Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Real Abstractions & Global Inspirations

Carol's Journey -6x6 oil on canvas
Happy Spring Tuesday! One of the truly amazing aspects about being a painter is that you can "travel" vicariously all the time. This week's challenge on Daily Paintworks features two pictures from Carol Marine's trip to Germany. As a Coloradan, I was immediately struck by how much the scenes reminded me of the landscape in our own Rocky Mountains. 

It's intriguing (and often humbling) to see how different artists interpret the landscape. While you'll see some similar "academic" cropping, it's fascinating to see how each artist decided to edit individual shapes.  FYI, a handy landscape cropping tool for square canvases is a Zoomfinder.

The other reason I wanted to paint this challenge was that it was my first attempt at a 6x6 landscape, which seems rather like an oxymoron. But, it's an enjoyable challenge trying to create atmospheric perspective in a relatively small square. I really have to give kudos to artists who have mastered working in this scale. 

It's extremely helpful painting practice because every little shape really needs to make sense. Speaking of every shape making sense, yesterday was my first day in local contemporary artist Homare Ikeda's abstract class. If you paint abstractly, you may relate to my ongoing struggle which is that I find non-representational paintings relatively easy to dive into but, then after a few hours, I tend to lose direction, energy, and focus.

In Mr. Ikeda's class I'm looking forward to honing those skills. Here's a detailed look at some of my first layers on a 2 x 3 stretched canvas. (For now, I decided to paint in acrylic since I didn't want to transport an unwieldy wet oil painting back and forth particularly on breezy spring days.)
It may seem a bit odd paint a representational German landscape in the morning and an Asian inspired abstract in the afternoon, but for me each discipline supports the other. Plus, if you look around the globe for inspiration you''ll likely never run out of painting ideas. For example, here's a blog that offers artists the chance to "paint around the world" is The Virtual Painter where I see the April 2011 challenge location is Japan.

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