Some paintings come easy, while others require a lot of work until I’m happy with them (or I throw them out). My painting Rock Garden was one of my more difficult pieces. On my first try, I ended up with this version. It had the elements of a strong composition with a clear focal point but I just didn’t like it. It sat in my studio for the last three years but I couldn’t determine a way to “fix it”.
In the meantime, I finished another painting River Rock that I needed a companion piece to hang with it in an upcoming show. The only panel I had in the same size was this failed painting.
I needed both paintings to share the same color scheme, so I created some new collage papers to better match the companion painting’s colors. I like to add lots of elements at first and then simplify the final painting by painting over of some of the areas. At left is the next phase of the painting/collaging process. At this point, it’s complete chaos and is going to require a lot of editing.
The colors still didn’t match the other painting that well and I needed to get rid of the red, the bright yellow and the ultramarine blue. I dug up some more papers and collaged them over these colors. Next, I picked the areas to keep and those to cover up. I needed a strong focal point and more areas of calm. There was a lot of overpainting to do and still more collage papers to add. The work also needed greater contrast so I add in the light yellow and dark gray areas to expand the value range. Below are the two final paintings, Rock Garden and River Rock. Can you find the areas from the original painting that still shows in the finished work? It’s a little like “Finding Waldo”!
I love flowers. All flowers. And in the springtime, some of my favorites are the colorful tulips. They are such happy looking flowers and always make me smile.
I was feeling a little envious of my son and his girlfriend who traveled to the Keukenhof tulip gardens in the Netherlands this month.
But today, I walked by my favorite garden in New York City, the Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village; it was filled to the brim with blooming tulips and other bulbs. The garden is open to the public on Friday’s from 10am-5pm (donations accepted as it is a volunteer garden) and it is well worth the visit, especially in April. Here are a few snapshots of my favorite flowers there.
Jefferson Market Garden at 70 Greenwich Avenue, New York City
I was recently selected as one of 14 artists to submit work for one of four New York City subway stations. I submitted my proposal two weeks ago and I am waiting to hear back soon (fingers crossed everyone, and send good karma this way). The project is quite large requiring 140 horizontal feet of artwork! I can’t fit the whole work on this page, but here are a few “snippets”. My design illustrates a world where diverse individuals (the flowers) live together without prejudice or intolerance. In this world, every flower is unique and varied, and thrives in harmony with its neighboring blossoms.
To get my own feel for Astoria, I walked around the 30th Avenue neighborhood. This community is a true melting pot of humanity. Stand on a street corner for five minutes, and you’ll hear a half a dozen languages. Watch the pedestrians, and see headscarves, yarmulkes, turbans, and Mets caps that only hinted at the mélange of different cultures that live in the area. It seems that everyone here has found their place, and that place supports the tolerance of others.
Designs and Metaphor:
The fanciful design of my diversity garden represents the Astoria neighborhood. The wild assortment of flowers pose as the diversity of nationalities, religions, and cultural traditions existing in this community. These differences complement each other and it is the vast variety of the botanical species that make the garden so appealing. Metaphorically, my garden microcosm celebrates a post racial/bias world where differences and similarities are celebrated and supported by all members of a community. I believe Astoria is growing into such a community. The ribbons weaving through the flowers suggest the connectivity of the residents in this urban neighborhood and the many ways they touch each other’s lives.
I created the flowers similar in size to the subway commuters. As people walk by the blossoms, I hope they feel that they too are part of this colorful garden, just one more welcomed flower in the tolerant landscape of Astoria.