Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Rainy Day Preparations

It's been raining off and on now for a couple of months - certainly better than the drought we've been experiencing for the last couple of years.  But today, in addition to a cooler Spring than usual, the wind is carrying the wonderful aromas of a deep, green, rich season.  Our weather usually travels from the west and even in winter we get snow off the Great Lakes all the way over to the East Coast of North America.  So when I want to go outside to paint in the garden (that would not be in the winter!) this presents some problems so I'm spending time today preparing images for the next round of egg tempera painting.

Egg tempera, as I've mentioned, is less forgiving than oil so planning ahead is necessary.  That means first coming up with the right idea for an image.  Still life setups are one way to go, but the season or the weather isn't always right for what I want at the time in nature so I use current photos or those I've taken and organized from several decades of walks in the woods, fields and gardens.

The major preparation comes as I develop the ideas from setups or photographs.  I build them out in Photoshop by cutting, copying, pasting and editing until I have what I want to work from.  As I do this I also edit for light, values and color.  When the final image is ready I print several copies on thicker matte photo paper so I can cut templates of the final design.  I use the templates to cover areas of the painting not being worked on. This protects the painting from water or pigment straying onto other areas of the painting.

View this video demo of egg tempera painting with the password toomanyvideos2* -
Egg Tempera Painting Demo from Marny Lawton on Vimeo.

The finished egg tempera painting in demo:

Friday, May 26, 2017

Painting Progress - Standing Water

Catching the ephemeral in nature means catching the moment you spot something beautiful. Standing water can be just that moment. It's not a pond, or a lake, or a stream or river. It's just a pool of standing water. The water in this image was just snow melt at the end of winter one day on the way to work. The sun hit it just right, the reflections were beautiful. And like my Reflections series I could see what was under the water, reflected on the surface of the water from above and out of view, and what was springing out of the water or resting on it. There wasn't a breath of air so it was standing water.  Here's the progress of the painting and the finished painting now on view at Silver Circle Gallery in Putnam, CT:


Thursday, April 27, 2017

another painting in progress

From drawing to value study to finished painting, Pitcher and Grapes:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The latest and meant to be the anchor painting of a crowd funding campaign seeking funds to help feed the hungry by selling art.  Developing the campaign was a lot of work, but in the end decided against going this route.  Instead I'm hoping the group show will materialize later this year in which many artists will join me to help raise funds for food banks in Connecticut.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Another progression...

Another progression, but still trouble with massing while getting better at values:

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Classical techniques

My painting habits have become lazy so I joined Sandra Wakeen's Atelier in Somers, CT to start working on techniques like light, values, massing, edge control, color mixing, etc.  It's been arduous to undo old habits and replace with new..... a little like shifting a moveable bridge though some progress is being made:

Saturday, July 30, 2016

New Ideas

There's nothing new under the sun.  We've heard that often enough and maybe it's true.  Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote The Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love, contends that ideas are out there as part of the universe just trying to find a human to bring them to fruition if we would only pay attention and recognize them when they find us.  Ideas move among us, are part of us, are shared by us.  This is certainly true in any of the sciences where researchers create ideas, share them in their field where other researchers pick up their work to carry it forward with more research either proving or disproving their hypothesis and moving the knowledge forward.  Why would we think this wouldn't happen in the arts as well? Eugene Delacroix said, "What moves those of genius, what inspires their work is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough."   If that's true for geniuses then it must apply to the rest of us as well!

As Pablo Picasso explained, “I don’t have a clue. Ideas are simply starting points. I can rarely set them down as they come to my mind. As soon as I start to work, others well up in my pen. To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing… When I find myself facing a blank page, that’s always going through my head. What I capture in spite of myself interests me more than my own ideas.”   For Picasso, the key was getting started before he knew exactly what he was doing. Doing the work in spite of yourself.  Inspiration, then, comes not from the original idea — but from what happens when you allow yourself to start working without restriction or fear of “messing up.” In order to find a great idea, you have to start backwards: First start working.

I don't recall where I read this, but if you ever wanted to know what a creative person’s mind feels like, imagine a browser with 2,857 tabs open.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.