Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa. Yup, it's still winter in Jefferson. Last week we got about 5 inches of snow, and no, this is NOT a weather report. It's more of a commentary on winter. An opinionated commentary.
See, we have this problem around here, I'm not sure I was made to handle winter. When I was a kid I don't think it was such an issue, but now that I know better - give me that summer sun!
When winter starts to show it's big cold presence, I go into full dress regalia. I own a really great collection of turtlenecks and sweaters. I often catch myself wondering, when I see other people out in the world during the winter months, with exposed skin. No matter the amount of exposed, I inwardly shudder as I think, "whoa, that's got to be so uncomfortable". Unpleasant. Chill unwanted.
I am ALL OVER the layered look. All about sweaters over turtlenecks, hoods over headwarmers, sweatpants over running pants. I like warm, 'nuff said.
Surely by now, you all know this blog always takes the story line back to painting-land. Well, surprise! This layered line of thinking actually came from painting land. I was at the easel, self-marveling at the number of layers of paint on the canvas du jour. May I say they are becoming lovely? And so, we really need to talk a moment about the layered look on a painting, a piece of canvas.
What is it about the build up of paint layers that is so enticing? The brush strokes, undoubtedly, and surely the impasto touches that grow the textural feel. Then there's that happiness where you can see dabs of the previous color layer, and maybe even the one before that, showing through, gleaming like the gems they are. And then, don't deny it, there is a richness there in those multiple layers - how can you put down a layer of cad yellow, cover it with violet, and still feel the warmth? Amazing, truly amazing.
The layered look. It's even better on your painting, than a sweater over a turtleneck in a Jefferson, Iowa winter. Thanks for stopping by.
and the updated image of the aforementioned canvas? But of course:
still on the easel but progress is happening - oh, and some insider info: in my head & mental vision, she's already pushing a bike. You'll get that visual reality soon :)
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa, where it is a beautiful day, I might add, despite being winter! Beautiful enough, that I think we should talk about artistic vision. Or the vision of the artist, whichever way you want to say it.
But let's begin at the beginning--it is my job to let you know where this is coming from, right? I'm fairly sure I've told you about Jefferson, Iowa before. It's one of those little midwestern towns that's just pretty comfortable in its own skin. While the city fathers would no doubt like for Jefferson to be called a city, it's really just a town, plain and simple. About 5,000 people, all pretty laid back in attitude, or so it seems. No big deal when someone decides to load their pooch into the truck and drive uptown for coffee.
Now we're getting to the part about artistic vision. Mine, specifically. If someone loads their little yapper dog, or their little puff-ball dog into the front seat of the family auto, it just really doesn't do much for me, artistic-vision speaking. On the other hand if someone drives the square of downtown Jefferson, with their hound dog riding shotgun, well, that's a different story. You understand what I mean about hound dog, don't you? Saggy, baggy eyes. Big floppy ears. Drool-slobber. Slobber-drool. If it's summer and the passenger side window is open, you know it's all hanging out there.
Can any of us help but grin at a sight like that? I find I tend to mentally catalog images of that sort. I remember them, but just for the enjoyment of it. A beautiful landscape, something in the "waterfall falling off the side of a mountain in Colorado" status, goes in the same mental file. Quite often, beautiful flowers will end up there as well. It's a file of images I totally enjoy, but don't have to take any further than that. Just enjoy.
As an artist that loves to paint beautiful things, you'd think I'd be right on top of those images with my paint brush, wouldn't you? Surely each artist amongst us has a built-in attention meter that zings into overdrive when some vision out in the world captures our attention, the kind that makes us frantic if we don't have the sketchbook or camera handy. The kind of vision that we automatically know will end up on a canvas in our studio someday.
Possibly by looking at my portfolio, you will have guessed the integral factor required for a sight out there in the world to trip my attention-meter. People. They don't have to be famous, or beautiful. Fast or slow. Tall or short. In fact, I would say I'm not too picky at all. [Oh wait, don't ask me to paint your NASCAR driver :)] Is it the challenge? People know when they look at a painting of other humans, if it's done right. There's grace and balance there, and what an aha! moment it is when the paint brush finds it. And what a never ending source of inspiration there is hanging out on the sidewalks of the world!
But back to that hound dog riding shotgun that I saw this morning. I would say dogs don't normally trip my artist-attention-o-meter, but did I mention that this morning's traveler riding shotgun had a "matching" driver? Pooch and owner look-alikes! Don't you just love when that happens? Now that could be a good enough story for a painting....