Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Losing my Edge


Old Teapot, Old Rose, Fresh Pears is a 9x12 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.

It’s an old-fashioned, tried-and-true still life subject, flowers, fruit and teapot. But that’s not what I mean by losing my edge. (Not that I’ve ever been very edgy.)

Edge is a sort of technical term for artists.  In a painting, where one value meets another, where one color meets another, there’s an edge. As you can tell from the definition, paintings are made up of a series of edges. A primary trick for representational artists, and for many abstract ones, is to make those edges mimic three-dimensional reality, to create the illusion of depth, form and weight on a two-dimensional surface.

Edges can be soft, can stutter and break or simply disappear entirely. The hard edge (sharp and well defined) is the easiest to create and the one to use the least.

I’m thinking a lot about edges these days because I just attended a Carolyn Anderson workshop and toured a Joaquin Sorolla exhibit, two masters of the edge. They each succeed at creating beautiful edges in completely different ways which gives me hope that I may find my own way to make wonderful edges. So I came home and made a still life, a still life that is all about the edge, when to hone it and when to make it vanish.



Monday, April 7, 2014

A Remembrance of Cezanne


Filagree is a 14x11 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.

You may very well be wondering why Filagree is a “remembrance of Cezanne.”   
I’ll try to explain.
I went to a Cezanne exhibit at our National Gallery in D.C. a few years ago. Those paintings took my breath away. His still lifes had such volume and presence with apples and oranges that looked as though they could tumble out of the canvas and roll across the gallery floor. Then there were the views of St. Victorie, so varied and diverse although they were all of the very same mountain.  
There was one painting that especially captured my attention. It was a simple portrait of one of his father’s farmhands, farmhands that he often painted playing cards. He painted this man alone with the light catching his eyelashes, so that the lashes were etched in light. It seemed such a delicate touch for the study of a laborer and for a painter lauded for his ability to convey mass and weight.

My view of our beautiful model at open studio allowed me just such a view. Her lashes were turned to gold by the light, filigreed so to speak. Thus she became my special remembrance of Cezanne.