Sunday, March 8, 2009

Behind the Barn (Work in Progress)

I'm ready to paint again. When I say paint I mean "oil paint". I have been enjoying my little foray into experimental water media (acrylics, inks, collage, etc). I have a few more techniques to use, but I truly missed by oils and my easel. It occurred to me one day when I walked into my neighboring art teacher's room. I smelled the delightful aroma of linseed oil and realized that the Art 4 students started painting!

I finished my Experimental Painting Class on Wednesday. I think I started to "get it", but I also "got into it" with my teacher "George". For weeks I've been listening to George rant about how Obama is ruining the economy. His dwindling 401K plan is all because of Obama. (It turns out that my esteemed teacher is an avowed dittohead; a Rush Limbaugh loyalist who apparently has nothing better to do than listen to Limbaugh's daily three hour hatefest). When George insisted he enjoyed enjoyed seven years of prosperity under Dubya I almost lost it. I challenged George. George insisted that Rush was a brilliant man. To which I responded he was a pompous, oxycontin addicted arse (you get the picture).

Anyways, the rest of the evening was a bit awkward and silent. I played some Miles Davis for the good of the class and I painted better than I had in a while. I don't know if it was Miles' magic or my freedom of expression! (I have to touch up that particular painting but I'll post it eventually).

In retrospect, I felt like I didn't particularly "belong" in this class. George is an excellent artist. But George has his particular style of teaching that attracts a certain type of student. Should I dare to entertain the word "groupie"? These "women" and sometimes men seem to hover around George and beg for his opinions and cherish every "pearl of artistic wisdom" that dropped from his mouth. In all fairness, some of his followers have come into their own and have made it quite well in the "local" art scene.

Anyway, I took advantage of our wonderful warm weather and walked out to my little studio (the shed) to find a few works in progress. I started this one in the fall. Some of you remember some of the fall photos I posted. This was a from a photo I took in that series. For those purists out there, I work from photos and plein air. While plein air is preferred, it is not always possible. Generally, I use my plein air beginning or photo as a "point of departure". I do not consider myself a "realist". While my subject matter may start out realistic, there are other elements that I add to personalize my work. I remember why I like painting the way I do. I may not be killing in the gallery scene, but I'm painting!


Poetikat said...

Neetzy - I think this painting is one of your best. It has a realism feel, but the brush-strokes also give it a fantastic look as well. (Can you tell I'm not an art expert?)
Hey, if bringing a Bush-fan down a peg or two rejuvenates your creativity, I think that's just two birds with one stone! More power to ya!


Jeannette St.G. said...

it feels good to paint what WE/I like to paint, and not so we sell (selling myself out, I call it)!

I chuckled about your reponse to G. - not that I have a clear-cut opinion on which side I'm standing (maybe because I can't vote, I'm not a citizen - but,I AM a legal resident! - many don't seem to know the difference)-
but I just can imagine the type of teacher he is.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Hi Neetzy, Beautiful painting! You have your own clear style, uniquely your own. I can't imagine being subjected to someone's (skewed) political views during an art class. That was totally inappropriate of him.

Shazza said...

Neetz - I love your trees so of course I love this painting as well. Looking forward to more series from the shed. I've been feeling the painting bug nip at me and if I do anything of interest I'll post it up!

Winifred said...

I do love your painting the colours are beautiful
Sorry I can't comment on the Obama controversy I'm a foreigner! It's a bit early to expect to change the result of Bush's years in charge isn't it? Have to say I couldn't stand Bush, he was a total pratt!

I can relate to the George situation a little. A friend of mine was driven crazy when we were doing our degrees as mature students. She was studying psychology and had this lecturer who she felt was trying to indoctrinate the students most of which were young about political ideas and his weird ideas about bringing up children. He didn't like it when she disagreed with him and said exactly what she thought of his ideas. After all they're paid to lecture on a subject not their politics. Mine were wonderful lecturers and kept their private lives and politics to themselves.

dive said...

Yay! That citrus green just hit me in the eyes and bowled me over, Neetzy!
With the flame orange it makes a stunning combination.
And that lovely spidery branch creepy stealthily out of the undergrowth toward us.
Wonderful composition. Wonderful light. Wonderful colours. Wonderful paintbrush-handle scrathy bits.
It's heading towards becoming another doozy.

Oh, and just because George can paint a bit doesn't excuse his being a total asshole.

butterfly woman said...

Hi Neetzy -
Haven't been here in a while, thought I'd stop by. Love the warmness of this painting, realism with a touch of whimsy fantasy, a bit VanGoghish? Can't wait to see your creation during George's class. Good for you to tune him out and get into creative zone, bet you channeled some great emotions into the process.
Thanks for checking out my Picasa site. The cardinal is watercolor, the background tissue paper I scanned in, then played with in photoshop.
I'll be back. Love your honesty, it's very refreshing!

neetzy said...

Wow! Thanks to everyone! You are all great motivation to keep painting!

Kat, Thanks. Your opinions are just as helpful as any I've heard from so called "art experts"! I think I just had to "speak my mind" a bit. Obama is no saviour, but he is definitely an improvement over Dubya! (At least he can speak in complete sentences).

I hear you. I needed a class in something different to realize that I like my own style! And when it comes to politics. I think you have to be a bit of an idiot to go into politics. But, Rush is leading a whiny "I want Obama to fail" campaign. I even gave Dubya a chance this early in the game.

Thanks. I kinda like my own "style" for what it is. This painting isn't quite finished. I abandoned it some time in the early winter. As far as political views, I usually shrug them off. I just finally got tired of it and "spoke my mind".

Painting is always therapeutic for me. This one and the next one I did were pure exercises in relaxation. I did these for no one in particular.

You can say what you want about Obama. I do not think he is the answer to all of our problems, but I think he is at least giving it his all. Bush was a total pratt. This is just a community art center class, so I am not expecting credit. (Also my opinions will not affect my grade). There is no grade!

I'm glad you appreciate my crazy colors, but that's what I love about autumn! The colors are bizarre. The branch is what drew me to the composition. Unfortunately it is still a little rough. I need to "finish" this painting a bit more.

Butterfly woman,
Thanks for flying in! I try to take ordinary landscapes to another level. I'm glad you recognized this. Van Gogh is one of my influences as is Cezanne, Charles Burchfield, Wayne Thiebaud and Wolf Kahn. There are others as well! I feel a deep connection to the trees and the natural world around me and I try to convey that as a participant, not just an observer.

Heather Neill said...

You go girl.
You've gotten what you needed from that class, and your head on straight about the leader of the free world, and spring warmth is just around the corner so you'll be able to take your talents to the open air studio you love...very soon. Brushes UP !

neetzy said...


Thanks! I came to the same conclusion. I found crocus blooming while walking the dogs today! I'll be out there soon!

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

WOW. That's about all I can say You have such talent, and I am so jealous. My paintings are...let's say untutored, and that's a nice way to put it.

WHY is your teacher even TALKING about politics? That's disturbing and SO unprofessional. I worked with a couple of people like that and it's more than just irritating.

Incidentally, to me, most talk show people are pompous asses no matter what side of the fence they are on. The exception is public radio and BBC. They at least maintain a modicum of respect.

neetzy said...


This wasn't one of my grad classes. This wasn't for credit, it was just for fun. I guess he figured he could say whatever he wanted. It was very casual. In all fairness, he was not preaching. I guess he just assumed we all agreed with him? I just had to let him know that I didn't. (BTW I agree with you on talk show hosts).

Maria said...

I like those fall colors, although I admit that personally, I am in no hurry to see them for awhile...

neetzy said...

I quite agree! It seems like I'm always finishing up the paintings I started a few months ago.