Rocks and Water painting: choosing the composition.

This photo is of the still in-progress painting I am working on in my studio, January, 2020. Seascape paintings that feature rocks and water is a subject I have revisited many times in my career. I see the metaphor for this subject matter as symbolic of life’s journey. I will talk more about that in my next posts. In the meantime, here is brief explanation for how I came to choose this composition.

Notice how the X shape in my photograph is similar to that of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man. I chose my composition based on his famous drawing. By using the X format, the viewer connects the foreground and background of the rocks, which act as the anchors for this image-much like Leonardo’s hands and feet of his Vitruvian man act as the anchor for his drawing.  By visually connecting the rocks in this X fashion, the viewer senses the hardness of the rocks against the rush of the waves in an even more energetic fashion. 

Here is a short video of me applying overeaten abaca and flax to the surface of the painting. I do not plaint with traditional media, I use beaten abaca pulp, he same medium first used to create oil on canvas paintings.

In the 17th century, Venetian artists began using the canvases of shipping vessels as surfaces to apply their paints. These canvases were made from durable fibers such as linen, flax and abaca.  It is for this reason that these now famous works have survived to us through the ages. 

Using these same fibers, I have embellished on this idea and created an actual painting method that is just as durable and permanent, and pigmented with light-fast colors to match the rich hues of nature.

My process provides a textured, almost three-dimensional quality to the painting’s surface, thus mimicking nature in all its splendor . . . from its rocky crevices along the ocean shoreline, subtle shadows in a garden path, the fullness and detail of a treed landscape, and the smooth surface of a still lake.  

Natural fibers, beaten into thick coats of pigmented pulp, provides the perfect media with which to create these modern interpretations of representational art.  

I’ll share more about this painting in my net few blog posts.

Sale of River Road Prints meets 1000.00 goal for Tri-Town Council.

Writing a check for 1000.00 to the Tri-Town Council. Photo: Jonah Rehak
A group effort to make this moment happen. Photo: Jonah Rehak
Pulling the five winners of the paper making workshop out of a hat. If your name wasn’t called, it was returned back to the bag for next year. Photo: Jonah Rehak

It was a pleasure to present a check on January 6, 2020, to members of the Tri-Town Council for 1000.00 from sales of River Road prints.

The prints are reproductions of the painting in the Topsfield Town Hall that was commissioned in 2018 by the Panella family in memory of their mother, Joan Panella. Per request of the family, proceeds from print sales benefit the work the council does on behalf of the Tri-town community. A video I created of the commission tells this story in detail.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who purchased a print from me and supported the council. I also want to thank council members who included information about the print sale on their web site and in social media posts in a herculean effort to promote the sale. Without this team effort, it would not have been as successful.

Best of all, five people who had purchased a print this year were entered to win a paper making workshop at my studio on Saturday, February 8, 2020. I’ll be sure to post photos of the workshop in future posts so we can celebrate the creative efforts of our community members. If you would like to purchase a print, support the council, and be entered to win a slot in a paper making workshop for 2021, please click on this link. Free shipping or in-person delivery to Boxford, Middleton, and Topsfield.

Thank you to all for supporting Meg Black Studios. What a great community we live in and call home.

Autumn, River Road Print sale. Purchase a print; be entered to win a paper making workshop.

Purchase a print of Autumn, River Road, and be automatically entered to win a paper making workshop in my studio on Saturday, February 8, 2020. Five winners will be drawn on Monday, December 30. A portion of the proceeds support the Tri-Town Council in memory of Joan Panella.

Large , 25 x 12 inch Autumn, River Road, Topsfield. Print comes custom matted. Frame not included.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New wall sculptures-in situ

These wall sculptures are in-situ.  The are actually small, 4×9 inches.  This is an idea of what they will look like when created to scale.

 

Autumn, River Road II installed in private collector’s home

Thrilled to see my latest painting, Autumn, River Road II, installed in the home of the private collector. Thank you to the The Art of Framing for the beautiful presentation of this painting. #megblackstudios

Dear Claude Monet, you won’t believe what your painting just sold for!

Claude Monet, Meules, 1890.

Claude Monet is famous for painting many subjects, water lilies, cathedral facades, footbridges, and of course, hay stacks. It is his hay stack painting, Meules,  that captured a huge sum of money at auction recently 110 million dollars to be exact.   What makes these paintings so captivating?  Two ideas: they are all painted in multiples, and the the subject is light as metaphor.  Monet captures the light as it plays off of natural objects.  In fact, he is more interested in light than the subject itself.  Think about it: Monet is at his most prolific during the height of the industrial revolution when change is constant-much like our world today. Light changes at great speed, thus his focus on light as a metaphor for constant change.  By painting in multiples, he revisits the same subject but in a different light.  Years later, Hollywood directs such as Martin Scorsese will create similar effects using film and stage lighting.

I have been thinking of Monet as I have been painting this series of River Road, Topsfield.  To be sure, it is a beautiful place-tree lined winding road, open fields, wild flowers, gorgeous architecture. But, much like the great Impressionist artist himself, I have been focusing on the natural sunlight as it moves through the day, through the seasons, and through all sorts of weather conditions-something New England is famous for!  And, in keeping with his idea of multiples, I am painting in a series, five paintings to be exact, two of which are featured here.

 

 

Meg Black, Morning light, River Road, Topsfield. 2019. In progress.

Two River Road paintings in progress, showing different light effects.

 

Chiaroscuro, River Road, and Caravaggio: a painterly connection.

This is a photo I took of River Road, Topsfield in the early morning. The light coming in from the left creates a strong shadow on the road.

I was lucky to see the original painting by Caravaggio in Rome this past spring. It is still in its original location in the Contarelli Chapel in San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome.

Early morning, River Road, Topsfield. The light in this photo has a dramatic quality that reminds me of one of my favorite artists, Caravaggio. Caravaggio placed light colors against dark to create a dramatic effect in his work, known as chiaroscuro in Latin. The early morning light plays against the dark shadows giving off a similar quality. Caravaggio does this in his painting of The Calling of Mathew.

Wave of Motion: wall sculptures in progress in my studio, March 2019.

A History of Public Art: Stories of Contemplation and Inspiration. Lecture and discussion. Topsfield Town Library Meeting Room, Saturday May 4, 2019 at 3:00 PM.

Piero della Francesca, The Resurrection, c. 1463-5, fresco, 225 x 200 cm (Museo Civico, Sansepolcro, Italy).

Public art has been a source of civic pride, government marketing, and economic renewal since the Roman Emperor Diocletian built the great baths of Rome filled with mosaics and sculptures to Fearless Girl, who has became a main attraction on Wall Street.  From courthouses to libraries to town halls to busy harbors, public art has graced, and at times been the source of controversy, for the general public to contemplate.

In this one hour lecture, Meg Black will examine some of the most famous landmarks of public art.  Come hear the stories . . . conspiracies . . . and tales of woo. . . my tax dollars were spent on that!  Free and open to the public (of course). 

Recent commission completed: Wall sculptures installed, Westport, CT.

First floor, 30 x 120 inches.

Second floor, 24 x 75 inches.

Two will sculptures recently installed, Westport, CT.