Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Villa Albicini Pastel Painting

Pastels are an ideal medium for expressing faux Italian stucco. It is certainly more readily accomplished than this labor intensive painting style with its paint, burlap bags and the time that is needed to soften and meld colors. It takes a very special house to stand up to and complement the faux Italian Stucco look. I moved to a town with a wonderful example of its unique excitement and beauty. This house is artistically satisfying in its own right. Adding color would be “gilding the Lilly”. I did have some fun with color on the gravel drive and in the landscape as an artistic decision to visually tie the color of the house to its surroundings. This house is a treat for the eyes, perfect for pastels and a satisfying subject for me.

Several richly colored houses and landscapes are Chestnut Trees and Farm at Jas De Bouffan, 1888, House with Red Roof, 1887 and House in the Provence, 1883 by Paul Cezanne. Another favorite is Place des Lices St. Tropez, 1904 by Henri Matisse.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Colorful Basket Pastel Painting

I love seeing the unique opportunities in every day objects and their compositions. This painting was conceived with the idea of colorful stripes and texture. Fall gourds are naturally striped. Onions and lemons have sections suggesting the opportunity for enhanced color. The basket was another structural opportunity for colorful stripes. The planks of the table and ribbed pot complete the striped theme. The lettuce in the basket is texture. The blue seen through the window is a rich textural blue made up of dots of all colors and lots of variations of blue. Last, I just had fun with colorful highlights on the table because I thought the effect was pleasing. I have saved the whites by using the white background color of the paper as my table top and for highlights on the fruit as a fresh counterpoint to the color of the rest.

Recognize the basket? It is a colorful, fauvist version of the one in Paul Cezanne's Still Life with Fruit Basket, 1880-90. I like knowing that Cezanne also picked elements for his compositions from different sources with the goal of a pleasing painting.

Two particularly colorful Cezanne still life paintings are A Still Life with Apples, Bottle and Milk Pot, 1902-06 and Still Life: Apples, Bottle and Chairback. In the painting with a Milk Pot bold yellow and blue are accented with red. In the paintings with a Chairback bold red and blue are accented with yellow. Cezanne has saved his whites as well for the translucent, fresh and highlighted effects.

I was pleasantly surprised to find two wonderful, fairly realistic, early still lifes by Henri Matisse. Still Life with Pitcher and Fruit, 1898 and Fruit and Coffee Pot, 1898 show an exciting emphasis on texture. Matisse's Poppies- Fireworks, 1919 and Interior with an Egyptian Curtain, 1948 show his fully developed style of patterns, color and texture.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pastel Paintings of Flowers


Pastels are a natural medium for painting the beautiful colors and textures of flowers. With a wide variety of strokes, marks, dots and the unique ability to blend colors, flowers can be rendered in realistic or imaginative styles.

For both paintings of flowers, I have used a more dynamic perspective, that draws you in as opposed to a literal rendition. Examples are The Goldfish, Bowl of Apples on a Table, 1916 of Henri Matisse and Paul Cezanne's La Vase Paille, 1895.

The flowers and chair are both more detailed and modeled while the door behind them is less so. The sky and view behind the door and window of the other flower painting are suggested. The effect is to give the subjects of the paintings a much stronger forward focus and emphasis. This technique was frequently used by Paul Gauguin. Examples are Still Life with Apples, Pear and Ceamic Portrait Jug, 1889, Portrait de Madeleine Bernhard, 1888 and Maternite, 1899. Bouquet de Fleurs by Marc Chagall is another example.

Not only are my flowers colorful but the whole painting is an expressive use of color suggestive of their essence. An example is Marc Chagall 's On the Roof of Paris. Color is used express the energy, activity and excitement of Paris.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pastel Paintings of Fields

I have always drawn using my imagination, often inspired by a single image that then becomes my jumping off point. In the case of these two paintings it was an aerial view of a field. Ideas occur to me as I paint with pastels. I follow my instincts with the goal of a pleasing image, realistic or not. I suppose I have always been a bit of a fauvist, even as a child who loved to draw fanciful images before I knew of fauvism.

Several favorite examples of fauvist art are Vue de Collioure, 1905 and The Turning Road, L’ Estaque, 1906 by Andre Derain. Maurice de Vlamink's Picking up Deadwood, 1906 and In My Father's Orchard, 1905 are more examples of colorful fauvist art.

Some other wonderful examples of colorful art by Paul Gauguin are Matamoe 1892, Haere Pape, 1892, Street in Tahiti, 1891, Haystack in Arles, 1888 and Watermill in Pont-Aven, 1894.