Saturday, August 29, 2009

Painting 8/28/09

This was my first Friday on my new 32 hour a week schedule.

I spent the morning working on making frames (a new thing for me). Ended in total frustration as my miter box doesn't seem to make perfect 45s. I am pulling out the power saw today. [I sold two paintings last week at a co-op I just joined (The Wooden Cow Gallery), so I am needing to get two more framed to bring over there tomorrow].

Worked on Rahda. I have mixed feelings. I think it is getting overworked. And my attempts to simplify have made it more complex. Some of the marks seem "trite", especially where I started going in with wavy "hair-like" marks. Although I am seeing more depth, particularly in the blue background. I may try more layerng (perhaps a glazing). It's very highly saturated.I would like some feedback before I continue, but I don't meet with my mentor until 9/11.

From Radha Inviting Rubens to her Pavillion

I also worked on the so-called 30-Day painting. I am not sure what is going on with the geometric forms yet. I'm just trying out some different techniques to see what happens. I can see how looking at Hannah's painting this week has creeped in with the circles and lines. I was working of an Indian miniature of a rearing elephant, which is where the circle "toenails" came from. I am not quite sure where this is going next.

From 30 Day Painting #1 (June/July 2009)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rhada looks flat

I got home from work tonight, and the painting looks "flat". On my drive home I was really looking at the sky and how the blues are so much brighter (the hue is more blue) close to you. The blues fade into a pale cerulean or even a light grey as the horizon recedes away. Today I stumbled upon the website of a Mass College of Art MFA graduate, Hannah Bureau.

From Inspiration

This is an image of one of her paintings (Hannah Bureau, "Wild Lake With Black Rock Bound", oil on canvas, 12"x12).

She was talking in her thesis about some of the same kind of concerns I am having. She resolved some of them through starting to really see and really consider how colors were acting in her canvases. Cools receding behind warms. Brights jumping out in front of more subdued colors. I am thinking it would be beneficial to me to start to think about how landscape painters dealt with the near and far away. So much of my color is saturated. It all sits on the surface. How can I create space, and play with what is expected? How can I play with what is near and far? Do I really understand the ways that these effects are created on the canvas? I am considering signing up for a 2-day portraiture class with Leo Neufeld. I find that the non-representational work I do is intensely informed by the figurative, more "realistic" work that I do.

Here's a black and white painting I'm working on tonight:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rahda and Rubens continued

Tonight I was going to get back to work on the critical theory paper, but I have been feeling so paralyzed with my painting -- I needed to get some paint moving. I've been over-thinking and I hate being in that state.

I went back to the Rahda Inviting Rubens to Her Pavillion painting. I am working on using larger brushes and "trying" to simplify my palette. I can't seem to help getting all kinds of colors going. I am also mixing in a lot of matte medium to get a more viscous texture to the paint. It worked pretty well tonight and I'm getting some blending and soft edges that I like. I think that the "problem" about finishing a painting in one sitting is really half material-related. It took me about an hour before the surface got malleable again. I think I'm done for the evening and I wonder how it will feel to go back to the dry surface tomorrow.

The painting moved closer towards the Rubens in composition and gesture. Last night I was looking over the images in "The Impact Of Chaim Soutine (1893-1943): de Kooning, Pollock, Dubuffet, Bacon" (I hated to mail it back today to the AIB Library). I am sure that influenced me. I love looking at Soutine's thick, energetic overlay of brushstrokes and colors. I used to find Soutine's colors somewhat repellent. I am now loving the rich, vibrant reds and earth tones.

Here it is.
From Radha Inviting Rubens to her Pavillion

The other day, I tried working with and admix palette (Phthalo blue, napthol red, and cadmium yellow). Here's what I ended up with. Blech. I'll keep working on it and see what happens.

From Painting 8/17/09

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Miracle of Time

Unbelievable. I went to our HR person (I work for a small software company) to request a slight schedule change to accommodate pickups and dropoffs at my daughter's new kindergarten. I walked out of her office with a sane, humane 32-hour work week that allows me to get my daughter home and fed at a decent hour every day, and gives me every Friday completely off for studio work (that saves 80 minutes of driving on Fridays). And, I get a lunch break! I am crying happy!

Beauty and inspiration

From Sunset Aug 17 2009

From Sunset Aug 17 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Radha Inviting Rubens to Her Pavillion

This weekend I finally got a chunk of time to prep canvases and paint.

This weekend's painting builds on my idea about combining Rubens with Indian miniatures.

I am totally taken with with the colors I am finding in the book I got on Indian miniatures. I love the graphic compositions and I'm looking at these to get inspiration for my "quiet" spaces. And I love the theatre of the Rubens. I'm looking at "The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus". I've also realized that the bible my mom had when I was growing up was illustrated with Rubens paintings. I swear that "The Lion Hunt" (1621) was in there--though it doesn't appear to be very biblical, just violent -- as I think was "The Raising of the Cross". So, my mom's bible probably had some role in the early development of my "taste".

I'm intrigued with the gesture of the arm and the hand of Rahda inviting Krishna into her tent and the gesture of the daughter being swept up by the horseman. The strong, poise, powerful gesture and the desperate, theatrical reaching into the empty air.

Yet I'm finding surprising compositional similarities. The wave of blue fabric in the left corner of the Rahda; the wave of the red cape and horses mane in the upper left of the Rubens. The reds and the blues.

I want to look at Artemisia Gentileschi. Not only as a comparison, but how the theme of rape (since it seems to appear quite frequently in Baroque painting) is portrayed, as well as the painting of powerful women (Judith). In this link is mentioned a book "Artemisia Gentileschi - The Image of The Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art," by Mary D. Garrard.

Added 8/18/09: In particular, I am re-reading the Crit Theory I articles by Mary Garrard, Linda Nochlin, and Griselda Pollock. (I should already have a first draft of the second paper, but I'm just getting started). I'm thinking about how gender and social context works in how the same themes are presented in a painting. For example, Gentileschi's painting of Susanna and the Elders as compared to Tintoretto's treatment of the same subject. In Tintoretto's painting, Susanna is painted in a way that allows the (male) viewer to indulge in voyeuristic pleasure. Susanna is vainly (perhaps coyly) consuming her own image as the Elders peek at her. In Gentileschi's painting, Susanna is cowering, vulnerable, defensive and you can read her discomfort and the Elders' power over her. I think this is what I am seeing in contrasting the hand gestures of the Rubens' female characters with the hand gesture of Rahda. The way the Rubens' female's hand limply lays on her attacker's arm... not a realistic portrayal, so what does it say about the attitudes of the painter and the viewers who would visually consume the work. As Linda Nochlin says in "The Imaginary Orient", the Near East "existed as...a fastasy space or screen onto which strong desires--erotic, sadistic, or both--could be projected with impunity." Why is the Indian miniature not so "loaded" for me? Also, after reading Garrard's "The MoMa's Hot Mamas", I'm wondering about how I relate to Abstract Expressionism as a woman painting in 2009. I have been influenced in particular by De Kooning's work and style and first explored abstraction and gesture through the figure... My thoughts on this are undeveloped at this point... How do women artists like Cecily Brown and Joan Snyder take abstract expressionism and other historical styles and somehow turn them on their heads (not sure I believe that yet, but I've read statements suggesting that they do).

From Radha Inviting Rubens to her Pavillion

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

David Seah - Getting into the Creative Box

A couple years ago while looking for GTD (Getting Things Done) resources, I ran across David Seah's website and blog.

Today I read a post of his about time and creative work. I have found, like he, that trying to break up creative work into hour-long time increments is harrowing at best. After reading this, it makes sense to find bigger blocks to do my studio work. I'm going to look back at this article if/when I look at readjusting my work scchedule -- if not to decrease my hours, then to simply shift things around to create better time blocks. Here's a link to the post, "Makers, Managers, and Getting into the Creative Box".