MORE PAINTING CHALLENGES – LANDSCAPES

Project 2 at Lehman College painting class…Landscape.  My favorite theme.  Using a photo I took of the lake at Van Cortland Park in the Bronx I wanted to create a stylized painting on a panel.  I used a sponge brush only.  More muted colors than I usually use.  Acrylic on panel board 18″x24″.

IMG_2724(1)

IMG_1736

Then I painted a companion piece focusing in on a detail of the photo.  Acrylic on stretched canvas 11″x14″.

IMG_1739

I found that I achieved a more painterly effect with canvas than on board.  Such fun painting at Lehman College.  What’s next??

A DAY AT THE MET WITH MY iPAD

Most artists bring a sketchbook to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to sketch the masters learning their techniques.  I decided to bring my iPad instead.  I found this incredible painting by John Alexander White…sat on the floor…and painted.  A crowd gathered around and asked my what app I used and I ended up giving a demonstration.  So much fun! 

John Alexander White

IMG_1445

PAINTING TECHNIQUES: Whatever Comes Out Comes Out

Lately I’ve been cognitively challenged in respect to painting.  I am turning 67 in August so I am wondering if my mind is more confused now.  However, artists should always be welcoming the ups and downs in their creative process if they want to be good. 

I decided to challenge my challenge by enrolling in a painting class at Lehman College in the Bronx.  Now I’m out of my comfort zone and doing a reset as a beginner.  My theory is when I’m stuck revert back to being a beginner.  Now every Thursday morning I take the crowded BX10 bus and show up at 9:30 am even when my mind says “I don’t wanna”.  Even when there isn’t an inspirational thought in my head.  I get to the studio and work on a painting project that is dictated by the professor.  This gets me out of doing it my way.  Humility.  Now I stare at a blank canvas with a blank mind.  God what can I paint???  I have to paint my first self portrait.  Ugh.  Just do it Jean.  Whatever comes out comes out.  So here is my first self portrait in acrylic.

IMG_1592(1)

 

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WILL COME OUT

I have experienced something different about how I am painting. I never know what is going to appear on the canvas. I used to be very determined when I sat down to paint. The vision appeared in my mind instantly and I went to work in a fury finishing each painting in 2-3 hours.

I don’t know what happened to my brain but I actually am more cautious when I paint. I am in slo-mo mode. I have no vision. I am not inspired. But I have to work to keep up and improve my skills. So this painting began on Wednesday. Still working on it.

However, I noticed that the style is not my usual style. People always say my work looks like Van Gogh. This painting reminds me of Henri Rousseau! And I’m not a fan of Rousseau. Go figure. It’s still a work in progress. Who knows what will happen. Kind of fun.

Here’s me and Rousseau.

UNTERMEYER PARK: HAUNTINGLY BEAUTIFUL

A magical journey to Untermeyer Park. Stunning yet haunting. With a nefarious past.

In the 1970’s it was in such bad decay. There were no gardens. No fountains. It was overgrown and falling apart.

The story of satanic activities and the Son of Sam hanging out in the midnight hours is really creepy.

On a happier note John Lennon visited the decayed Temple of Love. Here he is right before his untimely murder.

Untermeyer Park has been restored from its evil past. A must see in Yonkers.

PAINTINGS FROM THE DEAD: THE SPIRITUALIST ARTISTS

You can’t make this stuff up! Artists who created paintings from the spirit world!

It was called the “Second Great Awakening “. The American Spiritualism Movement originated in Lily Dale and Rochester New York in the early 19th century teaching communion with the dead. Reflecting on “Romanticism ” it was based on enthusiasm, emotion and an appeal to the “Supernatural “. The clergy were mediums – lay folk who believed they had the ability to speak for loved ones who had passed.

I have known about seances, table-rapping, ghost photos,etc. However, I just learned there were mediums capable of creating paintings through the spirits of the dead. This group of artists deserve to have their stories told. I will be posting a series on these artists. Today the Campbell brothers.

CAMPBELL BROTHERS – 1898 – 1926

In the spiritualist community of Lily Dale, New York the Campbell brothers Allan and Charles found their calling as mediums. Not truly brothers, Charles was born Charles Shourds, it was believed by many they were a gay couple. But the Spiritualist Movement of Enlightenment accepted all especially the psychically gifted.

The brothers talents included spirit portraits created in pastel or oils. Allan acquired a spiritual guide called Azur. In 1898 during a session Allan channeled Azur’s spirit on a 40″ x 60″ oil painting. He never touched the canvas. The room was dark with a minimum light enough for those present to witness the portrait emerging. To ensure there was no fraud each guest was encouraged to place personal marks on the back of the canvas. Allan, in a trance, commanded Azur’s portrait and during this time it gradually developed as the guests watched in awe. I have to say Allan/Azur were fast. The portrait appeared in great detail in 90 minutes! I thought I was fast working in 2 hours. Here is the portrait.

The Campbells were never arrested for fraud as some other mediums were. The paintings are in the Lily Dale museum. Was it a hoax??? I kind of like believing it is not. Oh well.

Can I conjure up a spirit painting???

The book “Precipitated Spirit Paintings ” by Ron Nagy goes in depth on spiritual painters. Check it out on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Precipitated-Spirit-Paintings-Ron-Nagy/dp/1931942277/ref=pd_sim_14_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=417YDJAY66BXTZ5M9V6K

THE ART OF HUMILITY: THE PORTRAIT OF DORIAN GRAY BY OSCAR WILDE

Disclaimer: this is a post with a political opinion that is my own. Please do not continue if you agree with President Trump’s recent comments on Charlottesville. I accept everyone’s right to their beliefs.

My blog is an artist blog and after the events of Charlottesville last weekend I saw the President in an Oscar Wilde novel called “The Portrait of Dorian Gray”. It’s a classic story of a corrupt narcissistic young man who barters a deal with the devil to remain youthful and handsome forever. It’s a story of “it’s better to look good than feel good “. Dorian Gray has no humility. A wealthy society man who cares only about himself he commissions a portrait of himself. He fantasizes about how great it would be if he could remain youthful while the painting would age as each year passes.

I recommend the 1945 film with George Sanders and Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray.

Dorian and Trump are no different and I am watching the President deteriorate as each day passes. Dorian becomes more self centered and corrupt. He is engaged to a society woman but she is too proper to deflower before marriage. He engages a lower class show girl to satisfy his sexual needs lying about his intention to marry her. When she becomes pregnant he murders her. His portrait meanwhile gets more grotesque as he becomes more evil. He hides the painting in the attic to avoid seeing the truth of who he is.

I see this happening to Trump. The murder of Heather Heyer is the blood on his hands because he has dog whistled the neo nazis, the white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan to become bolder. And how narcissistic of Trump to not acknowledge her death. To not go to Charlottesville to speak to her parents. He said more good things about the extremists and not one word about Heather. SHAME ON YOU NARCISSISTIC TRUMP. YOUR PORTRAIT IS SHOWING YOUR SINS.

MIND OF AN ARTIST: STUDY A BLADE OF GRASS

My mind is a monkey mind.

I know it's my ADHD. There is a quality of my life that resembles a circus. I'm always trying to train those monkeys to perform the right way. Okay you guys get yourselves in order.

I actually become the lion tamer trying to force my creativity to perform. Not only to perform but to kick ass perform.

Here's where pressure to be a creative genius sets in. In other words here comes the artist block! I HAVE TO DO THE BEST PAINTING OR DO NOTHING! So I do nothing.

The monkeys are doing nothing so out of boredom they start to act out. Avoidance creates havoc and chaos. I end up hating myself for being unproductive. It's a great big circus ring ready to explode.

My thinking is creativity needs to be a high experience with lots of bells and whistles going off. There's no sanity. There's no peace. Every work of art has to be created from a psychedelic experience. Don't forget I come from the original hippie lifestyle. The Magical Mystery tour. But it's becoming clear that flying by the seat of exploding pants is not working.

So that is why I am choosing to study a blade of grass. Slow down get off the merry go round. Be a quiet painter. I cannot be a superhuman artist. Study a blade of grass.

Here are plein air paintings done with the mindset of "study a blade of grass ".

START WITH A DOODLE:  WATERCOLOR PAINTING 

So again I have been in a creative block.  I was reminded of the quote by artist Chuck Close regarding artistic inspiration.  

“AMATEURS LOOK FOR INSPIRATION, THE REST OF US JUST GET UP AND GO TO WORK “

Can’t argue with that!!!   So I called upon my formula for breaking paralysis… START WITH A DOODLE!

I have a wonderful portable watercolor kit created to take anywhere.  A pouch filled with portable brushes and an assortment of wonderful pots of special paints.  An inexpensive set of watercolors.  Tiny tubes of gouache. Paper towels. And a 9″ x 12″ pad of cold pressed watercolor paper. Easy travel and easy clean up.  


Here is the doodle and I really got into working and playing the colors and the liquid flow of the medium.   And from the doodle two exciting and free expressive paintings.