Acrylic Painting Fix

Sometimes when I have finished a painting there is a little annoying doubt that says “are you sure this is finished? Are you sure it needs no revision?” I recently had such an experience with a painting that I completed in the spring of last year. In the process of organizing my studio I came across this painting. I really knew it had problems when I hung it on the wall. I just didn’t want to admit it.

It is called “Patches of Paradise,” and in reviewing the piece I decided that was an appropriate title because it seemed very patchy to me.  Also, the bottom half did not seem to be as integrated as the top half of the painting. And what were those trees doing in the foreground? It needed an entire acrylic painting fix.

Before applying paint to this canvas I had applied light molding paste which gives the surface a very textured terrain. My problem was that I let the terrain dictate the composition on the lower half of the painting. Not a good idea. I had also used colors that were too intense for almost all of the painting.

Original Patches of Paradise

Original Patches of Paradise, 2014

This week I decided to tackle the painting and see if I could remedy the problem. I covered the unattractive terrain with thick paint then applied a more toned down palette to the necessary areas. I also made subtle changes to some of the upper half of the painting. I removed the trees.

Ann Hart Marquis-Patches of Paradise-acrylic painting fix

Patches of Paradise, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 x 1.5 inches, 2014/2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

I would like feedback on my changes or any comment about the painting itself. Am I finished this time? Does it now need a name change?

My New Painter’s Studio

This weekend I moved all my paintings and painting equipment back into my newly remodeled painter’s studio. What a pleasure. It is all new and bright and ready to help inspire my creativity.

Completed studio exterior

Completed studio exterior

It has been quite a journey from moving everything out and now moving back in, arranging my paintings, canvases, brushes and gadgets in as simple a manner as possible.

Ann Hart Marquis-painter's stidio

Original Studio

Original studio interior

Original studio interior

The design was a joint effort between my insightful partner Tim Anderson, my very creative and efficient builder David Medina and me. Luckily, David is a building artist. Tim documented it all.

Ann Hart Marquis-Studio interior in process

Studio interior in process

My studio is now bigger, better insulated and brighter. I am delighted with the finished product. I have more room for storage and hanging space for my art. I can see myself having many creative and productive years in my new space.

Completed studio interior

Completed studio interior

Working With a Horizon Line

Winter is almost over and here in New Mexico, trees and plants are starting to pop with color. Instead of browns and greys in the landscape I am starting to see a few patches of green, orange and even yellow all over the scenery.

Here is another painting that I just completed using a rather limited palette of raw sienna, cobalt blue and red oxide. This combination allowed me to mix interesting pinks, greens and oranges. Once again I have painted a high horizon line. I am still somewhat preoccupied with the horizon line.

Ann Hart Marquis-New Mexico Winter #5-horizon line

New Mexico Winter #5, acrylic on paper,10 x 3 inches. Ann Hart Marquis

Horizon Line

The horizon line is thought to be one of the foremost visual components or clues of perspective in a landscape. It’s the thing we immediately use to interpret the perspective in a painting we are viewing. We do it almost instinctively.

So if the horizon line is too high or low in a painting we lose the brain’s ability to interpret and perceive perspective. Instead, the viewer has to first struggle to deal with where the horizon line is, to see it for what it is and put it in relation with everything else in the composition.

Too high a horizon line, with only a tiny sliver above it and the brain won’t instantly register that area as sky. If it is too low, the sliver below the horizon risks not being perceived as land.

In most cases, a low horizon line works for emphasis on the sky. A high horizon line emphasizes the landscape.

In any case, I hope to be able to abstract the horizon line more in the future.

Limited Palette With Red, Blue and Yellow

Sometimes when we first learn to paint, it is suggested that we use a limited palette of three primary colors—red, yellow and blue. Some teachers think that limiting oneself to just a few colors teaches us how to mix colors correctly, see value and temperature, and encourages thought and planning in our color choices.

Besides making it easier to learn about color temperatures, using a limited color palette offers more color harmony, the ability to make grays without the muddiness and less confusion because of fewer color choices. I have painted with a limited palette before and I have always liked the feeling of just using a few colors.

Colors in a limited palette can still be warmer or cooler in relation to other colors. Since the eye adjusts to what it looks at, it doesn’t feel as though any colors are missing. There are cool and warm reds, cool and warm yellows and so on. Here is the first on that I created:

Ann Hart Marquis-limited palette

Red, Blue, Yellow, Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 inches, Ann Hart Marquis

Last week during an artist retreat, we experimented using only red, yellow and blue and white and black. The object was to create different tints, tones and shades of the 3 colors. It was interesting and fun for me to play and to see if I could easily come up with complementary color combinations or triad color combinations.

Ann Hart Marquis-limited palette

Red, Blue, Yellow #2, ,Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 inches, Ann Hart Marquis

Ann Hart Marquis-Red, limited palette

Red, Blue, Yellow #3, ,Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 inches, Ann Hart Marquis

Artist Retreat

This past week I spent 4 days in Phoenix playing with paint and experimenting with new surfaces. The occasion was an artist retreat with fellow artists that I painted with at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago during the summer of 2011.

The first day we experimented with a technique that called for a first layer of acrylic paint on any gessoed surface, then an isolation layer followed a top layer of paint. Each layer needed to dry before adding the next layer. We only used red, yellow and blue paint.  I enjoyed the process. Here are 2 examples:

Ann Hart Marquis-artist retreat

Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 inches, Ann Hart Marquis

Acrylic on paper, Lorna Filipinni-Mulliken

Acrylic on paper, Lorna Filipinni-Mulliken

On the second day we experimented with Yupo paper and light molding paste. Yupo paper is the 100% recyclable, waterproof, tree-free synthetic paper.  It is super-smooth, bright white and durable. Here are some of our Yupo pieces:

Acrylic on Yupo paper, 13 x 20 inches, Diane Huff

Acrylic on Yupo paper, 13 x 20 inches, Diane Huff

Acrylic on Yupo paper, 13 x 20 inches, Ann Hart Marquis-yupo

Acrylic on Yupo paper, 13 x 20 inches, Ann Hart Marquis

Acrylic on Yupo paper, 13 x 20 inches, Gail Suttelle

Acrylic on Yupo paper, 13 x 20 inches, Gail Suttelle

Acrylic on Yupo paper, 13 x 20 inches, Connie Hoogerland

Acrylic on Yupo paper, 13 x 20 inches, Connie Hoogerland

Light molding paste dries to an opaque, matte finish. It is designed to hold stiff peaks for highly textured surfaces and it blends easily with colors. Molding paste can also be used to create foundations for painting either to create texture over a smoother surface, or to smooth out a textured surface.

The last day we reconvened and made more interesting creations, each of us choosing what interested us. It was a wonderful get-away and we plan to do it again, perhaps in Chicago.

 

Abstract Landscapes with Paint

I have a simple program on my computer called Microsoft Paint. I started looking at it recently as an alternative way to crop images that I have photographed. This weak I opened it one evening and spontaneously decided to click on a brush and found that I could easy draw with it so off I went until I discovered colors and different tools.

Many of you may already create with apps and/or art programs, but I had not until now. After being totally drawn to my process, I found that I could easily and quickly create forms and abstract landscapes similar to what I have painted. I created both images below in about an hour. I found this program to be another way of playing and being non-judgmental about my art.

Ann Hart Marquis-Paint #1-Microsoft Windows Paint

Paint #1

I also found that I used the same method of thinking about value, intensity and color that I use with my paintings. As I played with lines and form, I discovered that I could easily tone down intense colors by layering colors or overlapping them.

Ann Hart Marquis-Paint #2-Microsoft Windows Paint

Paint #2

This program is not one that I will now incorporate into my art practice, but I think it will be fun to use from time to time to just play.

Are any of you using an app or program to play with art?

Acrylic Painting on Paper

I have been experimenting lately with different painting techniques, styles and layering effects. Since one of my goals is to play, to loosen up, I decided to use watercolor paper with my acrylic paints rather than canvas.

To me canvas means being serious. It means working until I have a finished piece no matter how long it takes because I have an investment in the outcome. That is not what I want to do at this time.

Acrylic painting on paper is a wonderful combination and has a lovely look and feel. Watercolor paper has many different weights, textures and colors. I don’t buy expensive paper because I am playing and experimenting. I generally like 300 lb. paper. This grade of paper or a higher grade prevents most buckling and sagging. It also looks good in a frame, however, it is not my intention to frame my paintings.

I first tape my paper on a piece of plywood using painter tape. I then gesso it. I like to cover paper prior to painting over it with acrylic gesso. It seals the paper so that the paint does not sink in. It floats on the paper like it would on canvas.

This week I cut a large piece of paper in half and taped  both pieces to my board so that I could use the same palette on both of them. Again, I was playing. I haven’t worked on two pieces with the same palette for a long time. Here they are with green Frog painter tape in the middle and around the sides:

Playing -acrylic and paper

Playing with acrylic and paper

Next, I separated them to see how they looked alone and added some finishing touches:

Ann Hart Marquis-New Mexico Winter #3-acrylic painting on paper

New Mexico Winter #3, acrylic on paper, 10 x 14 inches, 2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

Ann Hart Marquis-New Mexico Winter #4-acrylic painting on paper

New Mexico Winter #4, acrylic on paper, 10 x 14 inches, 2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

The Ideal Painting Setting

Those of us who create art usually have a favorite place to work like our studio, a special room or for some, en plein air. Or we have learned to adapt to strange places, such as those found while in a workshop, on a retreat or in my situation, in my kitchen.

For the last month I have been painting in my kitchen while my studio is being remodeled and enlarged! I am using almost all available counter space so it is a little disconcerting when lunch time rolls around, but I have managed to push my palette aside. I can set up my painting area in about 3 minutes, and put it all away in about 2 minutes. Not an ideal painting setting, but it is wonderful to see my studio changing every day. It should be finished by the end of the month.

Regardless of where I am, my creative juices are continuing to flow as I work on my New Mexico series. Here is the latest painting.

Ann Hart Marquis-New Mexico Winter #2-abstract

New Mexico Winter #2, acrylic on paper, 10 x 14 inches, 2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

Comments/critiques are always appreciated.

Finding My Own Personal Style

I seem to be examining my psyche in paint these days. I was feeling somewhat unsettled that I keep trying new ways of expressing myself, but continuing to feel that I had not quite found my way. I was feeling that I had not yet found my personal voice.

I was pleased to find an article in the magazine LensWork* that put my mind at ease. It was written by a very discerning photographer, Guy Tal, and it applies to all of us pursing a creative endeavor. The name of the article is “Forget Vision.” These are some of his words:

“Forget vision, forget personal style, forget unique voice; these are not goals, they are by-products. The most meaningful art you can make is not about a particular look, subject matter, or visual effect, but about the way you respond to and interpret the world.”

He goes on to say, “Searching for a vision is futile; it is a moving target. The only way to find one’s vision once and for all, is to stop evolving as a person and as an artist.”

Ann Hart Marquis-Winter in New Mexico-personal style

New Mexico, Winter #2, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 20-inches, ©2015. Ann Hart Marquis

I feel that my work is changing and evolving almost every time I pick up a paintbrush. I am relieved to hear someone say that finding one’s personal style is a somewhat frustrating goal. That is what I have been feeling for a while. Now I know why.

I would love your comments.

*Lenswork, Jan-Feb, 2015, No. 116.

New Mexico Abstract Landscape-Winter

As some of you know, in my current series I am painting the colors, shapes and light of New Mexico. In a sense, I am not interested in the actual landscape that I see. I am still in the process of distilling the setting into its purest essence.

This is my first New Mexico-Winter painting. Although all of the leaves have fallen off the deciduous trees, there is still a touch of green and orange to be seen. The skies are frequently covered in grey clouds that are almost white.

Ann Hart Marquis-New Mexico Winter #1-abstract

New Mexico Winter #1, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 10 inches, 2015. ©Ann Hart Marquis

This is a much more abstract landscape than I have painted before. I sometimes wrestle with the concept of abstract art. One idea is that it neither represents anything nor is representational. My paintings do not represent anything except images that I conceive. They do not come from an actual scene or a particular place, rather they are a mélange of impressions of how I perceive New Mexico.

It snowed here recently—a rare occurrence in Albuquerque. I am planning now to do a white abstract landscape. Let’s see what I come up with.

Feedback on this painting is greatly appreciated. Thank you.