Stonelick Covered Bridge in Clermont County OH is an icon for many. Recently restored, it is a beauty! I spent hours trudging around the bridge, bushwhacking through the waist high scrub, scrambling from rock to rock in the creek-bed and shooting photos from every angle, at different times of the day, over a period of a month. The reference photo used for this piece was taken at 5:00 on a fall afternoon. The sun washed bridge vs. deep shadows cast by the trees as the sun descended, made it interesting as well as a challenge. My client is a covered bridge enthusiast, so every detail, down to the numbered sign, is meticulously rendered. The original measures 20x30" and was painted with various brands of lightfast colored pencils on rag matboard. Fine Art Giclees are available for sale. Contact me for details.
The question of all questions: What makes good composition? How does one crop, punch color, add or delete elements in order to create a piece of art that will resonate? There are rules to composition, which I rarely think about at first. If a ref photo grabs my attention, there is probably something there worth trying. Later, as I start the project, I will think about rules, where to crop and so forth, but I have to be careful to not sterilize the inspiration right out. That initial reaction, the one that made me stop and look, what was that and how will it translate? Over the years, I've paid attention to how my art is received and learned from that. What draws the most attention? Rarely do I hear "I love this because it is so well executed." More often it's "I love that red," or "wow, it looks like a photo (which drives me crazy by the way. Why would anyone spend 6o hours of her life to simply copy a perfectly good photo?)
To break it down: color,value and a relatable story, are the three main elements to a successful image. Detail is used to support the theme not drive it. For instance, if you have ever watched the reality t.v. show THE VOICE, how often is the vocal run used to show off vocal ability? But if it is delivered without conviction and you can't hear the lyrics, it's just noise. In two dimensional art, if one does not manage to draw the viewer in with substance, what use are the details? On the other hand, taking the time and effort to render those details well, honors the idea. Don't skimp.
This is a very long blog entry. I imagine you are wondering what it has to do with this landscape photo. Simply put, the photo reaches into my soul. It is beautiful. The colors are rich, the shapes interesting and there is nice contrast. The message is simple. It calms me. I want to live in this image, where the only human touch is the evenly mowed field.
Looking through reference material, I came across a series of photos taken in Cape May New Jersey and immediately thought "scale of justice." The scale is associated with Anubis. The idea of a guardian protector of the dead, who by weighing the heart, determined a soul worthy of Heaven or Hell, originated with the Egyptians and was later adopted by the Greeks, who named the God Anubis. In this image, two helmet-shaped, Horseshoe Crabs, deemed to be living fossils and estimated to be 450 million years old are held at arm's length by the beautiful yet indifferent young woman, who hides her slight amusement behind dark glasses. The white dress reminds us that our fate is yet to be determined.
Anubis is painted /drawn with Prismacolor pencil French Grays 10%-90%, black Verithin and some solvents. It measures roughly 39.5x 36". The photograph shows up blue at the bottom. This is some kind of reflection that I haven't figured out how to omit. Stay tuned.....
This is the third pigeon image for a triptych. The question will be how to frame. I originally planned on three small images matted together: two horizontal and one vertical- the horizontals will have the same mat opening size. The piece would be one long horizontal. An other way to approach this would be to frame separately to be hung on the wall in a cluster. This would enable me to crop this image differently if I choose. I realize the subject and the images are dark. And I'm not 100% sure this will work, but I will try anyway. Once I have them matted together I will post it so you can see.
This is the second of three I intend to use in a triptych of creepy grave stones and pigeons. The references were taken with the last of the afternoon light, Trinity church in NYC. These are painted with colored pencils on linen which makes glare a problem. Hopefully I will be able to iron out the photography kinks once finished with all three.
"Departing," 18.5 x 25" various lightfast colored pencils mixed with solvents on 4 ply mat board. The reference is from a series of photos I took as my 25 year old daughter prepared to board her plane to California. The painting is about leave taking and letting go. I may have gone a little crazy with all the details, right down to the turtle charm bracelet, which she has had since she was small enough to collect everything turtle, the safari bag she found in my closet, her high school back pack and the thrift store suitcase. I include these things because they are necessary to create an accurate portrayal of this cunning, free-spirited artistic person, whom I love beyond measure, in her moment.
Lucy is coming along. Her coat colors are a gigantic challenge. I have hundreds of colored pencils rolling around on the drafting table! The use of mineral spirits was crucial. Tweaking will come later. I am going to set this aside for a little while to work on something else. Plenty left to do, but I'm "Artist blind."
Maize and Blue, 11x14" colored pencil on linen.Read More
This is "Stripes Hooligan" completed. He is a little under 16x20". I used Prismacolor pencils, Prisma Artstix, Luminance Caran D'arch pencils and solvents on linen. The reference photos are mine; the cat a rescue from the Family Animal Hospital in Batavia who now resides with me. I painted this as my entry to a competition. We'll see what happens. I already have two interested buyers.