Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Thought for Sunday February 19, 2017

"A newspaper reported that I spent $30,000 a year buying Paris clothes and that women hate me for it. I couldn't spend that much unless I wore sable underwear." -- Jacqueline Kennedy

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Don't Miss This! The Art of Merrill Mahaffey at the Booth

My husband knows how much I love art museums, so he made sure one of my Valentine's Day presents was a trip to the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville. When we arrived, I headed straight for the special exhibition of Merrill Mahaffey's fabulous art on the museum's second floor.

    © 2017 Merrill Mahaffey 
If you've never seen Mr. Mahaffey's large scale landscapes, you're in for a treat IF you can get to the Booth by closing time on Sunday, Feb. 19. That's when the temporary exhibition of his work, "65 Years of Chasing Sunlight," ends. 

Mahaffey works primarily in acrylics, and so do I, so I was most interested in how he achieves such amazing textural effects in his paintings. The terrain of the American Southwest with its cliffs and canyons is what Mahaffey captures so eloquently. Each work is infused with light and is so atmospheric that to stand before any one of his paintings is like standing in the actual location depicted. These photos, taken at the museum by Hubs, don't even start to do these paintings justice.

©2017 Merrill Mahaffey

What fascinated me was how Mahaffey was able to paint rock and stone so adeptly and depict them so compellingly that the temptation to reach out and touch the paintings is darned near overwhelming. It may be hard to imagine being transfixed by a painting of rocks, but that was the effect works like "Silver Plume Granite" had on me. I could only stand there staring at its colors and shapes and the exquisite play of light and shadow along its planes and cracks. This is what great art does: it draws you in and allows you to see and experience something in an entirely new way.

But closeup views of rocks are just part of this collection. Works like "Los Alamos Cliffs," "Cliff Faces," "Glen Canyon Dam" and "Cerillos Sky" depict the grandeur and vast scale of a landscape totally unlike what we have here in the Southeast. Mahaffey's paintings transport the viewer to places most of us will never see in person, namely because he's been an avid outdoorsman since he was a child, ferreting out backcountry locations miles off the beaten path. Now nearing 80, Merrill Mahaffey remains an icon and an inspiration for would-be landscape painters.

If you make the effort to see this exhibit before it comes down tonight, you will not be disappointed. It's an amazing experience. It would be a shame if you missed it.

Text  ©2017 Lynn Edwards

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Genius is childhood recalled at will." -- Charles Baudelaire

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, February 5, 2017

“Color is all. When color is right, form is right. Color is everything, color is vibration like music; everything is vibration.”-- Marc Chagall

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Using Glazing Medium to Achieve Perfect Color Blends and Soft Edges with Acrylics

Blending edges and colors when using acrylics can be a challenge, particularly when the humidity is low and warm temperatures prevail. Acrylic paint seems to dry faster than the speed of light under these conditions, causing many a beginning painter to hurl their canvas against a wall in frustration. This is especially true when using fluid acrylics, which dry more rapidly than the heavy body and soft body types. Acrylics' tendency to dry in the blink of an eye can make painting with them outdoors a true exercise in crazy-making.

A number of remedies for slowing drying time exist, including adding retarder, open medium, and soft gel. While all of these can indeed buy you more working time, I've become especially fond of using acrylic glazing medium for this purpose. A drop or so added to each puddle of paint makes it possible  to achieve beautifully soft color blends that stay workable long enough to apply the paint, move it around, step back to assess progress and add more paint -- without needing to work at warp speed. True to it's name, it's also the base product for creating beautifully rich color glazes.

Glazing liquid comes in different sheens. My favorites are the gloss and semi-gloss, both of which lend themselves well to the type of work I do. The only "drawback" to using glazing medium is that paints mixed with it must be allowed sufficient time to dry, once applied, before you try to use a glaze or other technique over them. If you don't allow enough drying time, whatever you apply will simply pull up whatever is beneath it. To test, barely touch the surface as lightly as you can with a fingertip. If the surface feels sticky, go have a cup of coffee and come back to it later.

Using glazing medium forces you to slow down and savor the process of creation. It encourages a more Zen-like painting experience. (On a more mundane level, it grants you enough time to go put another load of clothes in the washer.) Either way, you'll find blending colors to be so much more fun. And irony of ironies, if you're the impatient type, you might even find yourself wishing your acrylics would dry just a little bit faster!

 ©2017 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Thought for Sunday, January 29, 2017

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about." -- Charles Kingsley

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Finding Abstract Inspirations on TV

Artists can find inspiration for future paintings in almost everything. Whenever there are bad thunderstorms in my area, or even a particularly hard rain, television pictures freeze into pixillated images that can become the inspiration for non-objective abstract paintings. So next time thunder and lightning threaten, grab your camera to capture these elusive images while you have the chance.

Here are three from my own files:

Don't try to paint exactly what you see. Instead, use the distorted shapes and colors as jumping off points for your own interpretations. If you have a photo editing program, you can further alter these "frozen" images in countless ways. For example, changing the colors, converting them to black and white, isolating or "framing" an interesting area within the image, and on and on. In fact, just one pixillated screen shot, altered using a program like Photoshop Elements, could become the basis for an entire series of paintings!

Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards