The Marblehead Festival of the Arts is celebrated every Fourth of July weekend with exhibits and activities throughout the town. I have submitted paintings to the Painting Exhibit and Senior Art for as long as I have been eligible but have never won an award. Imagine my surprise when I got a phone call yesterday morning to tell me that my painting, Rising, in the Senior Art exhibit of the Festival, won the People’s Choice Award this year! People attending the exhibits have an opportunity to vote for their favorite work, and Rising got the most votes in Senior Art! I am beyond thrilled and happy to have this encouragement from the people who attended the festival in the last five days and saw fit to choose my painting. I am very honored, and I can’t seem to stop smiling!
The grisaille project that I started earlier this year continues with Rising Again, the painting of Whitney Browne’s breathtaking dancer in her collection of Dance for the Photographic Eye. While I usually paint my grisailles in tones that are akin to the colors I envision for my finished painting, as in Looking for Love, this time I saw this magnificent black woman coming to life in black and white. Because I am not a robot (#captcha), the grisaille and the painting are not identical, but rather two exceedingly similar views of the same subject, much like a photographer might find just one or two shots out of dozens snapped in a portrait shoot that are worthy of publication.
Looking for Love
I continue to enter juried art exhibitions, whenever I think my paintings are a good fit for a particular competition, since there’s no better way to be taken seriously as an artist than by getting a third party endorsement of your work. Family and friends may offer praise out of love, but the judgment of someone who doesn’t know you and does know art carries a lot more weight.
Since figurative is where I live, this one was a no brainer. I entered five paintings in the Figurative 2018 Art Exhibition, and, of those, Looking for Love was awarded Special Merit and Rising received Special Recognition and can be viewed on the Light Space & Time Gallery website. If you have the interest and/or patience to view the YouTube video of the Special Merit winners, you can see what good company I’m in.
When I see a photograph I want to paint, there are many decisions to be made before my brush ever touches the canvas. Just as a plein air painter might use a view finder to frame the scene he chooses to paint, I need to decide where my edges will go…how much do I crop and where…will the image fill the frame or have background…and, in the case of Rising, is it a figure or a portrait? When I first saw the photo of this powerful dancer in Whitney Browne’s collection of Dance for the Photographic Eye, I knew I wanted to paint her as a portrait. I moved her to the left, cropped off all but the upper portion of her body and counted on the negative space on the canvas to provide the feeling that she is a woman about to take flight. This version of Rising is the grisaille; the full painting is yet to come…