a sky inside

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The color blue lights up the still life table.  It used to be yellow.  Now it’s blue.  It’s good to change things around.  It feels like new beginnings. It alters the whole mood of the room.

I love being able to move things around, to change all the colors, to seem to invent moods just by shifting some colors around.  I brought the sky inside.

parts and whole

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I find it difficult to work on a large still life from the motif because you see all the parts from different angles as you move around.  And the whole canvas is too large to see everything all at once.  So although I did begin the painting all at once and very spontaneously — as I get into the weeds of it I have to sort out parts one by one.

My first couple attempts to get the notebook on the left in correct perspective on the table went awry — in the painting itself and in a drawing I made as a study.  Happily a painted study is getting me closer to where I want to be.  I propped it up against the painting in the photo above.  I needed to see how this change would look in the actual painting.

After painting out two compotiers that had appeared on the right hand side, I used a study that I had made a couple months ago to form the new right hand side of the painting — and I propped that smaller painting up against the canvas to get an approximate notion how it would look.

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So part by part, I’m gonna get there ….

 

picturing the pictures on the wall

flowers & red fineart Amer

I have some pictures available in reproductions at Fine Art America.  And the Fine Art America website has introduced a feature that makes it easier to imagine the image hanging in a room.  With their new feature, you can get a sense of how the image size you’ve chosen might look in an actual room.   All that’s left is to imagine how it will look in your room and in your life.

You can find my stuff here:

https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/aletha-kuschan.html

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when you need flowers …

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When you need flowers, remember that you can find reproductions of my pictures on Fine Art America.  (Got to plug my own site — this is an advertisement!)

I have put many of the flower pictures there, some koi, some landscapes.  And there’ll be more coming.

So if you need something red, please think of me.  And when you need flowers.  And koi.  And so on.   Think of me!

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/bright-carnations-aletha-kuschan.html

art marketing workout

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We took a walk, a companion and I, through part of Capitol Hill in Washington on route to one of our favorite eateries because you must eat and you must get exercise.  Spring’s first flowers and lovely city architecture are fine things to behold along the way.  (Ah, there’s the house with the cobalt blue shutters!) And then too it’s beneficial to do a little marketing.

I used today’s journey to leave some of my cards along our path.  Some of the cards are expressly designed to direct people HERE to this blog.  And if you’re finding this post now because you got one of those cards, I welcome you!  I hope that you’ll find ideas and pictures that bring you joy.

It’s really important for artists to share art. I’m marketing beauty.  While I offer my paintings for sale, I’m also marketing beauty itself.  Part of my aim is to persuade whoever will listen that we are surrounded by beauty.  The sky alone has tons of beauty in it.  Don’t even get me started talking about the earth.  Beauty is everywhere.

I am continually searching for beauty in my art — in shapes, lines, textures, colors, and in patterns of darkness and light.  I look for it in ideas, too, but that gets a little tricky.  I don’t know how to define what beauty is.  I do recognize it when I see it.  And I see it often.  And I’m always striving to imitate its appearances in pictures.

So welcome visitor.  Welcome long time reader.  Welcome silent guest. Welcome to whoever you are.

 

Note to self: fighting & the beginning

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A really wonderful painting with minimal technique is something to be sought (if technique is construed as “knowing the means of doing a thing”).  The problem with the beginning is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Usually you don’t know what you do know either.

Generally people think of the beginning as being where the rookie is. What is less often noted is that anyone can be at the beginning in some context. Artists who do the same thing over and over, having mastered it (whatever It is), are arguably no longer at the beginning. They have achieved a mastery in the sense of being able to predictably repeat past performances at a similar level of difficulty with no loss in quality.

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But if you’re the sort of person who wants to be doing something new because you distrust sameness then the beginning is a place you can enter again.  It’s harder, though, than one might suppose. I can become a beginner if I adopt certain kinds of subjects that I have never portrayed. That might be great if these things were things that I want to paint. But lots of things that I never did consist of things that I never wanted to do. Doing those things now wouldn’t represent growth, it would just be stupid.

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So instead the challenge about doing something new relates to doing something that you want to do but have never done before, and more particularly doing something that’s difficult to achieve even at one’s present level of skill so that the challenge really puts you out of the comfort zone.  And THEN, not using one’s present knowledge to just think oneself logically through the technical problems, but rather using one’s ignorance itself as a tool so that you can dig, grab, flail your way along.

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I think I would rather struggle with a new thing than to use what I already know to render the new thing into some homogenized facsimile of what I already know.  Innovation — seeking and striving to get it — is more about immersion in a new experience than it is like coping by using all the old skills on new ideas. I don’t want to prettify the new thing with the contours of the familiar old things.

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Pierre Bonnard self-portrait

 

I want to confront the new thing in all its new-to-me-ness and fight my way through it just like I fought with subjects when I was a young artist.  Is that why Bonnard portrays himself as a pugilist in the series of late self-portraits made in the bathroom mirror?  Well, I don’t know. Bonnard’s intention and his thoughts across a hundred years is not available to me. But I want to find subjects that are hard in ways that formerly would send me to the fainting couch except that instead of retreating to the couch I want to stand and fight.

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Art doesn’t have to be a fight.  I’m not saying that. Art can be refined, easy-going.  It can be a long walk. I’m just saying that if it’s a long walk, I want to walk somewhere I’ve never been before. I am looking for new experience, even in the things I’ve done again and again. I want to experience them in some innocence. I want to be overwhelmed by them. I don’t want to know what I’m doing. I want to figure something out as I go.

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just back from the framer

The still life with flowers

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has got a new frame. I may continue tweaking the image — still figuring that out — but it has its frame so that in all changes going forward they will harmonize with each other.

Here it is below crammed into the studio. Sitting above it is probably the next thing that’ll make the trip to Georgetown Frame Shoppe, the pastel koi.

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Peter did a fabulous job on the corners of this beautiful molding.

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