Two new works reflective of the natural environment around us

Nov 27, 2009

This week I completed two new pieces.  The one shown above, It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, is unique from my other works both stylistically and thematically.

Normally I work in oils on birch panel, whereas It's a beautiful day is watercolor, pen and colored pencil. I was away from my studio space this weekend, so this explains why I worked in these mediums- they were more portable!  Most of It's a beautiful day is done in watercolor, including all the fine details such as the stippling of the forest ground, the outline of the raindrops, and the grass blades.  A lot of it was tedious, but at the same time, relatively therapeutic.  It's kinda like handquilting for me.  Yes, there's definitely a much faster way to sew two pieces of fabric together, but the quiteness and repetitive actions of handquilting can be very calming at times. 

Although those around me can contest I am a very opinionated person, social commentary art is normally not my thing.  After drawing the houses and the trees in this piece, however,  I felt compelled to convey the message of man and the natural environment, specifically relating to industrial development in the modern age.  The chimney stacks with the plume of smoke are symbolic of emissions from factories that are detrimental to the quality of our air.  Acid rain falls from the polluted skies to grounds below that have been cleared of trees.  All the while, the sun is shining, the grass is green, and life is good in our little neighborhood. 

My other piece, Cathedral in French valley, doesn't have as deep of a message and is more typical of the kind of art work I have been creating lately.  Back to working in oils, I decided to also incorporate a drawing I had done just the week prior.  The drawing is of a cathedral in Saint-Rémy, which happens to be the town that Vincent Van Gogh painted many of his famous paintings.  The pastel colors I used in this piece remind me a lot of the natural stones and materials of the Provencal area.  After visitng Saint-Rémy many years ago, I can see why Vincent Van Gogh was so inspired by its charm and beauty.

Before I decided to use the cathedral drawing, I had outlined some block buildings in pen on the birch panel.  I like how some of these initial designs can be seen through the paint and pencil drawing.   The transparency gives the work a little more dimension.


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