Studies after Artists

Hello everyone, YAY it’s Friday! I hope your week went relatively well and you are looking forward to some rest and relaxation on the weekend.

I’ve come to realize that there are so many contemporary artists that I admire and most of them are still alive! This is a revelation for me, coming from an Art History background. Most of my studying in the past have been master artists throughout history, that have long been deceased. I must admit I have had the attitude of “everything has been done already” so why bother. Yes, many things have been done and greatness achieved, but there is more.

One of the reasons that there is more is because of the changes in the viewer. Our tastes change over the years. But it’s also worth pointing out that sometimes, our level of perception changes. This has been the case with myself and Still Life painting.

In the past, the Still Life genre for me was the typical Old Master style, you know the ones, dark background, glowing light, realistically rendered with so many objects in an ensemble (which I call, “the kitchen sink”). Although they were and are masterworks of excellent technique, composition etc.., I personally did not like this style.

Now, I have seen many Still Lifes done by contemporary painters that focus on a single or small group of subject matter. These paintings resonate with me so much for these seasons:

-they do not focus on artist’s agenda (political world views etc..)
-they are simple
-emphasis on quality of light
-the beauty and importance of mundane objects, nature
-able to convey mood without a figure
-silent quality that encourages quiet contemplation

Some of the artists that convey the qualities mentioned above in still lifes are Abby Ryan, Douane Keiser, Neil Nelson, Stanley Bielen and Diarmuid Kelley. Diarmuid Kelley also paints incredible figurative works. In my attempt to celebrate these artists as well as learn from them, I decided to do some studies after them.

Here is a Study after Stanley Bielen:

Oil on Baltic Birch Panel, 8″x10″

I chose to do this study because I don’t normally paint flowers. This piece is also mostly done with a palette knife, which I don’t normally use either. I guess I’m trying to expand my comfort zone and try new things.

I will probably do more studies after these and other artists and I wanted to let you know what my motivations were behind them.

Thanks for visiting, have a great weekend.