Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lessons From the Low Countries

Suleyman's Legend, Margret Short

Michiel Comans, Calligrapher Artist by Michiel van Musscher was the inspiration for Suleyman's Legend.

I've always been fascinated by the Dutch painters and was thrilled to find out about Margret Short, an artist who recently committed to an incredible project called Lessons from the Low Countries.

She selected 11 paintings from the Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art Exhibit and did an in-depth analysis of the colour palette of each one. Margret did 11 paintings in her own style based on the colour palettes of the selected master paintings. Her palette was limited to the pigments used in the 17th century and were hand ground from powdered pigments such as genuine lapis lazuli and vermilion and turned into paint after a fairly laborious process. The project required a huge amount of research and experimentation and I'm quite in awe of her ability to tackle such an incredible task.

Even though even though my own work is more contemporary I can't get enough of the Dutch masters and have been deeply inpspired by them, by people like Margret too.


18 x 18
Oil on Canvas

Can't get enough of that leopard print! I think pattern as subject matter is something that I'll return to again and again. Not only do I enjoy the whimical spots but I'm finding that it's a very useful exercise to explore the same thing numerous times in different ways. This time I experimented with the palette knife making some nice thick textures in the foreground.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Peach Luster on Leopard

18 x18
Oil on Canvas

Pairing this vintage Peach Luster tea cup with a leopard print fabric was just sheer fun! Patterns and interesting prints have long been part of my illustraton work but I have yet to use them as frequently in my oil paintings. Pattern as subject matter has been on my mind for a while and as I'd recently finished the wild cat print boot I was in the mood for more of the same. I'd been wanting to paint this teacup's fascinating, shimmery surface ever since I bought it and wanted to do the leopard print too so it seemed a good time to get them together.

The reflections in this tea cup kind of reminds me of Neil Hollingsworth paintings in which he paints reflected surfaces so admirably. I bow to you Neil.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Not Made For Walking

Not Made For Walking
8 x 10
Oil on Canvas

These boots weren't made for walking in all day but in reality they are surprisingly comfortable. I bought them in a small village in Tuscany at the urging of a friend who insisted I go into the shoe store. I resisted thinking I had more shoes than I needed but finally gave in. I walked in and there they were right in front of me in all their supple, leathery, luxurious smelling glory. There was no doubt that they were coming home with me. I might just do a big painting of these.

This was another great exercise in painting quickly and decisively. It does me good to do this.

Summer's End

Fern Study
8 x 10
Oil on Canvas

9 x 12
Oil on Canvas

Fern Study was done on the porch in the shade on a blistering hot 31 degree day. This quick study had an imposed time limit in which I had to be selective about what items would be in the background and foreground and how much of the fern I would actually paint. A fantastic exercise in being decisive. Painting loosely like this isn't about being messy or careless with the brush it's as much about control and careful planning as is a tighter painting.

Tipsy was painted in the studio but with no time limit. Careful planning was also done here to create a fun shape which the pear provided with it's elongated body. Playing on that shape with the tilted Chinese teacups made this whimsical piece great fun to do.

Summer is pretty much over and fall is on our doorsteps. The task of cleaning up the garden and putting the plants to bed is about to start. I wonder what fall views will inspire new paintings this September?

Thanks for all your wonderfully encouraging comments over the past year. It's so rewarding to hear that people, are indeed, touched by art.