Friday, April 11, 2014

Wave After Wave

Diane Mannion, Wave After Wave, 8x10" oil on canvas


As an artist in perennial transition, my work comes in waves caused by an unceasing desire to sharpen skills and deepen concepts.  Why do I paint?  What do I paint?  What's my motivation?
Aside from all the glory and fame... there's a need to buy more art supplies, frames, and pay a few bills.  There's also the obsession and sheer love of what I do.  

Changing mediums between oil, pastel, and watercolor helps me "see" subjects, composition, and colors from a different perspective.  Pastels inform color visualization and rapid drawing notations.  Watercolors allow for playful dabbling and quick sketches.  However, watercolor is the most difficult medium to control.  Perhaps, I should let accidents happen rather than trying to control them! 
(Note to self: Have fun.)

My watercolor, View from Boathouse was a pleasure to paint while sitting on the Bay Preserve boathouse steps.  Thought I'd simply take a few color notes and work out composition for an oil painting, but this took on a life of it's own... so I'll let it be.  Next week I'll attempt an oil from the same spot.  I learned a lot by doing this watercolor, so it should be easy.  Right?

Diane Mannion, View from Boathouse, 5x5" watercolor

Style and Branding are artistic buzz words a lot of artists worry about.  Rather than get locked into one style, one subject, landscape, figurative, or still life... I think it's in the artist's best interest to practice every discipline.  Landscapes, especially field studies, develops color sense.  Figurative and portraits develop drawing skills.  Still lifes develop composition abilities.  Like changing mediums, one informs the other.  Practice in all categories creates a better artist! 

And while I'm on this rant and rave... switching from field studies and plein air paintings to studio work is also important.  Working both small and large and larger still!  Studio experiments and lessons learned will help tremendously when back out in the field.  Yin and yang.  Metamorphosis. Never stop growing as an artist.  If you do... you're finished!  An artist's work is never done.

Please visit my show, Mon-Fri 9-5, ring bell at mansion.

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