Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The Fragile Seeds of Art

West Coast Study,
original plein air painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

My last post was about the craft of art, by which I mean the "how", the process, or the series of defined steps that result in a finished product. It's a good thing and it's often a happy thing. It's easy to show, it's explainable, teachable, and learnable.

And then, there's the other side of creativity, its problem child, the art of art.

It has to do with the "why" and it's the driving force of creativity. It's what we have to do to move our crafty selves forward and create something new and different from the stuff we feel comfortable doing. It's moody, emotional, subconscious. It's not explainable, teachable, or learnable. It just somehow emerges from a deeply mysterious place.

It reminds me of cultivating a patch of the earth when you scatter the seeds and cover them with a fresh layer of soil. Things may germinate from it or they may not.

Before the plants show up, to anyone else, it's just a bed of dirt to be trampled, nothing to show, dirty, ugly, messy. But for the artist, it's everything.

We may be doing field studies for the first time or trying out a new approach to painting or forming a completely new way of expression which requires a brand new language. It's something challenging and often frustratingly slow in coming. Others will not understand it until you do so it's best to be teased out in solace.

Pachena Beach Study,
original plein air painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Having said all this, creativity is not a garden. The fragile seed of art is just a metaphor. The real thing can't be trampled by others because it's a part of us. It's there to be worked on our own sweet time.

We don't have to show it to anyone, we don't have to explain it or justify it. We just must keep gardening.

As I was finishing up writing this post, a piece of great news arrived in my mailbox. Sometimes that's how it works. While we are pondering a difficult section of our journey, a sign of appreciation arrives and suddenly it's time to celebrate!

My gratitude for this particular news goes to my FCA friends but also, I want to send out a huge thank you to all the art lovers out there for making this art world possible!


Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Brady's Beach Patterns - Step by Step

Yes, I know, this is crazy fast so I included individual steps below. Enjoy!

This is my reference photo. The idea for this painting came from several sketches and many photos I took at the Brady's Beach in Bamfield, BC earlier this year.

 I decided not to start this piece with an initial drawing but to use a drawing-less approach which I've been using a lot lately. I slathered on the alizarin crimson and phthalo green heavy body acrylic paint straight from the tube and wiped it off with a dry rag. The pattern vaguely resembles a beach with a close-up foreground at the bottom, a wide sandy area, the ocean and a slice of land in the background and some space for the sky at the top. 

The dark is a mix of phthalo green and alizarin crimson, strokes made with a large flat brush. They are supposed to loosely mimic the direction of the overall patterns in the rocks, NOT the shape of each individual rock.

Added white and gray directional strokes into the areas of the sky and sea. The gray is made by mixing alizarin crimson, phthalo green and white.

Added yellow ochre into the sand areas. At this point, the overall pattern of the beach is mostly formed but the colours feel crude compared with my vision for this piece so I want to address that next.

Mellowed the colour of sand with a peachy mix of white, yellow ochre, alizarin crimson and phthalo green, and added a more vibrant dark into the rocks (my darkest dark + dioxazine purple + a bit of white).

Dry brushed some grayish-purple all over to unify the piece. Established the horizon and water pattern with white. The grayish-purple is made by mixing the alizarin crimson, phthalo green and white. Dioxazine purple + white into the distant islands.

Added pale phthalo green + white into the sky outlining the sea stacks and ochre yellow into the beach patterns. I also started adding other colors into the foreground details: dioxazine purple, red oxide, bright green, cadmium red, etc. I'll keep doing this in all subsequent steps.

The chalk lines help tighten the composition. This is the closest to drawing I'll get in this process. I am using the theory of Dynamic Symmetry which I described in an earlier blog post. In this step, I went back in with the darkest dark mix of alizarin crimson and phthalo green to add some form to the rock pattern and to lightly shift some of the shapes to lean on the lines of my Dynamic Symmetry grid. 

Adjusted the colour of sand by making a more greenish mixture of ochre yellow, phthalo green, alizarin crimson, and white. The next step includes a lot of fiddling with details, strengthening the pattern of light/dark, adjusting the colour and texture of sand, etc. 

Brady's Beach Patterns, 24x30, original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

I was surprised how much of bright green I had to add, especially into the foliage in the distant forest and sea stacks.  I decided to shift the sky colour toward yellow and green so there is more contrast between the sea and sky. This also added light and depth to the scene.

I hope you enjoyed this step by step demo.  This drawing-less method of painting is fun and fascinating to me.  The image seems to emerge from canvas almost magically without much pre-planning.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions about my painting process or you'd like to discuss something about your art.

I love sharing!


Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Innovare Art

My two paintings Arbutus Beach and Purcell Patterns will be in this exciting group show. Se you there!


Purcell Patterns, 30x20
original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki