Tag Archives: Ireland

Black Gesso Drama

At the beginning of last week, I had been back from Ireland for about two weeks. I was anxious to get started on a series of my experiences, but I couldn’t quite get to any concepts that called to me.

Also, right after I got back, my classes at the University of New Mexico started, including one new class involving texture and different mediums.

Black Gesso

One of the products that I wanted students to try was black gesso. I hadn’t used it for quite a while, but I thought the students would find it interesting. After demonstrating the use of black gesso, I realized that it was just what I could use to represent the enigmatic energy and mystery that I felt in Ireland as illustrated in the photograph, below.

photo showing how black gesso could enhance this photo

Down Patrick Head, County Mayo, Ireland. Photo by Tim Anderson

Here is a little description of black gesso: Historically, it is for oil painting. It was traditionally used to prepare or prime a surface so oil paint would adhere to it. It is made from a combination of paint pigment, chalk, and glue binder. Gesso would protect the canvas fibers, provide a nice surface to work with and give a little flexibility so the canvas wouldn’t crack if it was rolled.

Acrylic gesso doesn’t contain glue. Acrylic paints are non-corrosive and stable over time, so you don’t need to worry about the paint damaging the canvas, and therefore, you don’t need the glue in the mix. So in making black gesso for acrylics, out went the glue.

painting showing how black gesso adds mystery to an image.

The Mystery of Time, acrylic on canvas, 24x30x1.5 inches.

I use gesso on all of my canvases before I paint. It makes the canvas ready to accept acrylic paint. Without gesso, paint can soak into the weave of the canvas.

So this past Monday I began a canvas prepared with black gesso. I wanted to use it to let it show through in random places. I liked the effect. So off I went getting a feel for how to represent the beauty and power of the Atlantic Ocean, the breathtaking cliffs and all of those shades of green that I saw. The above painting is the result-the first in a series.

I would love your critique.

The Creative Use of Photography

Guest Post by Tim Anderson

Throughout the years I have had my photography used by artists for many purposes: sculpture, painting (from watercolor to oils and just about everything in between), graphic design, etc. It is very gratifying, indeed, to have another artist think enough of your work to want to emulate it.

Irish Waterfall in County Connemara Ireland by Tim Anderson

Waterfall, County Connemara, Ireland 2016, ©Tim Anderson 2016

Such is the case with the first image illustrated here. I took it while on vacation in Ireland recently. It was in  Connemara  along the western coast. It was a day of scenic beauty, no matter where we went. Most of the time in situations like these I photograph what looks good, with little regard to settings, although I do a basic setup before departure for a day of photographing.

While in Ireland I captured almost 3,000 images of landscapes, portraits, birds, ancient ruins, and monolithic remains.  Each evening, back at the hotel, I downloaded the day’s images to my laptop, in the proper folder. I find if I don’t do this daily, I get “lost” immediately when beginning the editing process.

Upon first edit after returning home this image immediately grabbed my attention. Guests who came over for dinner last night agreed by saying it should be a painting. With that in mind I thought I would play with it a bit.

I took it into Photoshop and played with a few filters, and finally settled on the second image in the post. The filters were canvas and splatter. I could have spent much more time on it, but I was just playing, trying to see with a painter’s eye.

Irish Waterfall by Tim Anderson, edited

Waterfall, County Connemara, Ireland 2016, ©Tim Anderson 2016, edited

Well, what do you think? I have often said that to be an artist is a multi-disciplinary creative pursuit and that some of the best artists see much more than the “normal” person. If you are a painter and you view the photography of a friend, do you envision what you could do with that same print?

If not, you might want to try it.

Impressions of Ireland

I have been going through all of the images that my partner Tim Anderson took while we were in Ireland. It helps that he is a professional photographer. He did all of the work, I just soaked up what I was seeing a experiencing. With every photo I am taken back to that spot and the way I felt while being there.

photo showing waves and ocean

Photo by Tim Anderson of the Atlantic

Although there were indeed 40 shades of green, we spent much of our time on the west coast near the Atlantic so there were also many shades of blue. I have seen the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic, but the waters on the Irish Atlantic were very vivid and distinct.

Sketch showing Ireland.

Ann Hart Marquis-Painting sketch, acrylic on paper.

There were also shades of red and orange and tones of violet. Those colors were lovely also, but they didn’t impact me like the blues and greens.

I saw many places like stone circles and standing stones and 12th century abbeys, where grey stone was the predominate color. I haven’t processed grey as possibilities for a painting, but I like the idea of using greys and tones of color.

This week I have finally had a chance to do a little sketching with paint to just get a feel for what colors would come out. I played with many colors, just letting my imagination take over without doing any pre-planning. I felt like I was painting my impressions of Ireland. I like that feeling. I like to pick up a paint brush and just start putting down color.

Picture showing expressions of Ireland.

Ann Hart Marquis-Impression of Ireland, acrylic on paper.

I still went for layering paint the way that I have been doing. I do like to see under colors peeking through. The paint sketches in this post are a start to bigger paintings that I hope to get to soon.

Irish Color

We just got back from Ireland. I am full of images of Irish color, cliffs, water, trees and too many other sights to name. I just soaked it all in. Although I didn’t take my paints, one of the things on which I concentrated was color. It was indeed so green. They were vivid, intense greens.

photo describing Irish Green

Irish Green

I have a tendency to paint with a more muted palette, so I am not sure yet how I will translate these images onto the canvas. I plan to start trying this week.

picture of Irish Green

Irish Green

If I was still at a place where I wanted to paint landscape, Ireland was the place to see. But I am an abstract landscape painter, so it is all a mystery to me at this time because I haven’t started to think about mixing paint. There is still a part of me that is processing all that I experienced there.

photo showing Irish Yellow Green

Irish Yellow Green

Ireland was magical and spiritual for me. Part of the reason that I found it so compelling was the beauty, but since we visited many megalithic sites, I was captivated by the mysteries of how and where people lived and expressed their creativity 5-6 thousand years ago.

photo showing Irish Red color.

Irish Red

Ireland is also being overwhelmed with invasive rhododendrons. Since they are so lovely, people don’t seem to mind these invaders.

photo of Irish Rhododendrons

Irish Rhododendrons

So you may be able to tell that I have no idea what I will paint when I am completely back from Ireland.

Leaving for Ireland

Tomorrow, I will be fulfilling a dream that I have had for a long time. I am leaving for Ireland for three weeks. The trip will consist of four days in Dublin, five days driving around the south and then twelve days touring the west coast.

photo showing how it feels leaving or Ireland

Dublin

I have had a provocative relationship with Ireland for many years. It has been calling to me through books, movies and stories for at least two decades. I am adopted and it was about that long ago that I found out that my father was Irish.

I have put the trip on the back burner for a long time, but about six months ago I decided it was time to go.

photo showing part of Ireland

Dingle on the west coast

So this will be part soul journey for me, part just exploring a very interesting culture and being curious how the wet and green environment there will influence my painting.

I really want to pay attention to ancient symbols and figures that I will see. I want to look at Irish art, the landscape, the sea and the cliffs. It will be a total contrast to New Mexico.

Newgrange is part of Ireland

Newgrange, built about 4000 BC.

I don’t plan to paint while I am there. I just want to absorb everything that is around me. And I want to be an adventurist.

The photos on this page are some of the sites I will be visiting.

This will be my last post until I get back in June. I will let you know how it went.

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:

imaginary landscape, acrylic

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 abstract lnadscape

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:

Under Irish Trees. mixed media on paper, 20x24 inches. ©Ann Hart Marquis

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.