Thursday, December 27, 2012

Big and Small

Can you think big and still paint small?

It’s time again for Wilde Meyer’s annual Gem Show, the show of smaller paintings by many of the gallery’s artists. For most of us, this is a change from our regular formats, and small paintings present their own challenges.

When I started thinking about my own paintings, large and small, and looking at some of the other participating artists, I began to consider that we tend to keep our same style and subject matter, but we have to make some changes to succeed in this smaller context. 

Time for a Walk, 11.5"x14.5" by Judy Feldman
Time for a Walk 11.5"x14.5" oil on canvas
by Judy Feldman


I love to paint interiors. I just finished one called “Interior with Red Chair.” But I couldn’t just shrink it! In my Gem Show painting, entitled “Time for a Walk.” I think I conveyed feeling of an inviting place, but with fewer elements. And, of course, the dog got smaller (by walking off the canvas!) With “A Christmas Surprise,” I purposely created a small image, focusing mainly on the new puppy in the box.

Bandit 4"x4" acrylic on canvas
by Ryan Hale
Ryan Hale finds small paintings challenging in a different way. Since he is an abstract artist, he likes to work freely and intuitively.

Ryan likes to interpret patterns of aerial views of landscapes. He’s fascinated by how land is divided, especially when seen from above, where civilization and nature both co-exist and collide. You can appreciate his intentions in these larger paintings entitled “Daily Intervals,” which measures 60”X72”, and “The Forming Earth,” which is 36”X36.”

So, when it came time to do some 12”X12” paintings, Ryan decided to work on several at once, so they would be related and could be hung together in different orientations. While he was painting them, he would move them around. “It’s a challenge, like creating a puzzle,” he said. “I takes a lot of thought to get a strong enough image on a small canvas.”

Structure IV 12"x12" acrylic on canvas
by Ryan Hale
I think these two small paintings, entitled “Structure III" and "Structure IV" are very successful. They reflect Ryan’s considered style and thoughtful color selections, and work well as a single unit or together. He also included a figurative painting, “Bandit,” which probably comes from another part of his creative brain!
Structure III 12"x12" acrylic on canvas
by Ryan Hale

Along the High Road oil on canvas 26"x41.75"
by Leigh Gusterson
Leigh Gusterson does beautiful expressionist paintings of the landscape around her Taos, New Mexico home. Often, a blue truck is driving through the vibrant scene, with a dog hanging out the back, such as “Along the High Road” (26”X41.75”) and “Fall Showers” (27”X27”). Her colors are delicious!
 
Taos Mountain Sunset  6.25"x9.25"
by Leigh Gusterson
Glorious Tree in Pilar 5.25"x9.25"
by Leigh Gusterson
Leigh also shares her love of the New Mexico landscape in her small paintings, but on a more intimate scale. In “Glorious Tree in Pilar,” we see Leigh’s truck journeying through the road, but we’re closer, and the flame red tree just pulls us into the 4”X 8” painting. I’m really impressed with “Rancho Sheep.” Leigh gets so much information in a tiny 4”X6” format, all in perfect proportion. “Taos Mountain Sunset”, a 5”X 8” painting, gives us the full beauty of the scene, yet we do feel closer to it than when we view her larger work.


Gem Show 2012
Gem Show 2012

You might be a bit overwhelmed when you see the wall of small paintings at the Gem Show. But it’s worth taking the time to look carefully, and ask Laura, Ryan or Jonathan to show the ones you like by themselves. It’s challenging to paint small, but the result is really a “gem!”

Gem Show 2012, miniature paintings
Gem Show 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

All In the Family


Desert Companions 10"x12"
by Roger Alderman
I’m still thinking about the possibility of an “art gene,” since I discovered that there are two sets of siblings who exhibit their work at Wilde Meyer.

Although their parents were not fine artists, Roger Alderman and Acacia Alder probably do have the art gene. According to Acacia, her family loved “making things” for their 100-year-old home, such as furniture and crafts, and they appreciated beautiful surroundings.

“Our house was always buzzing with a project,” she said. “Our parents felt that you should have a personal relationship with your environment, and a belief in yourself that you could make things. They felt that if you could put trust in your hand and your brain, and if your heart was in it, you could succeed at making something.”

Seen Its Better Day  9" x 12"
by Roger Alderman
Roger remembers visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art as a child, and being “knocked out” by what he saw. He later studied Industrial Design and Fine Art at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. He’s also studied studio art at the Pima Community College, the Tucson Museum of Art School, and The Drawing Studio, in Tucson, Arizona. Roger has developed his own unique painting style through years of painting and drawing, using bold colors and expressive palette knife work. He often paints outdoors, in the areas around his Tucson home.

“’Cloud Burst’ depicts the summer build up of clouds we get in the Tucson area during the monsoon season,” he says.
Cloud Burst 30"x40" oil on canvas
by Roger Alderman

“Desert Charmer” was inspired by a visit to the Saguaro National Monument during the spring, when the hillsides are carpeted with yellow flowered Brittlebush. 
Desert Charmer 31.75"x 37.5" oil on canvas
by Roger Alderman

Sundown by Roger Alderman
Acacia Alder also has a contemporary view of the landscape, but she prefers to paint in her studio. Although you can appreciate her love of the outdoors, her paintings are quite stylized.

Golden Light by Roger Alderman
For example, “Sundown” and “Golden Light” both depict the Aspen trees, yet Acacia paints their trunks, rather than the leafy tops, focusing on the unique bark of these trees. They’re outlined in red and black, which makes the trees “pop” against their background. In “Sanctuary at Purgatory Chasm,” the trees, rocks and mountains again have that outlined style, which gives the painting a modern, interesting look – and a little like stained glass. Acacia says she has been influenced by Van Gogh and Cezanne. I think you can see that in her work!
Sanctuary at Purgatory Canyon 60" x 40" acrylic on canvas
by Acacia Alder
The Pendleton sisters have a wonderful collaboration going that produces mixed media pieces in paint and glass. Sandy Pendleton says that her father was a carpenter and made a living with his craft. But it was her grandmother who loved art.
Amber Sunset 12" x 36" triptych
by Sandy Pendleton
glass panels

“She did china painting, greenware ceramics, quilting and made dolls,” Sandy said. “Whenever we’d visit her, she’d always have an art project for us to do.”

Celestial Geode 12" x 15" x 2" plus base
by Sandy Pendleton
Sandy liked to make things, but she followed her interest in math and science to have a career as a programmer and project manager with IBM. When she retired, she started working with glass. “I think I like this medium because it requires some technical knowledge, in terms of chemistry and temperature control. And, it’s so much fun to experiment!” “Celestial Geode” looks like it took quite a bit of experimenting to achieve this interesting piece. “Amber Sunset Bowl” almost looks like ceramics, but it has the beautiful iridescence of glass


Nancy Pendleton, Sandy’s sister, has always loved art, drawing as a child, and, later on, obtained a BFA in graphic design. While she was working as an illustrator, she also pursued her interest in fine art, first in figurative images, and now in an abstract style. She loves mixed media, and started using handmade paper, with acrylics and natural objects. Her painting entitled “Studio Recycles Red” is a good example of her skill with different materials.
Sweet Spot 15"x10"
by Nancy Pendleton and Sandy Pendleton


Studio Recycles Red 14" x 18"
by Nancy Pendleton
When her sister became proficient in making art glass, the two decided to work together.

“We’ve worked out a technique,” said Nancy. “I often use a centerpiece in my art, and Sandy came up with glass pieces that work well in my paintings.” You can see examples of this sibling collaboration in “Bursting” and “What You See Is What It Is,” as well as some charming dog paintings such as “Sweet Spot” and “Flirting with Fido.”
 
Bursting 60"x48"
by Nancy Pendleton and Sandy Pendelton


What You See Is What It Is 24"x24"
by Nancy Pendleton and Sandy Pendleton

So, maybe there is an art gene! And, as Acacia said, it can just be that love of making things that’s passed on from one generation to another. What a gift!

Play with Me  15"x10"
by Nancy Pendleton