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She Don’t Look Like No Jazz Player! May 25, 2014

Posted by Bev Bunker in Uncategorized.
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That got your attention, didn’t it? It was in reference to a conversation I had the other day with another artist and the topic was music. I play the flute, spent three years working on jazz pieces, and had the idea that I might play casually with some other folks. I’ve played the flute for many, many years and somewhere along the way we decide what we are going to specialize in.

For me there was no question; it was going to be JAZZ! I love jazz music, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Django Reinhardt, Claude Bolling…..many others. They are my inspirations and as much as I haven’t played a lot of jazz, I always enjoy listening to it, no matter who is playing.

So in art as in music I look to many other wonderfully talented people for ways to improve whatever I am doing. In art if one continues that journey, people go through continuous cycles of growth and change. Just when you feel like you’ve got a handle on your technique, something in what you are painting ‘asks’ you, no, TELLS you that you have to go another direction. This urge pushes you along, sometimes joyfully and other times reluctantly dragging you into fits of frustration and digging your heels in. This is when we often feel like we don’t know anything. But it is simply a phase of growth and refinement that continually polishes our skills, albeit with some nudging.

In my artistic journey currently I am exploring painting florals, something I have wanted to do since I was a child artist. I just couldn’t enter that field however, because I did not believe I could ever capture the delicacy of a flower. As in music, I dragged my feet for years until now. I decided that I had come a long way and I had become very accomplished with other things I had once felt I would not be able to do, and it was at least worth the try.

I went shopping and came home with pots of pansies, bundles of tulips, and more pots of other Spring flowers. So began the many weeks of failures and even more failures. The paintings were just not coming out the way I had imagined I wanted to paint them. Now lets be clear in saying that I am still not proficient in this, however I stuck it out over the past several months (which is why I have not done any posts since December) and I think I am finally getting there. So I offer this image as a result of my hard work. Oh, and by the way, the music? Well, I didn’t get anywhere with Jazz….I am specializing in Baroque Period Music, and I am a natural at it!

Pansies In the Garden

Pansies In the Garden

Positive Reinforcement December 3, 2013

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Overlook Point, 12in x 16 in, oil on canvas  I have just finished teaching classes for this season, finished a large painting for a new gallery, and now I’m getting smaller projects finished that have required my attention these last few months.

This is a busy season! Christmas music is on the radio again and I am wondering, where did the time go since last year? It doesn’t seem like I got a lot of painting done in this year, but my work has become more complex. It has required that I slow down and pay more attention to what I’m trying to accomplish with each image. Part of that is clarity of values, something which I tell my students is more important than color.

Values are the ‘make it or break it’ factor in representational painting. If your values are off, the image doesn’t read correctly. Each color in your palette responds to a different value on a black/white value key, and it is very important to understand this and to put it into practice. I spend some time almost every class I teach reviewing this principle and applying it to the color charts the students use. Just placing the colors on the canvas is not enough; it is necessary to understand their strength and weaknesses through visual means. I suggest to my students that they take a black/white photo to have alongside their painting image so that they can relate the color to the b/w key. This helps immensely when needing to adjust contrasts with the color.

So, keep this idea in mind if you are having trouble with getting your color selection to read correctly in your painting. Take a photo in b/w and check if the key of the color is properly relating to the actual color. It will show up in b/w. This is the ‘secret’ to a good painting….positive reinforcement using negative color.
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