Leonardo da Vinci

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

--Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Mild Winter Scene

My passion for painting runs hand in hand with my quest for finding subjects. I have spent some time exploring the Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway and i have obtained a great affection for its beauty. While the amazing winter colors, interesting shapes, and lovely textures are mesmerizing to me, i find that coming up with a strong artistic composition can be a challenge at the BBCG; and in being a challenge, i am forced to exercise my vision, push my limits and forge ahead to the uncharted territories of my creative thoughts.
I think it's important that we keep learning, and growing, and pushing our boundaries as individuals - and as we keep thrashing at the thicket of our thinking, we start to see the world unfold before us in the vast sea of possibility.
Possibility you may ask..... not so much the possibility that i can turn out paintings like Korovan or Shishkin, but more the possibility that i can uncover the filtering layers of haze that blind me and reveal the raw, unedited truth of how i paint, how i see the world. Avoid the nagging tendencies to follow a worn path and blaze a new trail, my own trail. And if i do that, how can it be wrong?...
I know this may seem a bit of a charged statement, but i only say it to inspire others to keep honing their passions. If we don't know what that is yet, keep searching - and if we dig deep enough, i promise, we'll find it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

LaCamas Lake

Winter Oaks
This past weekend, i took the advice from a great friend and went exploring more of the LaCamas Lake Heritage Trail. I have painted there before, but only on the south end of the trail. This time, i started at the north end and took in some amazing beauty. The flat and wide path wonderfully winds through the trees and along the lake's many inlets to reveal very intimate scenes that gave me a sense of being in another world.
It was difficult landing on a composition, for they were everywhere. Which one do you do? Which one gets ignored while another takes center stage? This is the never ending question that plays round-n-round in the plein air painters noggin.
Thankfully, i did land on my star for the day, and really what it came down to was the amazing moss covered oaks that really struck me. It may have been the close proximity, or the backdrop of evergreens that really made the sea-foam green of those trees pop, but i wanted them in the composition.
I was also stunned by how many people use the path. There were countless runners, walkers, and cyclists who seemed happy to share the space with a painter.
Nature and art go hand in hand, but i think most people are quite surprised to see someone out painting, especially in a venue they frequent. Not that the scenery does not warrant being painted, but that, Wow, someones actually doing it. I know i would think its great, but then, maybe that's partly why i do it: Meeting nature on her terms, in her opera house.
It is always interesting and exciting for me to have the unsuspecting person stop to take a look at what i'm doing and maybe strike up a conversation - which did happen a few times. This is not always easy for a painter, for we tend to get pretty focused. So, going in and out of of those mindsets can be distracting, but it is a challenge that is necessary and will ultimately make us a more well-rounded painter.
So thank you to all those who showed an interest, and took the time to help me grow.
Click on the link to learn more about LaCamas Lake Heritage Trail.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Academy Ruins Series

Academy Ruins III
One of my favorite things about the city of Vancouver,WA is its wonderful historical architecture; and of the list of great structures, my all-time favorite to paint is the old laundry building at The Academy.
The brick behemoth, that has been condemned for a number of years, may not be suitable for human habitation anymore, but its rugged character and adorable charm make it a painter's and photographer's dream. It's beat up brick, run down trim, and broken windows make it a joy to paint. All i have to do is pick the time of day, set up, and sling away.
Academy Ruins IV
There are so many compositions that i want to paint here, that i think i could use this building as inspiration for a number of years. One of the building's finest assets are it's exterior conduits. Along with the dormant ivy, the old pipes - that seem to run like a maze, make for some fun lines and add an interesting strength to a composition.
This scene here, in painting IV, i have had my eye on for a while and i am likely to paint this view again.
The Academy Ruins Series is turning out to be very special to me and i have three rules for it:
1) Must be 6x8 (or 8x6)
2) Must depict this building only
3) Must be painted plein air, alla prima
I am excited to paint other scenes of this building in larger format; they just won't get the unique tag of, Academy Ruins.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Along the Road

Milepost 131
This past weekend a stake was thrown in the ground, a tree was planted, and a Milepost was found. I officially have gallery representation; Art on the Boulevard in Vancouver,WA has taken me on, for which i am extremely excited about.
The road of following my passion for painting is filled with highs and lows, and is textured as much as a pizza painting.
(see posting of Steigerwald Gold for more on a pizza painting) http://michaellindstromartist.blogspot.com/2011/11/steigerwald-gold.html
This week is an extreme high, but it is not the final destination. Along the road of life there are occurrances that we will always remember as significant; graduation, marriage, birth of a child, death of a loved one. These are some examples of mileposts that can alter life or at least mark a moment in time. A moment in time from which there is no going back, we can only move forward. This is one of those weeks for me and what better way to express it than to paint it.
A great many thanks are owed to a great number of people who have helped me get to this point in my art career. No way did i make it here alone. And no way do i continue to improve without the help and support of friends and family.
Huge thanks to Kevin Weaver for taking me on in the gallery, and to my wife, Vicki, for believing in me and supporting me through thick and thin.