Continuing my research into style I wanted to explore the artist’s eye. It stands to reason that styles are different because what we see is different.
The Masters see the world differently than most. There are scientific reasons for this: stereoblindness (wall-eyed), divergent thinking, non-attentional blindness and a few others. But what makes them Masters is that they are open to this. As Picasso said, “Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” They seem to have understood that divergent thinking can be a powerful tool. By noticing things others don’t have time to see they can jar us out of our habit of seeing what our brain tell us we see.
My college professors would tell us not to identify the object, instead look at the entire scene: lines, shadows, shapes and contours. They would also have us close our dominant eye before beginning a drawing. These are ways to see the world as it is, not as our brain tells us it is. I wish I had understood their importance and had continued using them all these years.
I watch artists’ videos, high speed demos, their progress shots and marvel at what they are able to create. I love the idea of several artists painting from the same reference, you would end up with several extremely different approaches, processes and finished paintings. It is how they see the the subject matter and their style working together that makes their art their own.
I am sure not everyone spends near as much time on the road as we do, but I learned as a young child that road trips rock! You can leave when you want, stop when you want, play the music as loud as you want, play silo and the license plate ABC’s. You learn what towns and cities are in each state, and a bit of their history, thanks to the brown history signs. You learn what IHOP to eat at and gain an understanding for distance and how big this great country and world really is. Only after you have spent 16 hours in a car with your family can you really understand how far from home you have gone – and you’ve only passed through 2 states!
I have always loved just sitting and looking out the window, examining the different types of clouds and watching the landscape slowly change as you drive from one area to another. While stationed in Kansas we would drive east to visit grandparents, about 22 hours drive any way we went with three young children. As we would enter West Virginia and the Appalachian Mountains or exit 271N onto 90W in western PA, my husband I would get giddy like little kids, it looked like home; the trees, the hills, the sky. A very different view from the midwest and all of it so beautiful to see.
Add the spectacular views with the ability to start and stop as desired and some serious quality family time and you have my definition of Freedom. In control of our destiny, our timeline and our relationships.
Kids are all grown and doing wonderful things in the world so our road trips are quieter and less crumby, but the scenery is just as gorgeous and the conversation as enlightening, the games are just as much fun and the music is still good and loud. Most of all, we still feel like the road is a great way to experience this country and enjoy our freedom.
I have been having a loud painful argument with this painting for the last three days. It started out so promising, but all those damn leaves – it’s very frustrating to not be able to paint leaves when you live surrounded by trees.
I learned that brushing off pastel is a messy business but you do get the paper tooth back and are able to start over.
The first painting was pretty good. The leaves on the branches high in the sky were not my favorite, but it was the warm deep blue sky color that caused me to brush it off and try it again, it was too warm against the green and yellow.
1st attempt, sky blue too warm
After brushing off the top of the painting I set in to cool the sky blue. I was successful in that, but lost the rest of the painting and the tree branches and leaves high in the sky were horrible wimpy marks. I couldn’t brush it off fast enough this morning!
2nd attempt, sky blue is cool, the leaves and branches are not.
I think I may have finally captured the feeling of the Allegheny Trail I was trying to convey. The sky is dramatic, it looks like a bright spring day and the feeling that the trail needs to be walked even though it heads into dark unknown is there. I would love to hear feedback on this one. I don’t think I can paint it again for a minute, but I will definitely be back to this scene to give it another go.
Allegheny Trail, 16 x 20, pastel painting, June 2017