Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday July 30, 2011 Grid-Mark Series



Grid-Mark II 40"x40" encaustic


There are really only three ways to design, one is variety with dominance (this is probably the most common), is repetition, and the third is repetition with variety. The Grid-mark series is designed through the use of repetition with variety. An overall pattern is created.



Grid-Mark 35"x35" encaustic

The grid creates a structure and the marks create the variety. These things also contribute to the unity of the work. The medium is encaustic, a paint made from pigment mixed with melted beeswax and resin and after application fixed by heat. This process has a beautiful finish, and repeals dirt. The work simply needs buffing over time.

As viewer, we "read" this work the same as other works. We read from left to right, automatically we investigate the edges and the corners. We automatically look at the center, then our eyes begin to explore the whole piece. So it is necessary for it to be intere We create a reason for the viewer to go back and look again, to stay in some areas a little longer, but to always create something to come back and look again. And as we look again, we find something we didn't see before. We call that "renewable closure."



Grid-Mark III 40"x40" encaustic

These pieces can be seen at the Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery
73040 El Paseo
Palm Desert Ca. 92261
(760) 341-1056
info@melissamorganfineart.com

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday July 23, 2011 Still Life




STILL LIFE STATEMENT 2011
Place is an important influence on the artist, and what he creates. In this series of work I am using still life to talk about the place I live and work. I am choosing fruits, vegetables, and flowers that are grown locally and objects that I have a passion for; vintage pottery and beautiful weavings from Mexico. These are a part of the culture; music, songs, religion, food, and strong family traditions, here in New Mexico and the Southwest. Because the objects chosen for still life are objects used in domestic life, still life has become known as the domain of the female artist.

STILL LIFE BASED ON THE PLACE I LIVE AND WORK.

These objects have the possibility to recall memory both for the artist and for the viewer. It is here the dialog can begin between the work and the viewer. The artist is inviting the viewer to share the vision thus a visual language, a communication without words.

OBJECTS IN THE STILL LIFE HAVE THE POSSIBILITY TO RECALL MEMORY FOR THE ARTIST AND FOR THE VIEWER.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How we look at paintings

In the West, we look at paintings, or "read" paintings from left to right. The eye moves about the painting on a line, a form, an edge(line formed between two colors, or values), or could be a repetition of form, which becomes an implied line. The eye might follow the lights, or might follow the darks. The artist might plan a "way" for the eye to move into the painting from the left hand margin.

It is not necessary for the artist to draw the viewer's eye along the edge of the painting, nor in the middle, nor in the corners, as these are areas that the viewer will automatically investigate.

When the artist is "looking" at his painting, he might cover everything but a couple of inches of the edge, and critically look at the edges. Ask himself, is there interest at the edge? How does the artist add interest? He might change the color, or the brightness, or the value. These things will usually add interest. If an artist has his edges under control, then there isn't too much he has to do to finish the painting.

And so, if it is not the center, where should the most interesting part of the painting be? I would say in any of the four quadrants of the painting, just off the center. This might be called the center of interest. How do we do this? Again like adding interest, we make the most dramatic changes, of color, or the brightness or the strongest contrast of value. So there might be one area that we will call our center of interest, but then the rest of the painting has to be interesting enough, that the eye will move around.

What happens if we create a very strong contrast on the right hand edge? Because we read left to right. This can be an "arrow" pointing or leading the eye right out of the painting.



In this painting, Still Life with Yellow cup, and Deer. You can see that I have created several ways to move across the painting. The eye can move across the painting on the darks, or follow the lines in the lower part of the painting.

If we move into the painting on the dark leaf forms, when we get to the deer form, which is in the center of the painting, you will notice because his head is turned back (an implied direction) he even has an "eye" suggesting to the viewer, to go back look more at the pot of flower form on the left.

Then we move again into the painting, perhaps this time we will see the forms which represent "birds" (yet might look like a pointing finger) they point up, asking the viewer to look up, to look at the forms of changing color, which lead to the black shape on the right. If we just follow the edge(the line created between the black form and the rest of the painting) down into the painting, we see the strong contrast of the handle of the yellow cup against the black shape.

The cup is an ellipse and as our eye moves to the left, to investigate the cup form -- we find our eye can go around, and around, like a merry-go-around. Perhaps we might move up and slightly to the left, and the little lines, point up to the form of the deer, this time perhaps we move on to the black shape on the right hand edge, and we find we continue to move, going back to areas of interest. I think this painting is a good example, to see how the artist might give us ways to move around in a painting and keeps our eye within the picture plane.

This painting is an example of "repetition with variety." The most common form of composition. There are other kinds of composition found paintings, and the "how we look at paintings" changes slightly. I will talk about that on another day.

Finally I would like to say, an artist cannot create a "good painting," if he begins with a "bad" composition. A young artist would do well to spend a lot of time studying composition, his paintings will not be better, unless the composition is better.

The next time you are at the museum and are looking at paintings. Check it out. Be aware of how you look at paintings.


Still Life Revisited /Flowers of New Mexico

I am still working in flat patterns. And one thing I like about painting flowers, is that the shapes of flowers are abstract and when you draw them, and render them as flat patterns, they are even more abstract.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday July 10, 2011 Still Life Revisited



Still Life Revisited. One of the questions I have asked myself, is how much information is needed for the viewer to have enough? I think it is just the suggestion, and then the viewer can finish the painting. How much information is needed to get the essence, that you seek?

Now some might ask, why would an artist be concerned with the amount of information. My opinion is that the viewer has a very "sophisticated eye," even if he has not studied art. He has seen many images. And the artist never wants to talk down to the viewer, but create a space and invite the viewer into the painting. Give the viewer something to do, and allow him to finish the painting.

The bold pattern of blue and white says, Mexico, to me, it is such a classic pattern of design.




The original still life, that I took this piece from was somewhat abstract, and of course the still life revisited is also abstract.




This is another still life revisited. I have posted this one before, but this week I have made some adjustments, that I think makes the piece better.



STILL LIFE STATEMENT 2011
Place is an important influence on the artist, and what he creates. In this series of work I am using still life to talk about the place I live and work. I am choosing fruits, vegetables, and flowers that are grown locally and objects that I have a passion for; vintage pottery and beautiful weavings from Mexico. These are a part of the culture; music, songs, religion, food, and strong family traditions, here in New Mexico and the Southwest. Because the objects chosen for still life are objects used in domestic life, still life has become known as the domain of the female artist.

STILL LIFE BASED ON THE PLACE I LIVE AND WORK.

These objects have the possibility to recall memory both for the artist and for the viewer. It is here the dialog can begin between the work and the viewer. The artist is inviting the viewer to share the vision thus a visual language, a communication without words.

OBJECTS IN THE STILL LIFE HAVE THE POSSIBILITY TO RECALL MEMORY FOR THE ARTIST AND FOR THE VIEWER.

To enter into that place of stillness, is to be absence of sound or noise: hush, noiselessness, quiet, quietness, silence, soundlessness, stillness. For the artist, it is to become calm and focused. The still life is about the act of seeing. Though the artist is using and creating symbols that refer to the material world, what is seen in the final work is really about the way the artist sees.

STILL LIFE IS A PLACE OF STILLNESS.

To reposition an object in space creates new conditions of light. If one object is taken away or moved all things are changed; form, color harmony, relationships space and time. The artist Morandi regarded still life painting as a way of transcending time, of confronting "inert objects" of mediation upon their "inherent beauty and spending an eternity in placid contemplation."

STILL LIFE CAN TRANSCEND TIME.

To paint a still life, is to experience and record time. The objects are set upon the table and even if the objects are artificially lighted, there is constant change happening. As the sun moves through the sky during the day, the light coming through the studio window lights the different parts of the still life and the objects in the still life cast shadows; light and shadows are in constant flux.

STILL LIFE IS AN EXPERIENCE AND A RECORD OF TIME.

To paint from the still life is different than taking a picture of the still life, with a camera. When we take a picture of the still life, we are capturing the moment and only that moment. When the artist paints the still life, he is actually capturing a series of moments. An area or part of the still life appears to be lit up, because of the changing light. The artist begins work on that part of the canvas, the next time the artist looks at the still life, another part of the still life seems to be lit up, he may move to that area of the canvas to work on this most beautiful and bright area. It takes time to create a still life, the artist sees and makes adjustments based on this constant change of light.

STILL LIFE IS TO CAPTURE A SERIES OF MOMENTS.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday June 3, 2022 Still Life Revisited/ To Market, To Market



To Market, To Market


Still Life Series, based on the sense of place, and that place is New Mexico. When we talk about place, It is a combination of characteristics that makes a place special and unique. Sense of place involves the human experience in a landscape, the local knowledge and folklore. Sense of place also grows from identifying oneself in relation to a particular piece of land on the surface of planet earth.

Places that exhibit a strong sense of place have an identity and character recognized immediately by a visitor and valued deeply by residents. New Mexico is such a place, with long history and traditions of family that go years back. Northern New Mexico is known for it's old churches, which help to keep the traditions over time. The oldest church in the US is here in Santa Fe, and the oldest house is also in Santa Fe. It is a land so beautiful, it is known as the "land of enchantment."

Wendell Berry famously said, "If you don't know where you are, you don't know who you are." And for those of us who make our homes in New Mexico, we are a part of the land, the mountains, the sky, we know who we are and why we are here.

Wallace Stegner interprets that as "... talking about the knowledge of place that comes from working in it in all weathers, making a living from it, suffering from its catastrophes, loving its mornings or evenings or hot noons, valuing it for the profound investment of labor and feeling that you, your parents and grandparents, your all-but-unknown ancestors have put into it. He is talking about the knowing that poets specialize in." Hands smooth the adobe each year, people clean the acequicas together, so much of New Mexico is done in community.

Kent Rydon "A sense of place results gradually and unconsciously from inhabiting a landscape over time, becoming familiar with its physical properties, accruing history with its confines."

Robert Frost "The land was ours before we were the land's."

J.B. Jackson "It is place, permanent position in both the social and topographical sense, that gives us our identity."

I am looking at this place, New Mexico, that I now call home. Through the pottery and the weavings of Mexico, that has a strong influence of place over this land.






Still Life Revisited/ To Market, To Market

Saturday, July 2, 2011

June 2, 2011 Felicia's Nest


Felicia's Nest/ graphite on paper/ 30"x22"

Felicia gave me this nest. She found it in her back yard. It is a lovely nest, I think probably a robin's nest. It is made basically with mud, and then the twigs are added. It is deep, and looks like a nice round basket. What a wonderful place for a nursery! And so perfectly suited to New Mexico, adobe.