Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Notions...both physical and mental

Okay, okay, I have to admit something here. I love whimsy. Absolutely love it. I love it when you take something mundane and ordinary, and make it totally kooky and fun. I love cartoons. I love animation. I love goofy cartoon dragons. I love furniture that leans in odd ways (on purpose, of course). The comics is the first section of the Sunday paper that I read. If I had my way, I'd live here:

I do believe that the Powers That Be at the Uber-Disney-Mega-Corporate-Conglomeration would probably frown upon having a non-Toon resident in Toon Town. Seeing that I can't live there, I'd like to live in this house, or at least have our 1950's tract ranch look something like this:

but I'm sure that if I presented these plans to the zoning board, I'd be stymied by the Local Powers That Be, who have about as much imagination as a soap dish.

Since I can't (currently) reside in the Whimsical Abode of My Dreams, I have to make do with a little whimsical home decorating.

These two adorable dragons reside on top of the entertainment center. You can light an incense cone and place it inside them, so they really do exhale smoke. Well, not the guy on the left, actually...he has his hands (paws? feet? talons? What DO dragons have?) over his nose, so the smoke comes out of his ears. You get the idea.

This trio has a home on top of the piano. They don't necessarily help my piano playing, but they don't criticize either, for which I am thankful.
Didn't I say I have a thing for goofy dragons?

This loony bird keeps watch over the kitchen. Why do we have a fake bird in the kitchen, you ask? Why, because we don't want a real one in the kitchen. Or anywhere else. Seriously. There are more than enough critters in this house as it is. 'Nuff said. get the idea from this small sampling of home decor wackiness. So it naturally follows that I like and am inspired by art and artists that are a little, lets say, off the beaten path of photo realism. Not that I am knocking photorealist artists, mind you, so please save the scathing comments and appalled emails. I admire the work of many of these artists, probably moreso because I know I don't have the eye or the patience to do anything like that. I tried, and drove myself crazy when the result didn't exactly match the subject. It gave me headaches. It made my eye twitch. I think I almost gave myself a cerebral hemorrage once. It wasn't me. So a style based more on folly and lightheartedness started looking better and better, and probably wouldn't require prescription medication to get through painting a piece.

One of my absolute favorite artists is Don Tiller. He is a Washington artist who does fabulous, fun, colorful landscapes of rural and urban scenes. Look at the blue trees, and the orange fields, and the funky absolute feast for my eyes! I saw his work for the first time in The Artist's Magazine. It was one of those instances where your eyes casually move over something, then your brain suddenly sits up and takes notice, and immediately informs your eyes to go back to take a closer look. I did. I was hooked. I would love to have one of his landscapes gracing a piece of wall in my home. This is one of his works titled "Mid-season"

Another favorite artist is Daniel Ng. I first saw his work at the Old Town Art Fair in Chicago. I was drawn to his work for the same reasons I was drawn to Tiller's: the primary colors, the funk, the fun. Another element that catches my eye is the thin black lines that outline the forms giving the paintings a nice graphic quality. Another interesting feature of Ng's work, which is more apparent in his paintings of interiors, is the distorted perspective that makes it appear like you're looking at the scene through a fish eye lens. Yet another layer of whimsy! Love it! This is one of Ng's works titled "Mt. Tam"

There are many other incredible artists whose work I love and that inspire elements that I am trying to incorporate into my work. I want my art to be more colorful, more graphic, more, dare I say it again...whimsical. I'm not shooting for Over the Top Whimsy With a Capital W, but I would like to inject a little Small W whimsy. I don't think it's humanly or artistically possible to go right from doing Rigid Realism to Wild Whimsy. There has to be a 12-step program involved in there somewhere.

So...Step 1: go for a more graphic look, and boost the color a bit.

Result: a painting of my Australian Shepherd, Cheyenne, titled "Bossy Aussie" (which, if you know Aussies, you know that this is an apt description for the breed in general). It's 11 X 14, acrylic on black gessoed Ampersand Hardbord. Overall, I was pretty happy with this piece; the crop was nice and close, the colors were intensified, and it looks like her (well...mostly...if she fell into a vat of melted crayons).

I like this direction. I think I'll continue down this road.

My Muse has the GPS device out and is charting a course. To frivolity, and beyond.

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