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:

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 

©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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