Leonardo da Vinci

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

--Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, May 25, 2012

Untold Stories

Old Glory XI
With the Memorial Day Weekend upon us, i thought it would be good to post another flag painting. Since i have started this series of paintings, i of course see our nation's symbol everywhere. And i'm like a kid in a candy store when i see a flag, and state to my patient wife, "look, there's another one"!
I often stop and take photos to capture just that right composition and study the wave patterns. However, this past week while in Seattle, and locked out of my son's condo (for a bit), i had ample time to contemplate a large flag flying atop a downtown building. A few people passed by, including an older gentleman wearing a veteran's hat. As he shuffled by, he glanced at me and gave me a nod. I reciprocated with a nod of my own and a solemn "hi". He had no idea what i was doing or what i was thinking, or what i was about to think....
At that moment, my thoughts turned from line and form to people. The many faces that pass by everyday with the blink of an eye, and of their untold stories. What does our flag mean to them? What does our flag mean to all who have lived under these colors? How much pain and how much pride is lurking in each and every one of us that most people never have the opportunity to learn about.
So here is one of mine....
I painted this piece with specific thoughts in mind. As it is my Eleventh flag painting in the series, it, and my number Nine painting, are meant to serve as my way of honoring the victims of  9 11.
Number Nine was painted for a specific Marine, and dear friend of mine, to represent our military forces and public servants who work to protect our nation on a daily basis. Number Eleven is to honor the 911 victims.

In my closing thoughts  i would like to dedicate this post to the memory of my mother, Betty Jane Lindstrom, who passed away in 1991. She planted the seed of oil painting in my teenage thoughts so many years ago. And although our painting styles are a bit different, i wish we could have had the opportunity to paint together.
Mom, thanks for the memories, and thanks for your amazing creativity.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thoughts on Painting Still Life

Food for Thought

Still Life painting is a great passion of mine. And i think for most people, you either love em', or you don't. For me, still life's hold a special place in my heart, for that's when colors and values and shapes, began to make sense to me.
I also enjoy the gathering of trinkets and formulating them into a display. And, I gotta tell ya', you just haven't lived until you've wandered through thrift stores looking for interestingly shaped items that are just begging to be re-purposed. It truly is great fun. However, some items, like the bud vase, was my mother's, the book is my wife's, and the flowers are snips from our yard.
I knew i wanted this painting to be full of texture and that it would take multiple sittings to get it where i wanted it. The whole thought process that takes place with problem solving (the application of paint to a painting revisited) is quite freeing and magnetizing. Freeing - in terms of not having to dial everything in during the first pass or two because i know i'm going to refine as i go. And magnetizing - because each visit is like a new painting, only better. The juicy thick paint being pulled and dragged, grabs like a saber tooth tiger and reveals wonderful nuances.
If you already enjoy painting still life's, i might be preaching to the choir. If you don't, i would urge you to give it a shot - you never know, you might succumb to the power of the still...and if you're an appreciator, you probably already have.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Truth in Painting

Gorge White House
Last Sunday, Vicki and I, went to The Gorge White House in Hood River, OR for Celeste Bergin's solo show opening which was great.
We are no stranger to the great city of Hood River, we actually got married there, but it was our first time to the delightful old farm house.
We arrived early to allow me get a plein air painting in and enjoy a picnic before the scheduled event. I found it a struggle to land on something to paint, for there is so much beauty with every turn. Mt Adams and Mt Hood are both clearly visible, amazing hillsides, and terrific orchards. I finally landed on a distant view of the Gorge White House itself with the wide grassy path, cutting through the fields and leading you to the house.
There are some things i really like about this painting, but there are some things i didn't see until later in the day which could have made it a stronger composition. The most glaring to me, is the way the line of the dark tree trunk is right in line with the edge of the grass. That line should have been broken up.
Performing the act of painting is all about choices and making decisions. What to put where, and how to compose a piece in a manner of the mood or feeling you are trying to convey. Now, i could have moved the tree to make it more technically correct, but i was not willing to lose the spontaneity of the main subject farm house. So there you go; I made my choice.
Plus, there are times when i like to show the truth of my day, the honesty in my moment of how i was seeing. At times that may be a bit cockeyed, but for better or worse the authenticity always shows through and that's one of the great things i love about painting.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Art - Vancouver,WA

Art - Vancouver
Oil on panel
In an effort to celebrate the return of Spring and the start of the outdoor art event season, i decided to post a painting that i worked on last month. And since our weather, here in the Pacific Northwest, is just about to turn a swift 180 degrees, where the sun comes out to play a little more regularly, i thought this one might be appropriate. 
The scene here, i painted from a photo reference that i took last August while participating in Vancouver's annual, Art in the Heart, art festival.
I really enjoy capturing urban street scenes; scenes that have an intimate feeling to them; scenes with interesting lines, shapes, and colors. And ultimately trying to give the viewer an experience through my eyes that i find intriguing enough to paint.
A big thanks to, Cirith, for being my unsuspecting victim in the red dress. Word to the wise; Beware, for you never know when you will wind up as Art in Vancouver.