Friday Favorite

White Bird of Paradise by Georgia O’Keeffe

I love Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings and will post more about her next week. With a busy weekend ahead I don’t have much time to post so I’ll keep this short.

She painted White Bird of Paradise during a trip to Hawaii. If you happen to be in Hawaii sometime between now and September this piece is featured in an exhibition alongside work by Ansel Adams (apparently they were friends). Wish I could go!

In all her work we see a blend of abstraction and realism resulting in a style that is uniquely her own. In this piece she achieves depth through changes in value, temperature and overlapping forms.

One of my favorite web comics does a nice job describing her paintings.

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works of art that I admire. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

Music by Alphonse Mucha

Though Alphonse Mucha is more than capable of using value to describe form as seen by clicking here, in many of his illustrations he chooses not to. He uses color and value contrast within the work itself, but not to describe the volume of form or to describe the volume of the form very minimally. Instead he relies on gesture and line. This is a wonderful example of how much can be accomplished even while using fewer values.

He uses beautiful lines that alternate between straight geometric and curves adding variety and interest throughout. Mucha’s work always has a beautiful feeling of rhythm and flow.

Many of his paintings of women remind me of nature and the moon goddesses. The shape she sits on resembles a full moon framed by a crescent moon overhead. Further back receding in space, there is another glowing moon.

According to WikiPaintings, Mucha was a musician himself and “chose to personify music as a woman with both hands raised to her ears listening to a chorus of nightingales, the most creative and spontaneous of songbirds.”

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works by artists who inspire me. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

Street in Venice by John Singer Sargent

Sargent is another favorite. Most of his work is categorized either under realism or impressionism and I love his work in both styles.

Even though he’s using a limited palette he gets full effect of the colors he is using. This is a wonderful example of effective temperature and value contrast. He captures the atmosphere of this city street so well. The two men look mysterious and foreboding while the woman appears self reflective. She appears a little chilly too, but her arms aren’t wrapped around herself the way one might expect on a cold winter morning, but rather her hands are clasped in front of her and her eyes are slightly downcast giving the appearance that she’s lost in thought. There is a beautiful contrast between the dark twisted strands hanging off her black shawl and the folds of her white dress.

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I wanted to post this earlier, but I was having internet connection problems. Might have to reconsider the name Friday Favorite if I keep posting late. Friday Favorite posts are where I share works by artists who influence and inspire me. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

Three Sunflowers inĀ  a Vase by Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh considered himself to be the painter of sunflowers, rightfully so as he is arguably most famous for these paintings. This subject was so dear to Van Gogh, who described them as a symphony of yellow and blue, that in a way they can be seen as a self portrait of him.

Once cut sunflowers wither fast so Van Gogh had to work quickly to capture what he saw. Here we see the transition of the sunflower from upright to nearly drooping. They’re commonly interpreted as signifying the impermanence of life though Van Gogh is quoted as saying that they might represent gratitude.

An alternative explanation is that they carry religious symbolism. Van Gogh’s father was a pastor and Van Gogh tried to follow in his footsteps. The following art blog poetically describes his sunflowers as representative of Van Gogh’s search for sun and pure light as well as a metaphor for his search for God.

Regardless of interpretation, each one of these that he painted is a masterpiece.

Below is an excellent BBC Documentary. It’s a longer video, but for worth watching if you’re a Van Gogh fan.

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works by artists who inspire me. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Since I missed last Friday, I’m posting two Friday Favorites this week (on a Saturday, though it might still be Friday somewhere…). Sticking to a schedule isn’t my strong suit, but I’m trying so bear with me!

Friday Favorite

Wheatfield with Cypress Tree by Vincent Van Gogh

I have many favorites, but Van Gogh has always been my all time favorite artist. His work is what originally got me interested in painting. As I grow and discover new artists and styles, I always return to his work for inspiration. I love so many of his paintings and he has such a wide body of work that there is no doubt I will be posting more from him in the future.

With Van Gogh precision and accuracy are not his focus. He uses bold, rapid and expressive strokes to capture what he sees in the moment and by doing so he is able to uniquely capture the feeling and essence of his subject.

In art school we’re learning how to paint and draw with greater accuracy, but personal style and rhythm is something that they cannot teach us and is something we have to develop on our own.

For me, Van Gogh’s work represents a triumph of the kind of individual expression that cannot be taught in a class, but must be learned through self discovery and experimentation.

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works by artists who influence and inspire me. To see more Friday Favorites, click here. Spring semester has started so I’ve been busy with assignments and missed posting last week. Though this week’s post is a day late, better late than never. Sticking to a schedule is challenging for me, but I’m trying!

Friday Favorite

Fields and Furrows by Wayne Thiebaud

As I mentioned last week, the way Wayne Thiebaud paints landscapes makes me look at and think about landscapes differently.

Through his expert use of color and temperature contrast and by balancing areas of saturation with areas of desaturation, he uses a wide variety of colors and textures creating patches that pop demanding our attention without overwhelming the senses.

This painting is both dynamic and peaceful, words that describe the state of mind I strive for when drawing or painting, a calm, but focused energy. It feels bright, positive, and productive without being frantic or chaotic.

Starting next week, I’ll take a break from Wayne Thiebaud, but since he is one of my all time favorites his work is always a reliable source of inspiration and I’ll likely post more about him in the future.

The Smithsonian has a good article about him which you can read here.

According to one of his students, he says:

“If you sit around and wait for inspiration all you get is a sore ass.”

Wise words that are going on my studio door.

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works by artists who influence and inspire me. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

Fallow Fields by Wayne Thiebaud

I love Wayne Thiebaud’s work! Whatever subject he paints, he does so in a fun and refreshing way that offers the viewer a new perspective. His landscape paintings make me look at landscapes differently.

This piece is bright, but not overwhelming. It feels both peaceful and energetic at the same time. I see a connection to his earlier paintings of cakes and desserts. Organic curves and geometric lines move the eye through an edible landscape flowing with rivers of icing.

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Friday Favorite posts are where I share works by artists who influence and inspire me. To see more Friday Favorites, click here.

Friday Favorite

Cakes by Wayne Thiebaud

oil on canvas, 1963

Wayne Thiebaud is one of my favorite painters for several reasons. The texture he creates through his application of thick paint brings his paintings to life and I have to resist the urge to eat the canvas. His arrangements have a geometric quality to them and he uses repetition and different points of view to create truly unique compositions.

When I see his work I feel happy and grateful for the simple pleasures in life. In this short video, he comes across as a humble well grounded person with a sense of humor. In his words, “If we don’t have a sense of humor, we lack a sense of perspective.”

Go here to see more of his yummy cake paintings at CreativityFuse.

Below is a short video featuring Wayne Thiebaud and his work:

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Friday Favorites are where I will share works by artists (historic and contemporary) who influence and inspire me. This Friday Favorite was posted on a Monday, but in the future I’ll try to stick to the schedule!