Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Blood Oranges - Aranci Rossi

Aranci Rossi - Blood Oranges, oil on aluminium panel by Marian Dioguardi, 12 X 12.

Painting: Process or Product?

Sunrise or Sunset by Marian Dioguardi, an invented landscape, 2018 Private Collection
What ARE we doing when we paint?  Making a product (a painting made intentionally to sell) or are we engaging in a process (where the means is more important than the end)? This is a discussion that even professional painters often ask of themselves and of each other.

I would argue that in the best of all worlds we do both when we paint; a painting is the original by-product of  dedicated searching, processing and time.

In a field crowded with new found artists I often see the anxiety of newly declared painters, aiming to please an audience and looking for instant affirmation for their "product"through a sale or a show. These are "artists" who visit experienced artists open studios only to show their own work to the exhibiting artist. Typically they pull out their cell phone, show their work and  ask for some sort approval or the "magic" to selling. 

Please, if this is you, don't do that because this an awkward situation for the exhibiting artists. Instead ask them out for a coffee and quiet time at a later date. Do not interrupt their exhibiting and client time. In these situations I am unable to give the new artists the time and attention that their efforts deserve. I only have time to give a quick positive encouragement to the process. 

More often than not, I see that a new painter is basically imitating or copying. So let me say this now: copying someone else's photograph or painting does NOT make you a painter, an artist or a creative. It is just one process on your way to creating an original. Copying is only one of many ways to learn  painting. Take what you can from that process and go further and beyond to creating your own original visions and techniques. Then ask an experienced painter what they think.

I've been painting professionally since 2002. Even now I work through process.  I paint 99.9 % of the time from observations.Sunrise or Sunset, above, was an exploration in colors, pallet knife techniques and imagination. I worked very hard and put a lot of time here finding something that satisfied my aesthetic. The resulting painting was a by product of all my efforts. Painting "experiments" are satisfying through success and learning something new or through failure and getting lost and confused. A product is an end. A process is a beginning.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Painting with Pallet Knife and more

Melograni Siciliani (Sicilian Pomegranates), 12 X 12, oil on aluminium panel by Marian Dioguardi, 2018

Carciofi Siciliani (Sicilian Artichokes) 16 X 12 in., oil on aluminium panel by Marian Dioguardi, 2018
I primarily paint with pallet knife. Once in a while I will "scumble" or a apply fine line with a brush. There are the times where I use my fingers. 

The pomegranate painting cooperated with the pallet knife technique. I used my pallet knife for laying in broad shapes, putting down strong clean colors as well as building interesting textures. Sometimes a painting requires scumbing (scraping wet paint over textured, dry paint) with the pallet knife. I barley used a brush for painting Melograni Siciliani.  

Painting Carciofi Siciliani, on the other hand, was a challenge. The colors of fresh market Sicilian artichokes are beautiful, complicated and changing. The colors are both strong and subtle color. The always seem to be changing depending on the light and my own perception like a rare Alexandrite.

Cyclic gemmy Alexandrite crystal, Sri Lanka from Siggi's Crystal-Treasure.com
The artichokes themselves look like flowers with petals. artichokes are more like buds from which a thistle like bloom will open. It helps to paint artichokes as flowers; the difference being that there is a hardness and a stiffness to artichoke "leafs" and a softness to flower petals. a bold pallet knife stroke, the direction and the texture of the pallet knife stroke helps define the hard, stiff surface of the artichoke. However for the subtle colors I needed to resort to glazing a transparent color over an opaque color with a brush and often painting and blending with my fingers.  I just threw all the tricks I could think of at this painting for showing you how beautiful these artichokes were.

And to show you how delicious the are here is a traditional basic recipe from Cucina Grandinetti: Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes. My family recipe it to add shopped Kalamata olives and pine nuts to the bread crumb mixture.  Buon Appetito!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Focal Point; to be or not to be?

Cavolofiori Colori, Colorful Caulifowers by Marian Dioguardi, c2018. Oil on panel 16 X 20 in
The focal point is an area or a subject, in a painting, that dominates the viewer's eye. It's a useful and necessary device for a narrative painting and when there is a primary subject around which the rest of painting is composed to support. Formal painting has always stressed the importance of having a focal point in a composition.  I have used focal point. It's like an underlying melody of a song that you can hum. It brings structure and order to a painting. 

Non-focal painting is more like jazz. It stimulates the eye and the viewers to explore to make order (or not).

My interest in the contemporization the "still life" genre has brought me to non-focal still life where I paint multiple areas of interest with multiple areas treated equally. Why do I do this? Because that's how I see. Great big heaps of colorful objects make me want to paint. They energizes my eye. The goal is to make the entire painting a focal point. In this way my still lives have similarities with abstracts which are traditionally non-focal; think Jackson Pollack.

Interestingly I have returned to my origins of still life painting: painting fruits and vegetables. My interest was renewed by my trip to Sicily and the abundance of the Sicilian market place in Catania. The entire experience is a nonfocal experience. Everything cries out for attention from the songs of the fish mongers to the beauty of the produce. I wanted to paint it all and so......
Arance Siciliani, Sicilian Oranges by Marian Dioguard c2018. Oil on aluminum panel, 12 X 12 

Arance di Misilmeri by Marian Dioguardi c2018. Oil on aluminum panel, 12 X 12