May 10, 2008

Weaving Grass...

Still in early '80's mode, still thinking about the watercolors I did when we first lived at our lake house... even scanning photos of the period to update my digital database... an on again, off again endless process.

Looking back, I can see the seeds of work to come, the geometrics, the lines, the gestures, though some might disagree, I can see them. My work was searching for a style, I was still trying out every new product that came along, influenced wildly by scores of new ideas in every magazine and with every artistic association.

Some of the comments in previous posts point out how we leave so much behind as we surge forward with our new style and materials, so anxious to be "professional!"... to "make it!"... to be identified with our own personal style. So I did.

I've always loved flowers, growing them as well as painting them. But doesn't everyone? I needed to go beyond flowers. I began to notice that the interaction of leaves, especially elongated leaves offered endless arrangements and that's what I began to emphasize. The way new and old grass blades weave in and out, creating their own directional flow, relationships and compositions. Here are three of the early Pampas Grass series from 1985. They are numbered 4, 5 and 6 and are appx 22x30.

We moved to New Orleans in 1986 and I arrived with growing series in hand. I eventually painted over 50 in just the Pampas series... but as many in a similar Grass Series and lots more in the Bamboo, Palm and Daylily Series. This was a time of tremendous growth for my fledgling career marked by successful competitions and eventual gallery connections.

In 1989, the Pampas Series looked like this... this is Number 28. Then below, one of the last in the series that was still watercolor (I was trying to move the series to canvas with mixed results.) This is Number 47 and painted in 1992. It was specially painted for American Artist Magazine for an article complete with demo views.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

Fabulous! I'm stunned. I love them. I am contemplating the idea that we don't become 'better artists.' We become work back and forth. I see the same threads, spirits over the years. Maybe we become more aware of what we have done and how to follow through. Experience is only part of the story. 'Early work' and 'late work' are not necessarily that far apart.

Anonymous said...

I should have said, "we work back and forth, side to side!" not "we become work back and forth!

Karen Jacobs said...

Such fun to hear from you from time to time, Nikole... a prime example of friendship, like art, crossing the years 'back and forth' yet 'side to side'... where else but on the Internet?

self taught artist said...

I've always loved flowers, growing them as well as painting them. But doesn't everyone?

not me. i take no interest or delight in them whatsoever.

i like the last two paintings...i can't even imagine how you kept track of what you were painting. interesting how they seem to hold the test of time, meaning they seem fresh while the others have a feel to them of being done way back when. will be interested to see/read more. enjoy your boats!

Karen Jacobs said...

Paula, next time you attend a local art show of good but not great painters, flower paintings will prevail, I betcha! I knew early on that to make tracks, my subject matter would need to be different from most others.

The palette of the early grass paintings shown was certainly influenced by the decor dominance of blue and mauve... plus the aging quality of cheap photos. Hopefully, my slides are holding their color better.

Painting this sort of detail (later photos) was very much like knitting. Once the pattern was established (from my photo) it just took patience, a fairly small brush and time.

Annie B said...

These are astounding. I suppose the palette in the early ones might mark them as being from the '80s, but they still seem fresh to me. Hats off to you for those bottom two - great composition, gorgeous lights and darks, wonderful detail.