Saturday, November 26, 2011

So what does an abstract painter do when they have painters block? Well...

They go back to where it all began....

When I first started painting, I painted in oils.  I was terrified of this new medium and never dreamed I would even get close to mastering it.  What I discovered was that, yes, I could paint....and yes, I was pretty good at it.  I started with very traditional still lifes and landscapes and then one day, I painted a cow.  I loved him.  Then I painted another and another and another. There was something about their shapes and their faces and those noses.  I experimented with impressionism, knife painting, and even a little abstraction- all with cows. 

That is what eventually led me into abstraction and consequently into switching to acrylics ( for the ability to paint more spontaneously.)  I never looked back....until now.  I have had sever painters block for months.  Lack of sales in the galleries has perpetuated a feeling of "what the heck am I doing - and why?"  I have been painting, but not anything that I love. I refer to it as: making mud.  Needless to say,  I've been very discouraged for quite some time. forward to the present....

  My daughter, Hanna, who is a very talented emerging artist, began taking some photographs a couple of months ago around the farms of our area.  She's been photographing cotton bolls, soy beans, tractor parts, silos, landscapes, and of course cows. The photos are fantastic- lots of macro photography along with the landscapes.  I've been enjoying watching her work progress.  She then started making some impressionistic paintings from the landscape photos, so I basically turned over my studio space to her. 

Cotton Boll   by Hanna Casey

  Then she asked me, "why didn't you ever keep any of your cow paintings?"  "I don't know", I said, "I gave them all away to my farmer friends."  (This was before I turned "pro".)  "Well, I want one", she said - "and I want a big one."  So, what the heck -  I wasn't getting anywhere with my non-objective work - so I painted one big-ass cow.  HUGE, as a matter of fact. And, of course, I love him.  Then, Hanna said, "why don't we have an open studio again, you haven't done it in a couple of years. We could do a collaborative show- my photography and landscape paintings - and  you could paint some of your cows (much smaller of course) and abstract landscape paintings based on my photos. It would be fun."

Hmmm.  Fun. What a novel idea.

So - "Southern Exposure- Art inspired by the landscape of farm country" was born.  A friend of mine (who lives on a farm)- is an avid art collector and an interior designer who has placed a lot of my abstract work is hosting our little show. This is a blessing, since I won't have to clean up my very messy studio to have an open-studio format.  It should be a fun party and hopefully generate a few sales.  The main thing is, I am having a great time painting my little cows and collaborating with my daughter.  I'm sure I'll soon get back to abstraction - but for now those type of paintings will just have to moooooove over while I have a little fun.

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