Making a yellow paper mache piggy bank was the only thing that got me through 4th grade…..so I have been a visual artist since I was 9 years old. I say this lightly but with a solid belief that art should be readily available to everyone.
Many like me have the need to work in color and line, but might not be able to make their complete living at it. So what……getting money for one’s visual expressions is not always what matters at the end of the day. For me time in the studio gets me through life. I’m happy when I see a beautiful orange or yellow on the canvas. I like sharing with others these colors.
While studying painting and drawing at the University of Georgia the focus was more on developing one’s personal narrative as an artist. That’s great if one has a firm grasp on basic drawing and painting skills. I did not…..so I limped through art school.
Before graduation, I backpacked through Europe and got the chance to study many great European artist. Getting a chance to see drawings and under paintings of the great masters encouraged me to work on my drawing skills and basic painting techniques. So over the years I have made many studies of some of my favorite artist.
The Italian painter Matteo di Giovanni painted his ‘Christ with Thorns’ sometime between 1480-95. The format was very much like the Byzantine icon, but the orange and blue color combination was what attracted me to do a study of this work.
Study of Giovanni’s ‘Christ Crowned with Thorns’
Another work that I painted a study of was the ‘The Sinai Pantocrator’ also known as the ‘Blessing Christ.’
Study of ‘The Blessing Christ’
Although these two works are different in tone and style these paintings taught me much about the process of making a proper under painting and facial modeling. One of my professors in college who was an abstract artist said that ‘One should first learn to draw realistically before venturing into the abstract.’ I really took his words to heart. I still have much to learn and practice, but studying these two images of Christ forced my eye and hand to see the geometric proportions of the face.
Next, I wondered onto the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe taught me to paint as a woman. Below are several paintings that I did as a study of and inspired by her paintings. In 2010, I got the chance to see O’Keeffe originals in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her colors are much more vivid than any photograph of her work can reproduce.
After visiting a Claude Monet exhibit at the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia I was struck by Monet’s subtile tonal and color changes and was inspired to do a study of his ‘Morning on the Seine, Geverny, 1897’
Of course no study is complete, without the influence of Vincent Van Gogh. His usage of color still amazes me and is very difficult to pin down. Below are a few studies I have done of his amazing work,
For 2013, I have decided to find my own visual voice and narrative. I’m sure influences of these great artist will still be present in my work, but I want to focus on what my eye sees and how it sees it. After all, we are all different and bring our own unique interpretations to the palette. Finding out who we are and what we are about is a part of our collective human narrative. Long live the line and the color that comes with it. May we all discover something new about ourselves and share it with others. Being creative is a part of being human.