Friday, October 14, 2011

Sneak Preview: Paintings, Yarmouth Art Festival

Radishes with a Peach, oil on canvas, 10" x 10"

In The Garden, oil on canvas, 30" x 24"

Peonies in a French Vase, oil on canvas, 12" x 12"
Here's a sneak preview of three of my paintings that will be on display and for sale at the Yarmouth Art Festival, October 19 to 22, sponsored and hosted by St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Yarmouth, Maine.

If you're in the area, please come by for the Artists' Reception with refreshments and live music (and live artists) on Thursday, October 20 from 6 to 8 pm.

The church-turned-gallery will be open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, and on Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. If you'd like to preview other pieces in the art festival, follow the above link to the "flickr" slideshow.

And if you don't want to wait for the show to open and you know you'd like one of these pieces before someone else gets a chance, let me know! A portion of the sales will still be given to St. Bart's community outreach.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Painting Make-over: Sharpie and More Paint!

Radishes, © 2011 oil (and Sharpie) on canvas

One of the great outcomes of teaching a class called "Expression in Paint" at Artascope Studios in South Portland is discovering what matters most to me in my own painting. What elements are (at least currently, since things do change) so essential to my own way of expressing myself in paint that I neglect them to my peril.

I can't say exactly how this has come about. It's a combination of slowing way, way down in order to watch what I do when I'm "not looking," by which I mean not over-thinking or over-editing myself. When I am trusting myself and whatever mysterious creative force it is that moves us all when we are open to it. That, and actually painting there in the class under different circumstances than at home; I paint a little differently there, and I'm still figuring out just how.

Some of my best (I think) paintings happen when I: 
  • paint over old paintings (what's underneath provides plenty of opportunities for happy accidents of texture and color combinations and things peeking through from beneath)
  • draw quickly over an old painting, either with paint or with black Sharpie marker to get my bearings and leave interesting marks showing through in places
  • use more paint (it's easy to get "stingy" with paint) and push it around, either with a palette knife or with a pretty stiff brush.
The Sharpie first entered my repertoire as an ally when I once drew a quick freehand sketch on a yellow-painted wall in my garage, and I found it exhilarating! 

I've been a bit timid about admitting my Sharpie use in painting, as if some sort of Painting Orthodoxy Police might get wind of it and, and . . . what? Ban me from the world of "real art?" 

It's as if I think my Sharpie usage might disqualify me from some unnamed, desired realm, or immediately confirm my illegitimacy as a painter. (I comfort myself with the thought that if Sharpies had been around in earlier decades, somebody who is now a famous painter--Picasso is usually my go-to guy--would probably have used one. Right? And if not, who cares?)

So here are some radishes painted over an unsuccessful semi-impressionistic attempt at fall foliage from a few years ago. 

One other observation: I held myself back from "correcting" myself as I went along. I resisted fixing things up to be more right and proper and "better" (realistic?) according to some left-brain critic. I think that's why it works as well as it does. 

These Radishes have already gotten lots of "buzz" from my Facebook supporters (thank you, all!). "Free and beautiful" is one of the comments that's easiest for me to remember and that I will carry with me for the rest of today.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

KISSing this Blog Hello Again

© Sukie Curtis, 2011, ink on paper

I know it's bad form (and just plain boring) for a blogger to comment on how long it's been since she has blogged, but sometimes it shocks me to see just how long.

And though I didn't grow up as a Roman Catholic (far from it, in fact, as a Unitarian!), I suppose it's my twenty-five-years-plus sojourn in the realm of Christian religious practices that accounts for my nearly automatic inclination to launch into a mock-confession:

Forgive me, readers. It has been . . . (fill in the appropriate number). . . weeks since my last post.

But enough of that.

Because I've made a decision to KISS this blog hello again. Meaning, I've decided that the way to blog more often is to Keep It Simple, Stupid, or maybe I could make that sound more friendly to myself and say, Keep It Simple, Silly. Or even, Keep It Simple, Sukie!

Rather than not blog because I have way too many ideas about what to say next, and don't know where to start, or how best to approach something (shades of near-perfectionism creeping in), I'm just going to post stuff.

Sometimes just a drawing from my almost-daily sketchbook. Sometimes a painting that I'm working on, posted even before it's finished. Sometimes things I'm thinking about making art or being an official empty-nester.

It seems possible, though I am not making any grand pronouncement here, that posting more often would actually help me to keep going better than posting less often. Get into a rhythm, make it no big deal, just part of what I do. That idea.

We shall see. And in the meantime, that image up there at the top is what's called a "blind contour drawing" that I did while teaching my class at Artascope Studios in South Portland. Maybe I won't even tell you what object it represents. Maybe you'd like to guess!