Friday, September 2, 2016

What Fuels our Creativity?

By Judy Feldman | www.wildemeyer.com

I just finished reading an amusing book called “Steal Like an Artist,” by Austin Kleon. On one of the first pages, he says “What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”

Treats
36" x 48" oil on canvas
Judy Feldman
Afternoon at the Cote d'Azur
40" x 30"  oil on canvas
Judy Feldman
Almost all artists have their muses, and I think it’s so interesting to see how artists can take inspiration from work they admire, and then incorporate certain elements into their own uniq...ue style. I also believe that inspiration comes from the subconscious, from experiences we’ve had and places we’ve been during our lives.

For me, it’s always been the post-Impressionists – especially Matisse! I admire his amazing use of color, his disregard for the rules of perspective, and his emphasis on his reactions to what he saw, and how he transmitted those feelings in his paintings. Can you see his influence in my painting called “Treats?” Other painters, such as Bonnard and Gabrielle Munter also have inspired me. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in France, and I think that this, too, shows up in my paintings, such as “Afternoon at the Cote d’Azur.”


Following this theme of influences, I phoned a few Wilde Meyer artists to see who their muses were. Here are their responses:

Ryan Hale said his biggest influence is the work of the abstract expressionist Mark Rothko. “I particularly like his color field paintings, he explained. “I agree with his theory that color can expressfeeling, and admire his technique of painting thin, then building up layers to create soft, as well as defined areas.” You can see Rothko’s influence in Ryan’s painting entitled “Earthbound.”

Earthbound
60" x 48" acrylic on canvas
Ryan Hale
Ryan is very interested in aerial imagery, and he refers to maps to provoke ideas about “where civilization ends and nature takes over.” He likes to play with the contrast of organic, unorganized shapes, contrasted with the geometric restraints of the city grids. He explained, “I’m trying to organize chaos.” I think that “The Elements of Nature” expresses this effort.

Elements of Nature
48" x 48" acrylic on canvas
Ryan Hale

Barnett Newman is another muse to Ryan. He, too, is known for his color field paintings. According to Wikipedia, “His paintings are existential in tone and content, explicitly composed with the intention of communicating a sense of locality, presence and contingency.” Newman’s influence appears to me in Ryan’s painting entitled “The City Sunset.

The City Sunset
60" x 72" acrylic on canvas
Ryan Hale

Sushe Felix lives in Colorado. Her southwest landscapes have a distinctive style, which she claims is derived from her interest in American abstract painters from the 1930’s and 40s, as well as the modernist and cubist movements. “In particular, I’ve been influenced by Raymond Jonson, who led the Transcendental Painting Group in Santa Fe,” Sushe explained.

Summer Afternoon 
 20.5 " x 20.5" acrylic on panel
Sushe Felix 
I looked up the group on Google, and discovered that the aim of the Transcendental Painting Group was "to defend, validate and promote abstract art. They sought to carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world, through new expressions of space, color, light and design."

Sunlit Canyon 
29.5" x 35.5" acrylic on panel
Sushe Felix



Thomas Hart Benton, who was at the forefront of the Regionalist movement, also influenced Sushe, as did the southwest regionalist painters, who took the local landscape and abstracted it. She has her own spin on this inspiration, with a strong focus on forms, shapes and color. You can see her unique style in these paintings, entitled “Summer Afternoon” and “Sunlit Canyon.” Sushe has a favorite color palette, using strong complementary colors to draw attention to areas of interest for her.


Oranges I
30 " x 22" acrylic on paper
Rudie van Brussel
Rudie van Brussel’s artistic inspiration stems from his very interesting background. He grew up in Surinam, originally a Dutch colony in South America. Although he was first educated in a Dutch school, he was greatly affected by the deep colors of the tropics. Imagine Vermeer and Rembrandt in South America! When Surinam became independent, Rudie and his family moved to the United States, and Rudie attended ASU, obtaining a degree in engineering. But, that was not satisfying, and so after traveling the world, he starting painting, recalling the images and memories of his island life.

Fruit Table
 45" x 61" oil on canvas
Rudie van Brussel

“Fruit Table” shows Rudie’s love of color, tempered by a soft layer of shading that reflects the influence of the Dutch masters. In another series, instead of the formal portraits done by the Old Masters, Rudie has chosen to paint animal portraits in a formal, yet whimsical style.  I think Rudie also has been influenced by the magical realism of South America, when I look at his somewhat surreal paintings such as “Feathers” and “Tumbler.” As I said previously, our inspiration often springs from our subconscious – a mix of current and past experiences.


Tumbler
53" x 36" acrylic on canvas
Rudie van Brussel
Feathers
48" x 36" oil on canvas
Rudie van Brussel

I think we all have muses in our lives – people we admire and who inspire us in our pursuits, artistic or otherwise. And, someday, we may be an inspiration to someone else!

You can see more work by Rudie van Brussel, Sushe Felix, Ryan Hale, and Judy Feldman at Wilde Meyer Gallery.