3/16It all started with walking by the wilted flowers from the last sunflower painting.
Here is what is next. I’m starting out with an underpainting. This phase of painting gives me a chance to plan and move. My focus at this point will be just the value. As long as that falls into place my color will follow. 40×30. Sunflowers and mason jar. Acrylic
1-29: Update. Several paint sessions have passed. That rough vision from December is starting to take shape. The challenges faced are the ground color (support for jar) and how to break up the background. Too much and the stars of the show (flowers) will start getting lost. Too little and I feel like I will invite this sense of a blah feeling. Turn that fabric into a rolling ocean of water?Colors have been mapped. The paint is starting to pull away from something safe. I really want to break this painting while at the same time holding onto a sense of reality. A memory.The close up shot of the jar is an area I seem to avoid. There are some design issues creating unwanted tension. Maybe overlap of yellow pedals past the jar will help. That could help create more depth.
I am pleased to announce that the Hayley Gallery in New Albany Ohio is now representing my work. The Gallery features 65 emerging and established local artists whose creations encompass decorative and functional works in ceramics, fiber arts, furniture, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography and printing. They are located at: 260 Market Street, Suite B in New Albany, OH
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Last year I noticed a new season filled with Dragonflies. They were spectacular. For many summer nights those efficient hunters zipped across the dusk sky. My wife, daughter and I marveled at the volume in numbers. There must have been hundreds. I kept the memories of those guys in my mind over the winter months. I anticipate their return but have let them into my art.
This painting that I created, features a dragonfly high above a landscape background. As a viewer, we are high in the air. There is no middle ground the back and front mix. Areas of the subject almost blend away and then rebuild. There is a vibrating motion to the whole painting. The title: Dragonfly Rising Above relates to how we rise above challenging events. The dragonfly represents happiness and transformation.
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Draft Horse. Summer
Size TBA. 34×41
10-1,2,3 -18. This past summer I had photographed images from the horse pull at the Darke County fair. The images were downloaded to my computer. Days later I thought they were gone. A few weeks passed by and I thought I would do one more search. Poof. There they were. Right where I obscurely left them in a folder hiding from light.
When I look at photos, I’m not causal. I lose track of time. I relive the moment. Freezing the objects I move around the space. Stories from thin air are created about the scenes. Weight and incredible energy was all I could take aways from the moments of watching these magnificent beasts. What was God thinking when he created these gentle giants? Hmmm lets give these animals the strength to cut open the land, outweigh-eat- drink anything on a farm, but fill them with loving grace. Ok the loving grace part for you horse lovers out there might be stretching it. But this is my story. My thoughts
Immediately its the lines that jump out at me. These lines reach past the horse into its own environment and fading off. Subtle to strong lines bring my eye back.
Drawing into wet paint is nothing new for the artworld. It is a much more different approach for me. I have always prepped large drawings. Transferred to a dry ground and then start painting. The drawing always felt lost or a suggestion. I love the preliminary drawing being part of the art. Lines add visual excitement and energy. For this painting I first placed a black layer, dry, apply white layer, draw into wet white layer, dry , build shapes and create direction
I love the primitive feel to this image. Like a cave drawing it is simple and to the point. But there is an essence of realism that I injected into this work. Abstract vs Realism: This is a constant pull as an artist. Where do I fit in? Abstract vs Realism. Where do I want to be. I’m doing my best to be honest in what i want to paint.
This is a painting of a sketch of a painting. The surface is no longer destroyed repaired and destroyed. It is a combination of planning, marking and rest
I allowed this painting to rest visually. Stopping and observing hours or a day later will show my eyes something new. I paint in my head when I walk away from the canvas. If in the morning my first thought of my day is to get back to work, then I am on to something. Letting the art process time to rest will show you the twig on the tree in the forest.
Painted canvas black with black acrylic paint
Painted canvas white
While wet, Draw into the wet paint. The black lines underneath are exposed
Once Dry. Apply black paint using hand, brush, syringe
Solid shapes of black and a little white were flooded into the horse painting. Something started clicking towards the end when I wrapped up the right side. Left was somewhat done. Had incredible fear before starting this session. Not sure what that was all about. I wondered about this style and future applications of color. Transparent color would look cool. Why not bring War Conflict into this style. I go back and forth on this issue
I love the motion of the horse lunging to the left. Its titled Horse pull and that is what the viewer is presented with. Usually there are 2 horses on a horse pull team. I witnessed this animal digging into the ground.With hooves sunk into the ground he went into this slow motion run that picked up steam.
Window painting: 7 years of glass window painting has started to peek into my canvas work. It is the loose application of paint. The quickness. Each stroke is thought first then executed. I rely on the optical mixing to create a realistic image.
Memory, Dream. That happy place between awake and sleep.
The image is in the process of falling apart. The shapes are breaking. This moment will soon pass
Working with such limitations of two colors sets the stage for a quick conclusion. It is immediate. The image is raw. It is tribal to its core. I feel closer to my spirit as an artist than most of my planned pieces. That’s not to say I have the right answers for art. I’m getting close to something here.
Next painting with this technique? Consider transparent color application.
This painting was inspired by an early morning walk I took on Carolina Beach. The first morning light hugs the coast and adds a drama to what will soon be a bright hot flat landscape. The morning offers longer shadows. The warm and cool relationships are easy to pick out. I love this dramatic shift. But why paint some old sandy steps?
During a 6 am walk past this structure, I hear a voice in my head “I should paint that”. Some Visuals stop me. I start wondering and taking mental notes. I took a couple photos and moved on. When a scene interrupts my wandering thoughts, I know it’s time to pause and observe what is before me. During these morning walks with a camera I will take 100s of photos. But soon it will time to be going home.
After a bittersweet drive from Carolina Beach back to Ohio, the digital photos are stored. Mentally I close the door on the batch and get back to the daily routine of creating art for collectors or experimenting with new applications of paint. I let those images sit for a while. They will call me back
Why the steps?
What might have attracted my attention was the directional lines this image offered. For painting I’m a fan of depth. Depth brings the viewer in and allows them to mentally camp out for a moment. The lines in this painting kept drawing back to the same focal point. There was also a nice contrast of long curves vs straight architectural. But I had some design work to do.
The background needed more mystery and space. The flat buildings in the back were ok, but it took too much from the focal point of the steps. Taking them out, relaxed things a bit. Thinking back now, they could have made a great abstract pattern of overlapping soft colors that barely expressed they were architecture. But who doesn’t like warm happy clouds?
Another change I thought about making was the pallet. The original photo is very flat. I introduced more of direct angled light that was shooting over my right shoulder. I had to create the light pattern that would hit the grasses, steps and background. I also wanted this explosion of warm plus cool in the sand without overpowering the focal point of the steps.
I’m a huge supporter of visual flow. This flow or path is what helps keep a viewer traveling through a painting. It is a personal preference I have for my work. The painting starts at the bottom and mid part of the steps. We work our way up to the next part of the stairway. The gentle walk continues at the crest of the hill along the railing. The left of the clouds brings us all the way around to the landscape base at the right. The sand at the base invites us to come back for a visit. When looking at the finished piece, I am there.
I usually take my sandals off when I walk up steps like this. The sand is cooler on the feet. The boards make the softest sound with each step. The handrail is aged, weathered and worn. The breeze seems cooler but with pockets of warm. The grasses peak through the sides, reaching to touch the many visitors that travel through. At the top I think to myself; this walk is over.
Is this painting about the end of a walk? It’s a thought that just occurred to me. I’m always a little down when I have to leave something so beautiful behind. Thankfully we always carry memories of the journey. If we are lucky, we go back.
Quick Takeaways from this painting:
Pastry bags! I used pastry bags for some of the grass work. That experiment opened up a whole new set of tools! If you are a painter, try it with acrylics. You oil people out there might want to allow 3-4 months for drying time. Of course chocolate cake frosting would be so much more incredibly wonderful. Mmmmmm
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This Fisherman of Kure Beach
That first cast. The throw of the hook and bait. It is the splash that switches an internal button to bring focus to one’s self. To me; fishing is meditation.
I have fished in lakes and ponds. Angling in the great ocean is on my bucket list. In the past it was the fear of catching something of monstrous proportion that inspired me to take on other more safe activities, such as walking, photography or sitting in the shade. My next chance, I will take it. These were a few thoughts i had while sketching him on paper.
I admired his focus. In all the noise and wind he kept to the task. I watched with a hope he would catch something. Strangers would walk past him. They would say “hello” and have you “caught anything”? He would smile and say “not yet”. At times he stood like a roman statue ignoring time and the rise of the advancing tide.
I took inspiration from this fisherman of Kure Beach. I attempted to bring a moment in my time to the canvas. His shirt and sun-tanned skin almost glowed against blue churning water. The break of the waves revealed how colorful sand can be with all of its warms and cools. The paint is semi thick. The marks are aggressive.
You can see where I worked with thirds on this painting. Finding the happy medium between abstract and realism was one of the things I was pushing for. I’m not there yet. I focused on making a painting rather than a reproduction of a photo. Breaking up and abstracting a landscape is easy. For me abstracting the figure is difficult as I’m trying to break schools of thought in regard to anatomy and proportion. I found myself painting an arm or face going back in forth from doing what is expected to breaking things (shapes and rules)
I designed this painting to keep the viewers attention always moving. We start with the body of the man, then to the extended arms, to the fishing pole, the string, back to the feet and up the body. The background reinforces the eye to move from background to foreground and then to the figure. The top 3 parts of the background almost equal in mass where as the figure and sand have a similar thinness.The angle of the foreground (sand) counters the direction of the wave breaking.
Take away: Get thicker. Don’t forget about oil paints. Consider using an Icing Spatula. Quinacridone Red is awesome. I’m getting better with Acrylic paint with each day.
Title: This Fisherman of Kure Beach
Original Artwork Size: 16”x20”
This painting is about a spring morning and the rising sun
A couple weeks ago before starting a busy morning I was stopped in my tracks. The farm across the street was bathed in a warm early morning sunlight that was simply beautiful. I wanted to paint it. I wrote down a few notes and then did a super quick sketch. Later that day I started to paint. I spent more time on this painting with palette knives than brushes.
Title: A Farm Through my Window
Original Artwork Size: 24”x18”
Artist: Michael Glass