Fourth (and last, so far) in This Series

I Know We Canteloupe (But Honeydew Be Mine) 
Oil on panel  
12" x 10" 
© 2015 Marilyn Fenn
I Know We Canteloupe (But Honeydew Be Mine)
Oil on panel
12″ x 10″
© 2015 Marilyn Fenn

I do love this painting, and I have enjoyed creating this series. After these first four, however, my interests took a turn, which you will see in the coming days (if you stay tuned).

First of a New Series (in a Series of New Series)

Everybody Loves This One
Oil on Canvas
12″ x 10″
© 2015 Marilyn Fenn

Here is one of my first paintings of this year. Doing a lot of experimenting–trying different things. Some are working out great; some not so much. I am happy with this painting, though I’ve since started heading in another direction (or 10).  I’ve done about four paintings like this so far.  More to come tomorrow.

Art Crits

I had a great crit with artist friends yesterday.  There are 3 of us who have been meeting every few months for several years, but we hadn’t been able to meet in about a year-and-a-half.  It was so wonderful to get together again and see the major strides we’ve all made in that time.

Our work is so different from each other!  One artist’s work is figurative and all about ideas, with social commentary and great humor.  She’s working in collages and prints a lot right now and has a piece in this year’s ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.  Her work keeps maturing and the printmaking aspects are so beautiful: the textures, the colors, the delightful offbeat compositions, and imagery.  So good!

My other friend’s work has generally focused on the sky: clouds and landscapes, and he paints in an Old Masters style with layers and layers of glazes.  The finishes on his paintings are incredible.  His new work is a real departure from the work he is known for: he wants to get away from referencing the Old Masters by working more alla prima, in deeper hues emphasizing the bowl of the sky as one looks directly up, with bits of buildings or trees in silhouette around the edges.  I love the abstract shapes of the silhouetted bits.  I’m very excited by his new direction and look forward to seeing it develop as he works bigger again.

They haven’t seen my new work before, and I’m thrilled to say, they both feel I’m really onto something here.  In this work, I wanted to get away from the potential boredom of circles I was stuck on for a while.  I am aiming to push the compositions to the edges, beyond that center space I had become too comfortable with, which had become too static and predictable.

I am trying to create shapes that are made of more-or-less singular brushstrokes so that the shape and the brushstroke are one.  I’m also pushing the colors more than I have — sometimes in softer directions, sometimes harsher; more discordant or more harmonious, sometimes darker or lighter; all while trying to use only 6 or 8 tube colors.  These works are in acrylic as well, the medium with which I am least experienced and least comfortable.  🙂

And finally, as one of my friends noted, the move back from square to rectangular canvases seems to give a better arena for good compositions to happen.  Both of my friends had some great notions about how to proceed on a large piece I got stuck on before being distracted by all the remodeling efforts.

I really value my art crits with these great artists and even greater friends.  I always learn so much from their very different perspectives.

One thing I learned yesterday is that I cannot simply make a large painting of a smaller study, as my process is one of discovery, in which this bit of paint is on top of that bit of paint, and much of the beauty of the final piece has to do with the layers of history in the painting that, while you may not see all of them once the work is “done,” all previous bits still add so much to the overall piece.  Trying to blow it up bigger only makes for a facile painting — too easy with no struggle and no discovery.

Do you have crits with artists in your area?  How valuable do you find them?

New Painting: Squeeee!

“Squeeee!” Oil on canvas 24″ x 36″ © 2012 Marilyn Fenn
Squeeee! Oil on canvas 24″ x 36″ © 2012 Marilyn Fenn

I was working on this painting when my husband broke his leg (badly!).  Even before his accident, this painting was giving me fits.  I abandoned my original idea soon after starting work on it, then decided my next idea wasn’t big enough to fill this rather bigger canvas (24″ x 36″); then I tried at least half a dozen other ideas before discovering I needed to finish the painting more or less the way I’d started it — my second idea after all!

So I am done and happy with it, finally!

More New Work: “Here We Go Again, August 29, 2012”

"Here We Go Again, August 29, 2012" Oil on canvas 16″ x 12″ © 2012 Marilyn Fenn
“Here We Go Again, August 29, 2012” Oil on canvas 16″ x 12″ © 2012 Marilyn Fenn

Here’s another new painting that started out quite differently than it ended up.  This one took about a week to resolve; and I was working on it during the time Hurricane Isaac was building in the Gulf Coast, so I guess you could say that became an influence.  😉

Even though I scraped lots of paint off of this several times while in the process of creation, it still has lots of wonderfully gooey paint on it (dry to the touch now, of course).