Tag Archives: still life

Horse V. Candy / feat art jargon and story

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This is a still life I painted with oils a few years ago. I used the same flower pot as I did in my most recent painting. It’s one of my model horses with a bowl of peanut M&Ms and a Rex begonia. It was fun because I arranged the M&Ms as if they were coming out to defend their fortress against the horse.

A couple weeks ago I read a post by one of my blogging friends, Judith, at art discoveries,  and she talked about art jargon which I find impossible to read. So many times I’ve tried to read an artist’s statement and been annoyed by meaningless jargon. I think, why can’t they be honest?! Why do they try to confuse people with a  meaningless statement? So I was amused to find out there’s a site that generates art jargon.” the instant art critique phrase generator.” It’s a bot. All you do is type in 5 numbers and it gives you meaningless bs! You don’t have to upload your painting. This is as random as the zodiac. These are some of the things I got from it by typing in zip codes.

“I find this work to be playful because the optical suggestion of the fracture makes the eloquence of this piece.”

“The disjunctive perturbation of the negative space specially undermines the distinctive formal juxtaposition.”

“As an advocate of the aesthetic, I feel the metaphysical resonance threatens to penetrate the exploration of the montage elements.”

“The subaqueous qualities of the elements bring within the realm of discourse the substructure of critical thinking.”

That sounds important and very esoteric! doesn’t it! And there I thought it was impossible to get a real critique these days!

I’ll tell you a true story about this painting. When I lived in Richmond and most of my paintings got rejected from the juried shows, I joined an art club, because when you enter with a group they have to hang your painting even if they don’t like it at that certain non profit, because the group paid for the wall space.  The first day when I wanted to join the group along with a few other artists, they wanted us to bring a piece of our art so they could see what kind of art we did. I took this still life. When I got there, I saw the others had leaned their paintings up on chairs so I did the same until the meeting was ready to start. A lady came in and threw her coat over top of my painting which I thought was kind of weird and I left it there and so did she. Then when it was my turn to talk about my painting I moved her coat. It seemed hostile to me. We had to wait in another room until they decided if we could join the group. I didn’t know if I’d get in but then they called us back and I did get in the group. When the meeting was over that lady was walking out in the hall close to me and she told me she’s the past president of the club for x number of years. I guess she was someone important. I said that’s nice, it looks like a good group. Then I entered shows with the group but I knew some didn’t want me to join. I got a weird vibe the few other times I had to interact. This isn’t my imagination. I’m neither an introvert or an extrovert. I’m just an ambivert, which is the correct term for someone that likes people but is ok alone.

Speaking of a weird vibe, I might go back to Fort Monroe and finish the drawing I started a couple years ago. The universe told me the guy that was planning to rob me over there got corona! hahaha Just kidding, the universe doesn’t talk to me. If I still get the weird vibe there, I’ll leave.

Suns Moons Stars / pastel

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When I was in art school they told us to not make a balanced composition. They said the mind seeks balance and when it finds balance it immediately moves on to the next thing. If you give the art viewer unbalance it keeps their attention longer because they want to fix it. So, I guess this still life would get a better grade than the one I did when I was a young chick in school because it’s less balanced. It’s top heavy for one thing, with the big flowers above the lighter peaches and even lighter starfish.

I consider this pastel to be bright and bold but I realize a lot of people would think this is tame compared to the garish modern art they’re used to looking at. I’m talking about overly bright colors with no place for your eyes to rest. The kind of art that makes you want to put on your sunglasses. Once I heard a juror / art teacher say she doesn’t like gray. I thought no wonder she doesn’t hang my paintings. They all have some gray. I need gray to make shadows. shadows add depth and you need shadows to show light, but those things aren’t important to “contemporary” jurors.

Once I had an artist friend that told me she hates green. It makes her feel sick. I said, no nature lover, huh? And she said no she’s not a nature lover. I wondered if she was talking about my paintings which have a lot of green. I’ll just continue to use the gray and green that I like.

I think this pastel shows  solar energy. When I think of paintings that are glaringly bright with  colors straight out of the tube unmixed, it reminds me of someone yelling at you. Like, screamers are weak if they have to yell, and there’s no need to fight back because you can’t reason with someone who’s having a fit. Or, that artist  using neon paint could be a primitive and doesn’t know how to mix colors and how to use gray. In which case, it’s not my responsibility to try to make them follow the path I was taught. But if an educated art teacher / juror rejects paintings because they have gray in them that’s discrimination.

 

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This shows a close up of a peach, its reflection and the starfish and its reflection. It’s a complicated section for your eye because the starfish on the edge of the table points into the reflection. Then you have a double peach because it’s attached to its reflection. The starfish is on the edge of the table to give the composition more for the viewer to worry about and keep their attention longer.

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One thing that made the reflections difficult was that at first I had the red and white checked vinyl under the still life but when I drew it I made the checks larger and blue. I couldn’t exactly visualize how to draw the table cloth reflections but I knew it would have a curve. So I did the checker design in pastel on paper and put it under the flower pot. I made a little cheat sheet. Then I could draw it and it was easier to work that part out.

still life in progress, close ups

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This peach is one of the many focal points in my new still life.

I’ve been sitting far back from my easel and it looks like the still life has more energy than I do. I’m saying to myself, “Whoa, Nellie!” This thing could power the neighborhood!  Fortunately our electricity stayed on during the recent storms, and we keep getting more storms every day that aren’t as bad as the hurricane, but scarier because of more lightening hitting the ground out back, where the hurricane was a big wind but I’ve heard the wind howl much worse in the past, so I slept ok.

This photo shows the work I did on the background. First I filled in with a teal pastel then blended the teal color into the paper with my kneeded eraser. It’s sanded pastel paper so it can take a lot of layers of pastel but you have to blend down the first layer so you can build up on top of that. Then I tried some other colors on top of the teal on a scrap paper and I liked the tint of red violet with the teal. At first, I put a light layer of the red violet on it and then decided to make the layer heavier so I went over the background again. The red violet on top of the teal vibrates visually because they are close to the same value on the gray scale but different colors. I didn’t want a flat background because this whole thing is so strong the background needs to be strong too.

I’ve gone all over the whole paper 3 or 4 times, every square inch of it, to get the look I want.

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This flower. As I was rearranging my flowers every day to draw them this one had a few petals that got bent and I drew them bent. I considered trying to straighten them out but decided that I liked the way the yellow petals cut into the dark center of the flower, so I left the petals bent. Then later I was looking at it from far away and I thought, this flower is trying to communicate. What is it saying? I don’t want to tell you because maybe to you the flower isn’t communicating at all. Or maybe the flower is saying something totally different to you than it is to me. And it’s kind of personal and it might sound silly. And I don’t know if it came from my subconscious or if the message is for me or for the viewer.

Now I have to do the hardest part of the still life which is the reflections on the flower pot. I’ve been putting it off. I’m almost finished. Some days I work on it for an hour or so and some days I work on it off and on all day with frequent breaks because it makes my hand tired. And some days I just can’t concentrate on it at all.

ok. You want me to tell you what the flower is saying, don’t you. It’s signing, “I love you.” And I don’t know if it says that to people who actually communicate in American Sign Language. Where is the love coming from and who is it meant for? I have no answer to that. This still life has taken on a life of its own.

still life. a good plan worked out

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I moved my still life to the window. It’s a North light which is the best for a drawing studio because the shadows don’t change much all day. My still life is blocking the sliding glass door to the balcony. It’s not actually a drawing studio but a dining room. No problem. I live alone.

I had to buy more sunflowers because the first ones wilted. When I went back to the farm stand on Sandbridge Rd. they were all out of sunflowers. I like the big ones with the darker yellow but I bought some of the smaller ones in the lighter yellow at a grocery store. Then yesterday I checked the farm store and they still didn’t have any so I ventured down to another farm store at Pungo. ( I love that name, Pungo. If I ever get another cat I might name it Pungo.) They had the big sunflowers at Pungo, Flip Flop Farmer stand. So one problem solved and in time because a hurricane is heading straight at us! The Sandbridge Rd. floods so I wanted enough sunflowers before the storm gets here.  Then even if the electricity goes out I can still work on this.

Another thing I wanted to buy for the still life is a bigger starfish. I went to the oceanfront and got one this morning from a souvenir store. It will be easier to identify as a star when I draw it.  A lot of people were going to the beach and walking on Atlantic Ave. It looks like most don’t wear masks outside but a lot do and I did when walking on Atlantic Ave. because of all the people.

I’m excited that I finally got my pastel started and I think it’s off to a good start. I’ll have to do the flowers and the peaches first because they won’t last.

I’m going to draw the starfish going off the edge of the table because I like the old master still life paintings when things are falling off the table. You often see plates, grapes, fabric etc. that looks like it might fall. That makes the art viewer want to go into the painting and push those things back from the edge. It’s a trick to get the viewer involved with the painting.

I drew my table from the corner because it’s a less stable composition than if you were looking directly at the table. With the starfish going off the edge and the angle of the table I think my still life will be unsettled feeling, like the dangerous times we’re living in.

Still life plan

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This is what I have so far. I might work on the pot more and I might add more flowers. I’m not sure. I stood back farther from my sketch to take the picture than I did to sketch it so the ellipse on the pot isn’t the same as it is in my photo. And I leaned the starfish up against the pot so you could see it but I wasn’t planning on leaning it there for my final pastel drawing. I need to go to the store and buy peaches because I need a peach in this picture. I might take it out on my balcony to work on it later because the balcony has good sunlight before 10. The light in my apartment isn’t good.

This is the second time I tried to draw the pot. When I was in art school long ago drawing accurately was important. An unsymmetrical flower pot or unsymmetrical ellipses on the pot would be mocked in a critique. Like, how high were you when you drew that? if it was lopsided.

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This is how I try to make my flower pot look right. First draw straight lines on tracing paper to the approximate proportions then fold it in half and check it. Fold tracing paper in forth and cut an ellipse, compare it to what you see in real life. If the ellipse isn’t right, try again.

This much work on the flower pot is enough to make some people call the drawing “labored over”. Labored over is bad in contemporary art. Which makes no sense to me. Is it really bad if you enjoy working on something difficult and finally get it right? Is it actually labor if you’re not getting paid but doing what you want to do just for fun?

The thing about contemporary art being so badly drawn is that they don’t like a drawing that isn’t sloppy. If I entered a juried show and the other flower paintings had unsymmetrical flower pots and messed up ellipses or totally absent ellipses, and mine was the only entry that showed some effort, mine would get rejected. If the juror is an art teacher that never learned to draw because their art school didn’t force it on them like mine did, and if that art teacher didn’t tell their students to try again to draw the pot better, then mine would be a kind of affront to them and they would resent my efforts.

If I called the juror and asked why my painting was rejected the juror would say, “I was making groupings and yours didn’t fit with the others”. This is why I say, the art world demands conformity. And why I say the jurors think like interior decorators.

I’m not making this up. This is one reason why I h8 the art world and will never pay another entry fee. I might go for free wall space some time in the future but maybe not.

Once I asked a juror who constantly rejected my paintings why and she told me the jurors are looking for “contemporary”. As if my being alive and doing art today isn’t enough to make me contemporary. I also have to lower my standards. They see my paintings as old fashioned. The joke’s on them though, because I’m not behind the times, I’m ahead of the times.  I can’t change the art world. It will happen anyway eventually but I’ll be dead. And my daughter will be able to sell my paintings for big bucks. She has a genius marketing plan that I can’t divulge.

 

the Peachoid / I 85 at Gaffney South Carolina

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not my photo.

It’s a water tower. Interesting info that was new to me has recently been disclosed by my daughter.

I’m planning an art project which will be a pastel still life featuring representations of celestial bodies and I was talking to her about how to represent the moon.

I drove past this a lot of times on my way to Atlanta, GA. and never realized, people call it the Moon over Gaffney. It’s funny. Millenials  love to use emojis  and the peach emoji represents a butt. A butt represents the moon. So people driving past the giant peach thought of a giant butt. It has been repainted.

One time I took Amtrak to Texas when my sister lived there and as the train was speeding through Georgia and I was staring out the window, I saw a bunch of bare butts on the hill next to the tracks. Some kids were “mooning” the train. I’ll never forget it. I was traveling alone and sitting there cracking up. I stood up to see if anyone else in my train car saw the kids mooning the train but no one else was laughing, so maybe they didn’t see the moons. We passed it so fast.

The giant peach goes to show how public art can mean different things to different people. I decided to draw a peach in my still life. Not every one will get the connection.

This project might take some time. It’s too hot outside for me to enjoy drawing in plein air. I’m only now in the planning stage of my next art project, and I like taking my sweet time doing art, which is not the modern way of doing art. The modern way is to make it look spontaneous. I refuse to conform to that nonsensical attitude. I’ll show my progress on the still life as soon as I get something down on paper. Meanwhile, here’s an inspiration, the giant peach / moon.