Here is a fun little project I did and made a time lapse of it. I will be making a tutorial on drawing with graphite with this footage as well soon. Check back in in a week or so and I should have it ready. Please go to my YouTube page and follow me if you have a YouTube account. Or if you have anything you would like to see me make or have a tutorial idea leave a comment. Thanks again!!!
Hillside Colorado is one of my favorite places to visit. Located just east of the northern edge of the Sangre De Cristo mountain range and west of the Wet Mountains in a sublime valley. It almost pains me to give away the location of this magical spot, but it is too good to keep to myself. If you would like to stay there you can find information here.
So why would a non-representational / abstract painter like myself be drawn to doing a landscape. Well, it was there and it was transcendental. I love making all types of work outside of my primary work. It makes my abstract work so much better. Having other forms of visual communication makes for more informed abstract work. It helps to experience the work and be able to reflect on it, and use that energy to drive my primary mode of expression.
I love to work where ever I go. I took up way too many supplies to work while I was in Hillside and on the great driving trip from Denver to Hillside via 285 though Salida Colorado. But I was glad to have all that I needed to make some Plein Air works on paper that came out pretty nice. I have not done much Plein Air works in the past, not thinking much of it. I made a great discovery that working in the environment is far superior than working from an image. Just like working on a real subject, it becomes more tangible, I felt that I could gather the experience of being there.
On the way to Hillside I stopped in Browns Canyon National Monument for a great hike up with my art gear to do a Plein Air work of the Collegiate Peaks that are just to the west across a valley from Browns Canyon.
On the way back I took a drive to St. Elmo to the west of Browns Canyon down a road that cuts in between to mighty peaks of the Collegiate Range, the same I was painting a few days earlier. It was a super drive cutting between mountain streams, groves of aspens and a ghost town.
It has always been a great joy of mine to have grown up in Colorado and live in Denver. There are so many places to see and experience in the state.
I posted last week about an inspirational moment eighteen years ago that has influenced the way I make my paintings. In another serendipitous moment, I got an email Friday for an artist presentation by none other than Homare Ikeda, the same artist I had just reminisced about. And the presentation was going to happen the following day, Saturday, at Meininger Art Materials.
The event was part of a series called Demo & Dialogue, organized by the Art Students League of Denver. The Art Students League was there for me in my youth when I had limited access to art and art instruction.
The idea behind demo and dialogue is open up the artist’s process to the audience by having the art work on a piece. Ikeda gave us an open invitation to interrupt with questions as he worked on two large (and several small) works.
“On the island I am from they had no sense of what art was. I’m lucky I didn’t have a preconceived notion of what art was. Before I came to the US, I studied traditional painting so I’m aware of how I use my brush. I will hold with my left hand or use two brushes, that creates negative space.” -Ikeda
I was struck by how similar his thoughts about process and his approach to making resonated with my own. Ikeda approaches his art with openness and flexibilty, focusing on the process with little interest in the product. He is able to speak about his process and work with depth and humbleness.
“I’m not trying to make a painting therefore finishing is not my goal, the process is something that excites me. I have many paintings that come down from one show and I keep painting it. I know what color theory is but at the same time I just grab whatever I can grab. I’m looking for surprises. In my mind I ask, ‘Should I keep this or do I change it.’ I have options.”
“Painting is honesty. If the artist is honest it’s a good painting. Getting honesty is very hard to deal with. Painting is making me more than I am making a painting. ”
The demo wrapped up after close to 2 hours and Ikeda stayed answering questions and greeting the crowd. I waited to approach him and thank him for sharing his craft and thoughts. Last week I had shared my blog post with him and his response in person was as gracious as his email had been. It may not surprise many these days as Denver emerges onto the national scene, but we have long had a vibrant art scene including artists like Ikeda.
I just finished my first large painting of 2017, “Dialogue with Modern Perception”. I have not finished a work like this in a while and I have a body of new large paintings getting close to completion. I have felt quite successful with the push and pull dynamic of working on both objective work and non-representational simultaneously. As I have worked on both my large paintings, I have also made my drawing series “Studies in Light Dynamics”. Art making is not a liner process it seems, the impulse and drive to create requires time to percolate, because of this, it is beneficial to work in two alternating modalities. Gerhard Richter seems to me to be a great example of this push and pull of two different ways of working. I feel like many artists get pushed into one mode of working, which makes sense. As an artist becomes successful in a certain style, they now have an audience seeking that from them. Working in both of these modes, I feel has strengthened my process and work.
Dialogue with Modern Perception | See more large oil paintings.
Studies in Light Dynamics 1 through 3 | See more drawings.
I never get rid of old tooth brushes. To get the speckled texture on this piece I made a stencil with tracing paper and scrap paper. I traced out the area that I wanted to remove from the paper and cut it out with an xacto. I lined it up and blocked out the rest with scrap paper. Then I used a tooth brush that I dipped in ink and then pressed the bristles of the brush with my thumb to create a small splaying effect.
Give it a try and do it on a practice piece first.
Don’t use the tooth brush on your teeth ever again.
Spending the first weeks of a new year busy in the studio. Building stretchers, stretching canvas, and the first steps of turning sketches into new paintings.