Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Feeling Important...

Queen Anne's Lace (detail)

That’s how I’m feeling because NOAPS (National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society) interviewed me for a post in the official NOAPS blog. Called Figures with a Story, it concerns my process but it’s mostly about my paintings.

What artist doesn’t like to talk about painting in general and their paintings in particular! In my case, Patricia Tribastone made the talking easy. She’s the blog director and author. Because she’s also an artist, she brings a special understanding to her articles. I enjoyed the interview and getting to know Patricia a bit.  

If you've got a second, do read about me and my paintings.

Thanks so much, Patricia and NOAPS. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Crooked or the Charm of Imperfection

It was raining, very hard. We were outside with our easels, palettes, hats and assorted paraphernalia. Thankfully there was also a porch otherwise we could have never delivered on our given assignment: to produce a “concept” painting.  

This was the last day of a Marc Hanson workshop, and this was to be our last painting. Marc is a landscapist who produces gorgeous poetic paintings chock full of concept. He was trying very hard to help us do the same.  

My concept? The title tells it all. Everything in and of this little shed (with the exception of the cylindrical birdfeeder hanging from a hook on the left) is crooked. This is both its charm and its imperfection.

Sometimes I can start with a concept and sometimes the concept, the real point of the painting, only shows itself midway through. Sigh.

P.S. According to marketing people, one should never apologize for failing to post on a regular basis. I have not posted for more than a year on this blog. I think that deserves a mention and an apology. I hope to do better. 

P.P.S. The upper left corner of the painting caught all sorts of reflection. Photographing paintings can be maddeningly difficult. 

The painting: Crooked or the Charm of Imperfection is an 11x14 oil done in plein air by me, Shirley Fachilla.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Strolling from Paris to the Salmagundi!

A Stroll Beside the Louvre by Shirley Fachilla

This little trio should be arriving at The Salmagundi Club in NYC any day now. It’s one of my favorite paintings, and I guess some jurors at the fabled club liked it, too, for it’s has been juried into the club’s annual Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition.
I’m very honored and quite thrilled by my painting’s inclusion.
Salmagundi is one of the oldest and most respected art organizations in the country; it’s housed in a beautiful, historic brownstone located on Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village. Some of our country’s best artists have been members, artists like Tiffany, N.C. Wyeth, Childe Hassam, William Merrit Chase.
The Non-Member Painting and Sculpture Exhibition runs from July 18th to July 29th.

If you can, stop by the exhibition promises to be great, and the Salmagundi itself is an experience!

P.S. Christine asked about the "engagement activity" in my prior Ordinary People Exhibit post. Christine's question was quite some time ago!!! But here's the much delayed answer:
The activity was a large journal where exhibit attendees were asked to write the story they saw in an exhibit painting. Obviously, the answers were varied, and none were wrong! It was a neat activity. Perhaps something to try in your own exhibit?  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The "Official" Invitation

The image is the official invitation to that gallery reception this Thursday. During the reception, the curator promises to have an "engagement activity" to enhance the gallery experience for those in attendance. She says viewers will be able to finish the story of each work. An interesting premise I think.

Perhaps more about this later...

For an electronically challenged person (like me!), the above image was a bear to transfer from an attached file in an email to... well... to the image you can see here! Maybe next time I'll remember what I did this time and manage to do it quicker!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ordinary People

Ordinary People...that’s the name of the show down Columbia way. My paintings will be with works from a bevy of wonderful artists. There’s DawnWhitelaw (portraitist and landscape painter extraordinaire), JohnWilkison (signature member of the National Watercolor Society), Margaret Dyer (Georgian creator of glowing pastels) and Edie Maney (maker of abstracts that suggest the figure). 

I can't wait to see what artists Helli Luck, AJ Holmes and Anne Carothers have brought to the show as well.

 Oils, pastels, watercolor, photography… lots of different media, lots of different approaches to ordinary people for no two of us see in exactly the same way.

It would be delightful to see you at the reception on Thursday, November 5th, from 5 to 8 at Pryor Art Gallery, 1665 Hampshire Pike, Columbia, TN. 

The show runs from October 27 to November 23rd.

Pryor is on the campus of Columbia State Community College. It’s in the last building on campus fronting the highway when coming from Columbia.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Taken for a Ride by Tim Horn

 So Ready to Party is an 10x8 oil done plein air by Shirley Fachilla.
I find California artist Tim Horn to be a very different sort of landscapist. His paintings have such a crisp contemporary edge. You would never mistake one of his pieces for a 19th century work; both style and subject (even when it’s a cowgirl on her horse) shout “now.”
So I was delighted when the Chestnut Group invited Tim to give a workshop this fall. I was even more delighted when the workshop began because I felt I spoke Tim’s language.  He said many things that I have been thinking but hadn’t put into words. And his emphasis on composition and color is where my art has been going (at least, I hope so!)

One of Tim’s favorite subjects, vintage cars, was not on my radar. But following his example, I decided to give it a try. I must admit I mostly wanted to paint this orangey red Jeep because of those fairy lights draping the building behind. But once I got started, the car showed me its personality (I saw it as basically a party animal) and it became the star of my piece.   

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding the Square Within

A Flora for a Roma is a 14x11 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.

Inside every rectangle is a square. Well, of course, you can find many squares. But the one I’m referring to is the square whose sides are the same length as the short side of the rectangle.
As illustrated by the dashed line inside the rectangle below:

This sort of square is called a rabatment. Why this lesson in geometry?
Simple. If you put the major elements of your painting within the rabatment, you will have taken a big step toward a good and interesting composition. Cassatt used rabatments as did Winslow Homer and most especially Degas.   Rabatment explains some of Degas’ most elegant designs, those wonderful ballet studio paintings where empty floor space takes up a third or more of the canvas. 

Elements outside the rabatment often lead the viewer’s eye into the square and should be secondary to those contained within the square portion. There are many interesting things an artist can do with rabatment. With A Flora for a Roma, I’m just beginning to explore.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

So Busy Composing My Thoughts!

A Bermuda Shorts Day is an 18x24 oil painted from life by Shirley Fachilla. 
On September 14th, I'll be teaching a one day workshop focusing on composition. When I began gathering my thoughts on this enterprise, I thought it would be very straightforward. I wanted to emphasize how easy it can be to achieve a painting you like (and might want to frame) when painting either in plein air or painting the figure from life in an open studio... easy if you pay attention to composition issues before you paint.
Of course, it won't always result in a painting you'll be proud of (too many other factors can intervene), but sometimes it does. And when it does, it feels very good. For instance, the guy shown above was painted in a morning in an open studio. He won a Meritorious Entry in the latest Richeson75 Figurative Annual Exhibit which made me quite happy.
Anyway, after I started planning and thinking, my lesson started expanding exponentially. I still plan to lay out my thoughts on quick composing whether in the field or open studio. And we'll practice what I'm preaching! But I do plan to include more, for the more I thought, read and looked, the more I realized just how truly vital good design is. Now I'm convinced that an artist's approach to composition is a big factor in that artist's style, and the effectiveness of that artist's message.
I hope and think our little group will have a very good and informative time discussing and planning good design. And I'm going to try to give everyone take-home thoughts to explore long after our day is done.
Here's a full listing of the day-long workshops sponsored this September by the Chestnut Group, here in Nashville. You just might find one or more that appeal.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Portraying the Human Spirit

Passage Through St. Lazare is a 24x20 oil by Shirley Fachilla.
I’m very proud to have work in the exhibit Portraying the Human Spirit at the Bennington Center for the Arts in Vermont. It’s a juried show of only 26 paintings which will be on display at the center from August 2 through December 21. I’ll quote the center on the theme of the show, “Our goal in jurying Portraying the Human Spirit was to find portraits that were more than portraits…”
Each artist was asked to do an audio for their work explaining process, inspiration, etc. For me, the audio may have been more difficult than the painting! However, I was delighted to have the opportunity to put into words what this painting meant to me. Finding those words? Definitely, a challenge.
A bit about the Bennington: This year, the venue hosted the national juried show of Oil Painters of America, and every year has an invitational wildlife art exhibit that is probably the very best east of the Mississippi, perhaps the very best nationally.
Again I’m so honored to have work at the Bennington in such a meaningful exhibit.

Here’s the link to the show.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Improbable Painted Daisies

Improbable Painted Daisies is a 20x10 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.

Actually I don’t know if the flowers were really daisies, much less the painted daisy variety. I found them at the grocery store and couldn’t resist the color combination of deep purple petals and neon green centers. I also loved that they were so perfect… well except for the one that I almost beheaded. That one had to be included in my painting in all its imperfection.
This particular still life let me utilize one of the perks of painting on an untoned white canvas.
See that sort of luminous red and blue in the middle of the vase? Using oil you can only achieve that sort of color if you are floating a transparent oil color (in this case permanent alizarin for the red and a combo of blues for the blue) on a white, untoned canvas. The white of the canvas shows through the transparent paint like the white of the paper shows through a wash in watercolor. But with oil, the color keeps a very high degree of saturation (definition found in ArtfulDefinitions). 
Every once in a while, I have the opportunity to make use of this little trick. I love the look it gives.

On the subject of still life (which rarely comes up in this blog), Brian Sherwin has something interesting to say in one of his latest ArtEdge emails. I think I may agree, at least in part, about the value of symbolism with still life though I do think his symbolic examples may be too straightforward. Personally, I find a great deal of very subtle whimsical symbolism in Carol Marine's little still lifes (whether or not they include her porcelain pig). How about you?

Monday, June 23, 2014

How is a Max Like a Carolyn?

The last painting I did in the Max Ginsburg workshop on day five.

I made a surprising discovery during Max Ginburg’s workshop, he paints like Carolyn Anderson. If you’re familiar with the work of both, you will realize that I’ve just made a rather amazing statement. For though both are primarily figurative artists, their paintings look nothing alike.
Carolyn’s are sometimes close to abstraction; Max’s are sometimes so polished and finished they might be mistaken for reality.
Both say that they are always drawing as they paint. And both work in the same intuitive way with a bare minimum of any sort of measuring. Instead they rely on the angles and relationships between shapes to get proportions right. Both strive to capture the gesture and to do it without losing the accuracy of their drawing. (much easier said than done and so important when painting the figure.) They both correct throughout the painting process and are always adjusting and refining brushstroke by brushstroke. 

Their method allows for precision with fluidity, accuracy with freshness. 
It’s what I also strive to accomplish. I'm just so lucky to have found two such different, yet similar, masters to inspire me.     

Feeling Important...

Queen Anne's Lace (detail) That’s how I’m feeling because NOAPS (National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society) interviewed me...