Friday, May 22, 2009

Sweet Gum, 54" x 56", acrylic

I had a conversation with a toad  yesterday. He appeared under the big tree called Robins Roost--my favorite spot in the world.  It was truly a moment of being present--spending some time with this tiny little creature.  He climbed onto my hand and sat with me for a while.  I talked and he listened and the conversation was purely one sided. It is so nice to be able to talk and have someone listen to you. The toad had a quiet gentle personality. He was unimposing and exuded virtues I most admire in others. He was beautiful, and the colors on his skin were made of beautiful stripes of black, yellow and brown--the artist pallette of raw sienna mixed with some greenish hue.  These are colors I would like spend some time working with on my next painting.

I do hope he returns the next time I am sitting under my favorite tree. It simply was a joy just to sit and do nothing but enjoy nature and its bounty and be present with a friendly toad. 

The sweet gum painting was finished today. It  is a quiet painting as well, and  am happy with the final results.

The next several weeks will be busy with teaching a summer painting class at NVCC Loudoun campus.  In the meantime, enjoy this nice weather and if you run into a toad , you may be surprised at what good company they can be.  The best things in life are free and sometimes come unexpectedly.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Yellow Flow, 54" x 80", acrylic

Yellow Flow let me finish him today. This painting is huge and a feat to try and photograph. I spent the day trying to shoot when the right light was present. I shoot my work outside. I usually have to wait for a window of opportunity to photograph without sun spots getting in the way. My neighbors must get a kick out of seeing me trip over chairs at the right moment to get the shot.

Yellow Flow is a vortex of energy that swims in a spiraling motion out from the walnut object in the middle of the painting. The walnut appealed to me because of the heart shape in the middle. My palette is strangely unfamiliar to me in this work of deep reds and yellows. . This is another one of those paintings that feels incomplete and yet I had to stop myself from over painting it. It has been through many iterations over the past several weeks. There was a point today during my painting session where I heard a loud voice say "stop" and I knew I had to surrender another work. Surrender is a good word to end a painting with. Sometimes the battle with the canvas is not won, but "surrendered". Conflict with the canvas, as with life, is avoided by complete surrennder.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pink Star. 36.5 x 36.5, Acrylic

Pink Star is an image started several months ago. She is definitely a female painting that was begging me to dress her up with some pink for spring time. Pink is a strange color to work with. I was one told that is too sweet by one of my fondest instructors, but when the sweet fits, you must splurge a little. I definitely splurged on her outfit. She is placed on top of an older work that was unsuccessful. If you look closely there are some words underlying her dress. She whispers things from the past and brings them present. She likes to be present because in the present she finds her "true gifts"!

Star Anise

This spice is one I was introduced to by my dear Vietnamese friend Rosie. Rosie taught me how to cook Vietnamese food during the three years she was my childrens babysitter in my home.

Star anise
, star aniseed, badiane or Chinese star anise, (Chinese: 八角, pinyin: bājiǎo, lit. "eight-horn"; Malayalam: തക്കോലം) is a spice that closely resembles anise in flavor, obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of Illicium verum, a small native evergreen tree of southwest China. The star shaped fruits are harvested just before ripening. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine, in Indian cuisine where it is a major component of garam masala, and in MalayIndonesian cuisine. It is widely grown for commercial use in China, India, and most other countries in Asia. Star anise is an ingredient of the traditional five-spice powder of Chinese cooking. It is also a major ingredient in the making of phở, a Vietnamese noodle soup. It is used as a spice in preparation of Biryani in Andhra Pradesh, a state of southern India.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pinergy, 50" x 70", Acrylic

I have finally finished this painting that I started last month. It has gone through many generations of color and layering and it seems to be "needy". I decided not to give her any more energy due to the lack of energy in my field lately. There are so many layers to paintings just like in relationships. Paintings are complex and never solved. They seem to be organic in nature and like relationships they unfold and sometimes get smothered in too much paint.


Studio Antics

Today I further pushed the Sweet Gum image.  I worked into the details more and then did some background integration.  The colors I am using for this painting are in the purple and orange palette.  Purple and orange when mixed make a nice burnt sienna.  If you add white to it you can generally come up with most of the brown shades needed in nature.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sweet Gum Tree Pod

Taxonomy of American Sweetgum Trees:

Plant taxonomy classifies American sweetgum trees (also spelled "sweet gum") as Liquidambar styraciflua. The sweetgum tree I recommend is Liquidambar styraciflua 'Rotundiloba,' a sterile, non-fruiting culitivar.

Plant Type: Sweet Gum Tree

American sweetgum trees are deciduous trees, indigenous to the southeastern U.S.

Characteristics of American Sweetgum Trees:

American sweetgum trees bear leaves shaped like stars. The leaves provide excellent fall foliage color: in some cases, at the peak of the fall foliage season, some leaves may be red, others purple, others yellow, others orange -- all on the same sweetgum tree! On some trees, the branches are "winged," as on winged euonymus (burning bush), displaying corky flanges. Most people consider their seed pods (or "fruits," "balls," "gumballs," "capsules") to be messy, so I recommend the fruitless 'Rotundiloba.' Rotundiloba grows 60'-70' tall with a spread not even half that, which helps give it a narrowly pyramidal form.

Plant Taxonomy

Where has this artist been?  Such a beautiful rainy day and I ponder ponder ponder about:

Definition: Plant taxonomy is a system of classification for plants. We use the plant taxonomy developed by Linnaeus (1707-1778).

My research has taken me from the studio of late.  However,  I found myself right back where I started today...the STUDIO...and the painting is fine.

I have been working on a Sweet Gum tree pod painting and am in the middle stages of the painting.  I found my object walking my son home from the bus stop.  I then photographed it and made it studio ready.

Studio ready is another term for lets get to the essence of this thing I am painting.  This requires blowing it up and them making it small. Painting it and smearing it away.  Carving it out and rubbing it back into the ground and then revealing its nature again and again until the figure becomes the ground and the ground becomes the figure. 


So what about structural ambiguity.  Should not there be a spatial differentiation between the figure and the ground.  I say there should be a questioning process in which both are equally important and both exist at the same time without discretion of the two.  The figure and the ground becomes one.  Is this possible?  I ponder these thoughts as I paint---always.

There truly is simplicity amongst the chaos.  Without the opposite in each situation the other would not exist.  I guess the law of the universe require this.  Opposites in nature attract and then repel.  How does one combine such opposites?