Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jackson Pollock...Pour it out!

Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956)
An American Abstract Expressionist painter that still captivates me with his techniques of painting, from his (People/figures) imagery purposely in-lined within his abstract action paintings to the free flow of paint from a stick with one single hand motion and  the pouring of paint straight from a paint can. His paintings show so much movement, balance, value, texture, color, etc. that it’s amazing to me!  Not only his technique captivates me, but the scale of his paintings is astounding!!  I was lucky enough to see one of his paintings in Dallas (DMA) “A Dream and Portrait” 1953. The painting was huge!! Took up the whole wall!! Like most of his paintings that are in the size of 8 feet or larger, it takes your breath away.
Just recently, I watched the movie, “Pollock” (2000) played by Ed Harris for the hundredth time. His influence inspires me in creating my own abstract paintings. During my studies on Pollock in college and beyond, he was the first painter that took non-traditional way of painting to a new level. He removed the duck/cotton canvas from a frame and placed on the floor of his studio/barn. Pollock felt more at ease and being part of the painting when it was on the floor in such a large scale. He also didn’t like using the familiar square size of a painting, so he would lay out this large stretch of canvas that extended beyond 4 feet. Pollock used industrial paint, alkyd enamels, or house paints because of the flow of the paint was easier to manage. He also did not use paint brushes during this technique called “Dripping or action painting” instead he would use a painter‘s stick or pour the paint straight from the paint can and even using basting syringes. Pollock would not come in contact with his paintings with a brush, he would sometimes step onto the painting or when he signed them with his hand prints. I also heard that if you look very closely in his paintings, you could find cigarette butts, ashes from the his cigarettes, and even his foot prints in his paintings.
When Pollock was asked about if his paint was controlled or about mistakes made while he was creating this painting technique, in Life Magazine article, he stated that the paint was controlled in some state. For Pollock would dance, walk onto the canvas, view the paintings from all sides and apply the paint where ever the painting wanted him to. The painting itself would speak to him and it would come to life!  My favorite answer to his question about, “What happens if you make a mistake”? Pollock answered, “I don’t recognize the mistake, I accept it”. Wonderful! For it was a mistake that he discovered his technique in dripping in his studio by spilling paint on the floor of his studio and went from there. A beautiful mistake! 
 My personal input on Pollock…he was an artist that was breaking new ways in the modern art world and trying new techniques that each artist strives for to make it in this world. To be unique, yet stay traditional. I don’t like to abandon my old traditional ways of painting, but finding new ways of using paint and imagery is important to change with the times. For art speaks of our lives, our time in this century for people to see in the future what it was like during this brief stay in this world.   

A Dream and Portrait 1953

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh! That James!! A Smart-ass Artist!! Love it!!

James Ensor
Skeletons Warming Themselves” (1889) Oil on canvas, 29-1/2 x 23-5/8 in. (74.8 x 60.0 cm)
James Ensor (13 April 1860 – 19 November 1949) Painter and Printmaker, who was known to be an expressionist and surrealist painter who caused a lot of uneasiness in his paintings. His paintings were sarcastic in terms of inhumanity in this world and religion.  Most of his paintings were themed with masks or carnival appearances that were grotesque.  I liked that he used fake Skeletons in his studio and would dress them up for his still-life paintings.  I also liked that he would use bright colors to receive psychological impact from his viewers while keeping his paintings skills with complete freedom.
The reason I mention him is that I was impressed in seeing his painting in Dallas, Texas at the Kimbell Art Museum in 2011 named, “Skeletons Warming Themselves” (1889) Oil on canvas, 29-1/2 x 23-5/8 in. (74.8 x 60.0 cm). It was a small painting but, the impact/impression was very powerful in both, sarcastic and in the wonderful painting skills he has with color. I personally did an artist copy of this painting. My painting is very colorful against his, but I am sure it was colorful at one point but, because of the passing of time, the original painting faded in color.  I was also interested in his themes of masks, color, and theatrical themes for it was exactly what I was thinking about my senior show in 2011, with the use of masks that was associated with my fear of clowns, while using theatre themes.  I was blown away when I saw this painting and found some association with it. I have attached my artist copy and his original painting. Enjoy!

Artist Copy done by Lucy Inserra in 2011

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Painter’s block… Losing my mojo.

All artists go through it, a time where everything is inspirational and nothing is coming out.  When I graduated from college in May 2011, my mojo was at the highest and it lasted for almost a year.  I automatically started on a new series of paintings, 10 paintings total. The moment I stopped and started on other projects to get ideas, looking at photographs, and doing some sketches, I have all the ideas together but, nothing is coming out. Even though, my second part-time job is a painting teacher, I am still painting. My next step, is to work on something out of the norm for me, abstract paintings. But, I find that hard to do for abstract is just using the elements of art and trying to express something through paint and brushstrokes.  I still continue to do paintings from my senior show-masks, still-lifes, and music series and also the series I just finished with the abandoned houses…I still continue developing the vision I see in those series. Now, I am just stuck…gathering information and no mojo to do it or afraid to start something and won’t  like it. A painters block..it sucks! When real life gets involved, where I am paying bills, cleaning house, and dealing with minor details in life in general, that artistic mind gets lost and forgotten after a time. For me, it’s my sanity and brings me peace when I am painting or creating, it makes life more exciting for me.  As a painter, this is my survival food and keeps me alive, without it I would vanish into the world of chaos, no meaning. I realize that every artist goes through this and it’s just another stage of developing the next art piece.  So, I have given myself permission to use this time collecting ideas, sketching and photographing images that speak to me.  Painting is my passion, it’s my mojo!  
I made a list of encouragements for painter’s block or an artist’s block and I hope it encourages you too if you are having artist’s block. (Block is usually associated with writers and mojo is associated with sexual appeal; self-esteem or self-confidence). 
·         Read articles, watch movies or you tube movies  on your favorite artists.
·         Have conversations with friends that are artists on what projects they are working on or discussing ideas with them.
·         Keep sketching your ideas or images that interest you.
·         Collect photographs, magazines clippings, go back to old sketches or ideas that you have made.
·         Find an environment to inspire you: a park, a walk, listening to music or going to the theatre, visiting a museum etc.
·         Don’t feel guilty in this time away from your creativity; use this time to collect your ideas or information.
·         As a painting teacher, encourage someone else to become creative-it inspires you to do the same.
·         Don’t be afraid to try something new and out of the norm, this could be your calling or you can learn from the mistakes made or it encourages you to try other mediums.
·         Don’t ever give up!!! The most important thing to remember.  Don’t ever stop creating your vision or idea to come to life because someday it will happen and all the elements will come together in you and in your art work. 
·         Keep telling yourself that you are an artist, and no one can take that away from you. Just keep going on and grow as an artist.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Painting and Music..together.

Debra Hurd-Artist

I am a big fan of music, all kinds of music except country music.  While I am painting, music plays a big part of my process for I cannot paint without music in my ears. Music does influence the painter believe it or not. I came to this conclusion when I took a class at my local art center where music and paint was taught together and how it would change the painting technique on the canvas. The class listened to classical music, and we noticed that our painting gestures were slower and more controlled, whereas when the music changed to more heavy metal, or pop music our painting gestures were faster and more loosely applied to the canvas. Interesting I must say!!
 I noticed in my own painting sessions that the music I am listening to influences my gestures when applying paint to my canvas. So, I listen to specific music in whatever painting I am creating or what I see the vision to be. I also noticed that the music controls my color applications to my painting. For instance, if I was listening to classic rock music like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, or Styx, I notice my colors are blues, greens, and yellows. My gestures are slower and more controlled for I am relaxed and have an easy feeling so, it comes through my paint brush.  If I was listening to more alternative music, or rock music like Nickelback, Seether, or GodSmack, my colors are brighter in color; my reds, blues, yellows , and even greens are NOT diluted (color is vibrant) and my texture is more applied.  I also noticed my hand gestures with my paint brush are more loose and expressive.  I like that!
On my research on music, I found that music and art really work together or are very similar. Look at the 7 elements of music:
Rhythm-idea of time relates to music
Melody-sequence of pitches
Harmony-melody into chords
Dynamics-relative loudness and quietness
Timbre-specific sound from instrument
Texture-musical lines in a song works with each other within the music
Form-all parts put together within the music

Did you notice??? They are very similar to the 7 elements of Art; texture, form, space, shape, color, value, and line.  Music has a way expressing someone’s emotion, anger, sadness, excitement, etc…so does painting! But, we do it silently. Painters express themselves through paint and brush strokes; music influences more of this expression. I know it does for me when painting and listening to music. I cannot do it one without the other. Tell me one of things that influence you while you are creating your art piece?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Materials used while I am painting in oil and acrylic. Very Helpful, Use them!

For Oil
Use only AP (Approved Products) label materials to avoid fires and toxic inhalation.  
·         Natural Turpenoid:  perfect for cleaning paint brushes or to remove paint from canvas.
·         I use safflower oil for solvent: mix with oil paint to thin oil paint; can buy at any grocery store; OR use Linseed oil from any art store.
·         Use Viva paper towels: very soft and gentle on your paint brushes and doesn’t leave those paper partials on your paint brushes.
·         Use Dove soap for hands and to clean paint brushes: I found this soap heaven sent to use for cleaning up.
·         Use Winsor and Newton Oil paints: very good quality oil paints-easy flow and good for mixing.
·         Use Strathmore Paper palette: easy to clean up-just wrap up and throw away and safe.
·         Use Cover-lid palette: easy to keep your oil paints wet for next painting session-make sure you put some solvent (Oil) on oil paints.  Also, use paper palette to line inside your covered palette.
·         I use synthetic paint brushes (hair like brushes): very smooth and easy to clean, great to use for specific brush strokes. There is also bristle brushes-very hard texture brushes if you want more of a paint brush look.
For Acrylic
Use acrylic paints are very safe to use for your health and for environmental reasons.
·         Acrylic paint is water based: never use any solvent just water to thin out paint; never mix oil with water.
·         Use Viva paper towels
·         Use Dove soap
·         Use Strathmore Paper palette
·         I use synthetic paint brushes
I hope that some of these materials are helpful to you.
Linseed oil

Covered Palette

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kirchner..one of my inspirations.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner "Two Women in the Street" 1914

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (6 May 1880 – 15 June 1938) was a German Expressionist painter in the 20th century. He was one of my biggest inspirations during my college years and he is not recognized as much in the art world as he should be.  Kirchner is well known for his paintings of People in the Berlin Streets. His paintings are amazing because of his use of imaginary color and his use of lines. What captivated me the most was perspective of his imagery with his brilliance of color (See attachments). Kirchner’s brushstrokes are loose and carefree while keeping the lines flowing throughout his paintings. Kirchner’s forms of lines are imaginary without losing the total form of the people or buildings. His paintings show expression of feelings and emotions among the Berlin Streets of Germany.  Personally, I continue to study his work by doing artist’s copies and I still really enjoy painting them.
A little history of this painter, Ernst studied art history along with freehand drawing in college, later he co-founded the group of “Die Brücke” (The Bridge) in 1905, and became committed to his art work and trying to develop the technique of expression that bridges between past and the present.  Kirchner’s technique created an art movement of a new style of expressionism in the art world.  In 1914, Kirchner volunteered in World War I and by 1915 had a nervous breakdown that took him years to recover. Kirchner was still developing his painting style and working with print making styles as like monograph and some graphic design works. By 1933, Kirchner was labeled by Hitler as a “Degenerate Artist” by the Nazis regime, where over 600 of his paintings were confiscated from public museums were destroyed or sold. Kirchner was discouraged and went into another depression trauma over these events that destroyed most of his work. Along, with the upcoming of World War II dictated by Hitler that eventually overcame Austria, in which was close to his house. These events led him to his own suicide.
A very sad tale about an artist that was a big influence in the Expressionist art movement.
 Expressionism was born out of Germany and Kirchner was a big part of that art movement with very little recognition of his style.  Most of his paintings are displayed in National Gallery of Art in Washington and Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  Have to mention, his work was personally displayed in the Armory Show in 1913—the Armory Show was one of the biggest, well-known art work displays of modern art in America.  Research all the artists that displayed their work at the Armory Show, it’s amazing!

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner " Nollendorfplatz " 1912

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner "Street-Berlin" 1913

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Expressionist painter, am I ?

"I see you, no.1" Acrylic on canvas, 7"x 9", 2010
Lucy Inserra

I consider myself an expressionist painter because my paintings are an expression of what I feel, see, and imagine. Expressionism is difficult to define because it’s a mixture of so many isms’s for instance, impressionism, abstract expressionism, and even Dadaism. All of these isms’s are an expression that a painter/artist feels or wants the viewer to feel through the use of color and brush strokes. My personal experience in painting and becoming an expressionist painter was in 2010, I wanted to express myself through paint and imagery that would reflect my feelings or give a feeling to someone viewing my paintings. I had to dig into my soul and concentrate on what I wanted to express. Therefore, I wanted to share my experiences of my nightmares that I had for years in the early 2000’s. The nightmares would recur year after year and it caused me to question myself. These nightmares were of my family members and friends turning into these evil clowns. I would end of sleeping with the lights on and terrified of clowns. It wasn’t until in college in the year 2010-2011 that I wanted to paint these images on a canvas to fight my fears. I didn’t want to paint clowns, so I started with photographs of my family members and friends that would dress in boas and masks. The masks were a representation of clowns and also my love of theatre and music. Masks were used in ancient times for ceremonial purposes and used in theatre to represent imagery that would frighten or encourage its viewers. My first painting of my nightmares was “I see you, no. 1” (see attachment) Acrylic on canvas, 7”x9”, 2010. Even though, this painting is very small, it shows so much energy and uneasiness that I knew this was the direction I wanted my paintings to reflect. By 2011, my senior show was based on masked persons and still life’s of masks with wine bottles. The wine bottles were another representation of being brave while under the influence of alcohol.  (See attachments of paintings: 2 out of 10). I even went as far as wearing a mask during my paintings sessions to get more of a feeling while painting these images on canvas.  Now, in current time I am continuing to develop my expressionist style through painting using different imagery-abandoned buildings/houses. I know that some people will not see the reason why for the paintings, but as long it gives an emotion or feeling in viewing the paintings then I have done my job as an expressionist painter. After, my series of abandoned buildings/houses, I am planning on working with Abstract Expression to get more of a feeling in the use of lines and paint on a canvas, showing more feeling/emotion to express myself through a painting. Wish me luck!
My expressionist influences are Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Edvard Munch, and Willem de Kooning.
"Laugh" Oil on canvas, 18"x 24", 2011
Lucy Inserra

"Untitled", Oil on canvas, 18"x 24", 2011
Lucy Inserra
"Untitled" Oil on Canvas, 18"x 24", 2012
Lucy Inserra

Myself in Painting Studio 2011

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Can’t use the color black…WHAT???

Color Wheel

I graduated in May 2011 with a B.A. in Studio Art with an emphasis in painting. The last three years in college I was not allowed to use the color black in my paintings. Even though, I tried to be sneaky and put it on my palette but, my Professor Eric Mantle-my mentor always caught me at it because you could see the color black being used on the canvas. The reason to not use the color black was to learn colors and mixing colors without losing the color completely. It was a very hard lesson to learn not use the color black. It taught me a lot about color and the color wheel. For instance, how would you darken colors without using black?  First, Colors are defined as hues or pigments, hues are warm/cold colors (usually mixed colors) and pigments are the pure color. Primary colors are Red, yellow, and Blue. Now, back to not using black…I consider black not to be a color because black can easily cancel out any color. So, let’s say you want to darken a red color without using black, what color would you use? You can use green or blue because according to the color wheel red and green are complementary to each other (straight line across the chart) and the color blue is a triad color (triangle on chart). I know it can be very confusing at times studying the color wheel, but if you paint with color like I do and love mixing and learning color, it’s amazing what wonderful colors you can create and NOT use the color black at all. So, how would darken a lighter color, for instance yellow? You could use red, then it will turn orange then add blue…now brown is a color so, you could add brown to yellow to give it a darken hue. To really learn about color is to study the color wheel and play with the colors on your palette. Be careful when using oil paints because too much mixing can easily turn your colors to a nasty color brown. I have to say that I continue to NOT use the color black in my paintings, or I try not to. I do like using the color black on some paintings, it depends on my vision. For a helpful tool, make templates or squares of colors and write on the back (like flash cards) the colors you used to make that color. It does help create those colors over and over again and to learn the color wheel. I can say that I am a color guru now, because I can look at a color and know exactly what colors were used to make that color. Play with color! Good Luck! Have fun with it!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dreaming with Dali..

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) is one of the most interesting and recognized surrealist painters in the world. I have always been interested in Dali’s works because his paintings seem to associate with dreams or nightmares.  Subconscious and unconscious was the drive for Dali in his paintings, he wanted to paint images that were dreamlike into real life scenes.  Dali seemed in real life a character himself, dressed with a cape, holding a long walking cane and that weird mustache that was waxed and curled upwards on the ends. Throughout his career, he worked in the theatre creating set designs and costumes along with his paintings..1500 known to be painted. It is also said that in his later years, while he was sick he signed blank canvas therefore, some his paintings were forged or made as duplicates that were sold in the art world.  The painting “The Persistence of Memory” 1931. 24 cm × 33 cm (9.5 in × 13 in) held at Museum of Modern Art, New York City is one of the most recognized paintings of Dali. In college, I was told that this painting could be a self-portrait of Dali (the arm that looks like its melting-shows a mustache appearance) and of his concern with sexual impotence while getting older. Of course, Dali explains that this painting was about time and space with the watches and long range landscape in the back ground. However, he did use symbolism in his paintings, for instance the ants are sign of death or immense sexual desire, clocks are passing of time while sleeping-unconscious mind. Other images appear in his paintings, eggs-are hope and love, Snail-human head (inside human head as referred to Sigmund Freud), and locusts-waste and fear. I have to say, Dali was a unique character but his paintings show us a dream-like world in a real life appearance. I have always been interested in my dreams, but could never paint them out. My recent work have been based on emotion of the painting itself and I struggle with expressing my emotion/feeling within the painting—showing expression! Surrealist paintings are much deeper than that—subconscious and unconscious is the key. If you like surrealist painters, give me one favorite surrealist painter and why do you like that artist?  I will list some of mine, Man Ray, Frida Kahlo, Joan Miro, and Marcel Duchamp.
"I am painting pictures which make me die for joy, I am creating with an absolute naturalness, without the slightest aesthetic concern, I am making things that inspire me with a profound emotion and I am trying to paint them honestly." —Salvador Dalí, in Dawn Ades, Dalí and Surrealism.
Salvador Dali The Persistence of Memory” 1931

Friday, April 27, 2012

Answer to Abstract: Emotion or Motion?

Artist: Viola Lee (2) is motion-brushstrokes are loose and carefree; you can see movement with the sky, river, and trees. It does give some kind of emotion in peacefulness because of the use of color. I like how the brushstrokes come off the canvas, this gives a continual perspective that makes the painting move from the canvas itself-movement.
Artist: Fania Simon (3) is emotion-due to faces, or eyes this painting is automatically recognized as an emotion; colors are reds and blues—are also an indicator of emotions: reds-passion, love, hate, confusion; blues-sad, royalty, depression, authority.  Also, the boxed frames with the faces gives an emotion, for instance boxed in feelings, or closed off feelings. Your eyes don’t have an easy flow when viewing this painting, your eyes seem to focus on each  box/square one at a time. The only motion you do see are within the boxed squares with the flow of color. However, this painting does show emotion first.

Viola Lee (2)

Fania Simon (3)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Abstract: Emotion or Motion?

Recently, I have been creating abstract paintings to loosen up my brush strokes at the same time tring to capture the feeling or emotion within the painting. It has been a challenge while keeping the 7 elements of art in mind: Texture, form, shape, space, color, tone(value), and line, while I am painting. I start with a black canvas without no concept (idea) in mind, simply going with emotion. Using my other senses--music I am listening to, the temperature in my studio, and the feeling of applying the paint on the canvas with the use of color. (see attachment). The painting (1) I did, I felt passion (value) bursting out of me, rough edges (texture), and confidence/easy feeling (color). Definitions of Abstract and motion: Abstract-thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects or actual instances. Motion-(verb)-to direct by a significant motion or gesture, as with the hand. The definitions I found are very interesting and it applies to abstract painting. I think all abstract paintings are with both emotion and motion along with all elements of art, what do you think? I have attached two paintings that shows movement and emotion/feeling, can you tell the difference? please leave comment on which one you think is movement or emotion feeling. (do not vote on my painting). Pick number 2 or 3. Let's have some fun!! Thanks, Lucy.

Lucy Inserra 1

Viola Lee 2

Fania Simon 3

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let’s talk about Dripping…

I have noticed this technique is being used a lot in paintings in my local area and beyond, it’s interesting and I plan on doing the technique myself to try out. But, has this become a new art movement? This technique is called “Dripping”, in which is used with acrylics, water colors, and sometimes in oil paints. If you notice in the attachments, the technique is created when the paint brush is loaded up with paint and then water or another solvent is used and is placed on the same spot where the paint was applied on the canvas and then gravity takes over…a happy mistake or accident occurs. Of course, the canvas is on a vertical plane or easel to have the drips fall as they may. Of course, this isn’t something new in the art world, because Jackson Pollock introduced the pouring and splattering technique, in which was done flat on the ground with industrial paints. However, I do see that this dripping technique is being used more in our current art world. But, what is the fascination behind this technique? (The attachments were pulled off Google search and I provided the names of the artists).

Friday, March 2, 2012


A teacher once told me, "A GOOD painter can paint what they see, but it takes a GREAT painter to paint what they think they see". I love it! I say this to myself every time I paint.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

About Jackson Pollock paintings..

A friend and I were talking about Jackson Pollock paintings and in how he might've intentionally used body forms in his abstract paintings. This is seems logical, Jackson Pollock studied surrealism and tried to tap into the unconscious mind with the use of imagery in lines. It's interesting to look into his paintings and see underneath the poured and splattered paint that there is imagery there of faces and body parts. (see attachments and judge for yourself). In researching on Jackson Pollock, I found he was a heavy drinker and was constantly tring to better himself as a painter. What is more interesting, is that during his 3 months being soper, he created the most wonderful abstract paintings of his career..Lavender Mist, No.5 is the most recognized painting. I just thought it was interesting and wanted to share this information. Thank you, Friend-D.S. for bringing this up for conversation and awareness on one of my favorite artists.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What colors make Brown: Answer.

Red, yellow, and blue can make brown. Also according to the color wheel theory: red and green also make brown. Nice to know.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What makes the color Brown?

I was asked the other day from a friend, what makes the color brown. I went blank! I love color and know my colors, I thought to myself. I work in oil paint, and if you are not careful, you can create the color brown easily without trying. So, I thought about it before looking for the correct answer and I figured it out! So, tell me without looking, what colors make Brown??