Workshops in France

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Blue Door"

Here's my painting titled "Blue Door". 

The Asian Influence is very evident to me; I feel its influence in my art. The major aspects of the Eastern Aesthetic that affect me are design, color harmonies and influence of the line and flat two-dimensional shapes. The wood blocks of Japan are among my favorites. 

The Blue Door
The major influences of the Asian Aesthetic that affect me are design, the color harmonies and influence of the line and flat two-dimensional shapes. Here’s a blue painting; I’m in love with this color and I try to make everything a harmony of blue. The design is simple – really an undulating triangle against four flat panels of color. One of the background panels is painted in silver pigment and I used a brush to “inlay” 2-dimensional tiles of blue into the flat silver shape. The broad black (actually blue-black) line designed into her kimono is to lead the eye through and up the painting to her face and dark hair. Even the flesh tones are tending to blue violet. But if you really look at this painting I have used almost no pure blue at all – it’s all grey-blue, blue-violet and aquas. Like a haiku, it can say a lot about a subject without directly addressing it.

When Japan, in particular, opened its borders in the second half of the 19th century the world was exposed to a new aesthetic that swayed the art world completely. It presented a new sense and direction in the decorative arts and artful living, away from ostentation and towards balance and simplicity. Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Impressionism to a degree were born out of the Asian influence.
The artwork from the past that I love, admire and study for what it can teach me, is most often by artists who were influenced by this Eastern aesthetic; Klimt, architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, painters John Singer Sargent and the Glasgow Boys’ George Henry and E. A. Hornel stand out as a few.

When I contemplate a new painting, I take a few moments, move into a meditative place to form the major idea, design and message for the work I am about to undertake. And since I work at the easel quickly, this prior step is vital to the painting. This is when I lay out the road map for the piece, the harmonies, palette and the composition. From this starting point, I do not try to “visualize” the painting, but just like heading for a new destination I have an idea of what it might feel like. With these elements in agreement I can confidently paint at any speed as I know then, where I am going and how I am going to get there.

Again Dominique modeled, and she made the kimono. I sat her on top of a table to paint her as if I was seated on the ground - in other words got my eye  level about the same as hers.

The painting was included in a really gorgeous exhibit at the Galeria Gitana, San Fernando, California - Asian Influence - The Eastern Aesthetic. The show was curated by gallery director, Karen Nichols and included some great works by fellow artists. One of the exhibit highlights was a lecture on the subject by John Paul Thornton, Art Education Coordinator at City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.