Sunday, April 24, 2011

Painting Styles - One, Two, Three or More?

I am often told how my paintings are so "me", portraying a single painterly style. I am also often told my paintings reflect many styles. So which is it? Well, most likely both.

My college training pushed me to explore paint and techniques without being confined by more traditional methods. I think of it as letting the paint do the talking. As I create I build upon the previous layers, letting each brushstroke define the next. I feel a push-pull with the canvas as I work one area and then another, always remembering to reflect on the whole and let the building relationships of color, line, and shape, dictate the next stroke of paint. In this way, I feel my paintings are very cohesive.

However, I do approach my subject matter in very different ways giving me 2 distinctive qualities - what I refer to as impressionistic vs. the abstracted. I also will use different tools such as india ink pens and image transfers (applying acrylic gel to drawings) to alternately define my subject matter for a 3rd distinctive quality to my work. For example...

When I paint en plein air (outdoors), I am as much moved by the scene as the paint and incorporate more of the details presented to me in the painting. These paintings have a more impressionistic feel to them as I still incorporate my painterly approach.

My studio paintings, on the other hand, aren't confined by my surroundings and can take simpler, more abstracted forms as I rely on memories or impressions of the natural world. I find if I use photos for reference, my paintings become more forced and less spontaneous and therefore I avoid using them.

I enjoy both these methods for establishing my subject matter, and then enjoy pushing my painting styles a bit further by employing additional techniques...

drawing into my painting with India Ink pens and...

collaging image transfers into my design.

Each painting I create is a new experience. I work to keep each one fresh and unique - hopefully giving it the whimsical quality that keeps my paintings...well... "me".

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