Friday, February 26, 2021

Sunflowers IV

 


"My paintings repeat a feeling about Lake Michigan, or water, or fields...it's more like a poem...and that's what I want to paint."-Joan Mitchell 


"I find comfort in contemplating the sunflowers."-Van Gogh to Emile Bernard


A quick note about my work in progress photos. Sometimes I forget to take them. I don't take every step of the process. The photos are taken mostly when I put down my brush and walk away from the work for a period of time. The photos help me to approach the work from a different perspective and to see things in new ways. Matisse did this. (Matisse also painted sunflowers more than once.)


Supplies used:

Journal I made from hardcover book and 100 lb Accent Opaque cardstock size 9 3/4 x 16" opened 

Working size (single page) 9 3/4 x 8"

Acrylics: Holbein, Sennelier, Utrecht and Golden (heavy body)

Painting knives

Brushes

Princeton Catalyst Tools

Looked at: 

Joan Mitchell

Vincent Van Gogh

Arshile Gorky

Richard Diebenkorn

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Sunflowers II

 


Thinking about Vincent but looking more at Joan's sunflowers.

Supplies used:

Journal I made from hardcover book and 100 lb Accent Opaque cardstock size 9 3/4 x 16" opened 

Working size (single page) 9 3/4 x 8"

Acrylics: Holbein, Sennelier, Utrecht and Golden (heavy body)

Painting knives

Brushes

Princeton Catalyst Tools

Looked at: 

Joan Mitchell

Van Gogh 

Arshile Gorky

Richard Diebenkorn



Monday, February 22, 2021

Sunflowers I


“Sunflowers are something I feel very intensely. They look so wonderful when young and they are so very moving when they are dying. I don't like fields of sunflowers. I like them alone, or, of course, painted by Van Gogh." -Joan Mitchell 


I've been reading and looking at several Joan Mitchell books lately. I keep going back to the sunflowers.


Sunflower from 1969 is one of my favorites. (Better photo here.)


I've had a passion and fascination for sunflowers since I was little. I've been looking for a subject that I relate and have an attachment to, something I could paint in a series. Joan Mitchell led me back to Van Gogh and sunflowers. She gave me a new way of looking at them. Her work has sparked something in me. The mark making, the color, the kind of work that comes from deep within. 


I've painted five so far (I've shared two finished pieces here.) I'm excited about seeing how the others develop and sharing them with you.


I finished the most recent catalogue of her work and highly recommend it. 


Thanks to Joan, I'd like to eventually get some soft pastels to expand my mark making and gain confidence in my drawing. 


Supplies used:

Journal I made from hardcover book and 100 lb Accent Opaque cardstock size 9 3/4 x 16" opened 

Working size (single page) 9 3/4 x 8"

Acrylics: Holbein, Sennelier, Utrecht and Golden (heavy body)

Painting knives

Brushes

Princeton Catalyst Tools

Looked at: 

Joan Mitchell

Van Gogh 

Arshile Gorky

Richard Diebenkorn

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Sunflowers III

The finished two pages

"My paintings aren’t about art issues. They’re about a feeling that comes to me from the outside, from landscape. … Paintings aren’t about the person who makes them, either. My paintings have to do with feelings".– Joan Mitchell, 1974


As you can see, the page above went through many different stages. It began with the purple shape and the wading pool (I loved the purple shape but was indifferent towards the rest of it.) Then it morphed into what I called my, "dark Dutch phase." I really liked the purple flower (made from the previous purple shape) but that was about it. At this stage, I left it alone and moved on.

I worked on two new pages (which you will see soon.) I couldn't stop thinking about this page. I also couldn't stop thinking about Joan Mitchell and her sunflowers (more on that as we go.) 

I had finished almost four pages before I went back and completely revised the page that you see above. I am much happier with it. I am VERY happy with the sunflower especially the texture, line and color of it.

I'll share more about sunflowers along the way...


Supplies used:

Journal I made from hardcover book and 100 lb Accent Opaque cardstock size 9 3/4 x 16" opened 

Working size (single page) 9 3/4 x 8"

Acrylics: Holbein, Sennelier, Utrecht and Golden (heavy body)

Painting knives

Brushes

Princeton Catalyst Tools

Looked at: 

Joan Mitchell

Vincent Van Gogh

Paul Gauguin 

Arshile Gorky

Richard Diebenkorn

Monday, February 15, 2021

Silver Dollars



I started this page just messing around with paint. No attachment or connection to the red flower at the bottom.

I started thinking about childhood memories and silver dollars popped into my head.

They were one of my favorite plants growing up in Massachusetts. We rarely saw them except during the late summer (I think) during family drives which is what made them so special. 

Supplies used:

Journal I made from hardcover book and 100 lb Accent Opaque cardstock size 9 3/4 x 16" opened 

Working size (single page) 9 3/4 x 8"

Acrylics: Holbein, Sennelier, Utrecht and Golden (heavy body)

Stabilo Aquarellable pencils

Painting knives

Brushes

Princeton Catalyst Tools

Looked at: 

Joan Mitchell

Arshile Gorky

Richard Diebenkorn



Friday, February 12, 2021

What I'm Reading: Joan Mitchell

 


“Sometimes I don’t know exactly what I want (with a painting). I check it out, recheck it for days or weeks. Sometimes there is more to do on it. Sometimes I am afraid of ruining what I have. Sometimes I am lazy, I don’t finish it or I don’t push it far enough. Sometimes I think it’s a painting.”-Joan Mitchell 

I like to take my books to bed. That can be a bit of a challenge with thick art catalogues. In an effort to actually read the catalogues I have on my bursting shelves (instead of just looking at the pictures), I've set a goal of a chapter a day.  

It's been inspiring to balance the day time reading of the Joan Mitchell catalogue with late night reading of Patricia Alber's Joan Mitchell Lady Painter: a Life. I've been waking up and going to bed thinking of color and mark making. I'm seeking out how to paint feelings and experiences, personal landscapes and unpacking a lifetime in the form of paint on paper. I am swimming in waters that only seem familiar. 

I first read Lady Painter four years ago. It has hit me in an entirely different way this time. I relate to it more and am just flat out grateful that the book exists. (The catalogue I mention above is also very well written with stunning photos and personal memorabilia.) Last year, I began reading art history books with a color catalogue at the same time. I find it to be enormously helpful and inspiring to have the work in color to reference and study while reading the artist's life story. 

I'll be in the water with Joan Mitchell for the next few weeks. I'm looking forward to diving deep and learning from her.