Friday, February 22, 2013

Strawberry Decanter

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

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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).


  1. This is beautiful. Really enjoyed catching up with your blog. What a great painting.

    There were so many amazing views - I could have painted many more too
    Edmonton Painters

    Painters Edmonton

    1. Thanks Gexton for stopping by and your kind comments.

  2. Very nice painting and a good editorial.
    I agree on all many tricks and techniques that are "in" and so many traditional ways that are supposedly out. It can all be so overwhelming.
    My personal pet peeve currently (well one of them anyway) is that studio painting is out and not as valid as Plein Air.

    1. Thanks Diane! I know about the studio painting being out idea but it all depends on where you look and who you talk too. I've decided it's too difficult to keep track of so I'll just do what I want! People say still life if out too but I just saw a 9x12 that sold for $12,000 - it was by a western painter. Maybe we should just move!

      PS let me know if you get this


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