Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Know When to Fold "Em

As the song lyrics state, "Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

I have been working on my series of remarkable, survivor trees, From Just a Seed, for some time now. When I began, I was energized and excited about the prospect of continuing the series. As time progressed, my energy faltered.  While talking with a friend, I told her that when I finally finished the series, I was excited to start something new.

Early Autumn, Pastel, 9x9 inches, © Lynn Goldstein 

It takes a good friend to point out when we are off course. She asked why I had this arbitrary number of paintings that had to be completed. Maybe the series was done now. I can be a little bit stubborn. It took 5 hours for me to realize how right she was. 

As a result of her wise words, I put away the series and completed 5 paintings pronto.

I am not finished painting magnificent trees, but I am thrilled to be moving in another direction.

Why am I writing this? Because my work is all about helping people feel peaceful in a hectic world. If I don't experience harmony while working, negative emotions will likely show in the art that I produce. "Folding" on the series was a way to return to a calm space while making my art. I am hoping that will translate to others.

Triumvirate, Pastel, 12 x 9 inches, © Lynn Goldstein

So, have you have ever "given up" on something that wasn't working for you? How did that turn out? Let me know in the comments below.

Kissed, pastel, 9 x 12 inches, ©Lynn Goldstein

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Can I get a Witness?

No, I'm not speaking of the classic soul singing of Marvin Gaye. Instead, my reference is about witness trees.

This past summer and fall, I visited Fredericksburg, Virginia. Fredericksburg is filled with history. Visiting Chatham, in Fredericksburg was a must in my quest for finding historic and amazing trees.

Chatham Manor is the only private home visited by both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Clara Barton and Walt Whitman also visited when Chatham was used as a civil war hospital.

Many trees on the land surrounding the home are designated as witness trees. Witness trees are trees that were living during the Civil War. None are quite as interesting as the catalpa trees at Chatham. At least 200 years old, they are located in the yard facing the Rappahannock River, very close to the home. Legend has it that when doctors were amputating limbs from soldiers, there was no time to waste, and the arms and legs were thrown out the window of the home onto the lawn. The Catalpa trees seem to have captured in their trunks the horrible pain that the soldiers endured.

For my next painting of historic and amazing trees, I have begun Catalpa-1810 to remember the pain of our Civil War, and to celebrate the survival of the country and the survival of some magnificent witnesses. I am also celebrating my love for trees.

One of the reference photos that I will use to paint Catalpa - 1810

Isn't it interesting that the leaf of the Catalpa looks like our symbol of a heart? 

On the easel-- The start of Catalpa 1810

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

4 Beginnings to the Same Painting Subject

I love teaching. The experience stretches me to think in different ways. Last week, I wanted to show my new students how the background color of a painting can change the appearance of the end product. Thought that it would be fun to share it here.

First, I want to tell you what inspired these paintings. In December, I was able to visit Panama. My father lived in Panama during WWII, so it is a place that I have wanted to visit for decades. I like to walk in places that I can imagine he did. I was not disappointed because the lush landscape was beautiful.

One morning before sunrise, I roused myself from bed to attempt to see some of the exotic birds in the Gamboa Rainforest area. With flashlight in hand, and looking out for snakes, I ventured out. One particular tree seemed to be the place to go. There was a cacophony of noise coming from the branches, which was a clue to me that some good bird action must be going on there. While standing quietly, looking into that particular tree, I turned around to see the sun beginning to rise behind me. Both scenes took my breath away. The noise I was hearing in the tree was being made by a multitude of birds, while what was at my back was a magnificent rising sun. Magic!!

Making these paintings helped me relive that magic. Hope you enjoy them too.

This was the first pastel painting that I did in the experiment. I began with a green background.
"Panama Skies Magic #1,"  6 x 4 inches, Pastel on Uart Paper, © Lynn Goldstein 
Detailed closeup so that you may see the green background peeking through

After doing the painting with a green background, I realized that a yellow background
would be a good choice because it would give me the glowing color that I wanted.
I used the exact same palette, with the exception of an added shot of turquoise and dark purple.
"Panama Skies Magic #2, 12 x 9 inches, Pastel on Uart Paper, © Lynn Goldstein

Here's a detail so that you may see the yellow peeking through.

For this 3rd painting, I used a purple background. This one was the most difficult because that purple fought with the glowing sky that I was trying to portray. I am satisfied with the end result which started to become more abstracted.
Again, I used the same palette for each painting.
"Panama Skies #3," 12 x 9 inches, Pastel on Uart Paper, © Lynn Goldstein

See that purple peeking through the pastel layers? 

As a result of the purple background painting, I decided to do one more and abstract the image even further.
Since I enjoyed using the yellow background, I did that again.
"Panama Skies Magic #4," 6 x 4 inches, Pastel on Uart Paper, ©Lynn Goldstein

One more closeup so that you can see the background color (yellow) peeking through.