Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Back To My Roots

Study of Red Tulips, 8x8 Oil on Canvas, Click to Bid

​I think I may be going back to my roots.  That is lower key and quiet paintings.  While I havent posted them on Daily Paintworks I've been doing a lot of larger gallery pieces this year which have been very consuming.  So consuming that I often forget to eat lunch - which is saying a LOT.  That's right, I work straight through lunch and right up to dinner.  YOWZER! (Did I spell that right?)
But all this heavy lifting, so to speak, has me doing some "heaving thinking". 

Sometimes I wonder if I'm spinning my wheels in the studio.  Why am I really doing this??  Who am I doing it for ?  And various other philosophical questions clutter my thoughts - until I get my brushes wet.  From that point on it's pure and utter focus.  My thoughts turn to questions of hue and brush strokes and what would Richard Schmid do here?  But when the dust settles, I'm back to the age old question, what is it all for?

In an attempt to answer this deep, philosophical question, I've been throwing a few things against the wall to see what sticks.  So far, this is what I've come up with:

I live on a small farm. Why? Because my father shared his memories of his farm life as a boy then for a short period moved his family to a small farm - his roots.

As a young girl with a horse I too developed farm life memories and so convinced my husband to move us to a farm some 20+ years ago.  My roots

As an adult, I often wonder if all the work is worth it.  
  • Hay has to be cut, raked, baled and stacked.  
  • Tractors have to be maintained $$$.  
  • Water pipes in the barn have to be protected from freezing weather and repaired when they werent.. :(
  • Fields need to be cut in the off season to keep the weeds down and grass thick for better hay.
  • Outbuildings need maintenance (we need a new roof on one of our lean-to's ASAP).  
  • And that doesnt even account for the animals :  
  • A geriatric horse.  
  • Cows due to calf (while we are away no less).  
  • Goats that are like puppies on steroids.  
  • A dog who seems to search out skunks and a cat that has been here since, well, since forever.  I cant remember a time when she wasnt here.  
  • Then of course there are the critters that come around just to keep us humble:  Raccoons, opossums, rodents of all shapes and sizes and of course the afore mentioned skunks.

I've decided that it's worth it.

So what does this have to do with my art?  I'm getting to that.  I think, and I'm still percolating on this, but I think I have rural farm life in my blood.  Sure, I fantasize about living in a condo with an extra room for a studio.  NO animals and NO yard to take care of.. Certainly no outbuildings. But when I go out to feed the animals with my husband in the morning and evening, I always have an appreciation for where we live.  I love my barn.  And I love seeing the cows in the fields.  I love taking care of my aging horse. Two decades plus later and I still love it.

Still, how does this affect my art?  I'm rural deep down.  Like everyone else I've had my share of crisis and like everyone else I've had to deal.  But I've learned a lot living on a farm.  And I give some credit for my (relatively healthy) emotional status to the slow but steady pace we've adapted here.  And it's my emotional status that drives my artwork. I often see people rushing off in so many different directions.  So many priorities.  So many commitments  (all of which used to be me).  And I often wonder if I'm just lazy.  Jury is still out.  But lazy or not, it works for me.  :)   We get things done.  We try not to lag and fall to far behind lest our farm will quickly get trashy.  But we also stop to smell the roses, lilacs and my new clematis vines.  

Can you see it yet?  How it relates?  I may be reading more into it than is there but here it is:  

I relate to quiet paintings.  Less is often more.  I think (still experimenting here) I gravitate towards dominantly warm paintings over cool.  I inject quiet atmospheric backgrounds vs. active brushy backgrounds.  (I do like brushy though.  It just rarely works in my pieces).   I dont put a lot of inorganic items into my paintings anymore.  I try but it never quite works for me and I often just take it back out.  

So I dont quite know how to articulate it yet but I can tell you that while I was the only (pretty much) exclusively (can you be "pretty much exclusive"?) still life painter at the Fred Oldfield Western Show last year I felt like I finally found my tribe.  Most of these people painted horses and mountains (beautifully so) and here I was with a booth of pansies.  But I felt like we were family.  

So there it is.  My rant.  I live on a small farm and I paint quiet atmospheric paintings.  Less is more.  Stop to smell the good stuff.  Fix the fences and bake a pie.  Enjoy today because time is the one thing you cant own (I got that from Marc Cuban. Dont know where he got it).  But that doesnt mean stay busy.  It means do what counts.  :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Brrr... Cold Days Cold Roses

Frosty Mug, 16x20, Oil on Canvas, Click for info 

More Manganese Blue please.  What a great color.  Uber icy.  And paired with red it just makes me want to grab a sweater.  :)

This is so far from my earlier pieces that were warm and smokey that it almost looks like a different artist!  But I assure you, it's all me.  As always, I continue to experiment and push myself because...  well, I'd be bored to tears if I didnt.  

So this bright painting has been delivered to the gallery along with another one that I will post next week. Today I start a new project.  But I dont think it will include Manganese Blue.  It will likely be a warmer painting but still a new palette for me.  More on that later.  :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Red Winter Roses Oil Painting

Winter Roses, 18x24, Oil on Canvas, Cole Gallery

It's been a cold winter.  A long, cold winter.  I cannot remember a time of going out to the barn without my hat and gloves.  Everything I paint recently seems to reflect that in a much cooler palette.  
Spring is just around the corner - although I'm hard pressed to see that because it was 28 degrees this morning.  The silver lining, however, is that my studio is warm and cozy.  And my easel faces away from the window so once I'm underway, I am far from whatever is happening outside and happily locked into my own little world.  Still, as you will soon see with the next few posts, everything I paint has chilled.  For now anyway.

So this painting is titled "Winter Roses".  My concept started with Valentines Day.  Ironically, I am not a fan of Valentines Day.  It could come and go for all I care.  The kids are grown so I'm not buying those cute little cards and those little heart candies.  Also, all sugar seems to rest comfortably on my hips so I'm not a fan of that either.  BUT the thought of having (painted) roses that wont wilt and need water changed was a comforting thought.

Here's the paradox.  I dont care for Valentines Day but I used it as my "jumping off" concept for a romantic painting...  Its really the whole (currently acceptable) concept behind Valentines Day (far from the original history, I hear).  So what I was really focusing on was the love and sharing of ones self.  The giving of a gift (or the gift of giving..) that demonstrates your love, respect, appreciation.   Roses are the traditional medium for that in our society.  At least this week.  

People appreciate being appreciated.  I know I do.  Nobody is perfect so we focus on something that we have in common and start there.  Everybody brings something else to the table because our history has given us our own unique perspective.  Those personal experiences have left thin slices of information stored away in our subconscious that influences our decision making.  However skewed everyone else may think it is, it is very real and intuitive for us.   

These roses are for you, skewed person.  You are just trying to make your way in this crazy world like everyone else.  :)

Cut flowers are nice but already dead.  A painting will live forever, right??  RIGHT??