Boy, whoever photographed all those Rothkos sure had their work cut out for them.
I love Rothko's abstracts and wanted to explore what it's like to try to do something similar. I'll definitely do more of this type. This had two layers of transparent and/or semi-transparent oil paint. The top rectangle is an extremely dark blue-green, almost black, and the lower rectangle is a (slightly less dark) magenta. The painting is very dark and very luminous and there are subtle variations throughout that are wonderfully interesting in person but probably not possible to see on screen.
I've only just become aware of the concept of "local tone painting" (tone = value). It's such a strange concept for me, because the only way I learned to paint was by modeling forms according to light and shadow--that is, how recording the passage of light over a form makes a realistic 3-D effect.
As far as I understand it so far, local tone painting involves remaining consistent as to value within any given shape, regardless of the size of the shape. And having at least three different value areas in a painting. Some very small amount of modeling is "allowed." Cast shadows are mostly ignored. This is all very strange for me.
I tried this one last night as an attempt at a local tone painting (and still with some O'Keeffe ideas on the brain). I think that in theory, local tone paintings can look realistic, but usually don't. That's my take on the concept thus far anyway. So in a way I like it insofar as it possibly functions as a bridge between realism and abstraction. I'm very intrigued and burning up a lot of brain cells learning lately. One of the sources of my learning is an instructional DVD called Nuts and Bolts, by Denver artist Quang Ho. Very, very good DVD. (I haven't yet watched the other two DVDs he is making/has made, but I plan to.)
I was looking at an O'Keeffe book yesterday and trying to analyze some elements of her style, what makes an O'Keeffe look like one. Then I set out to do something in her style last night. I'm no expert on her, but the things I noticed and tried to follow were: cropping; asymmetry; boldness; curves; negative space; lack of detail on big color areas; and that each shape and even each little part of a shape, including shadow shapes, have an interesting "arabesque" (line that's never boring, repeated, or symmetrical).
One thing I didn't do, of course, that she did, was blow it up to an exaggerated size. Working alla prima, I had to stick to a manageable size.
It was a really interesting experiment--so different than the way I usually paint--and I plan on trying at least one more in this style.
Artist-neighbor-friend Sam sure does have some fun little things to paint over at her house across the street. I don't really even like knicknacks, but when I saw the skateboard dog (a recent post) and these guys, I just had to paint them. I asked for the story on these and she told me these little carved wooden guys (they're about 1.5 inches tall in person) come from her husband's family heritage. Hence, these must be "Wyndham's people."
I have been painting--furiously, even (unlike this small furry couch-corner inhabitant). But it's all been "putting on layers" onto abstracts, so nothing to show yet. I also just started (i.e., put my first layer onto) the largest piece I've ever attempted (40" x 60"); the blank canvas stared at me and intimidated me for a month. It's better once you actually get going on it.
I changed my blog subtitle to reflect the fact that I enjoy posting pics of my "animolecules" as much as I enjoy posting my art. Well, animals are art, too.
A long time ago, I saw the famous basalt site on the northeast coast of Ireland called Giant's Causeway. Hence the title of this most recent abstract painting. (The Wikipedia photo doesn't give much idea of the outrageous scale of this natural rock formation, so when you look at the photo, keep in mind that the tallest of the columns is about 36 feet high.)
Ididoneofthese as a little demo for a student last night, about using color as well as value to create a 3-D form. (She was using watercolor.) It was really fun, so after my student left, I just had to do a few more! Each sheet is 9" x 12", and yes, I know they're not perfectly round. :) Working on these made me want to try some more realism in pastels; I've done very little of that.
Cut these from our yard and painted them last night. These are the mini-kind of sunflower, each bloom only perhaps five inches across. Sunflowers are so nice to paint, I'll probably do some more before their season is over.
That sunlight is a bit bright for naptime... (I love his plump white belly here.)
I'm a painter (and writer and Spanish instructor) living in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. I studied classical art in an ARC (Art Renewal Center) school, Colorado Academy of Art, full-time for two years, in order to benefit from the rigorous atelier-style training. I am currently dedicated to exploring abstract and semi-abstract art, working in oil and also in soft pastel. I firmly believe that all human beings are creative, whether or not they have yet found an outlet for the innate creative urge, and that the creative arts are the highest form of human expression. Email me at: jala[at]jalapfaff.com
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