Saturday, November 16, 2013

Paint What You See Around You

In the course of our day, many of us travel around quite a bit, maybe more than we realize. We have pretty much been trained to paint lovely scenes. Yet, it was the Impressionists who stopped the pretense of idyllic scenes from Biblical or Mythological history and instead started painting what they saw around them every day. You might drop the kids off at school, drive to work, grocery shop, go to the pharmacy to get your meds or a trip to the mall to get those long needed clothes. Every one of those places, believe it or not could be a visual painting opportunity. I urge you to take a moment and actually look.

Now I'm not advocating you dragging your paints and easel to set up at the mall, but most of us these days have a smart phone and surprisingly many take darn fine photos. Really! In fact, I use my iPhone for most of my Etsy store photos. For some reason it doesn't seem to mind my usual black backdrop that drives my DSLR nuts. See an interesting scene. Snap a photo for later.

An artist I follow, Raymond Logan, has taken the simplest, almost silliest things we have and made them something you want to look at because they bring back so many memories and his style is so arresting. He has painted a series of old Kodak cameras, radios, Japanese toy robots from the 50's and so much more. He has a style that is instantly recognizable but has transformed the ordinary into extraordinary. I have one of an old Kodak camera, red of all things, probably from the 50's that I placed in a frequently traveled hallway. Besides adding color it brings back memories of my grandmother and her "Kodak!"
"San Marcos Brewery" by Alan Krug

I started migrating to craft beers about 10 years ago. I would imagine it was my first Samuel Adams that made me realize that there was something better than Millers Hi-Life, Coors or Bud. There was a richer, deeper flavor in plain old beer that made it less plain. Another friend introduced me to Chimay from Belgium but when another friend introduced me to IPA's, he hit the spot. I love a good rich, deeply flavored IPA's. Brews from Avery, AleSmith, Great Divide and Dogfish Head get my taste buds spinning.

Believe it or not, Southern California has many craft breweries with more coming on line all the time. Even the small, mostly industrial town next door is home to a craft brewery started by two guys from Cal Tech of all things.

My painting "San Marcos Brewery" is from one of 58 craft breweries in San Diego County alone. The building is striking in its homage to Spanish Territorial styling and the way the sun hit the stucco, wood, brick and glass made me want to paint it! Like many of the wineries in the area around Temecula, CA, also in San Diego County, as brewers get more successful, they want to create an image of what they make! Wineries and breweries become destinations to savor and enjoy.

This is an all acrylic painting. Only 9" x 12" yet I managed to get many details in it. The rough hewn wood is a counterpoint to the rough stucco and an elaborate sign with old fashioned lettering on a field of green leaves. I went back and forth between the sun and shade finally using a grey wash for the shaded areas leaving the sunny areas blinding in their whiteness.

I urge you to look around and "see." Even a place that is commercial has exciting possibilities if handled with the right hands! I mean, who would think to paint a pub, well, unless it was some quaint old place in England, Ireland or Germany?

Please visit my store, to see this painting and many other things I have created. I am adding several new paintings and birdhouses so there is always something for everyone. Hand created items make wonderful gifts for the holidays. No one else will ever have an identical item!

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