I’m busy getting ready for a couple of art shows during the month of May. My schedule features some new events this year, and I’m excited about visiting these new areas with my artwork. As I prepare for my schedule, I’m focusing on small format pieces and I wanted to share a couple of new ones with you.
The first is called “In the Blink of an Eye,” and it was inspired by a visit to Milan, Italy last year. The vivid primary colors were an immediate attraction for me, as well as the intriguing composition.
The second piece is entitled “Chicago Brights,” and it continues my recent kick of Chicago-themed works based upon a gorgeous day that I spent in the city last November. Here, too, the rich primary colors motivated this scene. Indeed, between these two pieces you can see an overlapping interest in reds and blues.
My first art show of the 2013 season will be in Birmingham, Michigan early next month. Stay tuned for a preview of more new works soon.
Spring is slowly beginning to emerge here in central Pennsylvania. Each day, things are getting a little warmer and a little greener. With emerald green and spring fever on my mind, I chose this latest landscape subject, a view along northern Pennsylvania’s Wykoff Run. This famous trout stream is located in the jaw droppingly gorgeous Quehanna Natural Area of Pennsylvania.
This is a summer view that I captured last year, and sometimes these subjects can be a bit tricky because there is just so much green in the composition that it can be overwhelming. But after a long winter, I was in the mood to tackle this subject and I’m pleased with the end result. To get myself focused, I referred to the works of several of my favorite artists.
The first artist whose work I often reference is Rollin Pickford, a California watercolor artist whose ephemeral works are a good reminder to me to just let the color flow in my own pieces. Pictured here is his piece, “Bowed Pine,” a 22 x 30 watercolor on paper from 1975.
A second artist is a fellow pastel artist, Albert Handell. I highly recommend his book, co-authored with Anita Louise West, Painting the Landscape in Pastel to any aspiring pastel artist. This is “Windswept,” a 12 x 18 pastel that serves as a step-by-step demonstration in his book.
Finally, it never hurts to step outside of one’s cultural comfort zone and look at work inspired by a totally different approach. For a last point of inspiration, I chose “Pine Breeze,” a 15 x 71.5 sumi ink work by Shozo Sato.
As you can see by the book spines in some of these pictures, all of the artwork shown here are photos I took from my books. I cannot overstate the importance of a huge reference library of books for any visual artist. Believe me, I’m a huge fan of the Amazon Kindle and other e-reading devices, but I have a hard time imagining how these devices will ever replace the hard copies of my beloved art books. When I’m stuck and I need inspiration, this is the first place where I turn because I’m not located near a lot of museums. Indeed, one of the biggest reasons why I enjoy visiting cities and traveling is for the opportunity to get my “art fix” at a museum or gallery exhibition. But here in central Pennsylvania, my books are a perfect stand-in.
All of these resources combined to make “Wykoff Run” possible. You can also see here the initial color studies that I created as color keys for the final piece. Enjoy!
Each year, I set goals for my artwork and my business. Because 2013 is my tenth year in business as a fine artist, I thought this would be a good occasion to play around and experiment more with my approach to subjects. I alluded to this in my last post, where I described creating a white, wintry landscape on a very dark paper surface. This new piece, Wabash Shadows, is another example of taking some liberty with the paper surface that underpins the artwork in addition to using an aggressively wide format for the composition.
With this piece, I employed a technique that I normally reserve for my plein air landscapes, which was to tint the paper with a series of amorphous and colorful washes. Then I applied additional pumice and acrylic to create a gnarly, super toothy ground. In the detail photos featured here, you can see some of this interplay between the colorful ground, the additional texture, and the pastel painting floating over the top.
I’m such a huge fan of the Chicago El and its strong industrial shape. I thought this more aggressive approach to preparing the surface of the piece was appropriate for the nature of the subject. I caught this view back in November during an unusually mild day in the city. If my memory serves me correctly, this is my seventh piece of the El. There definitely will be more. Enjoy!