Friday, April 22, 2011

Photos vs Paintings

 My sister was interested in seeing the photograph and the painting of the bluff with primroses side-by-side.  They don't quite fit, but perhaps this gives you an idea of the difference between photography and painting. I have to say, I am not a great photographer--but taking photos for reference has improved my skill somewhat. I definitely have an idea of the painting I want to make as I take photographs.  For example, the rugged quality of the bluff and the feeling of wind does not show up in the photograph as well as it does in the painting.  If I were a stellar photographer, you would see it in the photograph.

This is why I am a painter!  Now through Derby Day you can see the primrose paintings and more at White Horse Gallery, 431 Main Street, Paris, KY.  After that, my paintings will be coming down to make room for a new show.  I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to see my paintings in the delightful setting of White Horse!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Painting Primroses

For the April Art Walk in Paris, KY, I was invited to be the featured artist at White Horse Gallery.  Roz suggested that it would be good to be actively demonstrating the art of painting during this event.  I had a bit of trepidation about painting for an audience--but it turned out to be a great experience! Folks are genuinely curious about how artists approach their work. And they certainly apologize a lot for not being stellar artists themselves, which I find rather curious. Usually, they say they can't draw a straight line, which is funny because that is the hardest thing to draw!  After six or seven people announced that they had no gifts in the art department, I invited Cathy to add some strokes to the my painting of the bluff with primroses.  This was fun.  I knew that I could riff on her contribution. In fact, next time I am involved with such a demonstration, I am going to have a panel devoted to making a group painting, inviting all so inclined to take part.

     To prepare the two panels for the demonstration, I painted a layer of transparent burnt umber.  A composition was suggested with brush strokes.  I wanted to have my thoughts gathered before painting in public.  My choice of medium was also determined by the setting.  I chose acrylic over watercolor, as watercolor takes a lot strategic thinking; not possible when working the crowd!  But, it was interesting that the openness to an ever changing cast of characters, also opened my mind to new ways of approaching the paintings.  So, these paintings are a little different from what I have created before.
I was not able to complete both paintings during the Art Walk.  In fact, I did very little on the square primrose painting at the top, left. I simply used up some paint on my brush to quickly start on the leaves. I finished both paintings in my studio.  I took what I learned in community with me.  Now I have souvenirs of my visit to the beaches of Normandy and an interesting evening of living the artist's life.

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You can read more about Wild Primroses in my April 6th posting.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wild Phlox and White Horse

    From my last posting, you know that I fell in love with the wild primroses of Normandy.  I was hoping to bring that abundance to my gardens here in Kentucky, but I read in the White Flower Farm catalogue that primroses dislike the heat and humidity of the south (although David reports that "cowslips" as they are called in his home turf, did just fine in Virginia.) I guess that is what makes flavor local!  Viva la difference! I've been considering which new paintings to bring to White Horse for the Paris Art Walk and I was reminded of our own Kentucky abundance when I saw my painting of wild phlox at Blue Licks State Resort Park.  In April, wild phlox carpet the hillside on the Indian Run trail.  Last year I made a small painting in watercolor/pastel, that is at White Horse.  This year, I made a large painting ( 48x16") in acrylic on panel.  Since this represents a newish direction for me (and wild abundance) I am going to include it in the show at White Horse.  I hope you can come to the Paris Art Walk and see my work at White Horse Gallery, 431 Main Street, Paris, KY.  Hours for the Art Walk are Friday, April 15th, 5-8 pm.  Roz and Richard Roney-Dougal have a beautiful collection of original equine-themed jewelry and a fun selection of gifts.  There is something for everyone. A new exhibit of paintings is on the way in May, so I hope you can see my paintings before they come down! And remember, I will be demonstrating painting primroses (I will have those primroses!)
      The wild phlox provide a segue to The Student Art Show at the Blue Licks lodge, Friday through Sunday, April 15-17th.  This is an exhibit of art work by middle and high school students from Harrison, Fleming, Mason, Clark, Bath, Nicholas and Robertson counties in Kentucky.  (And you know from Part Two of my Art Colony series that this is the brainchild of Larry Mitchell, our Courthouse Square Arts Guild fearless leader.) My suggestion is that you take a little hike along the Indian Run trail (maps available at the desk in the lodge) and see the Student Art Show. Enjoy the beauty of Kentucky this weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wild Primroses

Last fall I ordered some primroses and they are supposed to arrive some time this spring for planting.  I am anticipating their arrival even more after seeing the exuberant wild primroses all along the bluffs above the beaches of Normandy.  At first, it seems like an odd juxtaposition, lovely, delicate-seeming primroses on scene where desperation and death were common in the summer of l944. That was a cold summer and storms raged on either side of D-Day, June 6th.  The Allied Forces planned to liberate France by doing the unexpected, which involved entering France along fifty miles of coastline west of the port of Le Havre. To accomplish this, the British came up with a plan to build artificial harbors so that supplies could be delivered. Churchill proclaimed that there would be no discussion as to whether it was possible or not, only how to create a harbor to be fabricated on site in a matter of days that could rise and fall with the tides. "Mulberry B" was built out from Gold Beach at Arromanches and "Mulberry A" off of Omaha Beach. 
        Unfortunately, on June 7, l944 the storms returned and gale force wind and water hammered the harbors. Amazingly, the harbors held sufficiently to allow the mass import of supplies to the Allied Forces battling against the Germans, who had bunkers all along the coastline.  At Pointe du Hoc, the placement of German bunkers was particularly particularly dense. The American troops formed human chains to climb the bluffs. When a soldier fell, there was another to take his place. 
         Walking along these landscapes, an idea began to develop, that there was a certain wild and organic nature to this warfare.  I have always focused on the discipline necessary to be a soldier (and I tend toward the pacifistic.)  Before me was a scene so improbable, how could harbors be built in days and withstand a gale? How could Allied Forces actually overtake the German troops hunkered down all along the coast? There were many missteps and mistakes, and still they succeeded. And the sheer understand this when you see the field of white marble markers at the American Cemetery.
           I don't know about you, but I have been having a hard time getting my primroses established.  A few are hanging on and I'm hoping to add to their numbers.  In Normandy, they rush abundantly up the bluffs and through the fields, just like the young men in the summer of l944.

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          I will be the featured artist at White Horse Gallery for the April 15th  Paris Art Walk, 431 Main Street, Paris, KY, 5-8 pm.  Roz and Richard Roney-Dougal are the proprietors of White Horse. They offer a beautiful collection of their equine-themed original jewelry. Richard is connected to D-Day, his father helped design and build the Mulberry B harbour at Arromanches.  I shall be demonstrating the painting of primroses during the Paris Art Walk. Come join us!