Thursday, June 28, 2012

"In Open Studio"

In Open Studio is a 20x16 oil on linen done in open studio by Shirley Fachilla.

Burt Silverman is a marvelous representational artist. His subjects run the gamut: still life, portrait, landscape, with figure and portraiture as his forte. Art lovers in Nashville, Tennessee are now fortunate to have a gallery that represents Mr. Silverman. The new Haynes Gallery in Nashville, just had a Silverman one-man show.  
Understandably as a figurative painter myself, my favorites in the exhibit were his figurative works, especially his drawings. Often done from life, they offer wonderful fluidity coupled with great precision. Mr. Silverman knows the human body very well indeed.
At last Monday’s open studio, our wonderful model struck a Silverman sort of pose. It was so much fun to paint with arms, legs, head, torso all offering a different angle, a different foreshortening challenge.
[For the meaning of foreshortening, see Artful Definitions.]  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In Plain Sight...

Come Sit with Me is a 6x8 plein air oil by Shirley Fachilla.
Nashville plein air painters are extremely fortunate to have an exhibit of Constable oil sketches on view at the Frist. On loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, we are one of the exhibit’s only two venues in the States.
I love Constable, especially his sketches, which have a freshness and spontaneity that is so appealing to 21st century eyes.  Of course, in his day, that fresh fluidity was denigrated and called unfinished by the critics.
Our show features a couple of full size oil sketches, a very wonderful one done in preparation for the artist’s iconic Hay Wain. But most of the works are small, plein air pieces done before the Impressionists, at a time when almost no one painted outside from life.
These days, plein air artists travel far and wide for subjects but not Constable. He painted from a very small slice of English landscapes. He knew that the very best places to paint are in plain sight and right in our own backyards. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Eye of the Beholder

Desiring a State of Grace is a 24x12 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.

Andrew Wyeth was once asked what about his art would have displeased his painter father. Andrew answered that N.C. often criticized his greyed down colors and his lack of narrative. Of course, Andrew’s father, N.C., was a famous illustrator and for him, a narrative in his paintings was essential. 

Paradoxically, Andrew was often been berated by the art establishment for the anecdotal nature of his work. It would be hard to argue that his most famous painting Christina’s World is not telling a story. But does Brown Swiss really have a narrative? Perhaps the narrative element in a painting is often in the eye of the beholder. Afterall, Andrew thought of himself as an abstractionist, not a teller of tales.  

Desiring a State of Grace seems to me to have an implicit story. But my husband says the subject of the painting needs to have a book, letter, box, or a something to give it… well, a narrative.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Three Days in the Park

 A Day in the Park is a 12x9 plein air oil by Shirley Fachilla done on the first day of a three day plein air workshop.

Last week, I spent three days in Nashville’s Percy Warner Park in a painting workshop taught by Stapleton Kearns. We were encouraged to paint big and to think out of the plein air box. 
Stape paints big; he paints long; he even sometimes (usually a major no-no in plein air) chases the light. [See Artful Definitions.]
Stapleton Kearns is an unusual plein air artist. His pieces are highly finished with most of his work done out-of-doors and done big by plein air standards. His usual size is 18x24 inches. Plein air pieces can often be as small as 5x7.
Kearns did other out-of-the-box things like painting a crashing wave seascape from imagination, memory and the knowledge gained from a great deal of prior seascape painting.
It was an interesting, instructive three day adventure. If you’d like a sample of Stapleton Kearns and his way of plein air thinking, just visit his blog.

P.S. A Day in the Park is very much my style of painting and nothing like a Stapleton Kearns! 

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 ...