This project has been occupying a lot of my summer painting time, and has now come to a happy completion!
The Wabash Valley Community Foundation will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year and wanted to celebrate by obtaining artwork from local artists, illustrating in some way their work and impact on the community over the past 30 years. In April they put out a call for submissions of ideas and current work. I made a proposal and was one of 15 people selected to complete a piece of art. The plan was to select and purchase six of those completed.
I visited their offices and studied their history and work. I was drawn to those people who had used their wealth to set up educational scholarships. I chose to focus on this couple, both now deceased, who were successful local, family business owners. (The business continues in the hands of their son, who was very helpful in giving me access to photos of his parents).
They were both keen pilots, owning several of their own airplanes (one is pictured in the back right of the painting) and they established a scholarship for students in the aviation program at Indiana State University, administered by the Community Foundation.
I learned last week that my painting was one of those selected to be purchased and will hang in the offices of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation in Terre Haute.
In April I attended the Annual Conference of the Portrait Society of America, in Atlanta, Georgia. I had a wonderful time!
Before Christmas I did not even know about the Society, but when my husband gave me (for Christmas) the book by Michael Shane Neal, ‘Portrait Painting–My Point of View’, I read about the Society and then looked it up online. I found that there was an annual Conference and I surprised myself by thinking, ‘I could go!’
I met so many great people, attendees and faculty. The demonstrations were fascinating, instructive and inspiring. I went to the free critique sessions on both lunchtimes and obtained advice from four different artists. The evening free drawing session was thoroughly enjoyable; having faculty there to ask for help was a wonderful benefit.
There were so many different styles of painting represented and so many approaches, which was very reassuring! I came home with new ideas, fresh inspiration, and increased incentive to practice and branch out.
I painted this from my front porch this afternoon, an exhilarating experience. It was a crisp, clear, windy December day. My focus was the large maple tree in the middle of the front lawn, and the way the nearly-setting sun was lighting it, although by the time I finished (an hour later) the light had pretty much gone from the tree.
I took a lot of artistic license with the view and completely removed the houses across the street (their complexity and presence did not add to my ideas about the tree), so this is not actually the view from our porch, but my ideas about the tree and the light this afternoon. I loved doing it.
I was happy to have two paintings accepted for the current ‘Masks’ Exhibition at the Arts Illiana Gallery, Terre Haute, March 5-May 21, 2021. The first one I painted is a self-portrait, although I am so masked that it could not truly be called a portrait!
We flew to Albany, NY twice in Dec 2020, first to visit a sick relative and then to attend her funeral. I wanted to have a rest on the flight, so I put on my eye mask, and then thought this was peculiar–my face was now totally covered! With some experimentation I was able to take some selfies with my phone and painted from these after we returned home.
These are exercises in oil; first, pears in monochrome, raw umber at the top and ivory black on the lower one. I was beginning to feel how the traditional oil paints and medium went on to the canvas.Then I tried a study in color, (left) following along with Paint Coach, Chris Fornataro. The last pear (right) was painted from life-my own still life set-up.
I love the rich and luscious colors, the depth and form, and the brushing, blending and layering possibilities of the oil paint.
Although I’ve enjoyed the acrylic glazing process, I decided I wanted to return to something with more ‘solidity’ and depth, and a method that is more direct. I have not been able to find mediums I like for the water-mixable oils, so with some encouragement and instruction from Kari Rajkumar, I’m working with traditional oils now.
I bought a small selection of Gamblin 1980 oils locally, and have been working on exercises from Paint Coach (on YouTube and Patreon). Paint Coach (Chris Fornataro) is very good at simplifying and de-mystifying the materials and process, with excellent tutorials on all aspects of oil painting. And he’s often entertaining!