In my last post, i mentioned the random find of a cadmium red canvas, and how it opened up a whole rabbit hole of color experimentation for me.
The result was a portfolio of floral paintings which literally glowed with new color combinations.
Then "random fate" stepped in again. We took a trip to Colorado to see the changing autumn foliage around Creede and Southfork. We were actually just there in the nick of time.The trees were beautiful, but the advent of winter brought heavy rains and winds so the leaves fell like golden snow. Within a few days, there would be no leaves at all.
The images percolated in my mind, and I was aching to get home to paint.
The red canvases came to mind. I scumbled some colors and complementary colors onto the canvas and found a whole new palette of colors.
The cadmium colors with magenta and blue, along with the fresh spontaneous brushwork sand to me like a watercolor painting.
Here are a few of the examples...
..Ok, sorry. It's been a year since I posted. That's the trouble with blogs, unless blogging is your main business.
And of course, it's not.
My daughter raises the coolest "grandma flowers"...Zinnias, Asters, Cosmos, you name it, and she has a knack for throwing them in a jar to make beautiful arrangements. Soooo.....
Schlepping around in the studio, I found one stretched linen canvas...painted Cadmium Red (11 x 14")....Long forgotten, and not any idea what I originally intended to do with it.
We happened to have a bouquet of Amy's flowers downstairs, and I brought them up to the studio. No changes, just set them in front of a dark background. Fished out my Magenta and Cad Yellow, and went to town.
I've got to say, that Cad Red seemed to make the colors sing. (#1)
Feeling a little guilty for making a "realistic" flower painting, I immediately stretched a larger canvas (24 x 24") and worked to make the same bouquet a little more "contemporary". Hmmm (#2)
Oh my god, I found another Cad Red linen canvas (11 x 14")
Was visiting Amy, and asked her if she had some more arrangements. Well, duh! She disappeared outside and came in with a handful of flowers from her garden and poked them in a jar, and, well you know, there came #3.
I liked #3 enough that I stretched another 24 x 24" canvas and painted a part of it very large and very simple. This time I added the white outline track that I use so often in my cubist paintings. Wham Bam! I'm in love!
The next painting (#5) was on a 12 x 12" canvas, (cad red, of course), and I painted another of Amy's arrangements. White track outline made my eyes travel around the painting. (Hopefully your's too)
Ordered more 11 x 14" prestretched linen canvases. I'm on a roll.
Waiting for delivery, I found an 8 x 10" canvas, and primed it cad red. that little daffodil painting succummed to the white track disease, and became what I would call "an illustration". (#6) I'm filing this thought with hopes of painting a larger one with less geometry when the Linens come in.
Aha! The Linens came in! I reworked #5 design for the next 11 x 14" linen. I restrained myself on the geometry. This is (#6)
Lastly, I primed a 12 x 12" canvas (Cad Red) and painted from a photo of a bouquet that Amy brought her mom a year ago. All Purple, and so big and fat that it threatened to burst out of the canvas. My wife went "ahhhhh." Everyone went "ahhhhh". That was (#7).
Long story short, Amy is still harvesting flowers, and I'm still loving the Cad Red thing. Lots of Linen canvases in the studio. New tube of Cad Red (expensive). I'm on a roll.
Like I said....It's a rabbit hole.
"MIDNIGHT, HUNAN PROVINCE, CHINA"
30 X 40" acrylic on canvas
Sometimes a painting is born smoothly and easily, evolving on the canvas without a care in the world, and sometimes a painting is born kicking and screaming, reluctant to come out of the womb until the artist has begged and pleaded with it.
This painting was a difficult delivery. After having painted the first version, I moved onto this larger canvas and sketched it loosely. The colors from the first painting did not work on this larger canvas. Since I used loose dark washes to block it in
the result was cark and foreboding, not at all what I wanted.
I wanted color, and excitement.
The painting languished on the easel for a few weeks, while I studied it in passing every day. Sometimes I added a few strokes, an outline or two, or a complete rework of a section, but it was the COLOR that wasn't working.
I told a friend that when I didn't care about it anymore, the solution would come to me.
And so it did.
I eliminated all "blue and brown" mixtures that I had used for black, and went back to my tried and true Primary color scheme, while using permanent magenta rather than the bright Cadmium Red.
I left some Cad Red here and there and it pops off the canvas, like I wanted, but the magenta-blue-yellow rainbow pulls the viewer into the painting with a welcome feeling.
I like it now, obviously enough to post it here.
"MIDNIGHT, HUNAN PROVINCE, CHINA"
16 x 20" acrylic on canvas
This is the first of two Hunan paintings I'll post.
This worked well for me, in an abstract-expressionist-y way. It's very true to the original concept and sketches, and pops with the design and high contrast values.
It makes me feel that I am actually there in a noisy garishly-lit back alley of Fenghuan. I'm very happy with this painting.
People are complaining about the Corona Virus, having to stay in and not go to their bars and casinos.
I don't get it. Maybe it's because this quarantine thing is not such a big change in my life.
Artists are happier being alone.
My mind is excited to wake up and realize that I have absolutely nothing pressing to do all day. I read, I paint, I nap.
Yes I realize that other people need to get out and earn a living, and I feel for them. But bars and casinos and tattoo parlors?
I sneaked away to "Holy Lobby" the other day during early "at risk" hours to buy a few things. I got a canvas for the OVAC 12 x 12 fundraiser, and came across these 6 x 6" gallery wrapped canvases.
They looked a little crafty to me, but they were half priced, and I thought it might make me think a little.
I can paint them and throw them in a shoe box if i need to store them. "Whaddaya got to lose?" whispered my impulsive self.
Anyway....here are a few of them, with a couple more toned and ready to go. Just a little fun.
"SHADOW GAMES" is an original 40 x 60" acrylic painting, and the latest in my "Origins" collection.
This is a big painting, but not the largest that I have done....remembering the three 84" square paintings I created for my"Oklahoma Gold" exhibit at the Oklahoma Capitol Building.
Like the rest of the "Origins" paintings, this work relies heavily upon "dreamtime" or flow of consciousness creation.
I find this technique to embody the highest level of creativity, with a general theme or feeling, working through design, color, and subject matter, ever changing as the painting evolves
It is at the same time, the most realistic and the most abstract painting, portraying intense shamanistic feelings in their most detailed story telling, along with the free will exchange of random color and composition exemplified in the most abstract tradition.
A friend compared this painting and the portfolio as a whole, to Plato's "Cave" philosophy, where some viewers see the shadows and think they are reality, where others see the objects and think they are reality, with each group thinking the other is wrong.
Who knows? If shadows are memories, are they real? Are memories of actual objects real?
In this case, these paintings are not memories, but feelings. Surely feelings are real. Who knows?
Sometimes I think we think too much.
"Another Still Life with a Guitar"
24 x 24" acrylic on canvas.
In this painting I particularly like the "movement" , starting somewhere in the lower canter and driving the viewer upward through the rapids of the ivy and the (sound hole??) of the guitar. If that's not the correct term for it, and I'm sure it's not, then one of my arty musician friends will undoubtedly correct me. And welcome to it.
I'm still painting on unstretched canvas. There are advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages are that I save time and space by not stretching the canvas until the painting sells. Unstretched canvases can be laid flat or gently rolled with other paintings of a similar time frame or subject matter. I group mine by date of creation, since my archives are posted by date-code.
The disadvantage is that the support that the unstretched canvas is adhered to is, in my case, heavier and more cumbersome than a stretched canvas. I clip mine, as I have undoubtedly mentioned, to a sheet of heavy plexiglass with some spring clips.
The weight of the plexiglass is more than that of a stretched canvas, and the spring clips are in the way when I try to turn the canvas on its side. Not to mention, the sometimes let the canvas slip. Mere annoyances.
But.....I have an idea. Tomorrow I will rummage in the shed for some of those plastic clips that hold the cover on my pool.
I'll let you know how it turns out.
What a wonderful life!
Not only do I get to paint constantly, and paint what I want to, I also get to post them here for people to look at!
This is a slide show of an exhibit I did called "Multiple Personalities" .
They are quite honest portraits of myself and some friends who submitted their goofy selfies so I could paint big 30 x 40" portraits of them.
Although they haven't been exhibited as a whole, as a "Multiple Personalities" exhibit, obviously due to the short-sightedness of the gallery owners and curators (haha no offense), they have been exhibited individually in some high quality shows.
Most of them are in private collections, with the remainders waiting to go into OTHER private collections. Your move.
Micheal W. Jones
Thoughts and work from a mid-career artist working his ass off every day
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