Monday, June 27, 2011

Deja Vu... Again?

A Patch of Flax is an 8x10 plein air oil by Shirley Fachilla.

Tennessee Vines is an 8x10 plein air oil by Shirley Fachilla.

You might have noticed. Artists love to paint the same thing over and over. Sometimes it’s for convenience sake. Morisot, for instance, painted her daughter many, many times at least partly because she was a very accessible model.

Then sometimes it’s a learning experience. Monet painted multiple views of the same haystacks varying the time of day and season to hone his understanding of light on form. Later in life, he painted the lily pads in his pond over and over. This time, it was a test of reality itself. What was reflection, what was actuality? What was water? What was sky?

Abstract expressionists are not immune. Franz Kline painted in black and white for years. He was doing many things in his paintings: studying composition in its essence, playing with negative and positive spaces, testing the creation of form.

If you look at my two landscapes, you’ll see the same house in the background. I haven’t any exalted reason for painting it more than once except like Morisot with her daughter, I like the house very, very much.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stop to Smell the Roses

Stop to Smell the Roses is a 6x8 oil by Shirley Fachilla.

I’ve been painting soldiers and cemeteries and needed a change of both mood and subject. Let me introduce you to Desi, one of our two cats. Desi is a tuxedo who looks a lot like Dreama Perry’s famous Eddie. But where Eddie has a rugged handsomeness (at least according to said Eddie), our Desi is a goofy beauty with Cleopatra eyes, pink nose and white rimmed ears. The ears and eyes are both larger than the usual cat size.

In my painting, it looks as if he’s smelling the roses. And Desi does seem to love flowers but… sadly, it’s because he likes to eat them.

I’ve included a link to Dreama’s Eddie paintings; you might also visit her blog so you can read as well as look. The adventures of Eddie are addictive.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Charm of the Incomplete

Tied Dyed is an open studio oil 20x10 by Shirley Fachilla.
I intended this post to be about unfinished paintings using as a linked illustration, a specific unfinished work by Berthe Morisot. Despite much looking, I can't find it online. But my search made me realize that much, if not most, of Morisot’s work could be considered quite incomplete.
Please don’t misunderstand. Morisot's paintings are intentionally sketchy with canvas that is uncovered by paint, with lower thirds that dissolve into abstract brushstrokes, or faces and bodies that melt into the background. Morisot meant them to be this way; this is their charm, their resonance. It’s also one of the main reasons the academic establishment so disliked the Impressionists. And its one of Impressionism’s enduring legacies to painters today. Suggestion can be more powerful than polish, the unstated more mysterious and evocative than the explicitly shown.
Biographical note: Morisot was a woman in a man’s world. She was a professional painter when women were supposed to paint as a pastime only and as a painter, she chose to follow the Impressionists, the rebels of their day.
My open studio painting is definitely less finished than my usual for it was done in about half the usual time. But I think I like its sketchiness more than the finish it would have acquired with another two hours of paint!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gazing at the Goddess

Gazing at the Goddess is a 14x11 oil done by Shirley Fachilla.

This is an unabashed plug for Nashville, Tennessee’s fabulous Parthenon. Located in Centennial Park, our Parthenon is a full size replica of the original, 2,438 year old architectural masterpiece in Athens, Greece… before that original was blown up in 1687.
A couple of weeks ago I watched Secrets of the Parthenon on PBS. It had a brief glimpse of Nashville’s lovely rendition and a lot of first-rate information about how the Athenians put the original Parthenon together. They used visual tricks and refinements that aren’t used today in even the most elegant of buildings. In the fifth century BC, the Greeks managed to build the Parthenon in less than ten years from start to finish. Restoring the Parthenon has already taken about three times that long and is very far from complete. But once done, it will be wonderful thing to see.
Until then and before going to Athens, you might want to visit Nashville’s version or at least watch Secrets of the Parthenon when it appears next on PBS!

My little painting was done several years ago and is of a teenager gazing at the 42 foot tall, gilded statute of the goddess Athena done by local sculptor Alan LeQuire in Nashville’s Parthenon. And yes, the original Parthenon also once had its own 42 foot gold and ivory Athena done by its local sculptor Phidias.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Where the Wild Things Are

Backyard Neighbor is a 7x5 oil by Shirley Fachilla.
Our very small backyard adjoins a small patch of woods. Though it’s small, there are wild things who live there or at least, pass through. Possums, raccoons, pileated woodpeckers, owls, hawks, bluebirds, foxes and once a coyote have strolled or flown out of the woods and into our back yard. We consider them our backyard neighbors. This one lingered long enough for a photo op.

I painted my deer as a part of the DPW weekly challenge. (For a definition of challenge, click here.) This week, the challenge was to paint what’s outside your window. We have lots of windows and I often paint what I see through them. It was fun to do it yet again.

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 ...