In conjunction with the ongoing More Than Your Selfie exhibit, Linda Christensen gave a great talk at NUMU last night in which she talked about her painting philosophy, process and studio tips!
In Self, Linda Christensen’s oil painting in the More that your Selfie exhibit at NUMU, as in most of her work, the artist is interested in the “honest body language of the unobserved figure”. Her paintings are not about capturing a likeness but rather a gesture, a pose and in inner life. Her paintings are large and loose and bold and laced the line and pattern.
The paintings go through radical transformations as she works, which she demonstrated to us in a series of photographs. She may lay in the loose outline of a figure in a scene then go back into it with stencils and palette knives and brushes, breaking up the figure and space in surprising ways which direct the painting until there is an emotional resonance that starts to happen.
I loved how she spoke about her studio experience, how every aspect of it should be conducive to her process, right down to the sensory experience of tracing paper. She likes an abundance of canvases, stacked up, lots of paint perpetually open, brushes hanging out in the turps, a six foot long glass palette and lots of room to move in. Her process is to paint, turn and cleanse her “visual palette” with a classic black and white movie that she has running, look out the window to stretch her eyes than walk right back to the canvas with fresh eyes, knowing what she needs to do next. She’s set herself up for success, limiting the reasons to leave the studio, to break her focus. She said something that was very interesting, “If it’s hard, I’m not going to do it”. So know and honor your process, make it as enjoyable as you can.
She spoke of how painting is so highly personal and that your Point of View is really something to be cherished. It’s important to hone in on what really interests you and to realize that what you’re drawn to and how you work is part of that Point of VIew.
Linda Christensen shared with us a thumbnail timeline she had prepared for a college talk in which she had laid out her work and influences over the years chronologically and recommend it as a great way to glean insights and perspective into the arc of one’s work.
Another tip she had was trying Color-aid cards, complete with mixing instructions on the back. She said it was sometimes fun to pull out a new palette to work with.
The audience was largely comprised of artists and we couldn’t get enough!
A real El Niño style rain today – great for hanging out in my studio but not so good for photography – the color is definitely off in these pictures. I’m excited about how the painting is coming along though and I may have even come up with a title – I’m thinking Menagerie sounds right.
Fresh on my easel and soon to join my People In My Neighborhood series…
…and yes I see that I need to make the arms more proportionate, I’m just glad that there is room on the canvas for the change!
Dahlia Days may be half a year away but today I was able apply the finishing touches to a portrait whose lovely expression remained elusive for so long!
Started work on my 1930′s folding chair today!
I’m painting this chair as part of a joint fundraiser for the Pacific Art League and the Woman’s Club of Palo Alto. There will be a gala fundraiser in March where some 100 chairs all painted by different artists will be auctioned off.
So far my favorite part was adding real rose branches to the legs and stretchers of the chair. I love how it looks like they’re growing out of the wood, and even with the thorns they seem to soften the geometric look of the chair.
A chair is a great vehicle for the human form as it’s an easily anthropomorphized object. I decided to do a vanitas – you know, life and death, two sides of the same coin.
The front side will be about life in full bloom the reverse will depict the passing of that life. Still loads to do but I think I’m off to a good start. Stay tuned for the back- expect something dark!
The skeleton on the back corresponds with the torso on the front. I’m adding moths, with low light photography they look like vertebrae to me. They are thought to symbolize death. I’ve painted in a few thorny branches on the edges and will work some into the central panel. I’m trying out a metal rose on one of the holes from a brace I removed.
With assemblage you can try out different options before you commit to any one thing. The problem is I kinda like them all, including the restraint of paring things back a bit. The chair already has a lot going on and I don’t want my added elements to compete too much with those lovely thorns. The great thing is that I will file away the ideas I don’t use for a another time where they may just perfect.
The little butterfly I’ve added to the front symbolizes the soul and to have one land on you is considered to be good luck.
As you can see the chair is pretty dry, all but the rose hips on the side. I can now go ahead and drill into the sacrum for the final placement of my metal rose and leaves.
This was such a fun project, one that clearly relates to my work but is also a playful step into something new! Can’t wait to see all the chairs at the preview, Friday March 28 at the Woman’s Club. It’s a free public event with all the artists in attendance. The Silent Auction will follow on Saturday March 29 at the gala fundraiser which is $35 a ticket and can be ordered though this link: http://womansclubofpaloalto.org/painted/ where you can take a sneak peek at what the other artists have been up to.
I just got notification that Feathers was juried into the Triton Museum of Art’s 2013 Statewide Painting Competition & Exhibition! There were over a thousand entries and I’m thrilled to be included!
There will be a reception Friday, December 13 from 6-8 pm.
My heart is still fluttering!
I love starting the week with a new painting and I’ve been eager to work on this one ever since I did that photo shoot at Bunches last summer! It’s part of my Los Gatos Shop Girl Series – (or least that’s what I’m calling it for now, there are only two so far). There are a lot of good things going for this image to begin with. My subject, for instance, is as beautiful as the dahlias are – her lips are even the same color and shape as the petals! I love the texture, color and pattern that give this piece so much exuberance but which is tempered and grounded by the broad swathes of black and taupe. I’ve laid down all my paint thick and loose and I feel like a sculptor as I try to paint the light and shadow that play throughout the scene. Can’t wait for tomorrow!
So I found I was only spinning my wheels, painting her face over and over, ironically laboring over the freshness in her expression. I hid her away over the holidays and was able to come back to her this week. While she may have lost some of the freshness of the first approach, she has gained a poignancy to her expression and a radiance I’m thrilled with.