Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fiesta Forever

©A.K.SIMON - Fiesta Forever - 8"x8" oil on linen $100

I am so surprised that I had never seen one of these pitchers before. This piece was rescued by an artist friend from a junk pile. Can you believe it? Who would throw something this cool away? This pitcher is such an awesome shape that I had to paint it. Then when people started seeing it in the studio they commented on the fact that they collect Fiestaware, or they have a pitcher like this in another color. Where have I been?! I love this stuff and the whole art deco period.  I can hear my husband now, "focus Annette, do we really need more stuff to sit around?" Oh, and the champagne glass is just to celebrate this awesome shaped pitcher. And, the persimmons had been sitting in the studio so long they were rotten. Does anyone else buy props and they rot or die before you get around to painting them? 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Power of One Candle

©A.K.SIMON - The Power of One Candle - oil on linen

This painting was painted as my annual Christmas card. Every year I try to think of something that is easily recognizable as a symbol of peace and love in any language. This year it's the candle (of course the Merry Christmas and name enhancement are "photoshoped" in). Think of how many times a candle saved you from falling when the electricity failed you during a storm. There is such symbolism in the simplicity of one candle. I was reminded tonight at the Christmas Eve service of the book that Mother Teresa wrote called Come Be The Light. It was an epiphany as to what this painting means to me. It is to be the light that serves as comfort not the angst of darkness, serve a purpose of good and most of all be selfless and nonjudgemental. Mother Teresa was such a light in so many lives - her glow definitely came from within a loving heart!  Happy Holidays and my wish is that we all "be the light" whenever possible!

Friday, December 13, 2013

"Two Slices of Life"

©A.K.SIMON - "Hydor Angos" (water vessel) - 8" x8" oil on linen - $100

Well. it's been awhile since you've heard from me! There's a saying, "life is what happens while you're busy making plans." I've probably mentioned it before but it's worth repeating. 2013 has proved to be a very challenging year for our family and blogging, facebook, twitter and even artwork have taken a back seat. It started in April with personal health issues and culminated In the month of October when we lost two of our family members to illness (cancer and heart disease). As much as you try to just accept the fact that death is a part of life, that acceptance doesn't come easy. This October my son-in-law lost his mother and my brother-in-law lost his wife (this all happened in the same week). 

I once read a book about the dynamics of change. There is no escaping it. and it can be very volatile, painful or almost immeasurable. The older I get, the more I hate it - or do I love it? With it I exist, without it I don't. My heart aches for my family members for what we are going through but I don't believe death is final - we may walk together for awhile in learning and preparation but at some point we must all part to face the ultimate reason for our existence. 

I know the skeptics will say that my faith is just a crutch to deal with the harshness of life. To them I say, "thank God!" Have you ever tried to walk on a broken ankle without a crutch? 

This painting is dedicated to two wonderful moms/sisters/wives/friends who have just lived out their slice of life and proved to be good and faithful servants.

Good bye Cheryl and Georgie, Merry Christmas!



Friday, October 18, 2013

Diffusing the Situation

© A.K.Simon - Diffusing The Situation - 8"x8" oil on cotton

These are those diffuser wicks that add aroma without burning. These were sitting in a vase that was placed in front of a framing mat. I just liked the contemporary look of the color, and being a graphic designer, I am always attracted to "grid like" lines behind an object. Plus, I thought it was kind of funny that the vase actually looks like the bombs they always used in the old cartoons like Wylie Coyote. Is it sad that I actually wanted him to catch that Road Runner at least once?

I did this piece on cotton instead of my usual linen and I had a really hard time taking a photo of it while it is wet because of the fabric texture. This is exactly why I don't usually paint on cotton because I feel the texture of the surface competes with the design when it is very simple like this one.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mist Over The Harvest
























©A.K.Simon - Mist Over The Harvest - $95 - 8"x8" oil on linen


It's really hard to resist painting landscapes this time of year. The other morning I was driving to work and finally decided to stop and snap a picture of this farm that I have been passing by for years. Of course the only camera I had was my Samsung tablet (which I somehow can't live without now). There was so much humidity in the air leaving a soft, warm mist hanging over the farm structures and equipment (the quiet was deafening).

I stopped painting landscapes almost two years ago because I was so dissatisfied with my work. I decided that I would focus on still life to try and hone in on reading values and light more accurately. So, I'm ready to start tackling the outdoors again. Here's the first one in a series of the Klamfoth Farm. This one is still tighter than I would like to see.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Donna's New Vase

© A.K.SIMON - 8"x8" oil on linen - $100
Some artist friends went to Gatlinburg, TN to paint a few weeks ago and Donna bought this beautiful soapstone vase from an artist/s studio there (sorry I don't know his name). It's such a beautiful piece and I'm sure I didn't do it justice because I chose not to include the beautiful veins running through it but I thought it would be too busy with all the dried pods. This group of friends have been traveling to TN every year for probably more than 20 years. They are all artists and spend the week just doing whatever they want and dining on the fabulous food at the Buckhorn Inn http://www.buckhorninn.com/. This Inn is very "artist friendly."

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hidden Hibiscus

© A.K.SIMON - Hidden Hibiscus - 8"x8" oil on linen - $100

I think the hardest thing to do in a painting of nature is to note make it look like it stood up and posed for you. I was playing around in the studio today. 90% of the colors are those that were mixed from the leftovers on my previous palette. I find those make the best grays. Then I just put on the music and tried to focus on it rather than what I was painting and the colors I was mixing. This piece to me is very random, unposed and more of what I want to work on in the future as I'm going to venture back in to some landscape work. 

This is the end to the 30 day painting challenge and I barely "squeaked" this one out in time!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Assisted Living

© A.K.SIMON - 9"x12" oil on linen $185


Nothing much to be said here - would these flowers be able to survive in these pots without the assistance of the stake and clip? I don't know but I do know that sometimes we just need a crutch. This title came too clearly to me because I have so many friends and family members right now suffering with cancer. It has been so difficult for them to rely on family and friends for financial and emotional support. I just know that it is so much easier to be the stake than the stem. But that's what life is about, balance. Sometimes your the stem and sometimes the stake but pretty much worthless or broken without each other. This is why I paint. Many times my work is a revelation of a metaphor of living intertwined with the beauty of the energy of life.

Waxing philosophical because of so much suffering among friends and the death of a beloved coach, teacher and friend last week. Sometimes you just "gotta" cry!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Crimson & Violets

© A.K.SIMON - Crimson & Violets - 10"x10" - $185




I really like how this piece developed. I was trying some new techniques of lifting then glazing which I will share when I have a more concrete idea of how to systematically go about getting a consistent result. Red is just so powerful - it's hard to ignore. Once again, Donna is the instigator of the inspiration. One instructor once said, "a painting isn't finished until you add the red." What do you think? There was no "skimping" on the red in this one!

I think this is painting day #20 of the 30 but I've only finished about five paintings. I am painting every day though. My goal this time is to try new techniques and to try to paint some larger pieces.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Preservation

© A.K.SIMON - Preservation - 6"x6" oil on linen $95

SOLD

This is a piece for the 30 in 30 that I am just getting around to posting. I'm working diligently but not getting things done as planned. Oh well, I do what I can. This is a second work using a piece of horse hair pottery that a friend brought back for a friend from an Arizona trip. The horse hair makes the whimsical lines in the piece when it is fired.

There was a line during a church service during the the lenten season that I really loved and committed to memory. It goes like this, "the day is done, what's done is done, let it be." 


Friday, August 30, 2013

Dream Transfer

©A.K.SIMON - Dream Transfer - 8"x8" - $100


This work was a "sand off". A while back a friend returned from Arizona with this piece of horse hair pottery for us to paint in a still life set up on Tuesday morning. I started it but it just didn't have the mystery I needed. So I sanded it off today and started over from the ghost image. I didn't have a reference photo to work from because the battery on my tablet died and I left my charger cord somewhere - ugh! Amazon to the rescue - I can get it for $9 but speedy shipping brings it to $20 - really! And no, Verizon nor Radio Shack carry the one I need.

OK, enough whining, I did the piece from memory and tried to get the feel I wanted. It's amazing how dependent we can become on our reference material. I'm reminded of Robert Henri's book, The Art Spirit where he speaks about making students go in a room, review the subject then leave the room to paint what they remember. I'm going to try to do this more often. I think this is probably a speedy way to gaining a handle on my own voice. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Glad To Be Here

©A.K.SIMON - Glad To Be Here - 8"x8" $100

This is one of those paintings that didn't just flow off the brush/palette knife. This one had a totally different look when I finished it for the "first time". Did you ever have those days when you left the studio one day satisfied with what you've done then come back the next and you say, "what was I thinking?" Gladiolas are a particular challenge for a square canvas and I just didn't have that sense of "life beyond the canvas." I think that this composition portrays a better sense of flowers expanding beyond the confines of the square. 

Funny thing too is that it looks really good with the Daily Paintworks widget because it matches the colors. (My new favorite color is Utrecht's cobalt turquoise - you know you can't help but buy one of those premixed colors once in a while!)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Precarious Perch

©A.K.Simon - Precarious Perch - 8"x8" oil on linen - $100
Sometimes to get the best worms you've got to just land on a perch not knowing whether it will hold your weight. Oh yeah and you've got to get there early too! This was an exercise in going farther out on my perch and being less cautious about end result. Parts I love and parts I don't - but then again I could say that about everything I paint. Just glad it's Friday!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Rainiers In Season

©A.K.SIMON - Rainiers In Season - 10"x10" oil on linen


We got kicked out of our upstairs painting loft for a few weeks so the class met in my studio for the past two weeks. Last week I had just finished a big show and didn't have the energy to finish the painting I started on that day. So, what did I do this week? Started another one. I think I have a good start on last week's painting but as my friend says, "that's a good start, don't screw it up." Do you ever find yourself wanting to stop in the middle of a painting because you don't have the confidence that you can finish it as well as you picture it in you mind? After painting for many years I still get that "icky" feeling in my stomach that things are just going to to end poorly.

So, I started this one on Tuesday and didn't get it finished so I made myself finish it today in the studio. My goal was to switch up the composition rut that I seem to be stuck in and place things a little more random. This setup was in the middle of a large table and the group painted it from their unique vantage point. This is mine - I like it. The plate is an antique on loan from one of Donna's student's, grandmother - it was this beautiful aqua color - perfect for harmony with apricot color.




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In Season

©A.K.SIMON - In Season - 10"x10" oil on linen - SOLD

About a month ago I painted this painting. It was based on a small sketch I did with the upstairs painters. I love how this turned out - loose and a sense of place and space. This is one I submitted for jurying into the All Ohio Show at the Zanesville Ohio Museum of Art. Well, it failed to meet whatever the standards are for this year. I was bummed because I thought it really commanded some attention (of course I did). But, this Saturday at a show I did in German Village, OH this was the first painting to sell. The gentleman looked at it, didn't hesitate and said, "I want that, frame and all." When we finished the transaction, I said, "thank you so much for supporting my work." He said, "no thank you for painting it."  Makes you want to cry right? We all know how hard we work for this validation.

Sometimes I wonder if works are pre-screened for big shows and the juror only gets to see what the event planners want them to see. Sour grapes? I'm not so sure, because this is a small painting and probably wouldn't bring in much for the museum. But after selling paintings for years I have realized that the universe works to get the paintings exactly where they should be. Long story short, I need to get busy painting because it was an awesome show. It was a ticketed event and people came to appreciate art and artists - how awesome is that?!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sturdy Rose Stock

© A.K.SIMON - Sturdy Rose Stock - 10x10" oil - $125 

SOLD

A few years ago I planted some beautiful roses. Long story short - they died. Don't know what I did but they just wouldn't survive. About two years later this plant started growing along the fence and bloomed with these beautiful little white flowers that smelled just like roses. The plant grew like a weed and I was constantly trimming it back (notice I said "was" - I had to get rid of it because walkway interference and thorn issue). After doing some research I found that it was the sturdy stock that all hybrid roses are grafted too so they will thrive. The amazing thing is that it waited two years before resurfacing. It was such a natural fit putting these sturdy flowers in this beautiful "earthy" colored pot (thanks Donna). 

I used my rubber blade to paint quite a bit of this painting and my new favorite color, cobalt aqua by Utrecht.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Wild Red Roses

© A.K.SIMON - 10"x10" Oil on Birch - $125

Another Tuesday morning "Zen" moment. It can be really difficult to paint complicated, compact flowers without getting too fussy. So, I just started by placing brushstrokes side by side without much fuss and they suddenly became an interpretation of what I felt. These are from Donna's garden - I love this time of year! Gotta love permanent Rose!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Plucked Petunias by the Pitcher

©A.K.Simon - 10"x10" oil on birch panel, 2" cradle - $125


















Another still life setup by Donna (well part of it anyway) and I always have fun painting white. So finally today I am posting a pic of the actual set up so you can see my editing. I am pretty much sold on square paintings and rarely paint any other shape these days. I'm not quire sure why. Anyway, the setup usually has to be edited to fit my composition. This piece, as most of the others was started was started from life and finished today in my studio. I just didn't have time to finish it before visiting my daughter in North Dakota. It was a beautiful visit and all I can say is, "Why Not Minot." The visit went "waaaay too fast."

I feel there were some tough decisions in this paintings, i.e., do I include all of those little details on the vase and still include the lace. I did but I'm not sure if I'm sold on the details. This piece is on birch and I find I really love a wood surface even though I didn't "scrape" as much on this one as I usually do.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fresh Fruit

© A.K.SIMON - Fresh Fruit - 8"x8" oil on linen $100

What can I say? It's hard to resist painting a still life when there are these vibrant red fruits with a strong light source. Still painting on linen but I am experimenting with my new blade tool more and more and have developed a few 10" x 10" pieces that really stretch my "edges". One of the pieces is a larger version of this  piece with less decoration on the bowl. I'll share those works on another day. Right now I have submitted them for consideration for the "All Ohio Exhibit" which is at the Zanesville Museum of Art in September. We'll see, you know how that goes! I have submitted before and been turned down - so I'm "on the fence" about getting my hopes up! I don't care how many times I get turned down, I can never accept it without being a little bummed. It has never kept me from continuing to paint so at least I'm not attaching my sense of accomplishment too much on the jurying process.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Home and Country

©A.K.SIMON - Home and Country - 8"x8" oil on linen framed SOLD

This piece is of the "Wood Foundation Office" in Canal Winchester, OH. It was done as a competition piece for our local art guild for possible selection in a calendar of windows and doors of our community. It is also one of the pieces for my "30 in 30 days" history project started clear back in January. (See, I'm still working on it like I said I would.) It was voted into the calendar by the public at our most recent Art Stroll and will most likely be "July" (that's my best guess). Although, it could certainly be representative of May. Please remember our veterans this weekend and always!

Though this scene looks very summer it was in the dead of January when we had a really sunny day. I had just left the studio and was walking past this building thinking about my current painting project and this "hit the spot".  Imagine that, right there in front of my fact. I love it when the planets seem to be aligned just right!

I really like that this office always hangs the US and Ohio flags. Though the competition was about literal doors and windows I felt the juxtaposition of the window with the flag is symbolic of a figurative window which sheds some light on the people within the building.

Still oil on linen, I am "itching" to get back to some landscape paintings on wood again.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lilacs on the Sill

©A.K.SIMON ARt - Lilacs on the Sill - 8"x8" OIl on Linen  SOLD
 

A good friend and fellow artist lost his mother last year at the age of 99. A week ago when we were in his studio - which is the place where the "upstairs painters" meet every Tuesday to paint - we placed a vase that had belonged to his mother in the window with the first blooming lilacs of the season. Here is my interpretation of the "lilacs on the sill".

I was just thinking as I posted this that Robert's studio is just a "treasure trove" of still life objects and how fortunate I am to live in a community full of artists! Makes you kind of believe you're right where you should be, right?

PS: The pollen is really high this year and the lilac bushes are loaded with blossoms!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

ART STROLL IN CANAL WINCHESTER TODAY 2 - 8 PM


I've been really busy finishing and framing things and making jewelry for our 2nd annual Art Stroll in Canal Winchester, OH so postings have been very "slim" lately. Here are a few pics of my wall spaces for the art stroll today. Please stop in if you live in the area - we will have live music, plenty of food and artwork of all media and style! If you can't make it today, we have open hours on Wed. - Sat. from 10:30 till 2:00 PM. Weather is gloomy right now - hope it clears up soon!

I'll let you know how it goes.







Friday, April 19, 2013

Fresh From The Greenhouse

©A.K.SIMON - 8"x8" oil on linen - $100

One of the showiest flowers I know is the pansy. They can get kind of "leggy" if left too long in their "training pot" but wow do they say, "look at me". Their vibrant colors are irrisistable to me. In Ohio they are being planted right now because they can withstand the cooler weather until May when all the other more tender flowers can be set. Some people don't know that pansies will bloom in winter in Ohio. There is nothing more lovely than seeing a pansy against a backdrop of snow. Dead of summer though - they will be toast! Here's some info on pansies just for the heck of it. Those are some yellow gerbera daisies peeking in from behind.

Back to the art: Still using my favorite fine linen canvas and have begun experimenting more with my "spatula" brush. I have also added a Rembrandt aqua to my palette to kind of "mess around" with green. Green is my nemesis and I am determined to someday master it - until then - charting the experience!

Just a little editorial to vent:Each spring I tell my husband, "as long as we see the flowers blooming there is still hope." In light of this past week's dismal outlook of "man's inhumanity to man" in Boston, hope may be buried deep. But, it's my belief that man's humanity to man will arise out of the depths of despair and shine far brighter than any evil that can attempt to break his spirit! Check out this quote from Robert Henri's The Art Sprit on the landing page of my website http://aksimonart.weebly.com/ . I have it there to remind me that something far greater than our petty differences and barbaric tendencies is always happening under the radar. What is the ultimate goal as an artist in perpetuating a life beyond atrocities! (Guard the good and beauty with your heart and very soul!)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Only The Best For You

©A.K.SIMON - 8"x8" oil on linen - $100

Sometimes you just have to treat yourself. When you're gonna have the best juice you just have to bring out the pretty glasses and make a big deal of the experience. Why is it that we only bring out the nice glassware when we are serving someone else - as if we don't deserve it for ourselves?  My husband drinks his juice from a wine glass - which is really funny when considering how humbly we both were raised!

I picked this section out of a larger still life because I am always looking for relationships of objects and how we combine them in our everyday lives. I almost threw this in the "closet dump of could-have-beens" when I decided there is something about the simplicity that I like.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

On The Rocks at Peggy's Cove, NS

© On The Rocks at Peggy's Cove, NS - 11"x14" oil on linen - $175

This past summer we visited Nova Scotia for the first time and ended up at Peggy's Cove one day. I have to say that Nova Scotia has some of the nicest, laid back people I have ever met in my travels. Peggy's Cove was so quaint and filled with history that we had a hard time leaving. Though I didn't get to paint on location, I took a "bazillion" pictures and will use them for reference. I just loved all of the multi-colored lobster trap buoys everywhere!

This is one of those new "soft core" linen panels (sorry I forget who made it at the moment). I wanted to get that right at sea level look so this is the "on my knees" view. 

If you haven't been to Nova Scotia, you have to go. There are just some beautiful coastal views that can't be compared. Here's a link to the Legend of Peggy's Cove and how it got it's name - romantic of course! Peggy of the Cove

Friday, March 29, 2013

Radish Rendezvous

© A.K.SIMON - Radish Rendezvous - oil on linen - $100

 click to bid in auction

Wow, radish leaves wilt really fast! This is a section of a larger still life set up. The radishes just seemed to be congregated around the cup like a group of people gossiping (notice I didn't say only ladies!) around a water cooler. Or, it looks a little bit like cup worship. I can't decide whether this is about the cup or the radishes.

Not much to say tonight. We just got back from a Good Friday service at church and no matter how many times I listen to the story of the crucifixion, it still tears my heart out. I just want to shout, "NO, can't we change the ending this time!" Man's inhumanity to man is unfathomable! We've seen the darkness, now we must look forward to the Light, Easter!  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Peony In Its Element

©A.K.Simon - Peony In Its Element - oil on linen - $75

click to bid in auction

Although I have painted this same peony before, I wanted to try out my new "handy-dandy" spatula tool that I just purchased from Dick Blick. Here's a link to the Princeton Wedge and Blade Tools they really work well for application and scraping. I want to start a series of landscapes and thought this would come in handy. I'm not sure how long they have been available but they're new to me.

Here's a funny story about the day I got the tool. Dick Blick is about a 45 minute drive from our home so we made it a little Sunday afternoon jaunt combining lunch and the art store. Well, if any of you are like me, the art store is like "cocaine to a coke addict". I could spend hours and think it's minutes. So, my husband suggested we eat first then go to the art store. When we finally made it to the Dick's he says, (and I knew it was coming) "mind if I wait in the car?" So he did (I hoped he would). When I was done (1.5) hours later (you have to look at everything, right?) I came out to the car - the seat was back, he was sound asleep sounding like the Baltimore & Ohio going through the station! He turns and looks at me and says, "wow, that was quick, I was just resting my eyes. (My grandma always said that too.)" And here I was worried about keeping him waiting - I should have known Men from Mars always sleep while their vehicle is resting! He never did look at the clock.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Polka Dots and Pear

©A.K.SIMON - Polka Dots and Pear - oil on cradled panel - $100

This is a painting I started Tues. from life and finished today in the studio from the picture I took on Tues. I really wish I could have had access to the still life long enough to finish it because I never seem to get a decent enough picture to portray what I remember. And, what I remember never seems to be quite enough. These are the times when I wish I had that kind of mind that doesn't let you forget anything - but then again I'm pretty sure there are some things that have happened in my life that I'd be glad to know I forgot!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

You Bring Out The Best In Me

© A.K.SIMON - You Bring Out The Best In Me - Oil on Panel - $110

SOLD

I love white vases and I love flowers - what more can I say? Well I guess the vase is not technically white but close enough. I'm working on edges. I read in Richard Schmid's book Alla Prima (http://www.richardschmid.com/books.idc) that edge should be included in the elements of design. I'm working on it but know that each subject brings its own set of problems.  If you haven't read this book, you should. It is one of my favorite and one of my favorite lines in the book is regarding talent. It goes like this, "Talent, don't bother about whether or not you have it. Just assume that you do, and then forget about it." He also says, "don't be afraid to learn."

About a year and a half ago I abandoned painting landscapes because I needed to learn more about drawing and painting from life and need to study light. I have come to the conclusion that painting objects from life is the best way to learn these things. I have come to love still life paintings through this process and have a greater respect for artists who do it really well. 

One final point from Richard Schmid regarding confidence, "self-doubt is utterly crippling to painters. Nothing will mess up our efforts more effectively than believing that we lack 'what it takes.' Well, no one knows what it takes, so how could anyone possibly know if they don't have it?" Everybody's a critic, right? Don't let people or sales mess with your head!

PS: I've been working with Leslie Saeta on the Webinarts marketing series so I've been a little lax in painting and posting. I'm trying to create a "brand" so I've replaced the banner at the top of the page with the new one I'm using on FB, Blog and Website (adjunct pages - not home - I've made something similar for that.) Wish me luck, this is a lot of organizing that is long overdue!



Friday, March 1, 2013

Fixed on the Objects of My Desire

©A.K.SIMON - Fixed on the Objects of My Desire - Oil on Linen - $45

SOLD

Besides oil painting, I also work with copper enamel. A while back I did a rooster in copper enamel and loved it. So, when pondering what to paint today this came to mind. Moral of the story: When pondering the objects of our desire we should go after them with the confidence of a rooster after a chicken - head held high, chest out and focused like a laser!

I like the marks made with the palette knife so I decided I would do a series of small paintings with varied marks (brush, palette, fingers) just for practice. Surprising how fun painting can be if you don't fret the outcome! This guy looks like he could be saying, 
"Oooh-la-la!"

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Basking in the Sun

© A.K.SIMON - Basking in the Sun - 6"x6" oil on linen - $40 + shipping

Just a quick note today after the soapbox event of Friday. I was testing some colors for a larger sunflower painting and did this quick study that I really like. Offering it up for auction tomorrow on DPW.







Friday, February 22, 2013

Strawberry Decanter

©A.K.SIMON - Strawberry Decanter - oil on linen - $75


























Click to Bid in Auction

I'm on a mission to figure out where I belong on the artistic spectrum. It drives me nuts that everybody wants to see brushstrokes these days? I see people purchase artwork simply because the paint is thick and you can see the brush marks - oh yeah, and the color is like neon (nowhere to focus). They pay no mind to value, shape, color, form, line, composition or content - if the paint is thick and I can see those strokes, it must be good. I see people rush out to learn the latest technique so they can fit the mold of what someone says is popular right now. Beating themselves up because they can't grasp the concept (always some reason to feel not quite good enough). I can hear you now, "but I need to be loose and willy/nilly - I have to be free!"Call me nuts but I think a good abstract painting is harder than a realistic painting. Too many people don't know or believe that! (Okay, so we had an ice storm today and I'm cranky - being cooped up too much gets me on my soapbox!)

I was with a group of friends this week watching a demonstration of acrylic techniques. Don't get me wrong, the results were fabulous but beware, there's a saying, "technique is cheap." My mission is to incorporate new techniques and keep learning without losing myself. I firmly believe that there is a fine balance between technique and discipline/personal style. And, just for the record, there are some "FABULOUS" paintings that are as smooth as glass - really - just visit your nearest museum!

So, after all that, this painting is loaded with brush marks and palette knife smoothing. Mostly I'm trying to work out a texture I find pleasing and a color balance that isn't just local, while still being realistic (I can hear all the art teachers groaning - realism is passe - tell that to Howard Terpning). One thing I do after finishing a painting (or a painting I think I've finished) is to photograph it and take into photoshop and desaturate it totally. Bringing something down to grayscale helps with finding that three-value balance. Many times I find my work either lacking in darkest dark or mid values. Dancing brushstrokes are lovely but they can become like a person who talks too much - if you know what I mean - very distracting and you don't want to be around them for very long! I'm finding I like thick paint but I like it smooth (I can hear you gasp!). Waiting till the paint is a little dry then rubbing over it with a palette knife leaves some smooth raised areas with crevices that can be glazed over later. What's that, not finishing a painting in the same day! (more gasping).




Friday, February 15, 2013

A Time to Shine

© A.K.SIMON - A Time to Shine - 8"x8" Oil on Linen - $85

There is such a fascination between the artist and the peony. I've seen so many artists, including myself, mesmerized by the vortex of petals. Peonies always make me slow down. I  always "lose my place" when painting them and often get frustrated. This one is a "romanticized" yellow tree peony. The "Scarlet O'Hara" of peonies if you will (can you tell I watched "Gone With The Wind" last night?). I normally don't like to paint with such a  feminine palette but the peony just reminds me of those great gowns of the south with all the crinoline underneath (of course you'd have to knock the girl over to get this angle).

The peony is practically the national flower of China and is often referred to in poetry and literature. Peonies are one of the main motifs of Chinese decorative arts and can be found on porcelains, in woodblock and screen paintings as well as embroidered onto tapestries and clothing. Got to this sight and read some really interesting history about peonies: http://www.paeonia.com/html/peonies/history.htm

A little about technique: I started this on a peachy/orange toned canvas that was totally dry. What seems to work best for me is to take care of the majority of the background so I can picture the placement of the petals (don't ask me why it's just a "me" thing). Then I carefully try to carefully place the shadow and light shapes then fill in "bridge" colors.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cup O' Joe and Avocado 
#98


©A.K.SIMON - Cup O' Joe and Avocado - 8"x8" oil on linen - $100

click to bid in auction

So, what I've heard is that emerald green is one of the pantone colors of the year (another is a cobalt blue looking color). Interestingly enough, I did not hear that until a day after starting this painting. Donna had a still life all ready when we showed up for class Tuesday and I just happened to have a pre-toned red canvas in my box (love red & green paintings and I never choose a painting because it is the current trend color - just me). The art planets aligned themselves for one brief moment - using a color that is supposed to be popular, a red canvas all ready to go, some pre-mixed grays from the previous painting and I love avocados. They are especially good with cottage cheese and tuna or fajita beef, red onion and a little olive oil and salt - yum!

Two guesses (and I'm sure you won't use them both) as to what color this was after two hours of painting (yuk). How can something go so bad so fast ? This avocado also had a "ginormous" seed. 

I don't plan my Tuesday morning paintings - I don't draw them in either. I study the scene, and figure out a composition for a  square canvas and start painting. Sometimes I come up with an intimate little picture like this that I really like. And, sometimes I come up with "crap" but I like the challenge of winging it! 
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