I love to paint in tones of green. The painting that I did this past week in my painting class started as one painting and then it decided it wanted to be completely different. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the first layer. Fortunately the first layer is just random colors, so it is not a big problem.
I told the class that I had been painting Ireland. My intent was to not paint Ireland in this class. That was not the case, however. It had a lot of red-orange at the top and very bright yellow green at the bottom. It became more and more green until it morphed into what I think is one of my best paintings of Ireland.
As with most of my paintings I like to create layer over layer what various mark-making lines in each layer. My teacher calls me a builder. I rather like that reference. When she saw the finished painting she commented that there must be 32 different greens in it.
Due to being in this class, this painting and the one I am working on now will be in an upcoming group exhibit at a very lovely restaurant here in Albuquerque. This is a busy time in New Mexico because the weather is quite wonderful—sunny and a little cool. The exhibit will run from October 1 – December 30, 2016.
Also each October the International Hot Air Balloon Show is held here and Albuquerque is packed with tourists for at least a week. It is a good time to be in an art exhibit.
And my current painting which will also be in the exhibit is an abstract in hues of orange and magenta! It is not green. It does not remind me of Ireland. I purposely left all my greens and blues at home the day of the class. I just took reds, yellow and magenta. It seems a bit shocking to me at the moment. We will see how I finish it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In my current series I am painting the colors, shapes and light of New Mexico. In a sense, I am not interested in actual landscape that I see. I am interested in distilling the vistas into their purest essence. When I paint, I strive for an abstraction of the landscape.
As Georgia O’Keeffe put it, “Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in an abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is the lines and colors put together so they say something. For me that is the very essence of painting. The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint.”
When I look around me I see the unadorned brown shapes of the extinct volcanoes in the western horizon. I see the greys and blacks that the lava flow left behind. There are also the restrained reds and oranges of the adobe houses that appear all over New Mexico. There are the ochers and siennas of the high desert plateau. This time of year the landscape is stark and muted.
I see the colors of the landscape bathed in intense light which I somrtimes find harsh. But it is New Mexico and it still is the land of enchantment.
My studio and online Holiday sale is still happening now through December 31, 2014. The above painting is available.
A generally agreed upon definition of abstract art is the use a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.
Along those lines, I am now doing a series of paintings that are a response to New Mexico. Right now, as in many parts of the world, the landscape is brown and dark, fall is almost over, and the sky is frequently grey. I am on my second painting and my process has been to look at nature and choose paint colors based on what I see. Then in a response to my surroundings, I just start putting paint on canvas using a variety of brushes and tools. I play with paint until I think the painting is “finished.”
I realize that my finished product is a result on what is going on unconsciously and consciously. I guess that you could say that I am painting both the inner and outer landscape. It is rather exciting to not know what I will end up with.
In my continuing foray into the abstract world, I find that I still like to see that comforting horizon line. It is difficult to lose it and still call a painting an abstract landscape.
I would appreciate any feedback.
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.
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?
When a person or a family buys one of my paintings they seem to be satisfied with the image that I created. Just before my exhibit at the Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico this year, however, a family from Massachusetts bought Boat House. Unlike many of my collectors, they were very curious about my process and the thoughts that lead me to paint it. The questions went like this.
What drew you to paint it? During the summer of 2011, I attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). While there, I went on an architectural boat tour. I did some sketches of various things along the river and some were turned into paintings in Chicago. I didn’t do anything with the boat houses while I was in Chicago. I started working on Boat House after going back and looking at some old sketches in the fall 2012. I was into doing abstract landscapes at the time, so I didn’t want to do a city scene, but I liked one sketch that I had. So I took an old boat house, probably built in the 1940’s and revisualized it out of the city, all by itself near a body of water. I had no particular body of water in my mind. Most of the painting is representational. The colors in the painting are somewhat representative of my particular palette.
So let’s say that I started it in November, 2012. I rarely keep track of what I do to my paintings because sometimes I work on them more than once and add various layers of paint. I did a very rough sketch on the canvas and just started painting and adding a few more touches or layers of paint. I actually may not have finished Boat House until January, 2013.
What are the names of the colors you used? This is tough. I usually start with 3 or 4 colors (frequently called hues by painters) once I have a piece in mind. I almost always use tints (white added), tones (white and black added) or shades (black + color). I also frequently add the complement of a particular color to lessen the intensity. I mix many of my colors and rarely use paint right out of the tube. So first, I chose phthalo green, yellow ochre, cadmium red light and cobalt blue. The river water is layers of yellow ochre, phthalo green, and cobalt blue. When I put cobalt blue on top of phthalo green, the cobalt blue took on a violet glow. The left side of the house is alizarin crimson and the right is cadmium red light. The sky is cerulean blue and the ocean, lake, (body of water), is cobalt blue. I think you may be able to see most of these colors in the rocks of the right. As you can see I didn’t stay with my original palette
Where did you paint Boat House? In my studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Thank you Dotty and Dave for asking.
I would like to thank everyone who came to my opening at Harwood Art Gallery last Friday night. It was a wonderful night, as many collectors, friends, and more filled the room for most of the night. The show continues through April 25, 2013.
I especially want to thank Tim Anderson for doing the actual hanging and Donna Miller for helping me organize the room and the paintings. I have to tell you that if you if you have never hung a show and decided what painting will go where, it is really is great fun and somewhat challenging.
Harwood provides a comfortable and well lit gallery for my paintings. And the walls were perfectly white which was just what my very colorful paintings needed. I have found it successful to have a variety of work so that if people don’t want to buy a large painging, they had their choice of a limited-edition print, small matted original works on paper and a packet of greeting cards.
So here is how the evening went.