over it and think it is better - not great - but better. I have trouble with dark backgrounds. Almost every time I try to paint one it just doesn't work for me. I study the old masters and some contemporary painters too, who seem to have a special flair for utilizing darks. They manage to impart life to the dark atmosphere whereas I just achieve dead space. Something to work on in future.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
This will be the last jug painting for a while. I need to move on to something different but haven't decided what that will be as yet.
My interest in a subject begins to wan after a while and it affects the quality. In this case I limited the palette to indigo blue, naples yellow, Grumbacher red, burnt sienna
and flake white. Oh, and a touch of cerulean blue for some
of the colour changes in the white jug. I loosened up more and did not get picky with detail or touch ups.
Not using a figure in my work always feels as if something is missing. I need to get over it!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
This is the place where I do my work. I built this studio (not with my own hands, obviously) a year ago. It is the result of a life long dream, set at the back edge of our two acre property on the lower slope of Mt. H'Kusam in Sayward valley, near Kelsey Bay, north Vancouver Island.
I give occasional workshops and classes in this studio and can accommodate up to eight students at a time. It is wonderful to watch the expression on a student's face who "gets" what you're trying to tell them and give them. As I am still a student myself I can especially appreciate the feeling of elevation that learning a new skill or concept can bring. As for those who privilege me by commissioning a portrait of a loved one, I am always grateful for their trust in my ability and happy when they see the finished result and return that gratitude to me.
It is a reciprocal arrangement when you paint a portrait. It isn't just about the subject - it is about the artist and model and the dance they choreograph together.
A good portrait tells as much about the artist as the subject. Someday I may paint one that I feel is truly masterful, but until then I strive to be better with each subject and often feel humbled by how far I still have to go. I believe it was Renoir who said in his 80's or 90's that he finally felt he was beginning to know how to paint.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I've decided to stick with this little white jug subject for a while. I can see a lot of possible ways to paint this and for now it is something of interest for me. I love the shape and the way the light reflects around
the surface. I found this jug in a flea market in Viroqua, Wisconsin two years ago and almost didn't get it as it was $22, more than I really wanted to pay. I went back to it twice before deciding that I would be sorry if I didn't get it. So glad I did!
The motivation to continue is strong for the moment but knowing me, well, that could change. I have to battle with inner demons sometimes who ask me why I keep trying to be an artist and what do I expect to get out of it, etc., etc.. I already get so much that the question doesn't really need to be asked. I get to follow my dream and be independent. Even if it never makes me rich or famous I am blessed. Still, there is a struggle with each work that every artist knows about. Will this piece turn out well? How do I make my
inner vision appear on the canvas the way I want it to? What am I trying to say
with this subject or am I trying to say anything at all? And who cares? That is a big hurdle sometimes - justifying my efforts when the world is already so full of
tremendously talented artists.
One thing about this lifelong effort, I am never bored!
Friday, April 17, 2009
It has been a week of frustrations and false starts but I finally made a small
painting today. This is a new experience for me since I tend to make endless
sketches, rethink my ideas, etc., and then spend a long time producing the
finished art. I feel like a new student again and it is kind of refreshing -
I started one earlier in the week but was not thrilled with the result so wiped the little canvas clean and began again. I do not want these works to be too "precious" so I do not feel pressure to force the result. I recall Milton Glaser, the graphic designer/illustrator who started the famous PushPin studio, saying in a documentary I saw about him, that he found working on a piece of paper that cost four dollars a bit intimidating so he did many of his illustrations on less costly materials and felt free to be really creative and even ruin them if need be. I am feeling the same way about these little canvases. There is much less invested in a 5x7 canvas compared to say a 20x30 size. Of course, what if that illusive masterpiece shows up on the cheaper paper or canvas? Well, thank goodness for archival preservation methods available these days!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I guess I am finally getting around to being a part of the 21st century. I have a functioning website for my art, and now a blog! I remember when I first heard the term about three years ago - I had no idea what it meant. Something about an airline server who put inappropriate photos of herself on her blog and got into trouble for it. I don't intend to put any "inappropriate" images on my blog so I may lose some followers right off the bat. Those who remain will, I hope, find my posts to be of some interest and possibly informative too. I welcome any comments from you, (just please be gentle!).
In the following weeks I am going to stumble through a new group of works and see if they appeal to anyone. Whether they do or not isn't the issue really, but it would be great to have universal, unstinting approval. In case that doesn't happen I will at least be learning some new things - always good to exercise the little grey cells.
SOME THOUGHTS ON HOW TO PROCEED
As I work on the new pieces I will examine and explain as best I can what I am thinking and what my process is. This is not rocket science. Much of art is intuitive, but there are some tried and true techniques that can serve to promote better understanding of how "art" is made. Please enjoy and perhaps learn from the small gifts I have to offer.
I will post more as I become better acquainted with this new method of communication.
Oh yes, to see more of my work go to my site at www.karenmartinarts.ca। Thanks.