I started my latest painting a couple of weeks ago. Beginning with constructing the stretcher frame and then moving along with measuring, cutting and then cotton canvas. After stretching the canvas I spent 2 days coating this 5’ x 4’ with 4 layers of gesso.
This is a portrait of Jack. He’s been my companion since he was only 4 weeks old. He turns 10 yrs old this month. Jack is blind from cataracts but follows me everywhere and runs around in the back yard as if he could see.
The reference photo was snapped while Jack and I were swinging on the hammock. His smile filled my heart with such love and joy. He’s such a loving and loyal companion.
So I spent about a half an hour writing a blog post about this latest painting. Unfortunately when I pressed publish it disappeared. I have no idea where it went and I was like darn it that was a great blog post if I do say so myself.
Here I go again. A couple of years ago when my daughter Lily graduated from high school and at her graduation party we created a photo booth that included a handheld Polaroid style type frame made out of white eraser board. Guests could group together and write on the bottom with dry eraser markers on the bottom of the Polaroid goofy, cheesy, wise sayings or hashtags or the what not and then hold the frame up and then take a picture.
Well one of the pictures that was taken is represented in this painting. When it was taken I thought it was cute but it wasn’t until I saw the picture a few days later that it really spoke to me on so many levels.
First, this picture immediately reminded me of American Gothic painting by Grant Wood. It is said that Grant Wood in the 1930s went back to Iowa where he was from and saw an old farmhouse. He was inspired and wanted to do a satirical painting about the architecture of an old Iowa farm house. He titled the painting of the old farm house & its farmer & wife “American Gothic” as in reference to the lack of Gothic style architecture and it being the Midwest’s version. It’s further written that he utilized his sister and his dentist as models for this painting.
So now this is my version of a satirical painting of what I envision of a young Generation Z couple would look like on the World Wide Web posting on different social media sites, sharing their selfie’s.
Now that I’ve had a chance to go through the majority of my photos from my U.K. Trip I’m settling in to exploring the images in greater depth. I’ve seen some artist grab a reference photo and as if in robot mode paint the image in expected color combination and with a boring palette. The end result may be “technically” in vogue and aesthetically pleasing but does it have passion? Life? Awiya?
As I explore this reference photo of the North Sea I am flooded with memories of how the cool and moist wind felt on my skin. The brilliance of color and how different the light bathed everything. The sea was a blue grey color I’ve never seen in real life. As I explored the North Sea from the beach, on a boat and walking along the peer at different times of day, the suns light changed the appearance of the sea from blue-grey to light pale blue, silver, and liquid gold floating on a silver surface.
Living in Nebraska, relatively in the middle of the country, I have grown accustomed to the orange, red and dark yellow sunsets. The coloring of Midwest light from the dust, pollution, and heat within the atmosphere of a heavy agricultural state.
I will enjoy every moment as I explore this reference photo, unedited, edited and diving deep into my memory and allow Awiya to flow through me as I prepare for a series of North Sea paintings.
This piece is coming along as I’m working on the visual depth, reaffirming the light and any composition/color corrections. After this stage I move into the final detail stage.
Impressionism is the style I’m painting. It focuses on the use of color to express light instead of using line and form.
Painting while having a complete visual split, bilateral nystagmus and decreased visual acuity from Multiple Sclerosis has been a challenge I’ve met head on. Painting is my passion. Impressionism allows me to continue to paint and grow as an artist.
Jes and I have planned our 1st travel date for photo shoot and plein air painting on July 28th. We are going to start with the waterfront areas of Eastern Nebraska.
This is a year long project folks. One that Jes & I are very passionate & dedicated to. The amount of time, travel and preparation for each piece is part of the creative process to capture not only the image on canvas but the light through use of color and the energy of the area.
I’m excited Folks! Our river front day adventure of taking reference photos and setting up at 2 different locations to do some plein air painting is quickly approaching. We’ve narrowed down a list of small community libraries in the areas we will be painting.
If you are not familiar with plein air painting- it mean painting outdoors. We’ve chosen 2 time frames- 1 early morning light and 1 early evening light to paint. That will give us time to travel between locations and set up again. Mid day light washes out everything and not very interesting to paint. So stat tuned as Jes and I continue to do what we love “Paint” and share the hope, inspiration and beauty by donating the paintings to Nebraska Libraries.