Warning: many words ahead...
My sweet friend Kara invited me to participate in an 'Around the World Blog Hop', so today's post will be a little different than my norm. First, I'll answer a few questions about my work and then I'll pass the baton to two other artists that have graciously accepted my invitation. What a great way to learn a little more about each other - thanks for the invite, Kara!
By the way, besides being an invaluable friend and resource for all my arty angst, Kara is an incredible watercolor painter and I adore her work. Be sure to hop back along the blogging trail to check hers out as well - you won't be disappointed. :)
Ok, here we go...
1. What am I working on?
Well, I have a nearly finished painting of cherries in a box that I did last Friday. The cherries just didn't come out as 'juicy' as I wanted, so I'm really debating whether it's worth trying to improve, or if I should just ditch it and start something completely new. I get a little stubborn about these things, and then Kenny Rogers starts on a loop in my head - 'know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em'... and I go a little crazy. :)
2. How does my work differ from others of my genre?
Hmm..., that's tough. I'm not good at defining 'style' (mine or anyone else's), so the main distinction is my 'voice', whatever that exactly means. After happily painting the ideas of others for years, I feel like I'm finally starting to figure out what I like and what I want to say through my work. I'm sure life experience has as much to do with that as anything - whatever it is, it's rewarding to experience and refine.
I also know that my creative style has never naturally been 'loosy-goosy'. I clearly remember a print-making critique from a fellow student in my college years, - I'm pretty sure she wasn't a fan of my subject matter - but she said my work was always 'crisp and clean'. :) I keep trying to loosen up, to use bigger brushes, but my default is definitely neat and tidy. I really did love my eighth grade drafting class. :)
3. How does my creating process work?
I paint from my own photos, so the creating starts long before I settle into my painting corner. I bring a camera everywhere, and am always grabbing little moments of light, interesting shadows, snapshots of our daily life. The more I do this, the more I see things I wouldn't have seen before, the better I can tell in advance if an 'amazing' scene will or won't translate onto a little 6" x 6" panel. I'll move around, up and down, to change the perspective, horizon line, etc., and just get as many options as I can. I literally have thousands of photos on my computer, and still, most days I feel like I don't have anything to paint. :)
Once I finally make a selection, I use a simple photo-editor (I use Picasa) to crop and edit my pick. Composition is like, so, so, key, -- sometimes it feels like I spend more time cropping to find just the right composition than I do actually painting! More than once, I've nearly completed a piece before admitting the composition was lacking - I really want them to be interesting and unique.
There are other challenges to painting from photos - the camera distorts lines, and of course, colors can be all wonky. This is where my design background comes in handy. Most often, I will print a fast gray-scale copy of my composition, and then draw right on it to make it work for me. I'll fix distorted lines, make sure the perspective is right, move things around, add a tree here, take out that telephone pole that is just one too many, etc. Did I mention that composition is key? :)
I rely very heavily on my photo reference for composition and values, but everything else is more intuitive. The camera doesn't always capture the color of sky that I remember, or the warmth of the sunlight or the lusciousness of the cherries in their box, so I try hard to ignore the photo at some point and just make the piece 'mine'. Y'know, just wing it. Not that anyone would be able to tell besides me - haha! Yup, not very loosy-goosy. :)
Ok, after all that, I'm gonna pass you on to two very talented artists, both of whom (as far as I can tell) work very differently than me. I can't wait to learn more about them!
Sunny Avocado paints in several different styles and media. Her portfolio includes beautiful portraits, whimsical puppets, mouth-watering pb & j's, and energetic abstracts. I'm especially a fan of her birds series - works that combine a wonderfully moving abstract background with realistic little birds. 'Beaks' and 'Beaks II' are my faves - love 'em! Thanks, Sunny for accepting my invite! Now go visit her blog, Sunny Avocado Art!
I literally grew up down the road from Kayleen Horsma, and thanks to art, we've recently become friends. Kayleen is an oil painter, I find her work so expressive, so moving, so beautiful. She recently completed a show entitled, 'Expressions of a Sami Heritage', and I just loved it. She has been so encouraging to me, and I totally look up to her. Go check out her blog, Painting Color Within - she's super talented! Thanks, Kayleen!