Country House

Country House
"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul"

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The artist discusses her work and shares some new paintings

Once again, time has slipped by and then there's the sudden realization that this blog has been empty for a long period of time.

"So how is your painting coming along?" people reading this might be curious to know.

I've been actually quite productive producing some new pieces and fixing up some older paintings that at least in my eyes, needed tweaking. Fixing up a painting that in my eyes requires a change of color or shade or moving a line or two or more (emphasis on the latter) can spell disaster because frequently, I never know when to stop. When does the image on the canvas become perfect and how much paint can be applied without it looking like the artist can't make up her mind? Ask me! I know the answer! Never enough!

I've also been focusing my efforts on minis or 4x7" paintings that are shown in mini easels and find the paintings a delight to create. Given the amount of canvas, I've become quite proficient painting full images on smaller surfaces.

"How about art shows down the line?"

I'm contemplating - strictly at the contemplation stage now - organizing another condo art exhibition and sale for this coming summer. It gives local artists the opportunity to show their work along with the possibility of a sale if they're lucky. Given that it's an outdoor show, the problem is being dependent on good weather conditions. Lots of time to think about it.

Meanwhile, I'm sharing some of my latest paintings. Comments always welcome.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A little art goes a long way

Upon conducting my daily morning check into my blogs, a blank Artistic Concepts graph greeted me, indicating a lack of additional content. As a writer, there is always the threat of a blank page and whether one can fill it with interesting reading material. My art is a newer addition to my endeavors and more disciplined approach is required to taking fingers to keyboard and sharing updates - starting now.

I've been focusing my efforts on my mini 4x7" canvases with a variety of subjects ranging from landscapes for the main part, to abstracts or whatever hits my fancy at any given moment. Their numbers are accumulating by leaps and bounds and are currently being stored in mini easels on my dining room server. Who knows where they'll end up next once the surface becomes filled to capacity. The larger canvases are displayed in regular easels that were stained with varnish to integrate with the surrounding furniture. They are the perfect vehicles and only means other than walls, in which to display my painting efforts. Storage is always a problem living in an apartment condo and ideally a studio setting would solve the over-crowding situation but for now, anyway, that's a dream scenario.

Still more are being stored in a small - accent on the small - supply room in the apartment that houses a hot water heater. My art supplies are also stored here on shelves and actually on any and all free space but the warm temperature is not conducive to storing art material. Another option is to hang all the finished paintings but one doesn't want the walls to resemble an art gallery.

I'm re-working one of my earlier canvases, a 20x24" black-and-white abstract entitled, "Broken Windows - Broken Dreams." It's getting there after two years of tinkering with the image.

Our Thursday morning drop-in art group collective still gets together in a local but small library, for weekly painting sessions. The atmosphere is relaxed among the participants and help is always available when someone asks for opinions or help.

Not sure whether the condo art display is taking place this summer, since there hasn't been any notices posted anywhere to this effect . It's an outdoor exhibition and is dependent upon good weather making it conducive to browsing by visitors. Last year and in spite of ideal conditions, visitors were few and far between so who knows if there's any interest among the artists in displaying their work.

"What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit."  John Updike.

Or a lack, thereof, of space in the physical sense. Ask me about it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mini paintings make a nice splash of color

It's been a while since sharing more photos of my paintings. This winter, I focused my efforts on my minis - 4x7" - which are displayed in a small easels. Enjoyed the experience of miniature-izing flower and landscape scenes.

I call my latest efforts, "Table Toppers" in that they sit in small easels that fit perfectly on a corner table or any type of display top, actually ("oh Ellie - you're so shameless in an obvious plug for your minis!"). They are an interesting artistic challenge but I also like my larger canvases, two photos of which I'll share shortly, here. As an aside (big on these), my favorite of the paintings is the butterfly. There is something about butterflies that is very fragile and entrancing to watch.

Here is the end result.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Impressive Impressionist exhibit comes to town

Been a while... Always seem to be excusing myself for not adding to this blog but I'm of the belief that it has to be something worth discussing. An opportunity to see a touring exhibition of the Impressionists in one's home town definitely falls into that category.

The tour, "Once Upon a Time...Impressionism" is currently on display at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the one and only Canadian stop of the tour, which will travel from Europe to Asia during the expansion work at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Seventy-four paintings by Bonnard, Corot, Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Millet, Monet, Morisot, Pissaro, Sisley and Tourlouse-Lautrec dotted the walls of the museum, which was full of art-lovers taking advantage of seeing the masters, as I was.

According to the information blurb,  the collection is "the work of Robert Sterling Clark (1877-1956), heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune, who, for over half a century, quietly built up one of the finest art collections in the United States. Married to a French actress, Clark lived for many years in Paris, enthusiastically collecting art. A discriminating art lover and skilled negotiator, as independent in his lifestyle as in his tastes, this thoughtful and reticent man chose the artworks himself, consulting only with his knowledgeable wife, Francine. His collection included European and American paintings, Old Master prints and drawings, sculpture, silver and ceramics.

In 1955, the Clarks opened the institute that bears their names in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in the heart of New England. It is now famous around the world for the outstanding quality of its art collection, which spans from European Old Masters to nineteenth-century art, decorative arts and remarkable holdings of works on paper, and one of America’s largest art history libraries."
The paintings included Monet's landscapes, from "The Cliffs at Etretat" to the Dutch tulip fields and Spring in Giverny...among others. As an artist who is drawn to landscapes, Monet is  a favorite. Still haven't made it to Giverny - yet - but hoping to one day. Walking from painting-to-painting, I couldn't help but smile and shake my head in admiration along with frequent gasps at the artistry in front of my eyes.
If you happen to be in the Montreal area on business or pleasure, you can catch the tour until January 20, 2013. Definitely worth a look.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Art exhibits and lost opportunities

Before starting to work on some of my paintings today, want to share some thoughts on an art exhibit.

A friend and member of our informal weekly art get-togethers, had the opportunity to place her work on display at a local library. It was a retrospective of her acrylic and water-color canvases, most of which are of the large sized variety. The submission process wasn't juried and open to all artists living in our community.

The exhibition space was ideal with a perfect balance of space, over-head lighting and the subdued atmosphere of a library setting allowing visitors to examine the pieces in solitude and contemplation.

As an artist for many years, my friend has accumulated a vast amount of canvases covering a wide variety of subjects. Care was taken in selecting the paintings and they were grouped according to subjects. The library donated the space while the artist is in charge of all aspects of their own exhibition. As an artist, couldn't help but notice there were some things that were omitted -  important inclusions that would have given the exhibit a professional look.

Titles of the paintings were written crudely with a marker pen on plain, white pieces of paper accompanied by the price of the painting. Given the plethora of stationery and computer programs available on the various internet sites, a better alternative would have been to print up professional information cards. An artists statement whereby the viewer/visitor is supplied with the artist's vision of her/his work was also absent. No press releases were sent out to local newspapers to alert readers to the existance of the exhibition and the duration of the show. Given the run of the solo exhibit, which will run for an entire month, it is the best kept secret. There was no background information on the artist. In my eyes as artist and visitor, these are important omissions.

My point in sharing these observations is that when fate smiles kindly on artists and an opportunity to exhibit one's artistic output presents itself, care should be taken to cover all the bases so to speak, to ensure that paintings are shared with as many people as possible. Small omissions can result in a lost opportunity to familiarize the public with the work of a new artist and the loss of credibility.

Meanwhile, I'm off to work on my paintings. Will be providing photos of newest creations.

Came accross an interesting piece on the site, focusing on "How to Interact and Network With People at Open Studios and Gallery Openings." The article offers hints on the do's and don't's of how to act at openings, at open studios, or anywhere else where their art is for sale. Definitely read-worthy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The art show - the artists strutt their stuff

At long last the photos of the art exhibition/show/display are now ready for their debut. As mentioned in the previous blog, the weather conditions were ideal with a bright sun and not a cloud in the sky. Well...maybe a cloud if one can call a poor turnout of people/art lovers. Actually, it's quite surprising given the publicity in the form of flyers distributed in our geographical location and blurbs in the coming events section of the local newspaper. In spite of it all, there definitely could have/should have been more people. This also leads one (me) to question as to whether people are interested in painting and art in general. It also could be timing in that summer is a time for being outdoors (we were waiting, people!) and involved in their own pursuits.I prefer to believe the latter.

In any case, onward and forward to next year's show, if we decide it's a go. One of the ideas brought forth is to open the show to all the local condo artists, and hold it in the park accross the street. It certainly lends itself to an art show.

Meanwhile, enjoy some of the photos. The geographical location is perfect.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The art show that really wasn't

This is becoming an all too familiar whine. Once again as was the case last year, the latest art show did not reach expectations. This time, though, there were no impediments to its success unless a beautiful, sunny, hot, gorgeous summer day could be considered an impediment.

The art show last year, which was an outdoor show, was primarily in the hands of other people and there were a number of factors that contributed to its failure. First and probably the primary reason was the geographical location of the show in that it was located in a suburban community on an unknown, out-of-the-way street, along with the second factor being the total lack of publicty. Rather than dwell on the past, let's hypothesize the reasons for this year's blechy turnout (the word "blechy" says so much).

Initially, the weather forecast called for a rainy day and in retrospect, perhaps it would have been better if this had been the case ("oh Eleanor - you're so negative!"). In the way of numbers, this was the third outdoor condo art show and we viewed the sudden change of weather conditions as an omen that the gods were smiling down on us. In order to maximize the turnout, flyers were sent out to all the condo buildings in the area in addition to press releases in the local newspaper. Lack of publicity obviously was not a reason this time. Add to that a hot sunny day, the only explanation, and one (me) loathes to even think it, is a general lack of interest. I mean, art is not everybody's cup of tea so to speak. The way that I view it is that one is interested in art/art show if a) you're related or a good friend of an artist whose work is on display or b) you're looking for something to hang on your walls. Right or wrong?

For the record, I sold one of my minis, a beautiful blue butterfly, who went home with a lovely friend. So now I'm at the point where I'm taking the summer off to think and give painting a rest. I am, however, contemplating entering my paintings in a group show in an art gallery in the fall. Meanwhile, my focus for the summer is completing a short play in the hope of submitting it in a competition that requires all my attention, so the brushes, canvases are resting in my supply cupboard. I've always professed and told anyone who listens that when it comes to my painting and writing, they are both delicious obsessions to which I can't live without.

If there's anything to be gleaned from this experience, it's no more outdoor art shows. It's a good as excuse as any.