Archive for the ‘Cubism’ Category

Always Time for Tea 2

At the start of a new year, I like to take a life inventory—reviewing the past year and setting my future course in light of all I’ve learned from successes and failures.  In the area of art making, the possibilities for growth are endless.  I will never learn it all, and thus I’m free to thoroughly savor the process!

Most recently I’m absorbing all I can from DVDs and books by two English watercolorists—Shirley Trevena, and Jean Haines.  I cannot begin to do justice to their art by way of description.  But you can check these fine artists through their URLS:  http://www.shirleytrevena.com/ and http://www.jeanhaines.com/ .

As you will see from her website, Shirley Trevena creates complex transparent layers in her work—carefully glazing over under-layers which are completely dry.  Her drawing skills and grasp of perspective are stellar, but Shirley has a refreshing way of presenting different aspects of her still life paintings from varying angles.  A pitcher may be straight up before your eyes, while the fruit bowl next to the pitcher is tipped on its side so that fruit tumbles out—almost into the lap of the viewer.  I believe this technique of abstracted form and presentation of irregular dimensions began with Cubism.  I find the method tremendously freeing, and it creeps into most of my still life patio scenes—i. e. an iced tea pitcher on the patio floor and an upside down lawn chair precariously dangling from a tree.

From Jean Haines, who also excels at transparent layering and drawing with paint, I’ve discovered the creative freedom of a diagonal wash.  I confess that over the years of experimenting I’ve found the traditional wash method (beginning at the top of the page and systematically working down in horizontal strips of uniform size) just a bit BORING.  Yes, I know; I’m odd!  🙂

Often, Jean begins in an upper corner, and randomly streaks paint diagonally to the bottom of the paper.  She introduces color upon color, letting complements fuse into gorgeous in-between shades.  Then, from the subtle blending of colors, Jean Haines gently begins to extract her subject.  Like Shirley, Jean will often reveal only part of a subject.  Just as Shirley paints fruit which may be missing a bite or two, Jean will delicately allude to the star of her painting:  perhaps a dark nose and one ear buried in fluff, unmistakably representing a small furry dog—or one indigo eye with a white dot and streaks of colorful feathers embellishing her cockerels (which I’m trying to render—see the last entry before today’s).

Both of these fine artists stress unabashed COLOR!  From their time-honored tradition of skillfully muted atmospheric English watercolor painting, these ladies continue their great national heritage by exploding into new areas of vibrant atmospheric color.  Both Shirley Trevena and Jean Haines stress the priorities of slowing down, thinking about each stage, and thoroughly enjoying making one’s very own individual art—different for every person who picks up a brush!

Gather ye rosebuds

Margaret L. Been, January 2014

Note:  My two paintings featured in this entry are:  “Always Time for Tea”, and ” ‘Gather Ye Rosebuds’ “—inspired by Robert Herrick’s poem.

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