Many pots on the stove top
With a break in Arts and Craft fairs for at least a few months, and my most recent commissions completed, I’ve started the sketching for several paintings. I’m working on a watercolor painting to add to People Being Series. This one will be of South Korea. Two girls in yellow hanbok dresses with dark blue sashes. The wind that day means there is lots of movement and fluttering. The girls were part of the Jindo Sea Parting (Moses Miracle) festival in 2008. I put them into a background of the sea with a few boats and the island behind them. They are standing on the promenade where lanterns were strung up. I spent two years in South Korea, which equals a lot of photos. It took many hours to sift through to find one to fit the People Being Series well. That being said, I shall probably do another painting at a later stage also of South Korea. It certainly is difficult to limit myself to just one image!
The second sketch is for an oil painting on canvas paper of an older Italian gent selling roasted chestnuts near the Trevi Fountain on a wet November evening; just as dusk was setting in. I was intrigued by his vacant, thought wandering expression as his face is illuminated by the bright light bulbs above him. He certainly isn’t focused on selling, or roasting the chestnuts before him. I bet he was wishing he wasn’t in the cold rain. Normally, for the People Being Oil Portrait Series (Man with Turban, and Zulu Man are present editions of the series) I frame just the head a shoulders, but for this Roman chestnut seller, I felt more of the scene needed to be included. I think this painting will bridge the gap between the People Being watercolors and oils. For the watercolor series, I keep the people in the scene, even if I paint hardly any details. But for the oil paintings, they have been prominently portraits. Also, the lighting for the chestnut seller will follow suit with a limited color palette: earth tones predominantly.
I’ve also got two large (ish) canvas boards – 12 x 24 inches. One is portrait. The other landscape. These are going to be Japanese inspired. I’ve had several requests for geishas, kimonos and blossoms. So, that’s the content! I’ve used my photos from Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens in Tokyo. We’ve got arched bridges, blossoms on branches, winding paths, stone lanterns, lakes, and sculpted bushes and pine trees. I looked at other source imagery, for composition ideas, but the images used to compose these images are mine. I just feel better inside using my own. It’s not wrong, and in many cases necessary to outsource and research other artists’ work. We must do so to grow and develop our own skills and techniques. But it can very easily become copying. And then, I feel, the art that is mine is watered down; lost a little.
I refer to each of the kimonoed ladies in these paintings as wistfully waiting: waiting on a lover perhaps. But they are at the bridge expectantly, and I feel their body language/position reflects this. One lady will represent a geisha, with the hair coiffured as such, and with a painted face. The other lady will just be in a kimono.
I’ve completed an enjoyable and pleasant watercolor (8 x 10 inches) of Mount Fuji, a Tori gate on Lake Ashi. The sun just having set, giving the scene a peachy tint contrasting the blue mountain ranges. Very pleased clients, who will be ordering more of the same!
I also completed some photo montages of people as memory gifts. It is a slightly different approach to the way I montage, as one needs to be able to see and recognize faces; so there is a balance to strike between layering abstraction and collaging people. It was a good and productive commission.
I have my newest Photo Montage Travel Art piece in the making: Spring Blossoms, inspired from all the Sakura blossoms we’ve been so blessed with. It’s been coming. I am struggling a little with the composition, but I’ll get there! Sometimes, you get so involved with the pixel details that you need to forget about the whole thing for a little while; and come back to it, fresh and with renewed eyes.
Until next time, many bright and colorful blessings
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