Thursday, January 23, 2014

Open Skies, Open Spaces

I finally finished a painted I began before Thanksgiving, 2013! Between feeling chronically sleepy, upset over an upcoming molar extraction (that's done now) and holiday business, it really took me almost two months to get the final brush stroke applied!

Open Skies, Open Spaces     acrylic on canvas      20" x 24" 


The view shows Mt. San Jacinto, just west of Palm Springs, CA, with a redtail hawk soaring through the open air. This area is big on winds and sand, and small dunes fill the land.

I left out the signs of human habitation: the Union Pacific railroad track cuts across the mid/foreground, as well as the trees of Snow Creek Village which arise from the base of the cloud-shrouded hill to the right. I've seen historical photographs of this special place, and I much prefer the way it used to look.

Sadly, the desert is slowly filling in with objects that are gradually destroying the open spaces that make the desert what it is. One can only hope that natural beauty will some day be more important than money.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Art Is Not for Matching the Sofa!"

"Art is not for matching the sofa!!!" I've heard this complaint from many artists who meet potential customers at art shows. Buyers may love a piece, but "it's the wrong color" and the people move on to find something different.

As southern California begins a new art show season, I thought I'd reproduce an article I wrote that appears on my website. (The image was scanned from a 35mm slide -- I wish I had a true digital version of the painting, but we didn't own any digital cameras at that time).

 Decorating with Art

desert,Mount San Jacinto,Palm Springs,golden eagle,yucca,brittlebush,encelia
 Back in 2004, my painting on the left (Golden on the Prowl with a golden eagle) was hanging in a Palm Desert, CA gallery. As you can see, the piece is mostly blue. It measured 48” x 60”/1.2m x 1.5m.

A couple came into the gallery, and the man was totally transfixed by the painting, studying it at length. Finally, the wife reminded him that there was no blue in the room that the artwork was intended for. So they moved on and walked away from a painting that obviously spoke to the husband in a powerful way.

Unfortunately, I suspect this happens a lot. For many, art is nothing more than a wall decoration that “ties the room together”: art’s only function is to repeat the colors used elsewhere in a room. How sad, especially for people like the husband who apparently loved Golden on the Prowl.

Years ago, I took some interior design classes in college. The instructor pointed out the wisdom of buying furniture and carpeting first with their more limited color choices, and choosing paint colors last due to the infinite numbers of hues available. I’d go one step further: buy the artwork that touches your soul in profound ways FIRST! Then get the furniture, carpeting and, lastly, the wall paint. Then the art will match the room, and you’ll have images that you will love to look at every single day of your life.

Or: go neutral with the wall and furniture colors, or think of the art as counterpoints to the furnishings, and don’t worry about matching the sofa!

Design programs on television treat art almost as an afterthought. No emotional response necessary. But it’s YOUR home or office. Fill it with beautiful things that make your life better just because you see them.