I have written before about painting wedding bouquets for friends, friends of family, and sometimes as a commissioned work. I love doing it and I always hope that the paintings will be a wonderful, lasting memory for the bride and groom. I have a dear friend who remarried after the sudden and unexpected loss of her husband. It was a heartbreaking event that will take years to mend. Happily, she found someone to share her abundant life with and remarried. Her new husband is an avid and experienced gardener who grows many beautiful flowers and plants. Their wedding reception was decorated with these beautiful amaryllises from their garden. My gift to them was this painting. It can not compare to the real thing, but hopefulllly these painted ones will be a lasting and year round memory of their happy day and new life together.
This is Nolin. It is a painting of my precious grandson, Nolin Thomas Hofler, created for the exhibit, "Seeing Red", at my co-op gallery in Virginia Beach. Nolin is two years old and has beautiful red curly hair that is not really red, but orange, or some may call him a ginger, or carrot top. According to Wikipedia, only 1- 2 % of the population has red hair, so he is pretty special. Red hair is also associated with light skin color, light eyes, and sensitivity to the sun. A common belief is that redheads have fiery tempers. Now, I won't say that Nolin has a fiery temper, but he does have his moments when things just don't go as he had planned. After all, he is two years old.
The Opening for the exhibit, "Seeing Red", is this Friday at The Artists Gallery, 608 Norfolk Avenue, in Virginia Beach, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Hope to see you there.
I so enjoyed painting the ornamental cabbage. I have had the photograph that I worked from for many years and for some reason it just became what I had to paint. I love the three dimensional effect and the movement in the leaves, the contrast of light and dark, and the variation of colors in the finished painting.
As I was finishing the painting, I happened to glance at a Van Gogh calendar that was in my studio and hanging beside my work table. It had been there for several months, as I was a little behind on flipping to the current month. I was surprised by the similarity of color, as well as, Van Gogh's use of movement created by the undulating lines and brushstrokes. I know that without realizing it at the time, that painting had seeped into my sub-conscious and I believe influenced by painting.
Above is my painting of the cabbage and below is the painting, entitled The Olive Trees, Saint Remy, painted by Van Gogh 1889. This was one year before Van Gogh's death. He was hospitalized at Saint Remy and only allowed short supervised walks around the grounds. These walks led to paintings of the olive trees and cypresses.
Influences come from many places and at different times in our lives. What are you influenced by in your creation of art?
I thought that when I retired, I would have so much time to devote to painting. Instead, I have found that my time gets taken up by many other things.......grandchildren, gallery business, church activities, and house and garden duties. So, I have ended up painting at night, just like when I was working full time. The day's chores and activities are complete and I can concentrate on just painting.
This is my set-up. I have several lights including a pole lamp with daylight bulbs on the right side of my canvas, a professional artist''s daylight easel lamp, and a small desk lamp that I use on the left side of my painting area. My studio is not very large, so that amount of light mimics daylight as best I can. So, if you have a small space and only the nighttime to paint, it can be done. It is important to have a designated area for painting and to have it set up all the time so that you can just walk in and paint for a few minutes or for hours.
The Art Co-op that I belong to was recently asked to create an artwork in response to Virginia Beach MOCA's current exhibit, Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose. My painting, along with approximately 30 artworks will be on display at Towne Pavilion II in Virginia Beach from August 5th to November 19th. The Opening Reception on August 5th is from 5 to 7 p.m. and is free to the public.
I was inspired by the artists who used children and child-like images to convey their message to the viewer. I was particularly impressed with Ron English’s painting, Combat Rising. He used the image of a child in his painting to make a statement about our society I was also influenced by the work of Mark Ryden who used images of children to express deep meaning in his work.
In my painting, Oh, Baby, I have chosen a doll as an image to make a statement about the abuse and exploitation of children. I read an article a number of years ago about workers at a refuse and recycling plant who found the body of an abandoned baby while sorting the trash. The child’s body was headed toward the shredder when one of the workers spotted the child. She said it looked like a doll.
After reading that article, discarded dolls from the Thrift store have become an allegorical subject in my paintings. They are used to portray moral and political issues dealing with children.
Marbles have become a favorite subject of mine for nostalgic reasons and also for their surface properties. They display beautiful swirling colors, reflecting shiny highlights and elongated oblique shadows.
The earliest marbles were made of stone or clay. There have been many found in archeological sites from Rome and Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to other parts of the ancient world. Glass marbles were first made by the Venetians. But, it was not until 1846 when a German glassblower invented marble scissors that they were mass produced. In the United States, the first mass produced marbles were made in Akron, Ohio by S. C. Dyke. Today, marbles span in size from 1/3 inch to over 12 inches in width.
Marbles made by hand are much sought after as collector's items and are increasingly scarce. I love them because of their aesthetic beauty and variety. They are spherical works of glass art and as a subject for painting, they allow me to transform my canvas into a surface of light, color, and form.
"Wow...it has been longer than I thought since I have written my blog. I promised to post the finished painting and so here it is, finally finished.....I think!
I had a friend give me one more critique last night. So, now it is signed and almost dry. I plan to show it in The Artists Gallery's "Palette of Spring" Exhibition , opening on Friday, May 6th.
It often takes me a long time to really know if a painting is finished. I like to keep it around for several months to just look at it and evaluate it before putting it in an exhibition. And even when a painting does go into an exhibition, I evaluate it again because paintings can look very different out of the studio and in a new setting.
Is a painting ever really finished? Da Vinci carried his around for years.
My favorite part of the painting process is not the finished artwork, but the very beginning sketch. A simple line drawing can create a beautiful and sensitive feeling of form and structure. This all important sketch is the very rudimentary beginnings of a great painting. Sketchbooks belonging to Picasso, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, and many contemporary artists are filled with simple line drawings.
My paintings begin with a tinted canvas, usually orange or pink. I then divide the canvas into four sections and transfer my sketch onto the canvas using a brush and thinned oil paint. Using a brush instead of a pencil creates a more expressive and spontaneous quality in the drawing.
Line does not just define the image but it divides the picture plane into interesting positive and negative space and leads the viewer's eye in and around the composition. It is the most basic of elements, yet, it can convey feeling, create rhythm and movement, and express visual and verbal concepts. I can only hope that the lines in my beginning drawing will do all of that! The finished painting will come next. I am sure that there will be many changes along the way.
Georgia O'Keeffe is an artist that I admire and am often influenced by her imagery and techniques. I fondly think about a trip that my husband and I took in 2001 to visit Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. It is a beautiful, serene, and awe inspiring place. After Georgia O'Keeffe's visit to New Mexico in 1929, she was so inspired by the landscape and the mountainous forms of the region that she bought a house at Ghost Ranch in 1940 and a home in Abiquiu, New Mexico in 1945. She moved permanently to New Mexico in 1949 after her husband's death.
The seemingly infinite space of the plains and the dazzling colors of the sunlit mountains inspired her large scale, colorful paintings of the natural landscape. Georgia O'Keeffe was always looking and what she saw and how she saw it, was the driving force for her paintings. She was expressing and communicating in the form of her paintings, wanting them to be seen and appreciated.
Every year, The Artists Gallery, my local co-op gallery has an exhibit called "Fabulous Forgeries". For the exhibit, artists are to copy or be inspired by the work of a famous artist. I usually enter this exhibit with my interpretation of a chosen artist. My favorite painting for this exhibit, done several years ago, is entitled, "Georgia On My Mind". It is a copulation of five works of art. One, a photograph of Georgia O'Keeffe, and then O'Keeffe's paintings, Red Amaryllis, Sky Above Clouds, Grey Cross, and New Mexico Landscape make up the finished work . This painting expresses my feelings about O'Keeffe. She said, "To see takes time, like to have a friend takes time." Through the days of the coming year, take time to see the beauty not only in O'Keeffe's work but in the world around you. It will be time well spent.
If you would like more information about Georgia O'Keeffe, visit this Artsy website. There are examples of her paintings and more information about her life on this site.
My granddaughter, Charlotte, loves to paint. In fact, I can put out paint for her (she loves pink and purple) and she will just "paint her heart out". I love to watch her, knowing that she has no inhibitions. She is not worried about the success or lack of for the finished painting. She doesn't worry about getting just the right shape or composition, or if the colors get muddy. She just loves to move those colors around and around. Of course, I know that it is a wonderful activity for her to express her creativity and to just have fun.
All of this brings me to my point. It is too bad that we, as adults, loose that sense of freedom of expression. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could continue to create with that kind of confidence, spontaneity, and imagination, not worrying about the right or wrong way to do something. Children don't think about critiquing their work. They paint freely and with confidence and pleasure. Spontaneity, imagination, play, experimentation, and a lack of inhibitions are all desirable components for creating artwork. That is true for anyone, adult or child.
As artists, we don't want to go back to childhood, but it would be nice to create with "wild abandon" like a child. Enjoy the process. Be spontaneous and confident and have fun!
I am a retired art teacher and now a full time professional artist who loves to paint and share my paintings with family, friends art lovers and patrons.