Monday, August 31, 2020
Saturday, August 29, 2020
There are many kids heading to school right now and things are quite different for them and their families. I know it is a stressful time for a lot of them, but I also know that a good sense of of humor, patience and empathy for everyone involved are all important ingredients for success. This little chick is ready to go and excited to learn and I bet most of the kids going back are ready to be learning again too.
I was inspired to paint this little painting for a few reasons... One, because I wanted to acknowledge all of the back to school vibes flying around right now, and two, because these little ducks are kind of a tradition for me. The past few 30 in 30's I've done have all featured a few ducks in Chucks or Ducks in Mary Jane's and I couldn't let this one go by without painting at least one. :) These little guys waddle into my consciousness and are just too cute to not paint!
So, back to school is hitting close to home right now. My son is going into 9th grade and his school will be totally cyber to start... but for him, it won't be much of a transition as he has been cyber and/or a blend of cyber and onsite for the past several years.. I feel lucky and thankful that we don't have any anxiety about his schooling this fall because his school is already set up to do cyber. I also feel for those school districts that are going completely cyber for the 1st time and for the kids who are navigating this new world along with them. It'll be hard for sure, but be patient... it'll all be ok. <3
Just a quick note about cyber school... as I mentioned, my son is in cyber school. He was in a traditional brick and mortar public school up until 6th grade and unfortunately, his needs were just not being met. In short, he was bored out of his mind. He is a bright kid and his style of learning was just not matching up with his district's methods. I was skeptical about cyber, but circumstances were such that there was no other option at the time. I gave in and decided to let him try cyber (which he had been asking to try for years..) And I'll never regret the decision. Cyber school has turned out to be a blessing and the answer to all of the problems he was encountering in traditional school. So, to all the parents and kids out there worrying about cyber.. I say, give it a shot. It may wind up not being for you, but be patient and open minded. You may find that there are many benefits to cyber you had never realized. Good luck and best wishes to everyone going back to school!
Friday, August 28, 2020
Every room in the house deserves artwork on the walls, including the bathroom! And while Degas' bathers are an obvious choice, what about Llamas brushing their teeth? This gal is sure to bring a sparkle to your smile... :)
Seriously though, this painting has a little more integrity than all that .. beneath it's silly exterior is an ongoing exploration of white on white, a value experiment I've been playing with for the past few months. :) So, I'll explain a bit more where this white on white thing is coming from..
Awhile back I began noticing that the artwork I was attracted to when I looked at other people's art tended to have a soft, quiet feel to it... with subtle colors and value shifts. I began to realize that my artwork tended to be just the opposite of quiet and soft. Nothing wrong with that, but really, it was all quite bold and in-your-face... the difference continued to become more and more apparent and I started feeling like my paintings were shouting, where as the softer artwork I would find myself looking at was whispering to me and I wanted to be able to paint like that too.. I decided I needed to try to tone my art down some... Not because I didn't like my own style of painting, but because it was obviously different and a challenge to me. This is early on in my soft experiments, but for some reason, painting white things on a white background (or mostly white) is helping me to understand subtleties better...I still paint my loud yip yaps.. because I love to paint that way.. but I'm loving these softer paintings too... It's always good to broaden the painting vocabulary..
Thursday, August 27, 2020
I'm not going to lie. I am on day 27 of the 30 in 30 painting challenge I've set myself and I am pretty tired. I'm not complaining, honest! But painting this yawning fox seemed so appropriate right now because today... I'm feeling it! However... as happens when you do a 30 in 30, lots of new ideas come and spawn even more new ideas ... and after painting this guy, inspired by my fatigue...well, now I want to paint more yawning critters! :)
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
THE CHALLENGE: Well, if I'd have known what a challenging painting this was going to be, I would certainly have not done it on the same day I had a scheduled board meeting and then a meeting with the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts regarding the State budget and grants for art orgs... Perhaps this is needless to say, but, I was up until 1 in the morning painting this sucker... So I'm feeling a bit burnt... :) One of the wonderful things about art is that it forces me to slow down and really looook at things... And that is great. It's just that this camera has ALOT to look at, and consequently paint, and it turns out a whole lot more than I realized.
THE CAMERA: I've always LOVED the look of this classic camera - Made by a German company called Rolleiflex - it was their long running line of medium format twin lens reflex cameras... (no I did not know that. I just looked it up on Wikipedia.) But, I have known of these cameras and just exactly how freaking cool looking they are. They are so cool, James Dean is famously known to have owned and used one... So, I've been thinking of painting a Rolleiflex for awhile. For no other reason than it is the animal that seemed most likely to hang out on a Rolleiflex, I perched a tree frog on it. :)
THE JOY- Why a subtitle -"In defense of Joy"? Not that I feel I need to defend my art. I don't. But, I read something yesterday, someone's opinion of what they thought 'real' art is... In a nutshell, to this person, real art should make the viewer uncomfortable... and 'real' art is definitely NOT about Joy. There was a lot more said, a lot of it quite mean.. And so, I feel I need to give a shout out to Joy and Joyful art...
In defense of joy because... I believe that creating art with the sole intention of making people smile is just as necessary as creating art that makes you uncomfortable... I know that political art.. art that speaks about global issues.. art that hopes to bring attention to the wrongs of the world.. that kind of art is absolutely important. For obvious reasons.
But I have come to learn that not all art (my art for instance) is cut from that cloth. Joyful artwork is the counterbalance to that kind of art.
Joyful art is the counterbalance to the everyday, mundane yet tragic quantities that make up the moments our lives. There is not one among us who is not touched with some kind of hardship, this is true... And there is not one among us who's hardships are not valid and real.
I know and acknowledge the suffering of the world. I know it is there. And I know that there is work to be done to change the injustices of the world. What I have found to be the truest of truths... the most beautiful way that I personally can respond to this.. this enduring fact of the suffering that is life... is to create art that will bring a spark of joy into that mundane tragedy, to do my part to counterbalance the suffering.... if even for only a second.
With that defense and explanation, I present "Frogtography". And, I hope it finds your heart and I hope it makes you smile.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
So this is another entry into my mini series of Visual idioms... I guess 'Bird Bath' is a kind of idiom..?Coming up with titles an be difficult. Sometimes more difficult than doing the painting itself! But with this painting, as well as 2 others I recently did (Duck Tape and Rabbit Ears) the title came first. Then I had to decide what kind of bird and what kind of bath...
The bath was a no brainer. I've painted claw foot tubs before and they are a lot of fun.. They come in all kinds of colors and have the best lines. The bird took a bit more thinking. I first looked up "what are the biggest birds in the world?". I wanted a big guy, I knew. I looked at ostriches, cassowaries (blue heads...), rheas and turkeys.. None of them quite worked. In searching, I started to come across pelicans and remembered another pelican I had once painted. The pelican I had painted previously had actually befriended a woman who lived on a house boat. The story goes that she came across him and I think he was injured. She cared for him and then come time for him to migrate, he did. She didn't know if she would ever see him again. Lo and behold, the following season, the pelican came back to her. As far as I know, he comes back every season and hangs out on her house boat with her. I love that so much.. So the decision was made. Time to paint another pelican.
As an aside, the nautical flag is the flag that symbolizes Charlie (C) and also means "Yes". Always good to include a bit of the positive, I thought, and, maybe it's just me, but this pelican could definitely pass for a Charlie. :)
Monday, August 24, 2020
Once again, the Red Balloon has made an appearance in my painting.. I didn't intend to continue the exploration of this theme, but here it is. Another unexpected thing, I didn't expect the presence of a balloon in my paintings would create such tension. But again, there it is.
I titled this one "The Moment Before" after I sat and just stared at the painting for awhile, trying to figure out what is going on here.. Is the bird going to pop the balloon? Is this the same bird from the last red balloon painting? Is the cat going to jump for the bird? Are they friends? Why is the balloon tied to the cat's tail? Are they playing a game? Is the cat trying to trick the bird? I honestly don't have the answers. I just painted the image, but I don't know what is going to happen or how they got there. Your guess is as good as mine! So, this painting is about the moment right before we find out... it is an image frozen in time that is so full of questions, and tense with what will be.