Thursday, September 1, 2016

Backyard Bouquet

Backyard Bouquet 
12x9, soft pastel

For the past couple years I focused on learning all I could about the use of soft pastels and (for the past twelve months) kept working at landscapes using a traditional realism style.  There are so many great artists (past and present) and I wanted to follow in their footsteps.  So, I tried like heck to temper my use of color over the past year...but I just couldn't achieve what was in my mind's eye.  

I often got bored painting trees, fields, mountains and lakes in realistic colors.  So for the next little while I'll try embracing my weakness for vibrant saturated color.  This style is reminiscent of Fauvism, the Colorists, and reminds me a bit of some of VanGogh's use of over simplification (as in his "Bedroom in Arles") and vibrant use of colors (such as "Starry Night" and "Cafe Terrace at Night"). 

Backyard Bouquet was a gorgeous vase of flowers from my yard sitting next to my favorite oval blue vase sometimes used to hold pens and pencils...all I had to do was add three oranges and I was all set with a colorful still life.  Yum!

Little Brown Eyed Girl

Little Brown Eyed Girl
8x6, soft pastel

Here we are, Sept. 1st once again and the 30in30 Challenge has begun.  The summer rushed by and I didn't accomplish half of what I thought I would.  As I told my oldest daughter recently, "The best laid plans of mice and men, often go astray."   You know how it is.  So many times in life we think we know what our immediate day/week/month will entail only to be cast off in another direction, reminding us that we are simply not in control of our lives.  

Less than a month ago my sweet mother passed away.  She had a full life and at 87 was ready to go.  Ironically, that's about what she weighed (87) when she fell and broke her hip.  With dementia in full control of her mind for the past several years and her body weakened, she sometimes had thoughts of heaven and asked just days before the fall, "When I get to heaven, do you think I'll get a new coat?".   "Oh yes mom!" I told her.  "You can pick out any color you want.  What color will you chose?".  "Oh my!" she exclaimed with sheer glee and a twinkle in her eyes.  "I always wanted a RED coat!".  As a child she lived an impoverished life during The Depression Era and was often hungry...and certainly never had a new coat.  So this thought of what heaven would be like for her simply delighted her.  

Since her passing, I told myself I would someday paint a picture of her with a new red coat and maybe someday I will. The painting above is my mother at the age of six years old wearing her very best clothes for her first grade picture.  Not a new red coat for this little brown eyed girl...but her very best clothes none-the-less.

I had resigned myself to passing on this month's 30in30 Challenge.  I have a lot of things I still want to paint but I just haven't had much inspiration lately.  We'll see.  I have no plans or expectations of how this month will unfold.  I'll take it a day at a time and see where it takes me.  After all, isn't that all we really have anyway?