Today, I am going to talk a little (or a lot, depending) about what influences an artist's perceptions of his/her world. For me, the colors and the brilliant light of the desert southwest make me interested in lights and shadows, rocks, water (an always welcome respite from the sun) and skies. Although I have done some portraiture and flowers, I tend to gravitate to landscapes.
Recently I received an email from a blogging friend, Steve Fuller, asking if I had ever seen his post about some of his artwork with a link to it. Taking a look was such a delight. He has given me permission to use some of his images of his work in this post. Steve lives on the East Coast and blogs about the renovation of his 1842 Greek Revival Cottage at An Urban Cottage. He is interested in gardening as well as renovations so it is no surprise that he paints flowers.
|Steve's Water Color of Daisies|
In this still life, Steve has organized the painting in strong abstract shapes that still clearly suggest the subjects of sunflowers, fruit and a bottle. I love the use of blue for the shadows.
Below is one of my sunflower paintings. It is much more representational than Steve's and although interested in shapes and negative spaces as well, I was more intrigued by reflected light on the glass holding the paint brushes and scissors in this piece which I did from life (no photo, although one would be helpful as the painting is not completed) in my living room when we lived in Santa Fe.
|Sunflowers by Heather Gaume|
More likely in New Mexico artists' work you would find an adobe building or a cow skull.
|Skull and flower by Georgia O'Keeffe|
Steve sees sailboats all the time and so he paints them. Below he has organized the scene to change the focus and improve the design of this piece from his reference photograph...
|Steve's Reference Photo|
|River Jewels by Heather Gaume|
|Landscape by Steve Fuller|
|Landscape by Heather Gaume|
When I teach classes, I encourage students to change what they see, leave some things out, or add something that is not in their original sketch.
Be sure to visit Steve's blog, An Urban Cottage. His most recent post is about Fritz Bultman, a member of a group of artists, "The Irascibles" who painted in the 1950's. Fritz was a student of Hans Hofmann who is said to be the father of Abstract Expressionism. From Steve's post, you will get a little taste of history, a great photo of Provincetown, and a pretty hot picture of Fritz's wife, Jeanne.