Jun
16
2010

Painting in Your Own Backyard by Deb Bartos

This sounds like something you would do if you were three and your mother was hanging clothes on the line.  It is really excellent art education advice.  Ordinary and mundane objects can be the best subjects ever.  An added advantage is not wasting time or money on the commute to painting expeditions.

Consider the impressionists and what they painted.  Their subjects were their families, each other, a table set for lunch, a vase of flowers.  OK, there was Renoir and the women and Degas and the ballet dancers, but they generally painted every day life.  Impressionism was just a phrase coined by an art critic who said they were not finished paintings, but “impressions.” He saw them as rough sketches instead of the smooth blended strokes of Salon and Academy paintings.  The artists who exhibited their work together and were eventually called “The Impressionists” were interested in capturing the everyday moments that mattered to them.

I always think I’ll paint if I travel, as there will be subjects to inspire me.  Truthfully, I’m inspired to paint when I start painting something.  It gets more interesting the more I pay attention.  When I travel, I am captivated by eye candy everywhere and can’t stand still long enough to paint. I have to go see everything there is to see.

Walking down Santa Fe’s Canyon Road with a photographer friend, she asked me to stop as she just had to shoot something.  It was a cigarette butt.  I got a good laugh and a good reminder of “beauty in the eye of the beholder.”  It was a stunning composition with great color and background design. I would have never seen it otherwise, as I was too busy looking at the wonderful architecture and art in abundance there.

Another artist friend received instruction in an art class to “find something ugly and paint it beautifully.”  This is an interesting idea, and an even more interesting value judgment. What makes something ugly or beautiful? How do we as artists decide what to paint and how? What do we see and invite others to look at?

Art has endless possibilities. There are always enough subjects to go around, and painting from life is more challenging and real than painting from reference photos. You can get away with it if you do both, but life is the best! It is warm outside and summer in most places so even better! Enjoy, and keep on painting!

Poppy Passion 9 x 12 oil by Deb Bartos ©2010                 Backyard Poppies 8 x 10 oil by Deb Bartos©2010

www.bartosart.blogspot.com

Jun
14
2010

Paintings Paint Themselves by Valerie (Valry) Drake

At least in my dreams they do. Vibrant slashes of brilliant hues dance across the canvas. Big wide paintbrushes dip into soft, buttery mounds of paint on huge pallets and then lift and float to add to the beauty. Sometimes I can actually see the paintings in progress. Other times I only see paintbrushes and paints. Bright peacock blue on the brush, the brush meets the canvas and gently bends, the bristles curve, the brush moves along the canvas leaving a bold trail behind. And I can smell the paint, the rich aroma of oil paint and mediums, cleaners and varnishes. Then there is the feel of the soft cotton rag in my left hand, open to receive the brush with paint residue still on the bristles, my fingers close around it and wipe the paint off. Feel the dampness of the paint that now stains the rag, the slight bulge of the paint globules now contained in the rag – the rag which becomes a thing of beauty in itself. I turn the rag in my hand waiting for the next visit from the brush. Then the brush returns to the pallet and dives into a mound of crimson. Sometimes instead of a brush there is a painting knife, its sharp edge scraping across the canvas: scritch, scritch, scritch – blending and squishing, scraping and gouging – vigorous and decisive. So many rich sensations. I wake with my brain itching and my fingers twitching. Ah! The joy of being an artist!

www.valry.com

www.cafepress.com/valry

 

Jun
8
2010

Artists as the Way Showers Sages and Soothsayers by Cheryl Whitestone

This 16x20” oil painting is one of the illustrations from a story that came to me, a kind of healing Native American myth. I have titled the book “Dennies Totally Bizarre Magical Mystical Rite of Passage.” I would tell you it is a true story but you wouldn’t believe me, so you can think of it as fantasy. That’s ok some metaphysicians believe what we think creates reality. Anyway somehow I have always had a sense of the fantastic and extraordinary. In fact I am drawn to the unusual and fantastic. I always believed people/our society today needed new dreams, myths, legends, up-lifting stories and traditions that they themselves create. In a sense we are doing this with blogs, web sites, music, videos, art, movies (Avatar). We see you James Cameron! You can see my meanderings in my blog www.cherylwhitestonesworld.blogspot.com. Look at the oldest posts.


I believe artists will step out on that ledge of the extraordinary and explore, then lead others to their personal muse whatever it may be. Art is such a healing activity for anyone, no matter what skill level. When I was painting abstracts I could actually see what was going on in my life in the painting, a window to my soul, I could actually read the painting.


When I came across Joseph Campbell, I jumped for joy. I devoured the books and videos. Someone who though what I thought! PBS ran a series called “Joseph Campbell the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers.” I taped them all. It was a beautiful series. And the book is set up as an interview:

 
          Moyers:  “Who interprets the divinity inherent in nature for us today? Who are our shamans? Who interprets unseen things for us?”
          Campbell: “It is the function of the artist to do this. The artist is the one who communicates myth for us today. But he has to be an artist who understands mythology and humanity and isn’t simply a sociologist with a program for you.”
 
Go inside yourself and explore, write, blog, paint, create a new mythology, create happy endings. Long Live the Arts.

 

 

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