Black and blue

"Bruise", abstract acrylic painting on 18" x 24" canvas

Day 315: “Bruise”, an abstract painting

The abstracts continue today with “Bruise”, a painting that kind of floated into my head as I fell asleep the night before last. You know how some people will say things like, “I eat, sleep and breathe {mad lib your own activity here}”? I always thought that was a bit dramatic until making it into my 11th month of this daily project. I literally eat, sleep and breathe painting. Not intentionally with the eating part, but all three nonetheless. 😉

Dripping detail

It’s another dark, moody abstract/color field piece on a re-used 18” x 24” canvas. Like the last few, this one had fabric and heavy texture already, so I used that to inform the new painting over the top of it. This is acrylic with some liquid watercolor and sumi ink- a lusciously dark and saturated ink for calligraphy and painting. Here’s a close-up of the texture from the side:

Heavy vertical texture from fabric and paint

Romancing the canvas

This is another one of those heavy texture pieces

Day 314: Blush, a painting

I recycled another old canvas for today’s painting. Underneath it was originally this really politically charged, angry-looking thing I did in college. I started off covering up the black, gray and red with tones of pinky peach, on a quest to see if I could defeat the angry energy I’d infused into it in the past with something happy.

Some magenta, gray-blue, yellow and gold layers later, I feel like I ended up with a piece that summons up the tummy butterflies and burning cheek memories of girlhood. I think this one is 18 x 24, so I’ve been sticking with the larger scale lately. Here are some more images:

"Blush", acrylic painting on 18" x 24" canvas

Detail shot

Detail shot

What’s red, black and white…

There's a lot of texture that's tough to photograph in this piece.

Day 312: “Veil”, a painting

It’s a continued foray into abstract paintings in limited color today with “Veil”, a painting on canvas (18″ x 24″ I think? Must locate tape measure…) in red, black and white. This one was done over an old painting that had fabric in it and some pre-existing texture, so I kept that in mind when working with the composition. I haven’t done many “dark” pieces in awhile, so I guess it’s time. 🙂 Here are some detail shots…

This fabric swath is actually tulle

Black over red over gray, reduced by many layers of waterbrushing.

And here’s a shot of it straight-on. See you tomorrow!

"Veil", 18 x 24" acrylic painting on canvas

Nebulous

Binary jellyfish loading... 90% complete.

Day 310: Binary Jellyfish

I’ve never looked at dots/patterns in a painting the same after seeing some of Ross Bleckner’s work. VeriSign used to have a piece up in the second story lobby which surprised and delighted me to no end. I used to ogle it when we’d sneak up to the engineer’s lounge to use their fancy coffee machine. Then Bravo’s Work of Art Season 2 casting call was held in a gallery exhibiting some of his work- huge fabulous pieces in an exhibition titled “Ross Bleckner paints like Freddie Mercury sings” and it was all I could do to speak to the portfolio reviewers and not drift off into humbled stare-silence. While I tend to find myself drawn to realist subject matter (like cityscapes) most of the time, there’s something so free and open about abstract work.

Today’s piece is a color study using only gray, white and slate blue on 16” x 20” canvas. As I laid out rows of dots, it began to feel like some kind of digital representation of a jellyfish, floating and blinking and loading into virtual existence in the dark blue brain of a computer somewhere, so I finished it off with a white round flourish up top. Even though it’s subtle and has little contrast, I like looking at it next to yesterday’s piece in my studio.

Home stretch

"Slate", acrylic painting on 16" x 20" canvas

Day 309: “Slate”, acrylic and watercolor on canvas

Well, we’re nearly a week into November, so you know what that means. Two things- Christmas is coming (thank goodness I’m in the process of listing all this year’s art in my art shop), and my art project is almost over! I can see the light at the end of the art tunnel, people. Only a little over 50 days to go. If you’ve been following the blog, you know I bore easily and switch it up often when it comes to my work. A large chunk of it are paintings, but within the paintings are subsets of color fields, mixed media abstracts, cityscapes/nightscapes, landscapes on woodblock and some general randomness thrown in (i.e. babushkas).

And here lately as I work on a commission, in my daily pieces I find myself bitten by the color bug. Sometimes I just need to step back and be awestruck by the simple joy of color in and of itself. Today’s piece is on the slightly larger size at 16″ x 20″ and is a color study of slate blue with some white, gray and ultramarine thrown in. I used liquid watercolor to make the dotting patterns and finished it off with a flourish of black. I think color field paintings are my equivalent of a zen garden.

Detail shot

And it was all yellow

"Ochre", a color study on three canvas panels

Day 308: Ochre

Today’s piece is a color study using only yellow ochre and white on a set of 3 canvases mom picked up for me awhile back (I suppose that means mom gets dibs on them then, eh? :)) during a canvas sale. (Btw, I love that my family does that.) These measure 4” x 12” each, so in theory they could be displayed in a variety of ways. I do like them side by side vertically though.

I’m gearing up to get all my remaining pieces on sale in my Etsy shop, and I’ll be sending out my very first newsletter soon. Gasp! I’ve only been meaning to do so for several years now. So if you’d like to get a quarterly type of newsletter from me with information on what’s happening with my new work, upcoming shows, available pieces, sales and whatnot, head over to MarianneBland.com, click portfolio, and sign up for the newsletter under the “contact” page. Or just leave me a note in the comments. I suppose that’s a bit easier. 🙂

From the side

Day 139: Color Fields

The muse of Rothko was chillin in my studio today.

If you’ve ever seen a piece by Mark Rothko, you’re familiar with color field painting. It’s just that- fields of color sharing space, vibrating in their color-filled glory on top of and next to other colors- simple, but lovely.

Today’s painting on wood is clearly Rothko-inspired (for a better visual of his works than the Wikipedia article I linked to above, do an image search on Google with “Rothko”, and you’ll see what I mean). Most people start off drawing in pencil, and the leap to color can be a scary one. After many years of mixing and mingling them, I still feel that color itself is enough to take center stage without any subject matter. If you were to try and paint an emotion, what do you think would end up on the canvas?

Detail of brushstrokes and dripwork. (I think I just made that up. Dripwork? Really? 🙂 )

For me, the best expression of an emotion is often pure color. And some of my favorites are the warm ones. Red, orange, yellow and purple just hum for me in this piece. I think it’s kind of striking.

In other news, my Sharks are down by 2 games. SADNESS. That is all.

Day 57

Sometimes it feels as if the universe conspires to provide me with divine inspiration. The other day, for example, I was sifting through cut up pages and came across the words “garbage collector”. About 30 seconds later, some song playing on the internet radio station I’ve never heard included the lyrics “garbage collector”, and I had to stop for a moment to let the Twilight Zone music play out in my head because I found it rather odd. Now, I haven’t yet painted a garbage collector, but who knows? Perhaps it’s foreshadowing and my first great masterpiece will be a portrait of a garbage collector.* (Today’s post ended up being kind of verbose and brainy, so I spliced it up with photos. Feel free to scroll through without reading. Hell, I won’t know.)

Today’s pieces were inspired by a physics lecture I was listening to this morning. I’m a big fan of color, and of course color itself is a pretty amazing phenomenon. The fact that we can see it at all is because we have different types of cone cells in the retina that are able to recognize variations in frequency of visible light. (If you want a more intense science lesson on color than provided in this blog post, Wikipedia will help you with that here.)

There are frequencies of light outside of the spectrum visible to humans, of course, and so there are all kinds of amazing things going on that we can’t see at all when it comes to light and energy and the universe. Vision is huge for us, as everything we see is perceived in our brains as reality. This is a quote by Einstein from here that I found fascinating:

“A human being is a part of this whole, called by us ‘Universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to apportion for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” — Albert Einstein

So today’s work is an ‘optical delusion’ if you will- three doors, in the primary colors from which all other colors are comprised, without doorknobs. Sometimes it’s not so easy to alter pre-defined concepts of reality by just grabbing and turning a handle. Sometimes you have to figure out another way altogether.

Thus ends my tree-hugging “whoa man” mind-expansion post. Happy Friday, everyone!

*P.S. I know you haven’t seen any portraits, figurative work, still life pieces or a few other styles from me in this project yet, but don’t worry! It’s all on the horizon. I may be two months in, but I’ve got 10 left to go. There’s plenty of time.

Day 51

At first I couldn’t paint today because I kept thinking about how somewhere out there is a box of Girl Scout Cookies with my name on them. And I don’t think I’ve even had one for two years. One would think that a powerful brain-altering recipe like that would be examined closely. I think, however, that the people responsible for chemically testing Girl Scout Cookies also love Girl Scout Cookies as much as I do and have no desire to ruin them with some pesky science, so the world will never know.

Sometimes one painting I’ve done beckons to its’ soulmate floating as potential inspiration in the ether, and sends it through my paintbrush on to a suitable surface so they can be together again.  Or I’m just kind of OCD and feel like they all need to come in pairs. Either way.

So today I made a match for the red/orange/gold one from the other day with a complimentary color scheme (cool tones and silver sides) and “poem”. Enjoy!

Day 49

It’s a good thing Rob turned down the neighbor kid selling Girl Scout cookies after this painting was done, or it would have probably been a darker piece. I don’t know what it is about those things, but they’re buy-a-box-and-hide-in-a-parking-lot-devouring-them good. Sigh. I did work out again today, which would only have accounted for, say, ONE Samoa, and I would have wanted to eat four, so I suppose it’s for the best. Sadness.

So here’s where the inspiration came from for today’s piece: I was watching a documentary about the history of Apple today, and one guy being interviewed in some café made some extremely accurate -and hilarious-  observations about engineers & social graces, and I noticed in the background there was this painting that was half figurative, half color-field.

I used to love drawing figures in school (probably because I was good at it), but it’s not easy to do without a nude model and good lighting. Hence, I couldn’t really bust out a figurative piece.

Then I considered writing a poem, but that’s one thing I really can’t force. The good poems seem to come to me of their own volition, and rarely.

So instead, I filled this field with colored squares in warm tones and a makeshift “poem”- bits from the Capote scrap pile- finished it off with a smear of gold and painted the sides the same brilliant color. I rarely use gold, but it felt right today. Et voila!

I’m off to attend an art lecture (I know, I am willingly going to a lecture. I must really be an adult now) at the Verge Gallery with my buddy Reina (and I talked someone into going with me! I must really be a con artist too). Here’s hoping it provides some divine inspiration for work to come!