Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Inspiration? How an Artist Steps Off

Inspiration is a big, loose term, especially when talking about piece of art.
It's sort of fat and amorphous, and I think that's why when artists are talking to each other they tend to shy away from it. It sounds mushy. 

For the person creating the piece, 'inspiration' might be the least important part of the puzzle they are trying to solve.  

As an example, here is how I am stepping off onto a blank two dimensional surface in my current series.

First, I've become interested square compositions because they are a less common format than the rectangle. Squares are usually used in symmetrical compositions, but I lean towards asymmetrical, so that's a nice challenge.

Here's a 12" x 12" piece of hardboard painted with acrylics; a collection of related colors, applied in a random manner.

Second, I continue to be interested in using texture as a way to explore pictorial depth. 
I want to move away from the collage technique of using found papers and materials and return to using paint. 

I cover the board with pieces of hand painted paper, completely changing the surface character.

These are my brush strokes, torn and reassembled on a new surface.

Once the surface is alive and in motion, I add larger pieces of paper - stronger brush strokes that start to introduce form.

This is the point at which I have to decide if this composition is going to be entirely abstract, 
or if I want to build forms from nature.

Looking to my garden, I find long arms of pale blue Russian sage, very like the blue form developing on my board. And there's the cascading form of rosemary, also flowering in blue.

I decide to build the composition around flower shapes.

I take a lot of garden pictures, so I have lots of flower shapes on file.

The composition is now a floral, but that wasn't the starting point.
And the most interesting part of the work for me is not the subject matter.
I'm still trying to find my way around a square canvas!

The composition takes days to bring into balance.

This quirky photo was taken in very strong sunlight. It really bleaches out the colors, but shows up the layers of texture.

This is the final composition.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Reorganizing and Rearranging

The great thing about having a studio is that I don't have to clean up in the middle of a project.
Paint and paper and what-not can float around, and layer up, and remain undisturbed, 
while I come and go. 
This works right up to that moment when the air suddenly seems too thick with old ideas, and it's time sweep away the clutter and let in some new thoughts!

Here's my work space all nice and clean, with the furniture in new places, and my faithful studio dog, Kye, settled into his bed.

The first thing I did was complete this piece, started before the holidays, 
and then left sitting for a few weeks.

Here's a close-up.
I'm continuing to use the texture of torn paper to explore illusions of depth and movement.

This is the final version of 'Night Wind'.
I'm beginning to see connections between the textural surface of this collage technique and wood block prints, specifically the use of line and cross-hatching.