Meet 7 artists who arrange their own visions of loveliness
This story was featured in the April 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art April 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art April 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
“Painting still lifes in oil and pastel has become one of the passions of my life, and I love every minute of the process—from arranging the objects to establishing the lighting effects to making the last brush stroke or wisp of pastel. Three things prompted ARTICHAUTS A LA BERNAISE: one was the beautiful antique French stoneware pitcher, another was the desire to do a kitchen or cooking setup, and third was to play with the light to create the impression of sun coming through a window and casting shadows on the pitcher—a window that isn’t there but looks like it is! It took some correcting of the shadows on that pitcher to reveal the window’s panes, but creating the feeling of light, and how it illuminates my settings, is what my paintings are all about.”
“The idea for PROVIDENCE first came to me when I saw a meager squirrel plucking petals from a rose bush in my garden. He ate the petals one by one, until the flower was gone. I like to challenge myself in painting and in life. The painting is a beautiful experiment in texture and color. Beyond that, I can’t help but think to myself, how then are we not like the lowly squirrel? Providence is God’s foreseeing protection and care over the creatures of the earth. If we seek Him, He will bless us with far more than we could ever imagine. Somehow, I identify with that little squirrel and stand in awe of all of my blessings.”
“I’ve always embraced the challenge of painting metal objects and was intrigued by the beautiful patina on an old brass candlestick and a well-worn Turkish pitcher that I acquired years ago in an antique shop in Sedona, AZ. In BRASS CANDLESTICK, I was particularly inspired by the soft, warm grays of the etched pewter pitcher and the rich, deep luster of the burnished brass, both on the handle of the pitcher and in the candlestick. I knew that the metal objects would contrast well with the flowers and porcelain, which are two other favorite subjects of mine. I focused on careful edge control and the subtle nuances of texture, color, and value in an attempt to create an interesting and harmonious composition.”
“THE EMPEROR’S BOWLS is from a photograph I took through a dusty window into the emperor’s living area in the Forbidden City in Beijing. The strong light falling on these simple objects in this regal setting is what attracted me to the subject. I had to edit out a lot of dust and grime. I also added the chopsticks and the antique Chinese coins. The challenge in this painting was to capture the glare of the sunlight on the bowls without losing the detail in the decoration. As a realist, I look for ways to interpret difficult subjects through the medium of watercolor to share what I see—and how I see—with my audience.”
“There are many ways to set up a still life depending on the effects you want. In this instance I wanted to start the painting as quickly and accurately as possible while still capturing the subject matter in a loose style. One must keep an eye out on how the painting is developing and be open to making changes as the opportunity presents itself. Once the basic forms are accounted for, it’s time to interpret how the light flows through the painting, illuminating the forms, edges, textures, and the coolness and warmth of the subject. This interpretation phase of the painting is what makes it enjoyable, interesting, and exciting for me!”
“This painting is the result of my love and awe of all the fruits, vegetables, and critters that are so important in our daily lives. Maybe having been raised on a southern farm has something to do with this fascination that I have. I really enjoy having a bit more fun with my subjects as opposed to painting them totally realistically. It is the traditional colliding gleefully with the fantastic. Who’s to say that birds’ nests cannot be a natural habitat for cherries?”
Rebecca Semone Ruhland
“When I see a flower, it takes me to a place in time or to a feeling—just the way music affects some people. This pansy painting takes me to memories of my mother. When I was a kid, we would plant them together. And when she was old, I would fly from my house in Colorado to her house on the beach and plant them by her front door, so they would remind her of me during the season. Flowers are truly beautiful miracles from God. I strive to bring them to life and capture their stories in my paintings. I love to paint flowers with vivid color in either still life or landscape, to stop the clock and preserve all that beauty. It is always an enjoyable labor of love.”
Featured in the April 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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