Art Work Archives

Abstract Realism

Looking for a Home by Dee Overly Colored Pencil This River Birch tree lives along the Maumee River in Ohio somewhere between Grand Rapids and Waterville. I was traveling back home to Michigan when I spotted it. After a couple turn arounds and finding a place to park, I was able to tromp through some brush and capture some pictures of the bark.

I’ve decided to jump on the band wagon with this piece, Looking for a Home, and other extreme close-up pieces I’m doing and refer to them as Abstract Realism. I know, another oxymoron to confuse everyone, and a term that apparently hasn’t been confirmed in the art world yet. Dictionaries define the two words separately but not as a union. It doesn’t even appear in Wikipedia. I’m surprised some modern intellectual artist hasn’t swooped in on that yet. But if you type “abstract realism” into google, you’ll find several artists who are claiming the title. There have even been a couple attempts at writing a manifesto for it. However, there must not be enough of us jumping onto this wagon to make a full fledge movement yet.

This reminds me of the room designers on HGTV (which I am totally addicted to) who are always making up “artist movement” descriptions for their room creations. They come up with names like “sheik goes urban” or “the American country Celtic twist” to make their room designs legitimate. It drives me nuts. I know they’re pulling this out of their butts. They do it because people love labels. It makes things real for them.

So, back to my label… Abstract Realism. Why put these two words together? Well, it did feel a bit abstract as I was fighting my way back to that tree, and taking the pictures was quite real. Now you know why I don’t write definitions for Wikipedia. When the definition does get written, I’m sure it’ll be full of words whereby we’ll need another dictionary to understand it.

Meanwhile, what I’m doing and calling Abstract Realism, is taking items from the real world and zooming in to enlarge the focus so that the end result feels abstract.

Oh yes, one final note. The ladybug was not there when I took the pictures, she was added later. Thus, giving the piece it’s title. She’s actually too small for the scale of enlargement I gave the bark. But this way, the viewer has to hunt for her.

Have a grand day!

Final Show Details

During the last five days, Dan and I, with the much needed help of loved ones, have been busy putting the gallery together. Painting walls, making walls, adjusting lights, moving furniture, cleaning, hanging, etc., all the wonderful things that go into a gallery exhibit.

Together, we have 70 pieces of art in our Landscape Bodyscape show. Image sizes range from 3.5×2.5” up to 36×48”

Those of you in the area, see you at the reception, Sept. 8, 5-7pm.

Have a grand day!

The Making of Blue Lady

Countdown! When the exhibit opening is less days away than fingers on the hands, the scrambling really begins. So much to do, so little time…. Anyway….

For today’s posting, I want to share with you a little about my process for the making of Blue Lady. I did this piece specifically for the Landscape Bodyscape exhibit. My intent was to make it a crossover for the two subject matters of our show.

This piece is done on Ersta, a 400 grit sandpaper that was originally made to be used for leather tanning, but then pastel and colored pencil artists discovered it. The down side that has concerned some of us is that the paper is not acid-free on the back side. (I’ve been spraying the back with a product to make it acid-free.) So the company that makes this paper now makes sandpaper called Uart that comes in 400 to 800 grit and it is acid-free.

Drawing on sandpaper does eat up the pencils, but having this extra “tooth” also allows for many many layers of color to be put down. Generally, I choose to use sandpaper when I want to work with tones first, as I did with this piece, by doing the entire project in grays, setting up the light and dark areas. This is also referred to as studying the values. Then I build the color on top of the gray values. By the time I get to the color, I already have a “few” layers of colored pencil on the paper. I followed this same process for another piece that will be in the show, Ray, At the Window. Upon completion, both of these pieces have fifteen or more layers of colored pencil on them. Time intensive, yes, but colored pencil artists can be a strange lot.

Thanks for reading!

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