Paintings That Inspire Us

I saw this painting the other day by artist Mark Tennant, this visual image really excites me and makes me want to paint –

Mark Tennant painting

When I see something like this, I want to take a little bit of the magic and infuse it into my own painting, not copying, just harnessing some of the excitement for myself.

First I need to figure out what it is about this painting, out of all the thousands of paintings out there that grabbed me, really pulled me in. I could use words like beautiful, haunting, moody…which are all true, but don’t help me with my painting. If I instead think more along the lines of what he did with paint and design, I’ve got a tangible aspect to my inspiration.
  • The color it’s held to a bare minimum which makes all the wonderful texture really sing.
  • The Texture it’s not the kind of texture you’d expect to see, like the shine of glass or the reflection of a metal object, but broken paint areas within the skin tones and dress.
  •  Interpretation I try to imagine what the original subject looked like, and observe how Mark took it into his own fabulous world.
  • The Shapes, the large  textural shapes of the background are infused with the same muted tones as the girl, making everything come together in a wonderfully cohesive vision. Mark is given us so much entertainment in his varied shapes and staccato textures that you don’t miss not knowing what the objects are. Only a piece of white cloth in the upper left-hand corner is recognizable, but even that is used as a design element, pointing downwards towards the girls face.
  • Subject The super relaxed pose of the girl with her hair trailing downward echoes the loose paint handling which creates a wonderful unity of the pieces to the whole.

My challenge to you today… find an artist’s painting that inspires you to paint, how did that artist handle paint and use design to excite you, and take away a little of the magic for yourself.

Visit Mark Tennant’s website to view more of his fabulous work.

 

Sorolla Art Exhibition

Evening Sun, Sorolla de Bastida 1903
Evening Sun, Jouquin Sorolla 1903

 

My husband John and I have just returned from one of the most inspirational art exhibitions I’ve seen in years, Sorolla And America at the San Diego Museum of Art.

Having long admired Joaquin Sorolla’s loose paint handling and brilliant portrayal of light effects we wanted to be sure not to miss this great opportunity to see his work in person.

Sad Inheritance by Jouquin Sorolla
Sad Inheritance by Joaquin Sorolla

The first painting in the show was a massive 10′ x 15′ canvas titled Sad Inheritance. A black cloaked monk slightly bending forward to help a crippled young man with crutches make careful steps into the sparkling sea water. Other children play in the distant waves, while some struggle at the waters edge, a very emotional painting which won him numerous awards.

Benito Perez Galdos, Juaquin Sorolla 1905
Benito Perez Galdos, Joaquin Sorolla 1905

When he became well known he received so many portrait commissions that he had a hard time keeping up with them.

He was a very prolific painter, producing thousand of paintings and sketches in his lifetime.

Bacchante Sorolla y Bastida 1886
Bacchante Sorolla y Bastida 1886

 

Everyones favorites of course where the beach scenes of playful children juxtaposed with weathered fisherman and lumbering oxen bringing the fishing boats ashore.

The photos in art books just can’t convey the grandeur of standing in front of one of his large canvases, knowing that he painted most of them plein air, on location.

Children on the Beach, Jouquin Sorolla 1916
Children on the Beach, Joaquin Sorolla 1916

 

Some of these paintings were in the San Diego show, some where from other collections. A great site to see more of his work is The Athenaeum.