Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sparkling Vine

Last October on one of the last really nice, warm autumn days I went looking for abstract oil painting inspiration in our local park. In the planted formal garden, most of the flora was already dead or dying, but I noticed that with the leaves withering one could more clearly see the "skeleton" of  the bare plants which was perfect for organic abstracts. And in this particular case it was also casting an interesting and tangled shadow against a wall and some steps.

Ever since I was quite young, I've loved to paint interwoven organic shapes. My brain finds it very soothing, like a giant puzzle--maybe it's the organizing of nature's chaos. It's the kind of painting where I just let my "art brain" take over and I'm just along for the ride. So these nature-inspired abstract paintings are always a bit of surprise even to me when I'm done.  Because of the linear nature inherent in vines, twigs, branches, etc. like to start these paintings with a very gestural drawing sometimes with a brush but this time I used a dark blue oil pastel on a 18 x 18 canvas panel.

Speaking of panels, I'm hoping tomorrow will be warm enough to start making some GM (gessoed masonite) panels. While these can be a bit of a pain to make--run to Home Depot, cut them, gesso, dry, gesso, dry, etc.  But, if you tend to be a frugal artiste as I am, these "homemade" panels are a fantastic deal (a 24 x 48 board is less than $4).  GM panels are one of my favorite painting surfaces for oils and acrylics, particularly for abstracts and mixed media where you need a sturdy smooth surface that stands up to stamping, glazing, stenciling, leafing, collage, etc. 

Perhaps best of all, one can cut these panels to any size you desire. Which is perfect for those bizarre, non standard frames that always seem to be lurking in studio corners. Yes, you can buy these gesso panels online or at most arts stores now--but they are relatively expensive and for me I find the surface is too slick and smooth.

For the rest of your weekend I'll leave you with one of my favorite art quotes--it's actually from architect Frank Lloyd Wright--but I think it absolutely applies to learning and teaching art as I do:  Talent is good, practice is better, passion is best. 

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