Downtown Grand Rapids calls once again. McKay Tower, I’ve missed you.
I’m very honored to announce that I have a full feature article in the Fall issue of the Acrylic Artist Magazine. And to add to the excitement, one of my paintings made the cover. As you can imagine, I’m still on cloud nine about all of this!
It was very enjoyable and eye-opening to hear my interviewer’s perspective on my art, including the title of the article, “Shadow Lover.” Jennifer Smith, Managing Editor of the magazine, was a pure joy to work with! We ended up going with a Q&A format. If you’d like to order this issue of the magazine, you can use this link for either a downloadable copy, or to have the magazine mailed to you.
The article helps explain Jennifer’s choice of “Shadow Lover” to describe me/my paintings. One of the components, to give you a clue, is that I’m allergic to the sun, which gives me an appreciation for shade, above and beyond what most people probably experience. So when I paint that luscious edge between the shaded and sunlit sides of a building or structure, I’m actually quite attracted to, and comforted by, the shaded side. At one of the recent receptions at LaFontsee Galleries (where I’m represented), a fellow artist expressed to me her appreciation for the proportion of shade to sun I used on “Little Shed on the Prairie” (shown below). As an instructor at a local art institute, she tries to get that concept through to her students: that it’s not all about the bright colors. The contrasting presence of the shade is what makes the light look so good!
Watch my future blog posts for notice about a two-part online article Jennifer Smith is publishing regarding my style of painting, and some tips from me, including how to overcome one of the greatest challenges of acrylic: its fast-drying quality.
Also, I will soon be posting a new page on this website, just for the purpose of discussing some of the tricks I’ve learned in my experience with acrylic. If you’re an artist who is new to acrylics, I think you’ll discover some great information.
A glimpse of Chicago from Lake Shore Drive. Heading home after a wonderful visit with our son.
This painting is so big, I wasn’t able to photograph it with my normal lighting conditions. The sky in the actual painting is not pinkish. If you are interested in this one, I will do another photo shoot…unless you want to come by and see it in person.
I’m stuck, trying to name this painting, and would love your suggestions. You are invited to come on over to my Facebook art page and give me your idea(s) there by posting a comment. If I end up choosing somebody’s title, I would be more than happy to express my thanks by sending you a pack of note cards with my paintings on them.
If you’re from the Grand Rapids area, you may be able to identify the optical illusion of this scene: the building is actually behind my camera and is being reflected on a glass building in front of me, beyond the trees.
Rosa Parks Circle and Monroe Center continue to provide me with inspiring harmonies of nature alongside structure.
Chicago, as seen from the north side, looking south. From the summer of 2015. The sun would soon be setting in the west, and we were on our way home, after a wonderful visit with our son.
There are plenty of paintings I’ve abstracted in the past, where I ignore the reality in order to gain a desired result. However, there are certain boundaries I don’t cross concerning lighting. I usually stay consistent with the light’s effects from one object to the next in order to express something that is believable to the eyes.
I broke those rules a little on this painting to get some contrasts I wanted. You could say I created a bit of an unreality.
This is a final look at Mackinac Island as it was getting ready to close down for the winter. The idea of being on the island after the tourists all leave greatly appeals to me. A couple of my girlfriends actually stayed there all year, many moons ago, to work and attend the short-lived college. My romantic mind pictures one magical scene after another: horse-drawn sleigh rides accompanied by the jingling of the sleigh bells; large snowflakes falling gently to the ground; the hushed atmosphere created by thick layers of snow “insulation.” A picture-perfect image. But I’m sure the reality is a lot more … realistic! 😉
This piece began with a 5-color transparent wash, of which phthalo green was the main player. I had forgotten how interesting phthalo green is: when mixed with alizarin crimson, it produces such a rich black, it almost belies its cool beginnings (with alizarin crimson also being a cool hue).
My goal for this painting was: “Hold back with brushstrokes. Give just enough (or not quite enough, which is enough).” This is one of the reminders I have printed and taped to my painting table, lest I forget.
Last weekend we hit peak color in my area of Michigan, so we took advantage of it and meandered around for three days. This was one of our stops one day, before we left Grand Rapids. Although I’ve painted this intersection a zillion times, these vibrant trees were screaming at me to catch them showing off! Who can argue when a tree is talking to you?
During our drives, we ate at a lovely place in Newaygo called River Stop Cafe. Old brick walls, extremely high ceilings, and delicious sandwiches. Just south of there near Grant was a farm market which demanded us to stop. Number one, it was called “Nelsons.” And number two, they advertised having the best long johns around. I’m currently on a quest to see if anybody can beat the long johns at Royal Dutch Bakery in Grandville (formerly known as Steenstra’s). Nelsons was good on certain levels (I was all prepared to give you my detailed critique, but then I remembered this is not a food blog); but Royal Dutch Bakery still claims first place for me.
Back to art. I’m painting furiously, before the wind drives all the beautiful leaves off the trees. I’m afraid that once the color outside of my windows is gone, I will lose my inspiration to paint it, even though I have it recorded on some amazing photographs. I know me. I love neutrals; and once the countryside takes on the peaceful, washed-out hues of dried grasses and corn stalks, and the bare trees become elegant statues silhouetted against the steely-gray skies… . My heart will follow.