Monday, April 27, 2009

Twist and Shout

I painted this lazy susan in about an hour! It was so refreshing since I have been feeling bogged down lately by paintings that take weeks to finish - and some that never seem to get finished at all. Everything is taking so long these days and I have been feeling lazy and unproductive. Hooray for dancing weasels who never take themselves too seriously. I have called this lazy susan "Twist and Shout" (can a lazy susan have a name?). It will be auctioned at my son's school auction along with the child generated paintings in the last post.

Dance! Sing! Laugh! Twist and Shout!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Twelve Year Old Artists

Parents of Seattle public school kids will know that it is the season for little league baseball, shopping trips for summer clothing and the dreaded school auctions. Our schools are sadly underfunded and many schools supplement their budgets with funds raised from families through events like auctions. This year I contributed to my son's school auction by organizing the sixth grade art project and got each child to paint a flower from our Seattle gardens. Mothers brought in helebore, anemonies, tulips and whatever else they had in their gardens which the kids painted in acrylic on gold leaf. I instructed everyone to focus on the shape of the plant and to work slowly "like a scientist making an observation". I was so impressed with the intensity of focus the kids showed. The results are obvious. Wow. You can click on a picture to see it in detail and try to identify each flower. They are so full of character and not "generic flowers" at all.

After the individual paintings were finished I took them home and cut out each flower and glued them onto a couple of panels. (A crazy amount of work, I know)
Here is Henry's painting.

The end result is reminiscent of Dutch and Flemish still life paintings from seventeenth century, like the one below by Jan van Huysum. Well maybe not reminiscent, but at least a similar idea.

I am also reminded of the innocent exuberance of a nineteenth century Baltimore album quilt like the one below.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Challenge

A while ago I saw a painting at Roq la Rue gallery by Christian van Minnen (on the left, below) that reminded me of another painting by English painter Richard Wathen. I told a friend about the similarity and he challenged me to paint a self portrait using the same elements: a strangely shaped black hat, green background, orange clothing and brown fur. He is doing one too but I haven't seen it yet.

It was fun painting a person after working with plants and animals for so long. Looking so closely at my own face wasn't so much fun...but artists have to be tough. I feel inspired to work with more images of people now, but I want to include plants too. And after today's sunshine there will be lots in the garden to inspire me.

Click on any of these to see them bigger. My painting measures 11"x14" and is oil on panel.