Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chicago Skyline in Pen & Ink

I feel as though when I attempt to write about the paintings (and occasionally drawings) I make, the things I write are essentially the same, typically something like: I visited this location, it was a lovely place, and I had the delightful experience of making this painting. When I make an attempt at conveying those experiences, I depend on a fairly limited body of descriptors and what is a vivid act becomes a bit flattened. 

I was considering that difficulty as I sat down to write about this recent sketch. This sketch was made on half of an a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 recycled scrap paper, a to-do list on the top half, and this sketch occupying the remaining blank page. It was made with makeshift supplies because as I sat by the lake on an recent evening, I felt a pressing desire to draw or paint, so I improvised with what I had. In writing about this work, I find myself trying to articulate what lies behind that desire, what motivates me to draw or paint, to make art.

The truth is I'm not really sure why I make art. It could be that the experience of sitting in a place and attempting to create a representation of it, forces me to be present, to be aware, to be still. It could be that as I travel through life it's hard not to see the deficiencies of contemporary society, it feels easy to be jaded in some way, to become cynical. For me, creating art never feels cynical. There is something beautiful about taking the time to record a moment, a place, a feeling. Art, of course, does not just record the things which are traditionally beautiful, art may reveal that which is unjust, art may reveal the world as it is and not as it should be. Regardless, though, the act of making art strikes me as an optimistic one, hopeful even. These are lofty words to write as I post a quick sketch made on a piece of scrap paper. Is that not the delight of art though, it is lofty, it calls upon the idealistic parts of ourselves, and what could be better than that?
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lincoln Park Conservatory

On a recent Saturday, I visited the Green City Market, wandered through the beautifully landscaped gardens of LIncoln Park, and settled into the Lincoln Park conservatory to make this painting.  I sat along side a friend who was also drawing, it was a delight to interact with curious passersby and make this quick sketch painting in the conservatory. This painting doesn't quite capture the marvel of the scene, which was the contrast between the soft, lush plant textures with the rigid metal and glass of the beautiful structure. Lovely afternoon!
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Commissioned Painting

I recently had the pleasure of completing this commissioned painting, which was to be given as a wedding present. It was made from a photo taken at the couple's wedding and was indeed well suited to translation into watercolor. I was really taken by the soft light in the background, the green shade of the plant and the contrast of that color to the rustic shelf on which it sits. It is a lovely symbol of the commitment of one couple and a pleasing image as the recent supreme court rulings move our country one step closer to equal marriage rights!
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