Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Not So Still Life

Still of the Night-Oil on Canvas-16x16
"I never wanted color to be color. I never wanted texture to be texture, or images to become shapes. I wanted them all to fuse together into a living spirit."  Clyfford Still

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Last Friday marked the long-awaited opening of the Clyfford Still Museum. As some of you may know, Still was an American Abstract Expressionist whose contemporaries included Pollock, Motherwell, and DeKooning.
Clyfford Still Museum-Denver, CO
Still is also classified as a “color field” painter as many of his works contain impasto (thickly painted) bold shapes of blacks, yellows, reds, and whites. Whether you are fan of this movement or not, I think it would be hard to ignore its influence on many contemporary American artists and collectors.

When Still died in 1980 he left over 2,400 works (many of which were never seen in public) to a city willing to create a museum dedicated solely to the artist. In 2004, Denver won the bid for the museum. Like many art lovers in town, I’ve been looking forward to the museum unveiling ever since. I hope to have time this holiday week to visit the collection. In the meantime I’m posting an oil abstract that I painted in honor of such an important part of American art history taking place right in my backyard.  

Finally, big congratulations to my students who were juried into some of our local fall art exhibits--One of whom won not only their first show ribbon but the Commissioner's Choice for a lovely landscape. I’m so proud!  Also, there's still time to win a free fine art print (see previous posting for details)--just comment on any post to be entered until November 30. (I've only got 2 entrants so far, so your odds of winning are pretty good!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

"Ruby Slippers" Oil on Canvas 8x10
This week's painting challenge on Daily Paintworks is (as you may have guessed) shoes. Initially, I was planning to paint my favorite black velvet pumps but I couldn't find them. Then I remembered this ruby patent leather pair. Like many "fancy shoes" they aren't super comfy. I thought it was interesting that several of the DPW challenge painters noted a strong emotional connection to their shoes. 

For me it was a crystal clear memory of more than a year ago...I was in Santa Fe. After a long day of strolling Canyon Road galleries and boutiques along the Plaza, I'm at the Coyote Cafe Rooftop Bar--One of my favorite stops. Probably about to order a mango margarita and some veggie tacos. In other words, a heavenly artist day...

But I'm with friends (and some folks I don't know that well). We've been out a while and moods are turning as the weather chills. The place is packed and loud and service grinds to a halt. I'm starving, tired, and my feet are beginning to burn. Am less than thrilled with my less than practical footwear choice. And then a waiter (or perhaps another customer trying to cheer me up) catches a flash of red as I cross my tired legs and I get a "cute shoes."

And for a moment, I'm glad I didn't just throw on my scratched and faded practical Merrills. The searing pain is briefly tolerable. But a few minutes later I'm cold, fighting a headache, and trying to follow a heated discussion out about some sushi dinner reservations gone bad. And as wonderful as my day has been in one of my  favorite places to visit been I find myself wishing I could click my sore heels and be magically back at  home in my quiet and calming studio. Because there's simply no place like it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blue Pumpkin Pie?

"Ghostly Gourd" 8x10 oil on panel--SOLD
Brr...The best thing about a snow day is that it’s the perfect excuse for hot chocolate and staying warm and dry in the studio. Today, I painted this blue-ish pumpkin for this week’s pumpkin themed DPW Painting Challenge.  I spotted this interesting “non orange” pumpkin "alternative" at our local Pearl Street Farmer’s Market just a couple of weeks ago.

I was particularly drawn to the contradictory sage green-blue color. My favorite pie is pumpkin chiffon so I kept thinking about the color of the insides and how cool it would be if it were blue inside as well. 

Speaking of snow and cold as a winter gift to myself, about a week ago, I signed up for Dreama Tolle Perry’s painting workshop in Florida in January 2012. I’ve admired Ms. Perry’s work for a long time and I’m really looking forward to it. January is often our chilliest month in Colorado so the warmer Florida Gulf will be a nice break. I’m also looking forward to meeting new artists in a different part of the country.

Anyway, if you seen Dreama’s work you know she loves an abundance of color. Her workshop supply list has a few more colors than I would normally use since I usually prefer a limited palette. So I’m trying some of the new colors well in advance.

This may seem a bit over zealous but a several years ago, I took a plein air workshop where I spent days trying to juggle a unfamiliar neon bright orange. In this pumpkin oil painting, I tried out Dreama's suggested Rembrandt Transparent Red Medium. Intense, but rendered very pleasant range of red violets, red oranges, and a really clean pink. Time for some more hot chocolate--Thanks for stopping by. Have a colorful and creative day!