What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.
~ John Updike ~
Creating a feeling of spaciousness is something that I struggle with in my abstract landscape works. The spaces I strive to create in my paintings are a direct response to the landscape here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is distance but also a closeness of rising mountainsides, tree lines and forests.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
~Henry David Thoreau~
The July Notes on Painting was all about line. So when does a line become a shape? One way is when those lines are connected in a closed form to become a shape, which makes shape the next logical topic in the vocabulary of art.
*Please note that I have decided to dispense with the Notes on Painting pdf files and instead publish these as blog posts.
We have geometric shapes and biomorphic shapes in our world. Geometric shapes tend to remind us of human created forms such as buildings and other structures while biomorphic shapes suggest organic forms. I find myself most often drawn to expressing organic or biomorphic shapes as landscape and natural forms have always interested me more than the man-made. However I do like to introduce some goemetric shapes into my compositions to add variety and break up all that curvilinear space. What a painting communicates to the viewer is in large part dependent upon the kinds of shapes used in the composition.
I have been feeling overwhelmed by color lately. In order to reign in that feeling and regain a sense of control when it comes to color choices, I have set myself the challenge of working with a limited palette.
I've been doing some housekeeping and re-organizing of my art business and over the next few months I will be introducing new features to my website and here on this blog. The first of these is a monthly article called "Notes on Painting". This will comprise an ongoing (monthly) discussion covering the language of art. I will include an excerpt in my post here and the entire article is available as a PDF file free for you to download. Yes, free! You can find the PDF over there on the right in the side bar. Each PDF article will be available for one month only, or until the next is published, whichever happens first.
You may not know this about me but for a time I taught college level art as a part-time instructor. And even though that was quite some time ago, the fundamentals stay the same. So I've dusted off the old syllabi and started writing. Why not put all that past work to a good use and give it more life, right?
I will eventually be covering all the basic elements of design, composition, and color, in short, casual monthly articles that you may download and print if you like for your own use. I only ask that you please respect my copyright and do not distribute or otherwise reproduce. Below is an excerpt from this month's article...
Realism, Abstraction, and Non-objective
Art has its own language. But where do we start when learning a language? Just because we come into this world with a capacity to learn to speak, we still must all learn language. It is only natural for people to assume because they can see that they can see art. Yet by learning the language of art we can then begin to see art more clearly, and with a better understanding.
How do you make the elements of design work for you so that you can better articulate your intent with your art? How do you translate the language of art so that you can more easily “read” the artworks of others? Knowledge of the language of art can help you have a deeper, more meaningful experience whether as a viewer or a creator of art.
Art is a visual language, a form of visual communication, and while that visual communication can and should be accessible to everyone, when one knows the language the understanding can potentially go deeper beneath the surface to the essence of what the artist wants to communicate.
Please let me know your thoughts on this first article by leaving a comment here. I would love to get your feedback!
As always, paintings shown here are available in my Etsy shop. Clicking on the photos should take you right there.
It took me a while to see it.
I have fallen into a way of working in my sketchbook that feels just about right for now.
The only consistency with my painting process is that I like to mix things up. Changing up the process helps me keep things fresh. In this way new challenges are presented, and there are new problems to be solved.
Lately I find myself asking why keep a sketchbook? My work has changed, evolved, over the past year and I sometimes wonder whether a sketchbook is still relevant to my creative process. When I painted from a representational perspective my sketchbooks served as a visual journal keeping my observational skills sharp. However, now that I am painting from a more intuitive place, where does a sketchbook fit in to my studio practice? To address these questions I took a quick tour of my more recent sketchbooks to see if I could identify what value they hold for my art making.
For some time now my method for working on paintings has been to allow the composition to develop intuitively on the canvas. Choices of color happen naturally as well, perhaps influenced by the color of the season or even just the weather that day. And what has been happening in these compositions are vague references to landscape, particularly mountainous landscapes. At the outset of this exploration into abstraction I attributed this to my many years of living in these mountains and that these land forms have crept into my visual vocabulary. Now I am beginning to wonder if it doesn’t go even deeper than that. Perhaps it’s in my DNA.
I dream in color.
*All images and content on this blog is ©Ann Thompson Nemcosky.
Please do not reproduce in any way. Thank you. *