Friday, January 21, 2011

The Way I See It

When I wrote up the last blog ("Nine Years Old") I first used the photo I took on September 11, 2001 because I did not have the photo of my painting at the ready (I had to convert the slide of the painting to digital).  Looking at the two images, it struck me that I remember the day much more as I had painted it than how I had photographed it.  This is why I paint!  There is enchantment in the landscape...
    Much of my work as an artist involves collecting images for painting.  I do this every day, on every walk I take.  I am considering colors and lines.  Fortunately, I usually have my camera with me.  But before I take a picture, there is a motive.  There is a reason I am attracted to that image.  That is what I bring to the painting of the scene.  I don't just copy the photograph. I certainly wouldn't use a projector--that would remove my impetus.  In the above painting, I was mostly influenced by the brilliant blue of the sky and the late September color of the grass and sycamore leaves.  The trees had a beautiful shape, too, and I wanted to bring that out.  That shape comes through on the the photograph, and I did push and pull at the image to make it sing the way I desired.  But, if I had to go by the photograph alone, the colors would be quite different.  Personally, I think my memory is more accurate--at least in how I observed the scene that day.

My painting, "Angel Tree" also illustrates how I use photographs to make paintings. When I was walking in the woods at Blue Licks back in October, I knew that the Advent Angel Art Exhibit was coming up and I needed to make a painting.  Walking down the trail toward the Licking River, I looked up to see a decidedly blue tree centered between the arcade of trees on either side of the path.  It was a sycamore along the river.  Naturally, I took a photo, but first came the inspiration:  a blue tree!  When I arrived down by the riverside, the same sycamore was a brilliant white against the sky, like an angel.  Voila! My angel painting.  I took another photo (see photos below).  When I set to work on the painting, I was doing a fair amount of pushing and pulling to create what I wanted.  Since this was for an angel exhibit at a church, I  brought out the arch of the natural arcade. While preserving the beautiful blue of the lower part of the tree, I made the upper limbs brilliant white that in person I had only seen  from the riverside perspective. I am also working to convey how I feel, coming upon that scene which is both magic and reality. That is why I am an artist! This is my reality--how I see the world and what I want to share with you.

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