Tag Archives: painting

Courage to Create

28 May

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?  These words of Vincent VanGogh ran through my mind as I read about Zarina Hashmi last week.

Zarina Hashmi was an American artist who went by only her first name, Zarina.  She recently passed away in April from Alzheimers.  Born in India, she used Islamic type decoration as visual elements in her art.  Her geometic style is similar to the minimalist style of the 1970s.

According to Gallery Espace in New Delhi, India, Zarina has a unique “ability to distil emotion down to its most essential and expressive forms.”   To view some of her artwork at Gallery Espace, click here: www.galleryespace.com She has many pieces from a 2007 show that are unique paper cast sculptures.

After doing a lot of travel, she began incorporating maps into her art work.  She expanded her ideas to include topographical details of cities that had been altered by political turmoil, such as India, NY, Baghdad, Kabul, and others.

MoMA has 43 Zarina works online that you can view on their website.  www.moma.org    She has a lot of interesting art but her prints are what interest me the most.  In an interview with editors of the 1970 issue of Vrishchik, she states that she didn’t have a lot of space or money when she first moved to NYC, so she devised her own paper casting mold by drilling holes in plastic.

In 1980 she was invited to co-curate an exhibition and design the catalog for the A.I.R. Gallery in NYC but they didn’t want her to show in it because of her race.  They just wanted her to do the work of curating and making the catalog.  In the end, things worked out and she did end up participating.

Zarina created many woodcut prints as well as her own paper, sculpture, drawing and often paired writing or words printed in Urdu, her native language from India.  She taught in several universities, NY-FAI, NYU and Cornell.  Her work was important to the art world because she explored home, displacement, and memory in a profound way through her prints.

Courtney Stewart with the Met Museum Research Department of Islamic Art questioned Zarina about the role of an artist in society.

“I think we are witnesses to the times we are living in.” stated Zarina.  She went on to explain how she saw Aligarh, her hometown, divided by a politically drawn line separated into India and Pakistan.  1947 was a tragic time where she saw villages burning with the British partition.

When asked “What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?”, she said “Keep on working.  Just keep on working.  You will find a language for yourself.”

She reminisced “Everybody can draw, you know – skills don’t make art.  That is the least important part.  I’ve been a teacher for 25 years in this country, so I can teach the skills.  Ideas make art.  There are lots of people who can’t draw but they can make big art – great art, because it comes from ideas.  You can teach skills but you can’t teach ideas.”

Despite her not attending art school she had a long and successful art career.  The Jeanne Bucher Jaeger Gallery in Paris, writes that Zarina became more and more convinced that a superior force guided her life.  In accepting this light, she began using gold leaf the past few years, as she considered her artistic voyage as more of a universal spiritual destination.

To read Zarina’s biography, go to zarina-hashmi.com or the artist’s official website at www.zarina.work

Video: Zarina YouTube Video by Tate

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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

♦♦♦

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. ♦

Urban Vibe: Watercolors by Katie Turner

1 Apr
Keep Out

“Keep Out” Watercolor by Katie Turner 2018

Paintings from Katie Turner’s “Urban Vibe” series incorporate her loose style with the structure of city buildings. Cities have contradictory traits, much the same as people with creative spirits, some of which fuels her inspiration. Her paintings are rich with color, shape and emotion. The colors she chooses speak to the excitement of city growth and beauty. On the other hand, color choice also lends itself to the dark side of decay, danger and destruction. As she paints, these cities seem to have their own spirit as they go in unplanned directions, colors mixing and mingling and developing on their own. It is exciting to see how these urban landscapes develop and the stories they tell.

Join us for a reception on Thursday, April 12, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. FREE

(Show runs for the month of April 2018)

Hosted by Petit Branch Library – Onondaga County Public Libraries

105 Victoria Place, Syracuse, New York 13210

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

Developing Tenacity

21 Feb
The Starry Night by Van Gogh

The Starry Night by Van Gogh

Van Gogh must have felt a lot of satisfaction staring at a completed piece he had just finished.  Maybe he felt sad that he wasn’t a financial success but I bet he felt the excitement of completing a good painting.

Van Gogh sold only one painting while he was alive yet he produced 900 paintings and over 1000 amazing drawings that we enjoy today.  It doesn’t seem like he was discouraged enough to give up on the art.  It seems Van Gogh created with drive and passion.

As creative people, we will face difficulty and discouragement.  Will we keep creating our art?  Van Gogh sets a good example for those who might be discouraged.  To read more about Van Gogh’s and his art, visit https://www.vincent-van-gogh-gallery.org/  To see more of my art, visit  https://fineartamerica.com/artists/4+katie+turner  or my website http://www.ktartstudio.com/

red flowers with abstract design

Red Flowers, Mixed Media Painting by Katie Turner

Cadmium-Free Paint

18 Dec

Today I received a sample of paint from Liquitex.  They have a new Cadmium-Free acrylic paint out and are encouraging artists to test their paint and see if you can really tell the difference between the Cadmium-Free and the regular paint.  Some artists say that the Cadmium paints are more vibrant with better opacity but there is a health risk with Cadmium.  Here are my test samples below.   I don’t know which tube, A or B has the cadmium but will have to visit liquitex.com to learn the results of their artist challenge.  I really couldn’t tell the difference.   They both seem to function the same with the same coverage.   If you would like read more about it, go to https://www.liquitex.com/cadmium-free-challenge/

 

liquitex tubes

a testb test