New Painting: It’s Awash

"It's Awash" Oil on canvas 12" x 12" © 2011 Marilyn Fenn

I love how the visual ideas one entertains in the course of being an artist may lay dormant for a time, and then return as a nice surprise.  🙂

Last Wednesday night, with a head full of visual ideas, I entered the studio and started trying to get those ideas out on canvas.  This is the first of 3 paintings I did in less than 24 hours.  While this is not exactly what I envisioned I would be creating, so far, I’m very happy with the direction.

Painting abstractly, or non-objectively, is a much more intuitive process for me than the planned paintings from life.  I start with some loose ideas for shapes, colors, and composition, begin adding some patches of paint, and then follow the brushes to see where they lead.  In this case, they led back to some similar imagery I was exploring 2 years ago (see “Alien Kitchen” and Twenty-Sixth Day Plus 100″ from the Hot Hot Summer series of Works on Paper).

I don’t think these paintings would have taken shape the way they did were it not also for my 2-month excursion back into representational paintings.  I learned a lot from seriously concentrating on making brushstrokes (and I still have a lot left to learn), but I was champing at the bit to get back to abstraction.  In just over 4 days, I’ve now created seven new small abstract paintings and started a couple of others.  I’ll be posting one a day unless something (like work, illness or social life) causes me to take a break.

I intend to continue painting my new abstracts alla prima, or “all at once,” as I did with most of my recent still life paintings.  What this means is the painting is started and finished in one painting session, while the paint is still wet.  It lends a freshness to the work, in that my visual ideas of that day are transmitted to the painting in that session, but more importantly—at least when working in oil—the paints and paint strokes flow very well into, over, around, and through all the other paint strokes on the canvas.  The other main option is to work in layers (“indirect painting”), where new paint is laid down over dry paint from a previous session, rather than becoming physically integrated with the earlier applications of paint.  Plenty of artists work by painting in layers, and it’s an equally valid way of working, but alla prima is my preference.

Seven New Paintings (to be shown at EAST)

"Be Bop a Re Bop" Acrylic on Canvas 12" x 12" © 2010 Marilyn Fenn
“Be Bop a Re Bop” Acrylic on Canvas 12″ x 12″ © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

I haven’t posted much new work so far this year (!), but here are seven of my most recent paintings on canvas (on 1.5″ gallery-wrap canvas, with painted edges, to be exact).

The first one, “Be Bop a Re Bop,” was probably done in April. I painted out everything that didn’t belong.

Running Pops
Running Pops, Oil on Canvas, 24″ x 24″, © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

The second painting shown here was even more of an exploration of painting materials and techniques, and the painting came before the title (which is almost always the way I work). The title for it, “Running Pops,” was inspired by a wild type of passion flower that volunteered in our backyard this summer; a flower that grew like crazy over other plants. Hanging from the vines were dozens of wonderful little round buds that eventually became either flowers or red fruit, and they look a lot like these shapes.

Your Molecular Structure is Looking Mighty Fine Today
Your Molecular Structure is Looking Mighty Fine Today, Oil on canvas, 20″ x 20″, © 2010 Marilyn Fenn
Whazzup
Whazzup?, Oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″, © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

This painting is still in progress, though it is unlikely to change dramatically.

A Hole in the Web
A Hole in the Web, Oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″, © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

This painting is also still in progress; it now has a new title.

Luminous Future
Luminous Future, Oil on canvas, 20″ x 20″, © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

Now with a new title, I love what’s happening in this space.

Because Somebody Has to be Fabulous!
Because Somebody Has to be Fabulous!, Oil on canvas, 20″ x 20″, © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

😀

I still have a few more in progress. If I finish them in time, I’ll have them with me at EAST over the next 2 weekends, as well as nearly 40-50 small paintings and works on paper. Join me and nine other Cherrywood artists at the Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd. Sat & Sun, 11am – 6pm. The Vortex is also planning lots of fun events for children and adults. Check out the schedule, map, etc. on the Vortex website.

Transformations: The Struggle to Create

"Vortex" Encaustic and Wood on Panel 12" x 12" © 2010 Marilyn Fenn
“Vortex” Encaustic and Wood on Panel 12″ x 12″ © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

Creativity is about play and a kind of willingness to go with your intuition. It’s crucial to an artist. If you know where you are going and what you are going to do, why do it? — Frank Gehry

This is a very comforting quote for me.  When I paint, I frequently have only a very vague idea or sometimes — no idea at all — of what I am searching for in the new work.  I start somewhere, and often, the finished piece is so far away from where it started, it’s unrecognizable.  One of my favorite things about working this way is that I discover things — such as shapes and images — that I just couldn’t invent.

Continue reading “Transformations: The Struggle to Create”

Succession Series Complete!

“Succession Series #42” Oil on 20 Canvases 48″ x 60″ © 2008 Marilyn Fenn
“Succession Series #42” Oil on 20 Canvases 48″ x 60″ © 2008 Marilyn Fenn

I finally finished my 7-month Succession Series project of 20 interrelated paintings, painted individually, but with connecting edges and related ideas. I painted these in oil, after spending the past 2 years painting primarily in encaustic.

It felt like coming home to paint in oil again, yet I approached this work with a different sensibility, a different palette than I normally use, and slighter different techniques.

The above painting is the result: I’m still struggling to get a good shot of the whole painting, alas.

You can see the individual paintings on my website here: Succession Series — click on any thumbnail for the full view of each piece.