The ‘what if’ and ‘then what’ were words in my head this past week at a Skip Lawrence workshop. We focused on shape, edges and color, texture; design elements, those I have been pursuing over and over in my own work and in teaching these many years.
‘Nuance and Design’ were concepts mentioned continuously in Skip’s clever ways; usually with wonderful humor and generating so much laughter.
And, of course, the infamous ‘mostly’, establishing dominance in a painting especially about in use of color, its strong emotive powers, creating connection, unity and variety.
And, how to evaluate one’s own work?
Dominant: Mostly? Enough Contrast to make shapes read? Creative, thoughtful, individual Shapes? Color Variations? Consistency to one Concept? Whew.
A terrific week. Ready to head back to Studio and ready to share these amazing lessons with my students. Stay tuned.
A follow-up to your question to me on Saturday at Carlsons’ Gallery — who is your favorite artist (did you say, Diebenkorn?) and why?
‘As we discussed, it is so hard to pick a favorite. Diebenkorn always remains in my training in the top 5. His studies are evocative and one can feel the powerful and intentional stroke and movement of the artist across the canvas.
His creative, keen eye with composition and design are always evident; especially with positive and negative space; each equally important. I have copied this artist and fall inside his process each time I understand more and more and see these lessons are expressed in my work.’
…also curious about your procedure. Do you begin with a photo or a view outdoors or another image, or do you complete a painting and then find a name for it (as in expressionist abstraction)?
‘A view outdoors (‘driving through paintings’), field sketching and then photograph to start. The sketchbook is the essential tool of the artist; where the powerful notions and feeling about the space become so evident. As a matter of fact, that is what one does when they are ‘plein air’: gathering evidence.’ The photograph is an initial guide of remembering. Choosing the appropriate drawing/painting tool in studio is key. Then, I consider the design elements and which may take priority: shape, value, color, texture, line, edges, space etc. ‘Names’ come early in the process; usually in the beginning. I usually have music in the studio too. (a bit loud). Every painting is an abstract; even one that may be more depictive. It is a pendulum; all depends on the thoughts, feelings and intention swirling around me in studio.’
Anyway, I greatly enjoyed looking at your work — I spent a quiet hour at the gallery on Sunday. I’ll let you know when the review appears and send you a link.
‘Thanks Stephen. I really appreciate your time and energy.
A creative adventure; a new class via on-line. So great to teach landscape (design) drawing + painting and to reach out to many. Take a look at the preview + sign up.
The landscape is a gentle way of exploring the elements that are integral to making meaningful work: line, value, color, shape, edges, composition.
In this 6-lesson class, we will use our study of landscape to work at finding our unique mark, learning and reinforcing design concepts, drawing with intent, and simplifying.
So lucky to find this gem; a sketchbook handed to me by a wonderful antique store owner this past Spring in southern France. It is dated 1912 and I can not quite make out the signature.
An amazing record of time and place, for sure. A souvenir I will hold deep in my heart.
Keep those sketchbooks filled with all the ‘evidence’ you can muster, each and everyday.
‘Gathering Evidence’ as a title for my up coming show came easy for me. Being a visitor to another country this past Fall in Italy and France was such an amazing opportunity to do just that; gather. Whether on a train, catching a taxi or sitting in a wonderful cafe, one gathers and absorbs; enjoying a keen awareness of the magic around you.
This experience is so valuable and yes, comes back ‘tenfold‘ to you in studio. Perhaps my show expresses this magic in bold ways, some subtle and personal too.
I was there and I remember.
3 hours of work today, and I am just getting started.
I have had ‘snow’ on my mind lately, as the season is upon us. I am trying to find myself in the snow, an observer: sensing the sounds, the cold and beauty, (soon to be a participant on Christmas day!).
So, yes, these sketches are from my imagination; working with design elements of value, texture, line and composition. These studies have brought me to a next step; planning on some press studies and reaching toward a soft neutral pallet, Andrew Wyeth like.
Importantly, it took me to find dedicated time to work successfully. It does not happen on a whim; ‘it’s in the doing’ and comes about with hard work.
I look forward to the New Year; where my approach, will be as important as the doing.
Quiet, solitude, focus, awareness…authentic!
Happy New Year!
“Sure, it’s a bird theme, but much more. Again, stay tuned.”
my last words from ‘a purposeful direction.’ (a previous blog)
From these birds, images of inspiration came. Into the sketchbook; graphite scratches and a ‘road map’ as a result.
Following a lead, a theme, a direction with possibility; ingredients for good design.
‘An unwavering intensity of engagement is always evident in a successful body of work.’
monotype with pastel.
watercolor and pastel.
one in the same concept/compostion.
A resolution of idea; quiet works, resolve; a definition and outline of intention.