Thursday, March 24, 2011

Out with the Old, in with the New

I started blogging in mid 2006; at first just posting pictures of my artwork, then slowly expanding to narratives, and finally posting my thoughts on art in general. Then I started another blog, then another, then Flickr, Twitter and Facebook. Followed by website redesigns, newer and fancier digital cameras, Flip video and YouTube.

I have no idea if anyone listens or looks at my online persona, but it's a creative outlet that prior to the explosion of technological sharing, I could never have imagined.

Which leads to the dilemma of staying up with technology that's changing at the speed of light. Quite frankly, it's impossible. But I've never shied from a challenge. The whiter and bigger the canvas, the more my paintbrush twitches!

But that's not really why I'm posting. It's to let you know I've switched my blogging platform over to a new, combined website and blog. All these explosions of technology have created an environment of online 'aggregates'. Sounds like a concrete walkway, but what it means is consolidating a whole bunch of similar things in one place. Which is what I've done, so I save more time for painting!

You're  invited to join my new website and blog at http://www.mariewise.com/. There's a little Subscribe link at the top right. If you want to get my blog posts from now on, you'll need to click it. I'll be doing the same thing I've done here for five years, which is writing about my artwork and art in general.

I hope to see you there. It's been a great Art Journey!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Apples, Apples, and More Apples


Bowl of Apples - oil - 11 x 14 - top
Two Apples - oil - 8 x 10 - middle
Study for Bowl of Apples - watercolor - 10.5 x 14 - bottom

I spent much of the month of February looking at, painting, and eating apples.

The bowl was particularly intriguing. I don't have that many bowls, for one thing, and I felt the colors in the bowl set off the apples enough to translate into a simplified yet striking painting.

My Dad gave me the bowl. He was a great collector of home decor. He would have liked that I painted it.

I used a complimentary underpainting of permanent magenta, which shows through in small, minute areas. I liked the permanent magenta so much I added it to my palette and used it throughout both paintings. It's an amazing color. Put it against just the right opposing color and whammo, it pops.

It's amazing how something as simple as an apple can be so challenging to paint. The complexity of simplicity continues to mystify me. As a painter, I've come to realize that the more spontaneously fresh a painting appears, the more planning went into it.

Well, off to another figure study, I've satisfied my craving for apples!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sunset's Repose

Sunset's Repose - 30 x 40 - oil on canvas - top
Study for Sunset's Repose - 10 x 14 - watercolor - bottom
Naming my paintings is usually synonymous with the crystalization of the idea for the painting, but not always. Sometimes I finish a painting and still don't know what to name it.

My fans follow my paintings on Facebook. When I told them I was stumped as to her name, they jumped in with all kinds of ideas, all of which seemed to reflect the mood, like:
  • Inner Reflection
  • A Musing
  • Moment's Rest
  • Reflections Within
  • Tainted Soul
But I just couldn't pick one. She sat on my easel the whole month of February while ideas circled my brain. They started a train of thought that went like this > she's tired > she's resting > she's shutting down > it's the end of something > it's over. Which got me thinking about sunsets and how they happen every day, no matter what. We all go to bed every night, closing the door on another day.

All that thinking eventually led me to her name: Sunset's Repose. She's resting at the end of something important. Maybe it's just a day, maybe it's something bigger. In any case, something is over, she's tired and about to close the book.

And with that, she's finished!

Special thanks to my Facebook fans because you helped name her, really, even though I didn't pick your idea. Your ideas were the catalysts that inspired the train of thought that eventually led to her name.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

February First Thursday

Examples of Artwork seen at The Broadway Gallery, February 2011

I attended my first First Thursday gallery opening in 2011 at The Broadway Gallery. It was a show of Fiber Artwork just bursting with color, along with all of the other artwork on display. I snapped a few photos to share with you.

At the top are colorful origami mixed media mobiles by Diane Springer. She has a way with folded paper.

Below is a quilted Red Poppy by one of the Fiber artists. It won 1st or 2nd prize. Beautiful!

After that is one of Di Morgan's silk kimonos. Such lovely colors.

Second from the bottom is a pair of woodturned candlesticks by Mike Smith. They are rather classy.

And at the bottom is pastel-toned ceramic ware by Sandy Brown. The colors are soothing.

I enjoyed my evening!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Teacups and Torsos

Torso Study - 8 x 10 - top
Teacup Study - 8 x 8 - bottom
We spent the New Year's holiday hiking the Oregon Coast and visiting art galleries in Newport, Lincoln City and Salishan. Our favorite, as always, was the Lawrence Gallery at Salishan.

Allan loved several colorful paintings by Jennifer Diehl. We felt we'd seen her somewhere before, Portland perhaps? The gallery manager raved about her style, said she was the up-and-coming artist on the West Coast.

Her works are painted directly, all in one sitting. I remembered where we'd met her. She had a show at the Lawrence Gallery in Portland were we'd chatted and admired her works. (Direct painting means doing the painting all at once, no underpainting, glazes or working over.)

Seeing the freshness of Jennifer's work gave me the familiar urge to try a direct-painted masterpiece myself! I found a teacup and proceeded, spending a Sunday afternoon smooshing paint around on Teacup, above.

It was good for me, in that it reinforced that copying someone else's style does not make it my own. I'm not a direct painter. I prefer studies, underpaintings, washes and glazes, much like the Old Masters. I loved Jennifer's beautiful paintings so much that I wanted to make one myself, and I did. But now I've returned to my own style, which consists of drawings, studies, washes, underpaintings and glazes, similar to the Old Master's techniques of Rembrant, Vermeer and Caravaggio. It's just me, I guess.

To think own self be true.

Torso Study was done as soon as I finished Teacup, using a variation of glazes and underpaintings. It led me into a larger figure work--still in progress--in keeping with my New Year's resolution to focus on the figure.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Girl Sleeping, a Resolution for 2011

Girl Sleeping - 16 x 20 - oil - top
Girl Sleeping - in progress - center
Girl Sleeping - Verdaccio - bottom
The beginning of every year brings renewed resolutions to paint more, paint differently, paint with focus. This year was no different. Yet it was.

After the ritual studio cleaning and moving, I sat and analyzed what I'd accomplished in 2010, and what really had meaning in my paintings. I realized, as I've done so many times before, that returning to that inner space, that inner soul of creativity, is the only way to proceed.

I wish I had a photo taken by my Dad when I was 7. I proudly held up a drawing I'd done of three queens. They were long, fittted with elegant tiaras and wearing flowing gowns. I loved those ladies. I wanted to do nothing more than draw people.

A lifetime later nothing has changed, except perhaps this body! I still want to paint people, and people tell me that's what I'm best at.

Thus, a practice painting, copied from a masterwork by Sandor Liezen-Mayer. I found it online while trollling the Internet, that treasure trove of artist inspiration. Google Sandor and you won't find much, but I discovered he was Hungarian, his works were classified as iconic realism, and he painted Girl Sleeping in 1867. That's about it.

But it got me back into the state of mind required for skin tones, atmosphere and focused blending. I don't mean to say I captured anywhere near his delicate and mysterious glazing and skin tones, but I am satisfied with what I accomplished.

Cest' fini, Girl Sleeping. Renewal. 2011 shall bring forth more figure works.