Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ushering in 2014 - 3 Artists that inspire - Carl Larsson - and the journey to his home.

Carl Larsson,  Helene Schjerfbeck and
Akseli Gallen-Kallela

I'm continually inspired by other artists and their work and it is my hope that some day my own work will inspire me at least a percentage of that...not sure if that is possible?  But this alluding goal will at least keep me painting - and hoping...

Today I wanted to share with you the great work of Carl Larsson, as well as the work of Finnish artists Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Helene Schjerfbeck.

The last two artists were unknown to me when I stumbled upon them and their artwork on my visit to the Carl Larsson Exhibit "Friends and Enemies" at NationalMuseum in Stockholm with my sister.

But first - Carl Larsson's home

I grew up in Sweden and this past summer on our visit back I had somehow managed to convince my family to take an extended road-trip thru Sweden on our way up north, so that I could finally squeeze in a visit to the home and studio of Carl Larsson in Sundborn, Dalarna.

To make up for this somewhat selfish artist quest ...I thought staying at a farm and experiencing the joy of being close to nature and animals, re-creating that idyllic Swedish child-hood I experienced and grew up reading about in Astrid Lindgren's books, would deeply enrich the trip for the kids.

This all back-fired when my 7-year old was stung by a honey bee right under his eye on our second day there - We've since found out that it's the only insect he is allergic to.  So, at the end of two days the half side of his face would swell up and his eye swell shut.  (It all ended with a doctor's visit and a lot of cortison after the third day, when we really started worrying about the never-lessening swelling!!)

The visit to Carl Larsson's home took place the day after this dramatic, painful experience.

 Luckily, at that point the swelling hadn't gotten really bad yet, so the kids did end up enjoying the visit. Spending time with their cousins is such a treat and my 4-year old (the budding illustrator) donned a robe and in true Carl Larsson fashion painted his own little master piece.

Carl Larsson 


Carl Larsson - Self-portrait 1906

Anders Zorn is probably the most well-known Swedish Artist, but I've always been fascinated and impressed with Carl Larsson, who was a contemporary of Zorn's.   To me, he's a Swedish Norman Rockwell of sorts, recording Swedish life of that time.  His subject matters included his own family and friends, life in Sundborn, famous writers and high society of the day.   His images adorn many a Swedish home, in prints and calendars, as his illustrative style has been re-printed, loved and commercially successful ever since the time he was alive.
I'm most intrigued by the way he composed and cropped his work, sometimes putting his center of interest, or the action, in a corner or by the edge of the canvas.   I was fascinated to learn that he was inspired, as many other artists of that time, by Japanese woodblock prints.

Söndagsvila (Sunday Rest)

How affirming it is to see that the artists back in the late 1800s just like today, learned and were influenced by their contemporaries and preceding artists.   It makes me feel good to be reminded that we are all connected and learning from each other on this artistic journey.
 Äppelblom  Apple bloom

I was also lucky enough to catch an exhibit of 12 portraits of Carl Larsson's that were on display in a nearby church in Sundborn.  Seeing those portraits in person makes it so much more clear how incredibly technically proficient Larsson also was with his brush strokes, creating beautiful life-like color, light and skin tones in his figurative paintings.   It's something that's not always evident when seen in a reproduction and I really wish I would have been allowed to snap some pictures...

Carl Larsson (1853–1919), Portrait of Poet Erik Axel Karlfeldt, 1918

 Sundborn is such a picturesque little village.  It is no wonder that so much of Carl's work looks so idyllic, being set against that beautiful back-drop of water, birches and the traditional architecture of the region of Dalarna.   He grew up very poor in Stockholm, a city that was very different back then from what it is now.
In his biography "Me" Larsson admits that to him the pictures of his family and home "became the most immediate and lasting part of my life's work. For these pictures are of course a very genuine expression of my personality, of my deepest feelings, of all my limitless love for my wife and children."
 It makes sense that he painted scenes throughout his life that put the focus on the opposite of his early experiences.  I can relate to that wish to focus on the joy and beauty of life in art.

At the entry way of Larsson's home - 4 of his children

No cameras are allowed inside the main building, but you would recognize many of the rooms if you're familiar with his work, as his home has been preserved and looks the same now as it did a hundred years ago.

Decendants of Carl Larsson still live in his home, but parts of it is open for visitors from May to October.  And I would recommend anyone to see Carl Larsson's art in person if you ever have the chance!

At Atenum - The Finnish National Gallery

Helene Schjerfbeck


 1912 Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) Self Portrait

This is the haunting self portrait by Helene that first caught my eye.   It was painted in 1912 and I was struck by how modern her handling of the paint seems.   It looked to me like it was created by a contemporary artist and not one who lived in the 1800s.   I love the abstract quality, the strong flat shapes and the way the canvas shows thru and we can see the layers of her process.   Using all that black also reminded me of the black liberally used by Carl Larsson in his portraits.

Following is a little more on Helene's life as found on Wikipedia.

Helena Sofia Schjerfbeck was born on 10 July 1862 in Helsinki, Finland (then an autonomous Grand-Duchy within the Russian Empire), to Svante Schjerfbeck (an office manager) and Olga Johanna (née Printz). When she was four she suffered a hip injury, which prevented her from attending school. She showed talent at an early age, and by the time she was eleven she was enrolled at the Finnish Art Society Drawing School, where her fees were paid by Adolf von Becker, who saw promise in her [ref. Ahtola-Moorhouse]. At this School Schjerfbeck met Helena Westermarck.
When Schjerfbeck’s father died of tuberculosis on February 2, 1876, Schjerfbeck’s mother took in boarders so that they could get by. A little over a year after her father’s death, Schjerfbeck graduated from the Finnish Art Society drawing school. She continued her education, with Westermarck, at a private academy run by Adolf von Becker, which utilised the University of Helsinki drawing studio. Professor G. Asp paid for her tuition to Becker’s private academy. There, Becker himself taught her French oil painting techniques.

In 1879, at the age of 17, Schjerfbeck won third prize in a competition organised by the Finnish Art Society, and in 1880 her work was displayed in an annual Finnish Art Society exhibition. That summer Schjerfbeck spent time at a manor owned by her aunt on her mother’s side, Selma Printz, and Selma’s husband Thomas Adlercreutz. There she spent time drawing and painting her cousins. Schjerfbeck became particularly close to her cousin Selma Adlercreutz, who was her age. She set off to Paris later that year after receiving a travel grant from the Imperial Russian Senate.
In Paris, Schjerfbeck painted with Helena Westermarck, then left to study with Léon Bonnat at Mme Trélat de Vigny’s studio. In 1881 she moved to the Académie Colarossi, where she studied once again with Westermarck. The Imperial Senate gave her another scholarship, which she used to spend a couple of months in Meudon, and then a few more months in Concarneau, Brittany. She then went back to the Académie Colarossi briefly, before returning to the Adlercreutz family manor in Finland. Schjerfbeck continued to move around frequently, painting and studying with various people. Schjerfbeck made money by continuing to put her paintings in the Art Society’s exhibitions, and she also did illustrations for books.
 1884 Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) Naisprofiili

 1884-85 Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) Self Portrait

In 1884 she was back in Paris at the Académie Colarossi with Westermarck, but this time they were working there. She was given more money to travel by a man from the Finnish Art Society and in 1887 she traveled to St Ives, Cornwall, in Britain. There she painted The Convalescent, which won the bronze medal at the 1889 Paris World Fair.

1888 Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) The Convalescent
The painting was later bought by the Finnish Art Society. At this period Schjerfbeck was painting in a naturalistic plein-air style.
In the 1890s Schjerfbeck started teaching regularly in Finland at the Art Society drawing school,
 1900 Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) Girl Reading

"This is also when she simplified her style, eliminating background detail and reducing her palette. These stylistic changes are seen in many of the portraits she painted of herself, her mother, and others. Schjerfbeck’s work shows a highly individual development, transforming gradually from melancholy, late 19th-century academic Realism to her own very personal style tending towards abstract Expressionism displaying perfectly balanced colors." (Barbara Wells Sarudy's blog)
1915 Helene Schjerfbeck, Self-portrait with Black Background

In 1901 she became too ill to teach and in 1902 she resigned her post. She moved to Hyvinkää, all while taking care of her mother who lived with her (the mother died in 1923). While living in Hyvinkää, she continued to paint and exhibit. "Schjerfbeck’s sole contact with the art world was through magazines sent by friends." [ref. Womans’ Art Journal; 14]. Since she did not have art, Schjerfbeck took up hobbies like reading and embroidery.
During this time Schjerbeck produced still lifes and landscapes, as well as portraits, such as that of her mother, local school girls and women workers, and also self-portraits, and she became a modernist painter. Her work has been compared to that of artists such as James McNeill Whistler and Edvard Munch, but from 1905 her paintings took on a character that was hers alone. She continued experimenting with various techniques, e.g., different types of underpaintings.

1916 Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) Singer in Black

In 1913 Schjerfbeck met the art-dealer, Gösta Stenman, with whose encouragement she exhibited at Malmo in 1914, Stockholm in 1916 and St Petersburg in 1917. In 1917 Stenman organised her first solo exhibition; and in that year Einar Reuter (alias H. Ahtela) published the first Schjerfbeck monograph. Later she exhibited at Copenhagen (1919), Gothenburg (1923) and Stockholm (1934). In 1937 Stenman organised another solo exhibition for her in Stockholm, and in 1938 he began paying her a monthly salary.
As the years passed, Schjerfbeck travelled less. When a family matter arose, such as a death, she would travel back to her home city of Helsinki and she spent most of 1920 in Ekenäs, but by 1921 she was back living in Hyvinkää.

 Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) Self Portrait

For about a year, Schjerfbeck moved to a farm in Tenala to get away from the Winter War, but went back to Ekenäs in the middle of 1940 [The Finnish National Gallery Ateneum]. She later moved into a nursing home, where she resided for less than a year before moving to the Luontola sanatorium. In 1944 she moved into the Saltsjöbaden spa hotel in Sweden, where she lived until her death on January 23, 1946.

You can see a great progression of Helene's Self Portraits on Barbara Wells Sarudy's blog
where she writes:
Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) painted at least 36 self-portraits throughout her career. The older she became, the more isolated she became. Her later portraits reveal a sort of visual confrontational self-analysis. Between 1939 & 1945, not long before her death, she produced her most impressive series of self-portraits, in which she records her own physical deterioration with shocking honesty. Her facial features become increasingly hollow, until only the ghost of a skull remains. This uncompromising series of portraits can be intensely emotional for some viewers & just plain frightening for others, especially those who find themselves growing quickly older with each passing day. 

Helene Shjerfbeck has an inspiring body of work to learn from!

Akseli Gallen-Kallela  

1865 - 1931

Seeblick (1901)
The 3rd artist I wanted to mention is a Finnish artist I had never heard about when I saw this picture of his artwork on the cover of a book at the gift store of National Museum in Stockholm.   It perfectly captures what I find so beautiful in a summer night on the water in Scandinavia!

With the help of the girl working there we both spent some time trying to figure out the name of the artist who created this work and I wanted to share it here so that anyone who is inspired can learn more about him and his work.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela on  Wikipedia

Happy 2014!!  

I hope you fill it with creativity!
And if you want to keep some inspiration close by I still have a few more calendars left with some of my favorite work and inspirational quotes on creativity for each month:-)

$15.00 includes shipping
Just send me an email if you're interested

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Monday October 7th at 6PM PST - tomorrow!!

This is when the winner of the raffle will be announced!  I'm using random.org to pick the winner from the signed up subscribers to my blog.   Very exciting!!  Which painting will the winner choose? You can see the choices in the post below.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

30 in 30 Collage

A Collage of what I've been up to this last month!
Go here and see all the great collages of the other participating artists.  Really inspiring, and very neat to see those that actually stuck to a theme for the month.  Maybe next time I'll do that...:-)

Monday, September 30, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 30...."All Sheeped Out"

Oil on Gessoboard

It's funny.  It didn't strike me til I started this post how appropriate it is as the last entry of the 30 in 30 challenge.  Kind of how I feel, a little wiped out.  It's such a great practice and I applaud Leslie for creating this challenge, because I definitely painted more than I would have without it.  I applaud everyone who started, finished or simply gave it a try!  I still have four to add before I do my random drawing for one of my Email Subscriber and Followers to win one of the paintings!!

If you would like to win one of my paintings from this challenge - it's not too late.  

Simply add your email up to the right - or sign up as a Google Follower!  

If you win - it's your pick!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 29 - Layers of Light...in progress

oil on linen on panel

 Spent the day at Malibu Nature Preserve with Allied Artists for the 11th Annual Exhibit.  Sold a few paintings and enjoyed the beautiful weather, talking to collectors and the other artists, but most of all I had the chance to paint and  I got a little closer to reaching 30 paintings in 30 days:-)   The lighting for this scene was what drew me to paint it.  A really dark background with with a back area that looked really cool gray and a very lit up foreground.  I managed to take one picture half-way through when I was playing around with some color choices and the top picture is where I left off at the end of my session. It still needs some finishing touches and adjustments.  Back-lit trees are always a real challenge.   Hope all the 30 in 30 Artists are hanging in there!  Only one day to go!

30 in 30 - Day 28 - Chewie Revisited

oil on Canvasboard

Do you have unfinished paintings hanging out in your studio?  I do for sure.  Some of them just seem to linger, with some unsolved areas just waiting to be resolved.  Leslie's 30 in 30 challenge has come in handy when it comes to taking a second look at some of those stragglers and finding a way to work them out - Because I just have to have a painting done for each of those 30 days...even if I run a few days over:-)

30 in 30 - Day 27 - coming soon

Thursday, September 26, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 26 - Green with Delight

Oil on Gessoboard
to bid

Back to my trusty cars:-)  It just happened several green trucks were lined up next to each other at Cruise Night in Camarillo last month and the late day sun always adds a dramatic ingredient to the mix.
I'm going back tomorrow night!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 25 - "My Dock"

oil on gessoed board

This cat followed me around when I visited the amazing houseboats in Sausalito just north of San Fransisco this past May.   I had seen them from my car window on my way up to Camille Przewodek's workshop and was determined to figure out how to get off the freeway and get some pictures.   It took me a while, and parking was a little on a dare, but I did it.   
When I was little growing up in Sweden there was a children's show on TV that was all about this lady who lived on a house boat and it seemed like such an idyllic dream life to me.  Seeing all the houseboats in Sausalito was like stepping into another world, and back to the sixties communal living all at once....I tip-toed gingerly around snapping pictures for as long as I could without garnering too much attention by the locals - cat included.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 24 - Abstract Study - Title Wanted

Oil on Gessoed Board

I did this study today.  Lines and shapes...with something in mind.   I just don't know how abstract or obvious it is?  What do you see?  Can you help me with a title?

30 in 30 - Day 23 - Seed Study

oil on linen on panel
To Bid

This is a semi-abstract study that I feel really happy about!  I like the repetition of color and the varied design of the seeds.  I struggle with an all-out abstract approach.  This seems to be the only way I've figured out how I can approach painting abstractly.  I have to start with something tangible, a concept, idea, objects etc. and then translate it into visual symbols...I can't just start painting out of nowhere...That is too much of an unknown.  This one was the third in a series of paintings on the theme Seeds.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 22 - Morning Backroads

oil on linen on panel

Every morning we take the back way through hidden valley to take our son to his new school and the other week it was nice and foggy so I went back to capture this scene of a very distinct grouping of trees.  I ended up painting it today at the Thousand Oaks Art Festival.  Painting in public is a nice way for me to get a little more used to talking to passers-by about my process and answer questions.  I was drawn to the trees here and the way the fence created a nice entry into the painting.   Day 22 - 8 days to go and I'm hanging in there...moving a little more slowly though.

Happy Painting!

30 in 30 - Day 21 - Swedish Sun study

Oil on Gessoboard

Snapped a picture of this view in Fjallvik Sweden this summer.  It was a late evening around 8-9PM and of course the sun was still up creating this strong almost blinding light on the water.  It reminded me of the paintings of Russion artist Bato... and I wanted to see if I could figure out how to paint it to get that effect of strong sun light.  I ended up painting the water almost white...but somehow that didn't capture the effect of the sun as well.  I felt like the strongest light needed to be on the boats and the dock...without the light on the water competing.  Painting is a lot of interpretation and problem solving.  Below is the actual photo.
I might try another version of it.    How would you paint it? 

Friday, September 20, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 20 - T.O. Rush Hour

oil on Linen on Panel

This painting will be available at the Thousand Oaks Art Festival which happens this weekend, September 21st and 22nd.   If you can find the Westlake Village Art Guild's booth at the Lakes, you can see more of my work along with our other talented members.
Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and The Lakes from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • 2-Day Festival
  • More than 60 visual art exhibitors
  • Continuous live performances
  • Children's hands-on artistic and interactive art exhibits
  • Over 12,000 visitors
  • FREE Admission and Parking
  • Smoke Free Premises
  • Wine Tasting at THE LAKES

Next Friday I will be painting at Camarillo Cruise Night for the last time this season...boohoo.
September 27th at 2222 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo between 5PM-7PM
 Have to figure out where else I can get my fill of Classic Cars this fall!

Happy Painting!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 19 - A Kid's Dream

oil on linen on panel

I'm excited about this one .  I did the under painting in blue quite a while ago and did some of the simple shapes of the tables in shadow and it's just been hanging around since then.  Lots of shadows, and tables and chairs at Kidspace in Pasadena - Every kid's dream of a great day, playing in water, seeing insects and other animals, and over all just exploring, but it could be a little intimidating with all those legs and metal.   What was so fun about this painting was how just adding a few of the other values, the bright sun hitting the ground and some light spots on the girl and her dress and leaving everything else sort of unfinished really worked.  It was sort of like building up, or carving things out...I really liked the process.   Maybe a way I should approach more paintings...?

Somehow got the dates mixed up when I added to Leslie's Challenge...this will go in for day 20...got ahead of myself...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 18 - Laying Low

 Oil on Gessoboard

Had so much fun painting this one.  Gessoboard seems to lend itself to broad strokes of color and that worked well for this subject.  I also allowed myself using my whole palette of color so that gave me a little more freedom.  Day 19 of Leslie's challenge and 11 days to go.  It's been a whirl wind so far and it's not over yet.

30 in 30 - Day 17 - Laundry Interpreted

Oil on Linen on Panel

I took a bunch of pictures of laundry during our stay on a farm in Sweden this summer and I thought this particular scene would be good for trying out a flatter look.   I'm very inspired by artists that find a way to abstract the landscape.   Artists like Mark Daniel Nelson, Catherine Kehoe, Ken Kewley....  Yesterday I saw the work of Ilya Gefter... on the website Painting: Powers of Observation and I wanted to see if I could play around with the shapes and lines like he did.  I used a palette knife to do the laundry, was inspired by Camille Prezewodek's color in the background and did my favorite high-up focal point and tried to just paint areas of flat color.  
Things got a little mixed up in the foreground...How do you abstract a big area of flower shrubs - flatten them out?....I didn't quite know and it ended up looking a little like two different painters worked on it...I might take a look around to see how other artists have solved it...
I do like the feeling of light that happened though.

Happy Painting!

Monday, September 16, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 16 - Just One...

oil on linen on panel
I knew it as soon as I saw her,  our one little rabbit who hangs out in the front yard.  I knew I would want to capture the light coming through those ears.    For this painting I started with an orange underpainting and I then tried using a limited palette...   I was inspired by the posting of this artist, NJ Darling.  She is also doing the challenge and I loved her cow painting.   
 I have to admit that I wasn't entirely successful in keeping to that palette...a little yellow seem to have found it's way in.   But the next time I do it, I'm going to stick to the red, white, yellow ochre and black, because I was really amazed how many color combinations those few colors can create.  I think I might need to get red oxide to really make it work...
Does anyone know more about that color?

30 in 30 - Day 15 - Beach in sight

oil on linen on panel

This was painted on the beach of Leo Carillo, the dog-beach part.  Spent a lovely morning there with my good friend Daggi, and today I just figured out what this painting needed.  - A figure to show the actual scale of those trees.  With some reference I focused on putting in the highlights and shadow areas to help it read, but keeping it fairly loose.  This painting will be available at the up-coming

I will also have a few paintings at the Thousand Oaks Art Festival this weekend September 21-22
You can find me at the Westlake Village Art Guild booth!
More info here

Saturday, September 14, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 14 - Stick Time

oil on linen on panel

Both my boys love playing with sticks and are always asking to take them home.   As a result I have to constantly get sticks out of my car...and quietly re-unite them with their nature friends...  This little guy is a friend of ours and he likes to play with sticks as well.   I really enjoyed painting this one.  Focusing on simple strokes and lots of color.  We'll see if anyone recognizes him:-)

30 in 30 - Day 13 - One More Stay

oil on linen on panel

Today I met with several artists from Allied Artists to paint at Topanga State Beach.   I have wanted to paint the Old Topanga Ranch Motel across the PCH there for a while so I was excited to get to this paint-out.   You can read an article here about the motel and when it closed.  It's another one of those iconic landmarks from years gone by and I was drawn to paint the sun hitting the buildings and of course the orange/red and green roofs.   Had some success keeping it painterly, but I probably could have kept it more simple...like usual:) 

The way it goes with plein air painting...I ended up having to leave in a rush...I had made the mistake of spraying sun-screen in my face before I got started.   I thought I was being very responsible, but as the bottle says... you're not supposed to spray it directly in your face?   When I realized that my burning and runny eyes were not due to a nearby fire...(I had seen some firetruck whizzing by and then smoke, well actually the fog rolled in)  I decided to pack it up.

My eyes finally got better after splashing water in them repeatedly...but I wont do that again.

Happy Painting!

30 in 30 - Day 12 - Coming Soon

30 in 30 - Day 11 - Coming Soon

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 10 - Shadow Study

Oil on Gessoboard

I spent today working on some bigger pieces and this was my study for one of them.   There's some exhibits coming up that I want to enter and I'm working hard at creating some larger work.
Dan Schultz wrote an interesting post on the difficulty of getting started on larger studio work...and I could really relate.  You can read more here and see if you agree.   I'm glad to know I'm not alone.  Painting plein air and small studies seems so simple compared to starting a larger piece that I've planned out.   There's a greater investment in wanting it to work out.

Happy Painting!

Monday, September 9, 2013

30 in 30 - Day 9 "Butt, Mom..."

oil on Gessoboard

I decided to paint another little one.  This one waiting patiently for mom, who's engrossed in art and/or conversation at an exhibit at King Gilette's Ranch earlier this year.   The girl was all in shadow and you'd think that I'd want the subject lit up, but in this case it made for a nice effect having clearly stand out from the background.   After listening to AHA - Artists Helping Artists with hosts Leslie Saeta and ...  Ken Auster last Thursday and their conversation on titles...I'm paying a little more attention to not spelling it out as much...Had a lot of fun with my husband thinking of titles for this one.  I didn't go for "Mom Jeans".  I might need to add some pockets though...

30 in 30 - Day 8 - Remembering Mother's Day

Version 1

 Version 2

oil on gessoboard

For today's challenge of day 8 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days I decided to tackle a painting that needed something changed.  You can see the painting on top above.  

After I took Camille Przewodek's workshop in May of this year I painted this bouquet of flowers out in my back-yard.  We had done a lot of palette knife painting in the workshop so I used a palette knife and set up my still life in over-head sun in front of a brick wall wanting to capture the warmth of the sun.

I painted what was there in front of me, but something about the subject didn't work for me.   The color combination just seemed a little lack-luster...
It wasn't until I saw this painting of "Backlit Sunflowers" by Eric Merrell that I hit me.  That wall in the back-ground just didn't do anything to set off the colors of the flowers.   What I like about Eric's still life is the color combination.   His flowers with that back-ground reminded me of Camille's way of capturing the warmth of the sun hitting a subject.  And Eric is a master with colors!  He also has a unique way of simplifying his values with his beautiful signature brush strokes.

So today, in my second version, I changed the background to a cooler blue.  I also worked on the shadow of the flowers hitting the table cloth and warmed them both up.

Does it make a difference?  Let me know what you think!

30 in 30 - Day 7 - Playing on abstract

Decided to paint some abstracts this weekend and started on a few small (of course:) 6x6s to just see where it would take me.  I have no idea why the process of painting abstractly is so difficult?  It just seems like the process is so different than what I do when I paint in a representational way.  Do I start without knowing what to do and just go for it?...or do I take a concept, or something representational and figure out an abstract way of expressing it?  The second choice at least gives me a road-map...which I need!

 I did a few of my experiments just putting down colors I enjoy - turquoise and orange - in a random way.  I will post these again after I've worked on simplifying the design and the colors.   Figuring out what to take away, which is just as important as what you put in they tell me:-) and maybe that is part of the process with abstract painting. Put it down and edit, edit edit...

After these I painted three more, trying to simplify an experience down to just shapes and colors...again, another challenge...I will post those also when they are more resolved.

Happy Painting!