'Treats' Acrylic on wood assemblage ©robinrkent

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Folk Art Diary: A Focus

When viewing my own or any painting, my first response is always 'Where do I focus?' How is the composition organized? Did the artist's paint brush play traffic cop?
Not that all paintings have to have a focus. One thing I love about 'art' is it should be malleable enough to break all assumptions. Keeping it from being a science.
'Summer Shower' acrylic on barn boards ©robinrkent
Sometimes a painting's focus can be an only child: simple, quiet, and clean; or surrounded by a tribe of secondary and tertiary siblings: clamoring but supportive.
Most times I don't want to be confused on where to start. Searching where the strength lies. Where the initial wow factor emanates. Just show me. Life is tough enough.
Other times I need the search. Like a mystery novel, unwinding clues, finding the main thread, sitting back and seeing how it came together. The aha factor. I appreciate getting there.
The focus of this painting is obvious. It's simplistic and busy with lots of elements to look at. This is as detailed as I ever get. Maybe a little much, but some gardeners would approve: more is never enough.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Folk Art Diary: Reading My Art Through A Squinty Eye

There are a few points I try to accomplish when working on a painting or assemblage. When I've nailed them (figuratively speaking), I'm done. Here's the first in yet another series of how to read my art:
'Sainted Mother' assemblage w/shadowbox ©robinrkent
After I get a rough drawing in place, I analyze my light to dark palette. Not only for color, but for tones and shades as well. This is done using squinty eyes. There is something to be said for bad glasses (or eyesight). It takes out all the details (good riddance in my opinion) and leaves the foundation exposed.
Everyone should buy a pair of glasses with the wrong prescription if you're not lucky enough to have bad eyes of your own.
As much as I like bright colors, toned down versions are the best. I don't use a true 'red' in my palette. I like a rust-red better.  This might be due to my nod to folk art.
I try to keep my colors well rounded to include a balance so the image doesn't read all warm, or cool, or dark or light...
Stay tuned for part 2 next week. I'm on a 'Robin's Elements of (Art) Style' roll now, or to paraphrase a favorite musician, Leo Kottke, I'm going to take a lovely simple (painting technique) and drive it into the ground...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My House as Muse

I finished my acrylic fish painting to go with the two fish assemblages for my downstairs bath (May 5th post). But I'm not sure it works in this space. It might belong in a gallery, even though it is what I had envisioned. The room is just too small: 6 x 8' for such a relatively big painting: 22.5 x 26.5".
'Catching Fish'  Acrylic on Canvas   ©robinrkent

Here it is on the bathroom wall.

Maybe primping in a mirror a la Picasso's 'Girl Before A Mirror' might be a better subject...will give that a try.
I didn't know I'd come up with so many painting options for a bathroom wall.

I just moved my treadmill to a closet-sized nook: Marathon runners for that area might be good.

My next body of work could turn into: 'From Bath to Basement: Painting Inspirations From The Rooms of My House.'  We'll see.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Graphic Designer As Painter

As a young child I was mesmerized by my Mother's Stangl pottery. The living room's Caucasian rug would entertain me for hours. My eyes would follow the lines and angles under pared down compositions typical in folk art designs. I was a fan. I didn't know it would be a life calling.
Early design inspirations: Stangl & 40's textiles      ©robinrkent
In a former life, I was a graphic designer. That term covers much: Art Director for a lifestyle magazine, Paste-up Artist (rubber cement, anyone?), A Stripper in prepress, Advertising Layout Artist. The thread was the graphic part of graphic design.
It continues to influence me.  It was such an early hands on education. I hope my artwork reflects that charisma today.