I was recently asked what is my favorite large painting that I’ve done over my career. Boy, that is a difficult question to answer, especially for someone with a career spanning over 35 years!
Just looking through files and folders of images spanning over three decades is a daunting task. First there were photographs, printed and filed. Then all the images collected on slides which was the only way we could apply for exhibits. This involved special film, tripods, 3200K lights, a whole set up which took hours to accomplish. And then I didn’t even know if I had captured the image correctly until the slides returned. Thank goodness those days are over.
Now, we take photos with a digital camera, the better the camera, the better the image. Of course, now every decent phone has a great camera. And I don’t bother with the lights anymore. I usually just hang the paintings on the outside of my studio on a cloudy day or on the north side. Photo imaging software can handle the rest.
My first couple of decades as an artist, I focused solely on watercolor or media on paper – pastel, charcoal, pen and ink. Watercolor paper is limiting by the size, standard sheet of 22 x 30. Although at times I have used rolled paper which can get very large, most paintings of this time were standard size or smaller.
The past few decades have been primarily devoted to oils and acrylics. Sizes vary here depending upon my design and are usually on canvas, canvas board, or even hard board.
Each painting has a story behind it. I remember what inspired me, where I was, even what music or recorded book I was listening to. These are just a few of my favorite large paintings from over the years. Certainly not all, but a few. As you can see, I am particularly attracted to stories with people. Although throughout the years, I ‘ve painted many still lifes and scenery of all kinds, I keep returning to the human element.
A few weeks ago I eagerly posted some preliminary photos of the new Jasper Cultural Center in Jasper, Indiana. Well, they weren’t quite ready for release yet so I took the post down. However, even though they’re still not quite ready, some of the portions of the Cultural Center are now open. So I’m giving you a preview of those parts.
The three galleries in the center are open to the public. These are really awesome galleries, very large with clearstory windows. They are located in the arts section of the Cultural Center. The idea is to have staggered two-month exhibits featuring local, regional and national artists. The first exhibits this year are John Mellencamp, Gerry Wubben, and a group show featuring local and regional artists. Let me just say, everything looks wonderful in these galleries and Emily Colluci-Peak, the Visual Arts Coordinator, has done a marvelous job of hanging the exhibits. If you have some time, take a drive out to see the exhibits.
They’re still finalizing the classroom spaces. The atrium between the library and the arts section has no furniture yet but it looks ready to go. And the library is waiting for some shelving which is on back order. But the whole shebang will be open in another few weeks. I’ll be sure to post some more updates then.
If you’re feeling housebound these days and looking for a place to go for a drive, I highly recommend that you plan a trip to Jasper in southern Indiana. The new cultural center is at 100 Third Avenue right in downtown Jasper, near the river and many other interesting places to visit. Plenty of parking in the rear of the building (turn north on Mill Street, then east on Fourth Street). And many fine restaurants and shopping areas to visit. Admission is free.
Jasper is a small Midwestern town of only about 15,000. But the whole town came together to build this wonderful site…after many years of planning. Initiated by a major challenge grant from some significant local donors, local businesses and private donors jumped in to help. A decade-long community project has been finally realized.
If you are an artist looking to exhibit in such a fine space, contact Emily Colluci-Peak at Jasper Arts Center. The submission deadline for 2022 is February 12th of this year. Check out this link here. Click here to take a virtual tour of the three exhibits.
We had a little over an inch of snow last night. The sight that greeted us this morning was so pretty. Every branch and plant was covered. Actually, it seems as if we haven’t had a heavy snow of several inches for a few years. Even though winter has been relatively mild – so far, I am already sick of the season. News exhaustion, tired of restrictions, worried about COVID. Missing my family.
The past few weeks since the holiday crush, I have been concentrating on finishing up my Breaking Bread series of paintings. These are middling to large, 24 x 30 paintings expressing my thoughts and observations of people eating together, or not as the case may be. A few are humorous but most are thought-provoking. Scenes we see every day or used to at least. But they are also mentally or emotionally draining.
I decided to take a little respite this week and paint something lighter. Think spring. Back to some small watercolors with pen and ink, even colored pencil added. Some florals and landscapes. Promises of things to come in a few months.
The first one that I tackled was Spring Daffodils. This is a landscape of the naturalized daffodils in my yard. Sometimes they come up as early as mid-February but usually they’re not out in full force until March and April. It’s just such a peaceful scene with spring colors.
Another scene is of some of the purple irises out by the woodshed. I know that I planted these shortly after we moved here many years ago but can’t remember the name. It doesn’t really matter. I have many varieties of irises from light purple to deep purple, peach and white, and some more that I’ve forgotten. It’s always a pleasant surprise to see them explode in color in some out of the way place.
I’ll take another week “off” to paint some of these spring scenes. They have lightened my mood and inspired me during these dismal times. Then I’ll get back to the more serious series. I have four more paintings to complete before the big show in May and June.
I hope you have some activity to inspire you during these difficult times, too. Take care of yourselves.
I'm a professional artist, retired director of a performing arts center, bona fide book addict, and enjoy the quiet life...most of the time. I'd love to hear from you or get your ideas for future posts. Come back soon!