Friday, February 25, 2011

Johnny, non!/ Jack, oui!

Jack in Cut Glass 12x9 oil by Shirley Fachilla

About a week ago, my husband and I were in wonderful Paris. Every once in a while, we would try to find a Tennessee connection... or more accurately, a Tennessee recognition among the French we met.
Sadly, Johnny Cash isn't a name Parisians find too familiar. Elvis, however, was always a known personage as was my dad's favorite, Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey. Our boutique hotel's bar carried the very best Jack, Jack's single barrel. Another sported Gentlemen Jack on its shelves. Black Label was in evidence just about everywhere else spirits were sold. Amazing! There may be more Jack in Paris bars than Nashville ones. Of course, in Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of the Daniel's distillery, there are no bars at all!
My painting isn't a Parisian still life. It was painted in my house with a bottle of Black Label and my great grandmother's cut glass.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Driving Smart on the Appian Way

Driving Smart on the Appian Way is a 12x12 oil by Shirley Fachilla

When my husband and I went to Rome, we rode the bus to the Appian Way, that ancient Roman road traveled by Caesar, Cicero and Augustus more than two thousand years ago. There, on Via Appia, parked in front of a charming Roman villa was a Smart Car, a mini-marvel of fuel efficiency. And I thought if more of us drove smart, lived smart, thought smart, in another two thousand years another pair of tourists could admire this ancient road on just such another beautiful spring day.
Driving Smart on the Appian Way is one of the paintings I'll have in the Green Show in the Marnie Sheridan Gallery at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Green Show is all about thinking, living and yes, driving green. There's an artist's reception from 3 to 5 on Sunday, March 6. And the show will hang through April 12. If you're near, please drop by and see some new green.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Cut and Dried"

Cut and Dried 7x5 oil by Shirley Fachilla

As Julie Andrews might have sung, these are a few of my favorite things. But I painted them not because they are beloved, but because of their color. I wanted to paint precisely the silvery green of the eucalyptus leaves, the translucent turquoise of the vase and the metallic shimmer of the scissors.
Of course, I didn’t. Painters almost never do. Instead we approximate the colors we see in our light-filled world with our oils, acrylics, watercolors and pastels. We create an illusion within the confines of our canvas and paper with color and value harmonies that ring true in the painting, but which can not completely capture everyday reality.
In my attempt, I did use a tube of turquoise bought for a Karin Jurick workshop and found it the closest approximation to the blue of my vase. And I used Abbey Ryan’s wisp of eucalyptus for inspiration when painting mine.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Girl with the Heart Tattoo

The Girl with the Heart Tattoo 20x18 open studio oil by Shirley Fachilla

This painting just seemed right for a Valentine posting because of the heart and also because of the colors, very warm, very pink. I've included a detail to bring attention to that heart tattoo.
For anyone who isn't a mystery fan, the painting title is a play upon Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Larrson was a Swedish novelist who died suddenly in a car crash before knowing of the tremendous recent success of his trilogy revolving around Lizbeth Salander (the girl with the tattoo). I've read all three of those books and so want to know of her further adventures. 
Supposedly, there is a fourth book. It's been reported that Larrson wrote the beginning and end with a detailed outline for the yet-unwritten middle. His heirs are battling for rights to that unfinished manuscript. So maybe someday, we'll get to know what happened next to Lizbeth Salander.
My open studio girl is far from perfect in anatomy, but I like her anyway for her warmth... and her tattoo!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Stories We Tell: Desire, Part III

The Redhead an open studio oil by Shirley Fachilla

The story of desire can be as chaste as Botticelli's Venus or as voyeuristic as Susanna and the Elders. One of the most famous paintings about lustful temptation is the fully-clothed Madame X by John Singer Sargent. Sargent saw it as his ticket to fame and multiple portrait commissions; the subject, Virginie Amelie Avegano Gautreau saw it as a celebration of her status as the "It Girl" of Paris. Parisians, on the other hand, saw it as quite shocking, a much too graphic invitation to regard the socially elite Ms. Gautreau as a sex object.
After its display, Sargent left Paris never to return as a resident; Virginie slipped from her social pedestal and because something of a recluse. Sargent later recovered and achieved the fame and commissions he sought and the painting has become acclaimed as one of the best portraits ever painted.
My redhead may have something of Gautreau's pose and cool demeanor and to me, a bit of her rather icy allure.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Work in Progress... Studio Work

Yipee! I'm getting a new studio space!  I've enjoyed online blogging tours of studios and thought you might enjoy one as well. The new studio is around 450 square feet, about quadruple the space I have now.

Part of the studio has a very high ceiling. I can crank up my easel without being concerned about poking a hole in sheet rock.

There's a rather large closet for storage of paintings and supplies...

and a whole wall of adjustable shelves (formerly a bookcase) for ditto.

The studio is on two levels. There's a loft area which opens up the possibility of some clever live model poses.

The flooring is kind of clever, too. Susan Harlan, an artist friend, suggested taking out the old tired carpeting and painting the plywood subfloor. Very cheap, extremely functional and it will be a breeze to put in new carpeting when it isn't a studio anymore. But I do hope it will be a studio for a long time to come.
P.S.It's probably more photogenic now than it will be when I move in all my stuff!

Is it too early to send an invitation?

Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...