Tag Archives: creativity

Choosing To Go Her Own Direction

2 Nov
THe SUn and the Moon

“The Sun and the Moon”,  2005, oil on canvas on wood, 9’9”x8’11”x2” by Elizabeth Murray

The first time I heard of Elizabeth Murray (1940-2007) was when Kathryn Bilharz-Gabriel  mentioned her 2018 Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency  over the summer.  A few weeks later, PBS aired the documentary film “Everybody Knows… Elizabeth Murray” American Masters.  Murray was known for her use of shaped canvases and bold colorful abstracts.  She rejected the minimalism of the time, choosing to go her own direction.

I found her story encouraging for women and also in that she was still painting and pushing herself artistically until her death.  She was one of only five female artists to have a retrospective at the MoMA and she was very dedicated to her work.

I find her work fabulously noisy, eccentric, strange and successful.  Her art has images exploding with zany energy and color.  They have a sort of music to them.  There is something unique about Murray’s art that just works.  I look forward to seeing her work in person the next time I am able to visit NYC.

If you’d like to read more about Elizabeth Murray, here are some links:

https://elizabethmurrayart.org/biography/

https://art21.org/artist/elizabeth-murray/

https://www.moma.org/artists/4185

https://www.pacegallery.com/artists/318/elizabeth-murray

♦♦♦

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Unusual Materials

26 Oct

UlaEinsteinSCALESwebArtists are known for creating all kinds of odd and wonderful things, so it’s not a surprise to see art using Tyvek®.

DuPont™ produces Tyvek® which is best known for its application as housewrap.  It is used to protect the walls of a home from moisture.  Tyvek® is also used in medical packaging, protective clothing and now in all kinds of art, jewelry and more.

Ula Einstein is an artist living in New York City who creates with Tyvek®.  She first started working with Tyvek® in 2008.  Einstein usually starts her process with cutting the Tyvek®, then uses a variety of techniques including: painting, scorching, piercing, crumpling, searing, drawing out and layering.  All these, result in innovative works that are a cross between paintings and sculpture together.

Her works titled “Hybrid In(ter)ventions” exhibited at the FLUX Art Fair 2015 in NYC.

There is an article about her work here: Tyvek Graphics Einstein

Other artists who create with Tyvek® include Taiko Chandler, and Susan Greer Emmerson, Tom Sachs, Kathy McCreedy and more.

If you are looking to try your hand at creating with Tyvek®, it can be purchased online by roll (22”x84”) for approx.. $9.99 from ebay, etsy, amazon and also www.hollanders.com which sells  bookbinding supplies.

Dupont has information on artists who use their Tyvek® product here: Tyvek Graphics Uses Article

Something is Better than Nothing

16 Oct
Purple Pole Beans

“Purple Pole Beans”, Watercolor on Yupo paper, Katie Turner

A fellow artist approached me recently bemoaning that his drawing wasn’t as he would have liked it.  When I asked him why he didn’t like his drawing he explained that it had been done using a photo reference rather than sketching it “en plein air”.

In my opinion, drawing from a photo is certainly better than not drawing at all.  But without the right approach it can be a sad experience with drawings and paintings that look flat, lifeless and soulless.

So how do you keep your drawing or painting from lacking soul? First, have a positive attitude and then an open mind. What are you feeling as you draw this?  What senses are affecting you during the drawing process?  What is it about this particular subject that you want to communicate to the viewer in your drawing?

Another thing to consider is what the photographer has already done in the photo.  How have they already edited the scene and what can you do to make it your scene rather than just a repeat of what the photographer created?  What else can you bring to this drawing that would make it fresh and spice it up?

Remember that your art tells your story and you get to choose what you want to say and how to say it.   Happy creating. ♦

Rodin’s Answer to Rejection.

13 Sep
rodin angels

The Benedictions, executed 1894
Musee Rodin cast number unknown, 1955 bronze
Marked: “A. Rodin”, “Georges Rudier Fondeur Paris”
35 1/2x24x19” Lent by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation

Attending Syracuse University’s Lunchtime Lecture afforded me the opportunity to hear Professor Romita Ray’s wealth of information and insight into the current show, Rodin: The Human Experience.

This free event is open to the public and gives visitors a chance to familiarize themselves with Rodin and all of the SU Galleries in the Shaffer Art Building on campus.

The show has 28 bronze sculptures all by the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917).  Rodin is considered the father of modern European sculpture and he studied under Antoine Louis-Barye.

Rodin came from a working class family, his father a police inspector and his mother a seamstress.  After he was rejected from Ecole des Beaux-Arts (art school), he worked for sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse for six years.  After having his sculpture rejected from the Salon several times, he was determined to continue working in his own style.  He was inspired by Michelangelo’s work during his travels to Italy in 1876.  Not long after that his work began receiving positive attention and international fame.

Professor Ray gave insight into the political events that were happening during the time Rodin was creating various sculptures. It was interesting how critics of the era responded.  She took time to describe the actual process of creating a bronze sculpture, which I found very helpful.  She told us how Rodin described sculpting as simply “making holes and bumps”, gave a hand-out full of detail and explained how the Rodin sculptures “Vibrate” power without many details.  It is fascinating to see how this artist was able to give the feeling of flesh and fabric using a metal.  Some of Rodin’s sculptures feature oversized feet, hands or other body parts, which Professor Ray stated “Art is about more than beauty, it’s also about exaggeration.”  I saw the exaggeration as Rodin’s expression of power or strength.

Professor Ray explained that the emotional pieces that were rejected were also the same pieces that later were considered to be masterpieces.  Rodin’s art is considered a link between traditional and modern sculpture and is rich with feeling.

I appreciate artist stories and particularly enjoy hearing the successes – how one persevered, overcame and found success.  What can I take away from this?  Sometimes it’s important to ignore the critics (even if they are only in your own head) and push yourself to create the best work you possibly can.

Syracuse University has many free events, so be sure to check out their art and newsletter here: http://suart.syr.edu/  ♦

Chromatic Interaction

29 Aug

There are many methods for organizing colors in the world of art and science.  Having a visual model can help an artist see the relationships colors have with each other. A color wheel, developed by Albert Munsell in 1905, assigned a numbering system to colors and became a useful and common tool artists and designers could use for planning color ideas.  Johannes Itten also developed a three-dimensional model, integrating the color wheel into a globe.

Using a sketchbook to study colors can help an artist examine the relationships between warmer and cooler colors as well as between analogous and complementary colors.  As a watercolorist, I can gain an understanding of how the various watercolors work together, but may find changes as I experiment with different brands.

Testing chromatic interaction doesn’t have to be boring at all – try this exercise for fun:

  1. Draw several free-hand circles in various sizes.  Allow them to overlap.  This first step is optional, since you could just create your circles with the brush.
  2. Start with the largest circle, painting one color into the circle.
  3. Clean the brush with water before adding a second color. Paint the new color into the adjoining circle on the first circle.  Watch the colors bleed, paying attention to how the colors are interacting.
  4. Continue painting circles with different colors.
  5. This is only one way to paint the circles. You could also wait for each circle to dry before painting the next, so there would be no “bleeding” of colors.

Have fun!

To read more about color theory, click here: https://watercolorpainting.com/color/

https://uxplanet.org/algorithm-for-automatic-harmonious-color-selection-for-the-image-fc26dde69ca1

The Munsell Color System: https://web.archive.org/web/20030813092028/http://www.adobe.com/support/techguides/color/colormodels/munsell.html

Itten Color: https://www.bauhaus100.de/en/past/teaching/classes/preliminary-course-by-johannes-itten/index.html

An art & design duo from Milan have chromatic interaction art:  https://www.carnovsky.com/RGB.htm

Exercises For Brush Control

28 Jun
chinese brush practice

Chinese Brush Painting made easier using a giant serving tray as a mixing palette.

Chinese Brush Painting was one of many items on my Art “To-Do” list.  I had heard from others that it would be helpful in learning control of the brush.  I’ve been painting for a long time so I knew some techniques but I was happy to find that daily Chinese Brush painting practice has helped my painting.

Masters of Chinese Brush Painting study the art for many years and create some of the most beautiful paintings and calligraphy.  I was more interested in building the brush work into my daily habits.

Some of the exercises include painting bands of color, laying varying colors side by side (steady hand practice), and painting thick and thin lines using the tip and base of the brush (practicing pressure).  Painting fast lines with a wrist flick and cutting shapes are more exercises.  These are only some of the many exercises to try.

If you haven’t tried Chinese Brush Painting and you want to strengthen your brush control, give it a try.  There are many inexpensive books to help guide you in the process.  You can even use YouTube to get an idea of how to paint this way.

Here are some online resources: http://education.asianart.org/explore-resources/background-information/introduction-chinese-brushpainting-techniques

http://asia-art.net/chinese_brush.html

https://www.wikihow.com/Start-Chinese-Brush-Painting

https://youtu.be/qF3EbR8y8go

 

 

Transforming Reality

23 Mar
Confetti Mountain

“Confetti Mountain” Watercolor by Katie Turner

In allowing greater creativity to unfold in my paintings, I’ve worked hard to eliminate and simplify.  Without losing too many of my white areas, I built an abstract foundation with delicate calligraphic accents to evoke an illusion of reality.  Most of the time I like to use larger brushes because they force me to stay loose.  The reality of the scene in front of me may include many excellent details but the simplification and editing can help me to transform it into more of a feeling.  Transforming reality is my key to freedom.  ~ Katie