have never gotten over that feeling that I could do better or that I need and want to move on to something better.

For me going on to the next level means an effort to conceive new concepts and new ways of expressing them. It requires letting go of attitudes and frequently how I did things in the past.

ann hart marquis red chair The Next Level

Red Chair, acrylic on canvas, 16×20 inches, 2009. © Ann hart Marquis

In the past I have painted trees, fruit, chairs, jungle scenes, cities, landscapes and myself. In other words, I have been drawn to paint many different tableaus in many different techniques. Now I am asking myself what is it that I really want to paint, how I want to paint it and why.

AnnHartMarquis Sunflowers The Next Level

Sunflowers, acrylic on canvas, 14×14 inches, ©Ann Hart Marquis, Available

Recently, I came across an article in LensWork magazine by Guy Tal, a photographer. “Where the aesthetic appeal of an image is determined by what is in the frame, the significance of an image is determined by why it is in the frame,” he wrote.

Tal also suggests that an artist does not make art of things, but rather about things. If that is the case, the next level for me may be to step off into the world of abstract art.

Mayo 2 Rebbeca Crowell The Next Level

Mayo #2, oil on canvas, 16×20 inches, 2013. © Rebecca Crowell

 

Tree Limbs

This past week, I have been working on a few projects simultaneously, but I have been focusing on what are sometimes called networked images. I have already posted one of these networked paintings and I even sold it (Limb to Limb, below)!

ann hart marquis mixed media on paper 600x378 Tree Limbs

Limb to Limb. mixed media on paper, 12×20 inches. ©2014, Ann Hart Marquis

They are actually images taken of intertwined or overlapping trees and tree branches. That is where the concept of a network of tree limbs comes in. They are interesting to paint and they are part of my abstract landscape emphasis.

ann hart marquis limb to limb 2 600x384 Tree Limbs

Limb to Limb II, mixed media on paper, 12×20-inches. ©2014, Ann Hart Marquis

They include a series of steps. First, I put a color that I like on heavy watercolor paper. Next, using charcoal and a black marker, I draw in random tree shapes and branches that I think will make an interesting composition. The last step is to apply dark and light paint to all areas of the painting, creating what becomes the finished painting. For this step I use paint brushes, rags and my fingers. The process takes me about 5-6 hours, not including time for paint to dry. Here is the one I just finished:

ann hart marquis limb to limb III 600x369 Tree Limbs

Limb to Limb III, mixed media on paper, 12×20 inches. ©2014, Ann Hart Marquis

I have been thinking about continuing the series on large canvases. I would love to have your opinion about this series.

Studio Sale:
For those of you who may have missed my recent newsletter, I am having a sale of all of my paintings, including works on paper through Dec 31, 2014. There is a 30% discount for those of you who have already purchased my paintings and a 15% discount for new buyers. Take a look at the portfolios on my site and contact me if you are interested or if you have questions.

Painting for Beginners

My class at the University of New Mexico, Continuing Education, Painting for the Complete Beginner ended last week. Here are a few examples of the work that was done in class. All of the paintings were done in acrylic. As you can see the work is quite diverse and quite good.

All of these paintings were done with the greatest care and diligence. It was such a pleasure to see students learn beginning techniques and then to watch them create such interesting and inspiring pieces. I hope that they all go on with their painting experience. They should. There certainly was talent in the group.

My next class starts in January, 2015, and I get to experience the fun of playing with color all over again. I hope you enjoy these images, as much as I have.

A Sense of Place

As October came to a close so did my abstract landscape painting class taught by Pauline Agnew in Ireland. It was a very successful class for me. I not only learned new techniques, but I let myself experience the pleasure of loosening up my painting style. My horizon lines are now getting a little ambiguous, which is a good thing.

All of my daily class assignments will remain online for a year, and I plan to go back and do some similar work sometime in the near future.

Here are a few things I learned:
1. Acrylic paint and paper are interesting together, but I would rather paint on canvas.
2. Trying new things is a wonderful way to increase one’s repertoire.
3. It is a little difficult to see the blues and greens of Ireland and paint in New Mexico.
4. Oil pastels need to be protected with a frame and glass.
5. I like to have my work critiqued.
6. I like having a daily assignment.
7. I enjoy painting in an abstract way.
8. Now I really want to go to Ireland.

ann hart hart sense of place 480x600  A Sense of Place

Sense of Place, acrylic on canvas, 16×20 inches, 2014. ©Ann Hart Marquis

My last painting assignment directed me to attend to and paint what is called a “sense of place.” In other words, Pauline encouraged me to paint an area or location with which I am familiar. I have painted New Mexico many times so I wanted to paint something more intimate. What better place than my back yard?

Imaginary Landscape

During the entire month of October I have been consumed with painting almost every day. Most of this enthusiasm is due to how much I am loving my Irish online class on abstract landscapes. I can’t wait for the next assignment and find that I am already feeling a little sad that the experience will conclude at the end of October. I like looking at how the instructor paints the Irish landscape full of green and blue. I can then create an imaginary landscape or interpret something from here in New Mexico or wherever my imagination will take me.

Marketing
When the class first began, I felt that I was neglecting the marketing side of my art. As a working, selling painter there are marketing strategies that I am supposed to be doing a least once a week. For example, I am always supposed to be updating my website and social media sites, growing my mailing list, contacting galleries, going to art openings to keep in touch with the local art community and planning my next show.

Making Art
As I got totally immersed in the landscape class, I realized that for a while I just want to paint. I have actually been having this feeling for a few months. I will let the pressure of marketing my work take a back burner for a while. Actually, I am not sure of how long. I am just loving spending my time thinking about and creating art.

Here is my latest creation:

ann hart marquis imaginary landscape 600x590 Imaginary Landscape

Imaginary Landscape, acrylic on paper, 12×12-inches, 2014. ©Ann Hart Marquis

Have you recently put aside something you were supposed to do for something you loved to do?

Abstract Landscape

My abstract landscape painting class continues through the month of October. The pace of the class is actually perfect. We have an assignment every day. One day we paint or do a mixed media piece and the next day we have a chance to catch up with assignments and gather ideas by looking at other abstract painter’s websites or watching a particular art video. One video we watched was by Colorado artist Krista Harris. I was struck by something she said about knowing when a painting is finished. “Work is never really finished. You let it go just so you can get on to the next one.” I can identify with that.

This week I had three painting assignment, each different from the other. At the beginning of the week we painted a landscape from a photograph that was taken on the road from Dublin to Cork by our teacher Pauline Agnew. It was the first actual painting and was not to be done in a particularly abstract way. The most challenging part for me was the sky. I do not usually go into such detail in my own paintings. Here is the painting:

ann hart marquis first abstract landscape on paper 446x600 Abstract Landscape

Road from Dublin to Cork, acrylic on paper, 20×24-inches.©Ann Hart Marquis

The following assignment was completely different but also an abstract landscape. It was a mixed-media piece using charcoal, ink, and acrylic paint. Again we used a photograph of what seemed like an overgrowth of trees, limbs, and leaves. I thought at first it would we difficult for me, but I very much enjoyed the project and will do one again soon. Here it is:

ann hart marquis mixed media on paper 600x378 Abstract Landscape

Limb to Limb, mixed media on paper, 20×24-inches. ©Ann Hart Marquis

You, like my teacher are free to offer opinions. I would appreciate it.

Oil Pastels

Since I have begun painting I have always heard that artists, no matter how long they have been creating art, should continue to take workshops, or classes or somehow continually expose themselves to something new.

The idea even goes so far as to suggest that if, for example you are an oil painter, you may learn new ideas from a sculpture class. Or if you are a writer, you may want to try painting.

I love going to workshops and taking classes whenever I can. With that idea in mind, I am now taking my first e-course. It is an abstract landscape painting class taught by Pauline Agnew who lives in Ireland.

I have an assignment every day except weekends and this first week has been a little daunting. So far I am keeping up with the work and using materials that I have not used before. For example, one of our first assignments was to copy one of Claude Monet’s water lily oil paintings in oil pastels. I have never used oil pastels before and it was a challenge for me. It was an additive/subtractive process using oil pastels, olive oil and baby wipes. I did a lot of drawing and wiping off so that under colors could show through. Here is my first attempt.

ann hart marquis lily pond 420x600 Oil Pastels

Water Lily Pond, oil pastel on paper, 14×18-inches, 2014. ©Ann Hart Marquis

Feedback is always appreciated.

From Photograph to Painting?

Since I have been painting, I have taken many photographs of interesting places, trees, objects, animals and people that I thought perhaps I would paint someday. I am still learning that not all lovely photos will make a lovely painting.

Perhaps there is a color adjustment that needs to be made or a major section of the photo that needs to be cropped. Or the composition is not quite right. And sometimes a photo just doesn’t translate well into a painting. You can’t always go from photograph to painting. I had that experience recently in France.

I started a painting of a landscape that I had admired and then photographed and then sketched. I spent a great deal of time working on and finishing the painting. It was the last painting that I did in France and I was in somewhat of a rush to finish it. It is never a good idea to paint under pressure—neither from oneself or from an outside source.

Last painting in France Unfinished 592x600 From Photograph to Painting?

Last painting in France

After returning to New Mexico and getting my head and body all back in this time zone and getting the painting stretched, I realized that the painting that I had thought finished was anything but. Actually, in many areas it was rather bad. So since I consider painting to be a problem solving experience for me, I looked at it until I saw some glaring misuse of paint and I then eventually realized what it needed.

ann hart marquis untitled 2014 600x600 From Photograph to Painting?

Untitled, acrylic on canvas, 14×14-inches, 2014. ©Ann Hart Marquis

I wish that I could say that repainting part or even most of a painting was a new experience for me. It isn’t. I usually know that something needs to be fixed, but it sometimes takes me a while to see the problem. I also know that I will be having this experience again. It is all about problem solving.

Have you ever had to redo a creative project that you thought was finished?

Painting Retreat, II

According to the dictionary, a retreat is defined as a place affording peace, quiet, privacy, and/or security. In my last post I talked about my experiences with a variety of people while enjoying an art retreat in France. As I mentioned, I go on a painting retreat almost every year. It has become almost a necessity to me, or at least something that I feel compelled to do. While on retreat, I do feel a sense of peace and quiet and joy.

Innovation
I find that I do some of my most innovative work while I am on a retreat. I have time from morning to night to paint. If I need an inspiration I have sometimes looked around the house that I was staying in to see what could possibly make an interesting painting. My Green Chair is an example.

ann hart marquis green chair 478x600 Painting Retreat, II

Green Chair, acrylic on canvas, 16×20-inches, 2008. ©Ann Hart Marquis

Inspiration
One year while in the south of France I took a train to Paris. One of the things that I wanted to see was one of my favorite paintings, La charmeuse de serpents (The Snake Charmer) done by Henri Rousseau at the Musée d’Orsay. Much to my dismay, it was on loan to a museum in California. In my disappointment I decided to do a painting inspired by Rousseau. It sold while I was still in France, so I decided do to a series, which turned out to be very successful.

ann hart marquis waiting for the lion 600x489 Painting Retreat, II

Waiting for the Lion, acrylic on canvas, 20×24-inches, 2010. ©Ann Hart Marquis

In 2011, I spent the summer painting all day and taking a critique class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The school was a wonderful experience for me. The classrooms were enormous and each day my friend Gail Suttelle and I had a room to ourselves. I did several architectural paintings and I was also inspired by all of the parks in Chicago and painted this park scene.

ann hart marquis chicago grant park Painting Retreat, II

Chicago, Grant Park, acrylic on canvas, 20×24-inches, 2011. ©Ann Hart Marquis

In 2012 my partner Tim Anderson and I visited one of the many prehistoric caves in France, Niaux. I was very touched by the wonderful drawings in the cave, but traversing the cave itself was a memorable experience. I didn’t want to try to represent the drawings, I wanted to paint my experience of the cave.

ann hart marquis Cave Without Time II 600x600 Painting Retreat, II

Cave Without Time II, acrylic on canvas, 14×14-inches, 2012. ©Ann Hart Marquis

As you can see, my style has changed throughout the years, but my love of exploring new scenes in France is still a very exciting experience for me. I am continually encouraging my creative friends to go on a retreat of their own. You would be surprised how many new doors are waiting to be opened.

Next year Ireland and northern California are also on my list.

Retreat from the Every Day

I have been home from France for two weeks now and I find myself reflecting on my painting retreat. I also find myself thinking about my retreats which have been almost yearly for 15 years.

All of my retreats have included some time in France, ample alone time to paint, an almost total lack of knowledge of what was happening in the world, sharing some of the time with friends, teachers or my partner, Tim. They have all also been based on pleasure and joy.

Retreats with Friends

karin hillmer 600x477 Retreat from the Every Day

He was perplexed, they were 8297 nanoseconds too late. ©Karin Hillmer

Several years ago I shared my retreat space with the photographer, Karin Hillmer. It was interesting to see what she photographed during the day and what little treasure she would bring home to include into her photographic montage. I also shared time with the composer Donna Miller who played lovely music on the second floor while I painted in the studio on the third floor.

 

tim anderson provence 2007 600x400 Retreat from the Every Day

Provénce, 2007. ©Tim Anderson

 

My partner, Tim Anderson, a photographer, has accompanied me to France many times. He has photographed scenes from Paris to Provénce and his own retreats along with mine.

This year I shared a house with my friend Gail who drew on her iPad or with pastels while I painted.

Gail Smith digital impression Retreat from the Every Day

©g forbes shannon, digital impression

 

Retreats with Teachers

sunflowers suzanne lhost 600x405 Retreat from the Every Day

Sunflowers. ©Suzanne L’Hoste

I have spent time with a mentor, Suzanne L’Hoste, and my first painting teacher, Carole Watanabe. I love being with people who are creating their art as I am doing mine. It is a very interesting and refreshing experiencing for me.

WatermelonTime carole watanabe Retreat from the Every Day

Watermelon Time. ©Carole Watanabe

 

 

 

This year, I listened as I heard Gail tell people how disciplined I was because I went upstairs and painted almost every day. As I told her, it is not discipline, it is love of painting.

This year I painted in France and Italy for two months. Two years ago I painted in France for three months. No one has been able or wanted to stay that long. Fortunately, I also have loved my alone time there, when it is just me and the paints and my affection of France.