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May 2012
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July 2012

June 2012

Bits & Pieces


This past week I was intent on going through all my "bits & pieces" that end up coming home from collage workshops.  At the end of every class, these remnants are swept up into a pile and dumped into ziplock bags to return home to a bigger container filled with more of the same.  Doesn't that sound a bit like life?  All the left over life stuff gets deposited in corners or boxes and one day we'll stumble back upon it (or maybe even someone from another generation!) and wonder what to do with it all. I'm on a mission to use up what I have and will be creating some  little treasures.  If you leave a comment on my blog, or send new people my way, I'll send you a postcard made of my reclaimed bits and pieces!

Artfully yours, Chris

Landscapes from my mind...

There is something so calming to me about painting landscapes.  Often time a photo will trigger an imaginary place in my mind and I set paint to surface to lose myself for a few hours. There is such architecture about landforms and colors in landscape paintings.  For me it is not about the details of the little trees or buildings.  It is about the way lines and spaces, angles and forms merge.  And then there is the sky.  It doesn't matter if it won't rain in Southern California for another 6 months, because if I want rain or a storm, I can paint one!  

Artfully yours, Chris

Positive. Space. Negative.

I love looking at spaces;  whether it is a room arrangement, a grouping of objects, or buildings intersecting the sky.  It is magical to me.  I am always on the lookout with my camera to capture the times when line and form intersect to create a great space.  Once I get these spaces captured in the camera I like to use a photo-editing program  remove or reduce the colors to really get a close look at what makes these spaces work so well.  I am especially interested in the relationship between positive and negative shapes.  You can see that relationship really clearly in the photos that is here. The curvy flower shapes (positive) really pop off the dark background (negative) space.  An easy way to understand this concept is to imagine cutting out the important/positive elements from a photo. Whatever is left behind is the negative space.

Artfully yours, Chris

Letting the painting speak

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I pulled out a full sheet of 300 # watercolor paper last weekend and just started playing with paint.  It is such an exciting thing to see paint pool on the surface in places where I added water. At first I kept the colors separate  adding them adjacent to one another.  Once they were dry I went over them both with an additional sheer layer changing how they read.  The next day I added torn pieces of painted archival tissue paper.  I let myself work on this large surface for a couple of days, then I cut it all up into smaller pieces.  Oh horrors? No!  Each of these little pieces had a voice and I needed to listen to them speak.  This one's billowing clouds over a desert horizon just needed a few tweaks to make it sing.  Do you let your paintings speak to you?

Artfully yours, Chris

Too blue to be true


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Each spring when the hydrangeas bloom in my yard I look forward to their big floppy heads of vivid color as I pass them each day on the way to the studio.  It is as if someone mixed up blue and violet water colors and spilled them all over.  They indeed do seem too blue to be true.  The ones right near the studio door range from blue-violet, to pink violet with some that are true blue.  At the far corner of the studio is another huge bush with pale pink to pale lavender blooms.  What fun it is to cut a huge bouquet of these luscious blooms whenever I please.  What color is blooming in your garden these days?

Artfully yours, Chris

Oh My, Oh my ....Oh MOMA



What can I say?  New York and art create a wonderful combination.  Whether it is visual art, architecture, performance, or street art it's all there for the taking and viewing and appreciating.

We grabbed a quick afternoon visit to MOMA the day before we left and as always I gravitated to the Impressionist wing to get a good look at brush stroke, composition and color.  I cannot pass up a Chagall, and I sat and looked at this piece with wonder.  After visiting the Chagall Museum in Nice, France two years ago I have thought so much about how he embeds little vignettes into his very large works.  Your eye is constantly working to take in all these little pieces and yet is still constantly occupied with the central theme.  What a story teller he was and what an amazing sense of color he possessed.  Genius.


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Ok, maybe it seems cliche, but seeing "Starry Night" up close and personal is really wonderful.  I have visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and seen his work in many places but I never tire of his color and brush work.  I got to see so much of Van Gogh on this trip here at the MOMA, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Guggenheim.  It's all wonderful and a feast for the eyes.

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I had never seen the painting by Claude Monet of the Agapanthus lilies that grew in his garden.  We have them all over Southern California and they are really glorious when they are in bloom as they are right now.  My studio sits looking into my garden and I know that it inspires me.

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To Kandinsky "color is a means of exerting direct influence upon the soul. Color is a keyboard. The eye is the hammer. The soul is the piano, with its many strings." Can you believe these were painted in 1914? 

There were so many pieces to visit, I'll have to share more later.  I just wanted to give you a "taste" of the treats I experienced.  Whose work would you want to visit given the chance?


Artfully yours, Chris