Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Old School-New School

December Dusk
8 x8
Available at Deborah Paris Fine Art

As regular readers know, about 18 months ago, I began to explore new techniques in search of a way to better describe not only the atmospheric effects in the landscape that interested me, but also to create a certain mood and look to my work. That quest lead me to a study of glazing, scumbling and the use of transparent paint in general. Glazing is most definitely Old School- a technique which goes back to the Renaissance and which was almost completely lost over the last couple of centuries as more direct painting methods were deemed to be more desirable. Many still feel that way, but this centuries old technique is making a comeback in some circles. Modern, man made pigments have added a whole range of highly pigmented, rich colors to the transparent colors now available to the 21st century artist (very New School) .

My aim was and is to combine this very Old School technique with a modern (New School) landscape sensibility. Over the last few years, I experimented with a more stylized and even abstracted form of landscape painting to accomplish these goals. Although I am very drawn to a decorative approach (I mean that in a good way), in the end, I knew I wanted my landscapes to be places my viewers felt they could actually walk into. I wanted to make the viewer look, and having looked, desire to linger. For me, that meant that a more representational (for lack of a better word) mode combined with a modern, spare sense of design and use of limited but rich color was needed.

As I've written before, I describe this as "just enough, but not too much". I often miss that mark, usually erring on the side of "too much" but occasionally "not enough". I think it is a pursuit that will engage me for the rest of my life, and as I come to trust myself more- I hope I can get closer to what I want to accomplish.


Suzanne McDermott said...

I wish that I could see your paintings in person. I feel that the images on your blog do not do justice to what is actually transpiring in your work. Don't get me wrong - they look great on this blog - but what you're developing is probably impossible to convey via this medium.

Once you take the plunge over the edge of commitment as an artist and you zero in on the main chance - it does turn out to be a pursuit for the rest of our lives.

Last night, before bed, I read the epilogue of my late friend Walter Gabrielson's autobiography. In considering the life of an artist, this epilogue is definitely worth a read.

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Suzanne. Yes, you are right about the images- the depth and luminosity created by the glazes is hard to capture in these images. It doesn't help that I am impatient and often shoot them before the glaze is dry!

Thank you so much for the link to Gabrielson's site and writing. It was a fascinating, but sobering read.

TSL said...

I think you are a gifted painter. I think your images are just fine for this blog, I think they convery easily your personal depth, insight and extraordinary talent, are extremely ethereal, your compositions so on the mark, and you are easily headed toward masterdom. You can always re-shoot them if you feel any images can be improved. There is no doubt you work is exceptional.

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Tina. Thank you so much for your very generous comments about my work. I enjoyed visiting your blog and love the lushness of your abstract pieces. I also enjoyed seeing your father's work- my husband was a combat artist in Vietnam (USMC). Thanks for visiting!