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Henry Miller

The artist is the opposite of the politically minded individual, the opposite of the reformer, the opposite of the idealist. The artist does not tinker with the universe, he recreates it out of his own experience and understanding of life.  —Henry Miller

Pattern And Watercolor Painting “Lighthouse, D9”

Pattern: it is about repeating lines, colors, shapes, values and sizes in a painting.

Reviewing Work For A Portfolio.

I have been preparing a portfolio of my work for submission to the online literary magazine Cascadia Subduction Zone.  In the process, I was looking at some of my works that I haven’t thought about in awhile.

It’s Like Looking At Pictures Of Friends.

Take, for instance, the watercolor Lighthouse D9 (or Design 9).  I am delighted to reacquaint myself with this painting.  The Grays Harbor Lighthouse, Point Chehalis, West Port, WA, inspired me to create this series of work.  You see, for a time I lived nearby and have always loved lighthouses.

Pattern: As Used in Lighthouse D9; Watercolor

Playing With Pattern.

When I created the design for Lighthouse D9 I was interested in exploring pattern.  When I say pattern, I am referring to a specific use of the term.  That is, I repeated and clustered smaller shapes in such a way that they “read” visually as one larger shape.

Examples:  Grass & Clouds.

Take, for example, the cloud shapes or the “v” grass clump shapes. Together, the smaller “v” shapes and the greenish color add up visually to tell you that I’m describing a grassy area.  The same goes for cloud shapes against a blue background on the upper portions of the painting.  I’m signaling “sky”.

OH!  A Way To Simplify!

Put another way, I’m using pattern to simplify my design.  Plus, add meaning.  And, it was fun!

What About Meaning?

The meaning?  For me, I’ve always liked lighthouses.  I grew up looking at lighthouse paintings by my father, artist John Stermer.  My feelings were pretty simple; I liked them.  They looked like remote places, but also beacons to the traveler.

This painting, with its festive colors and simple patterns, alludes to the brighter side of lighthouse symbolism.  That is the beacon that guides the navigator through rough seas.

Enjoy!

In closing, I hope that you enjoy my Lighthouse, D9.  Furthermore, you might want to keep a look out for pattern next time you go to an art show.

Thank you!

The post Pattern And Watercolor Painting “Lighthouse, D9” appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Pattern And Watercolor Painting “Lighthouse, D9”

Pattern: it is about repeating lines, colors, shapes, values and sizes in a painting.

Reviewing Work For A Portfolio.

I have been preparing a portfolio of my work for submission to the print literary magazine Cascadia Subduction Zone.  In the process, I was looking at some of my works that I haven’t thought about in awhile.

It’s Like Looking At Pictures Of Friends.

Take, for instance, the watercolor Lighthouse D9 (or Design 9).  I am delighted to reacquaint myself with this painting.  The Grays Harbor Lighthouse, Point Chehalis, West Port, WA, inspired me to create this series of work.  You see, for a time I lived nearby and have always loved lighthouses.

Pattern: As Used in Lighthouse D9; Watercolor

Playing With Pattern.

When I created the design for Lighthouse D9 I was interested in exploring pattern.  When I say pattern, I am referring to a specific use of the term.  That is, I repeated and clustered smaller shapes in such a way that they “read” visually as one larger shape.

Examples:  Grass & Clouds.

Take, for example, the cloud shapes or the “v” grass clump shapes. Together, the smaller “v” shapes and the greenish color add up visually to tell you that I’m describing a grassy area.  The same goes for cloud shapes against a blue background on the upper portions of the painting.  I’m signaling “sky”.

OH!  A Way To Simplify!

Put another way, I’m using pattern to simplify my design.  Plus, add meaning.  And, it was fun!

What About Meaning?

The meaning?  For me, I’ve always liked lighthouses.  I grew up looking at lighthouse paintings by my father, artist John Stermer.  My feelings were pretty simple; I liked them.  They looked like remote places, but also beacons to the traveler.

This painting, with its festive colors and simple patterns, alludes to the brighter side of lighthouse symbolism.  That is the beacon that guides the navigator through rough seas.

Enjoy!

In closing, I hope that you enjoy my Lighthouse, D9.  Furthermore, you might want to keep a look out for pattern next time you go to an art show.

Thank you!

The post Pattern And Watercolor Painting “Lighthouse, D9” appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

Rare Porter

Fairfield Porter

This work by Fairfield Porter is startling in its bold freedom, the almost arbitrary way he represented the flowers, the saturated tones, the almost splattered looking petals in contrast to that marvel of a jar used as a vase. I’ve never seen this painting through any channel other than this page eight years ago from Art News. I recently found a stack of magazines and tore out half a dozen pages from this 2010 spring issue. I will post iPhone shots of them now and then in the future. Just thumbing through the ads in Art News was best way to explore unfamiliar work and learn a few things, while diligently ignoring the text. Sort of the way most of us boys engaged with Playboy back in the day.

The perfect flow of paint

Mark Tennant’s recent work

Mark Tennant posted this painting on Instagram a little while back, and I’ve since gone back to it many times with pleasure. At first, it suggests an almost clinical distance from his subject, a hauteur about a fragment of past American culture, which he’s isolated for observation. In this case, he seems to be looking back at a middle-class couple, standing proudly in front of their tract home and new car, circa 1960—he with beer in hand, she in pumps that aren’t even indicated except by the tiptoe slope of her feet. It’s all imbued with a cool, dubious squint of someone who doesn’t share the enthusiasms he depicts, a clinical detachment present in some of Tennant’s more erotically suggestive work, much of which has a muted, colorless sheen reminiscent of Gerard Richter’s early portraits based on media photographs of Baader-Meinhof terrorists. In this clinical mode, Tennant picks subjects that seem selected to provoke a raised eyebrow or a half-smile of condescension—as if he’s looking down, rather than head-on, at whatever he’s showing. It reminds me of what Martin Mull has been doing in his work—purchasing collections of family photographs from garage sales and flea markets to use as source material for his own surreal, emotionally detached and dreamlike visions occasionally on view at Hirschl & Adler.

Still, though I doubt this is the response Tennant wants, I react to this painting with nostalgia for those brief post-war decades when America was genuinely thriving, leading the world in building a middle class that was actually earning more than what it needed to get by. What drove productive lives wasn’t false hope back then. This proud couple could easily have been living on one salary at Eastman Kodak here in my hometown, with its generous wages and annual bonuses for workers, when a household could thrive on a single income, earning enough to get a mortgage on a new house and even buy a new car every few years. Over the past few decades, that level of material comfort could be sustained only on higher and higher lines of credit and more than one wage. The middle class has waned though it remains to be seen if it’s down for the count. Simple bourgeois comforts, along with an occasional luxury, are certainly as illusory as anything else on this spinning planet—so Tennant is perfectly justified in suggestions of sic transit gloria mundi, especially when the glories are so humble. He casts a cold eye on this moment of celebratory happiness yet it feels like something most people wouldn’t mind working toward now as much as they did in the 60s, and rightly so. It’s precisely what people who flee into our country are hoping to find. But what’s going on in this image has gotten harder and harder to make happen.

That said, this painting is different from what I consider Tennant’s usual mode and that keeps me coming back for another look. It’s far more colorful than most of what he posts. His technical facility conveys, by contrast with his seeming emotional detachment from the scene, an avid pleasure in being able to render things in such a way that his formal skill emerges as what’s most compelling in the work. The stylistic sang-froid recedes, for me, overcome by my vicarious delight in Tennant’s representational powers. Jenny Saville works toward the same kind of stand-off between subject and execution, picking subjects almost designed to be an affront to taste as a way of tempering the appeal of her bold, lush facility with paint, the sensual pleasure of seeing her push heavy loads of oil paint around so . . . well, so athletically, given the scale of the paintings. I’ve always thought of it as a strategy akin to Sinead O’Conner’s buzz cut, a way of hedging rare beauty in the interest of being taken more seriously. As if beauty has to earn its right to exist. Tennant doesn’t disagree: at the same time, alongside this work that seems to invite social or psychological commentary, he posts straightforward, masterful charcoal portraits executed with economical and bold technique, classic in their simplicity and remarkable in the way they convey particular qualities of light and individual personality.

When Tennant posted this painting of a suburban couple, it inspired some comments from some followers who assumed it was a skewering of the shallow tedium of a middle-class cul-de-sac life, but for me the handling of the paint and the rigorous elimination of all needless detail builds an image that’s both strikingly three-dimensional and a powerful flat pattern of paint. It’s somehow echoes both Hockney and Fairfield Porter, and vaguely akin to the perceptual painters, but it’s both more precise and photographic and less worked-over than what many of Porter’s heirs are doing. Lennart Anderson’s influence is nowhere to be found here. It’s a large canvas and seen in its actual scale, it’s probably even more powerful, and even more about the paint, but the values and color both create a dramatic sense of depth and immediacy. It succeeds at the universal attempt to create a field of marks that stand for something else, but also work almost as well as nothing but marks, but in this case Tennant is setting up even more polarities: judicious blurring vs. geometric hard-edged structures, neutral and almost colorless stretches in contrast to saturated shards of blue and green and that intense patch of red hair echoed by the rose dot of a tail light in the sedan’s rear fin. One follower commented, right after Tennant posted the image, that she was pleased with where Tennant seemed to be going with the painting. How presumptuous. I thought it was done. I hope so. It’s hard to imagine any way to improve it.

Support the Arts This Holiday Season

Americans for the Arts
                  - Arts Action Fund
              
Dear Arts Advocate,

Let’s Celebrate This Holiday Season.

We #SavedtheNEA. Thanks to members, like you, who supported our

       

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advocacy campaign, signed petitions, sent emails to and met with Members of Congress, and supported pro-arts candidates through the Arts Action Fund PAC, we were able to save (and even increase) public funding for nonprofit arts organizations across America. Let’s now begin 2019 strong.

Would you contribute to our Year-End Campaign with a financial gift?Help us reach our goal of $30,000 by December 31st.

Continue to Be an Arts Champion!

You are essential to the grassroots movement to advance public funding for the arts and arts education. Your contributions allow us to:

  • Financially support those candidates who demonstrate support and leadership for the arts.
  • Produce our biennial Congressional Arts Report Card.
  • Generate ArtsVote campaigns to build political clout and voter engagement at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Rally national support against attacks to the arts.
  • Keep our network of 400,000 Arts Action Fund members informed and ready to take action through timely alerts.

Keep the momentum going. Make Your Year-End Gift Today to the Arts Action Fund PAC.

Have a safe, joyous and peaceful Holiday Season.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

P.S. Please know that 100 percent of your PAC contributions support pro-arts candidates across the country.

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Game runs from 12/3 – 12/17/2018

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New Works, Summer/Fall 2018

 

© 2018 Silvia Trujillo

“Hill Song”
Oil on 12×16″ canvas
$295

The secret to creating the illusion of great distance in a two dimensional painting is… well you’ll just have to take one of my workshops to find out! This piece was a demo for my Depth and Distance workshop through the Sacramento Fine Arts Center this September.

 

© 2018 Silvia Trujillo

The fascinating thing about painting in plein air is that extra elements are incorporated into the work, sometimes without the painter knowing it. Returning to this piece on a cold winter night, I’m transported right back to the lavender fields in Oregon’s Applegate Valley. I smell the sun-baked earth and hear the hum of bees. I wonder: Is there perhaps some lavender pollen embedded in the paint? Is there still a summer breeze wafting from the distant trees? I can feel it. Can’t you?

“Lavender Fields Forever II”
Oil and sunshine on 16×20″ canvas
$495

 

© 2018 Silvia Trujillo

Sometimes it’s the painter’s job not just to capture the beautiful moments in life, but the difficult ones, too. Here in southern Oregon we survived eight weeks of dense, unhealthy smoke in the late summer and early fall. When the sun did appear it wore this red disguise — like a warning light, asking us to change our ways.

“Summer Sun, 2018”
Oil and smoke on 12×9″ canvas
$195

More lilacs and geese

September Apples, Igor Shipilin

Another find from Lilacs and Wild Geese.

Don’t Fence Me — or my feet — In

Every year the Rogue Gallery & Art Center in Medford puts on a Members’ Only Show. They have a great theme for it this year — “Don’t Fence Me In”. The show runs just a couple more weeks, until December 21, so while you’re out there doing your holiday shopping be sure to stop in the gallery and check out all the great art! Eighty members contributed this year, with everything from watercolors and oils to sculptures and photography.

My contribution to the Don’t Fence Me In show, titled Autumn Notes, is pictured below. I went a little bigger than usual for my plein air work, composed it in an abstract style and challenged myself to break out of my usual routines as I painted on a beautiful fall day at a friend’s property south of Ashland.

© 2018 Silvia Trujillo Art

© 2018 Silvia Trujillo Art

Autumn Notes
Oil on 24×18″ Canvas
$695

 

A Glimpse Behind the Scenes

As a little holiday present to my blog readers, I wanted to take you “backstage” on my plein air process. First, check out this quick video clip of me doing my work. See if you can find the “hidden technique”.

© 2018 Silvia Trujillo Art

© 2018 Silvia Trujillo Art

In the picture at right, the painted scene for Autumn Notes is in the background.  For the sake of the composition, I removed a few trees and tweaked the perspective.

Have you figured out my hidden technique yet? It’s going barefoot! If you’ve never tried it, you should! Taking off your shoes to paint (or embarking on any creative endeavor) is very grounding. I find that I can immerse completely in the scene I’m painting when my feet are bare.

The final image below is a close-up of the foundational stage for Autumn Notes.

I hope this inspires you to do some plein air painting in the coming year! I plan to host more outdoor classes in 2019 so stay tuned for announcements.

 

© 2018 Silvia Trujillo Art

© 2018 Silvia Trujillo Art