I grew up in the suburbs and I enjoy drive in the country, but I was born in the city. I only lived in Detroit for 4 years but we visited my grandmother there for years.
And I went to art school downtown right behind the Art Institute.
Maybe I’ve read too many novels or seen too many movies. When I’m in a large downtown I get a feeling of mystery. I want to know everyone’s story. Especially on a gloomy day the intrigue seems intensified. A perfect time for a painting of an urban landscape.
I took photography in college so I know how to compose in the camera, which is an advantage when gathering photo references for my painting. I also am skilled on the computer so I can crop and make adjustments when necessary to enhance the photos.
Guest photos can also be delightful.
My cousin took a photo of 3 baby birds demanding to be fed and posted it on Facebook. I immediately asked her for permission to use it for a painting. I think I smiled the entire time I was painting.
Webster defines patron as “a person who gives money and support to and artist, organization, etc.” and patronize as “to give money or support to (someone or something)” OR “to talk to (someone) in a way that shows you believe you are more intelligent or better than other people.”
My niece came over to buy a painting of mine (what higher compliment is there than a relative parting with their hard earned money to buy my art?) she saw on Facebook and as she was leaving I said, “Thank you for patronizing me.” Y e a h…somehow it didn’t sound quite right. We just laughed.
Now the holidays are over, that rush of relatives is warm memory, Michigan grayness settles back in and its time for a cup of tea. Maybe today a bit of honey and lemon will be just fine.
I was driving home from the artists’ breakfast that we have every Saturday morning and in my neighborhood the sun was hitting this tree in full fall colors. I got a couple blocks down and knew I had to go back and snap some photos with my iPhone. I went home and began painting. It’s not often I get to use Cadmium orange and Cadmium yellow right out of the tube. I must say I did get too thick too fast though. I guess I was too excited. It was going so well and then it wasn’t! I was getting picky—painting every leave. So I wiped out the tree and began again, slowly layering the paint. Much happier with the results.
The neighborhood is full of trees in all stages of color and falling leaves. I had a plethora of streets to shoot my photos. This one with its deep shadows complimenting that fiery color activated my “OH!” factor.
Making art usually takes place in solitude, not always, but usually. So many artists like to have a social outlet to keep them sane and the company of other artists allows them to discuss some of the challenges they encounter.
Every Saturday morning I get together with a group of artists for breakfast at a local diner. We catch up on the week’s activities and discuss the “Art question of the week.” Non-artists are welcome, spouses and friends as well.
An older gentleman has become a regular. I believe he has done some sketching. He is Swiss, looks like Santa with a shock of white hair, bushy white eyebrows, and white beard. I don’t always understand him. He is soft spoken, chuckling while he speaks, and telling jokes I don’t get.
I was showing around some paintings I had done the past week that I have photos of on my iPhone. This gentleman didn’t know how to swipe through the photos and kept bringing up the calculator somehow. He liked the last one I had done and asked what size it was and how much I charged. It was an 8×10″ and I told him it was $100. He said a 16×20″ would be twice as much cuz it’s twice as big as he chuckled. We said, no, that was 4 times as big, and I told him what I have charged for 16x20s. He held out the phone and said 16×20. I said that was an 8×10. He said 16×20. I said 8×10. He laughed and said 16×20. I asked the man next to me, “Does he want me to paint him a 16×20?”
He then asked if I was going to enlarge it with a machine? I asked him if he wanted a print and he looked at me and laughed. “You want me to paint you a 16×20? “Oh that will be lively,” he said. (Not lovely, lively). He took out his wallet and handed me two large bills and said he’d pay me the rest the next time he saw me. “Don’t worry, take your time” he chuckled.
So I’m painting a 16×20″ painting of the 8×10. And I’m chuckling.
I love skies. I find them easy to paint for the most part. And I love water. I enjoy painting water as well and usually I’m happy with the way it turns out. It’s all the “tidily bits” (as Dr. Who would say) in between I have trouble with… you know…the rest of the earth. Trees in particular give me grief. I’ve been in regions where there is a lack of trees, desert areas, new subdivisions, and I definitely prefer trees.
Without leaves they are very spikey and linear as opposed to the rest of my painting, which is more massive shapes. With leaves they can be frilly if I look too closely. They can be very GREEN for much of the year. I like the palm trees of the warmer states, with their huge fronds, tall thin trunks, and separateness.
So I here I put them in and take them out and try again and scape them out and just keep painting. Finally I am happy. “Sunset on the River” 8×10″ acrylic on gessobord panel, unframed, available for $100 via http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/andrea-jeris/sunset-on-the-river/397447
More work on the bottles. More work on the background. Back and forth. Keeping it balanced. Darken the darks. Lighten the lights. Add the reflections. Ooh that pops!
The more I look, the more I see. I can put in too much. Wipe it out and keep it simple in one area. Add some detail in another. I don’t want to get tight. I don’t want to get photographic. I’m finding more and more value in scraping out areas and repainting. I usually say right after I scrape it out, “Oh, I shouldn’t have done that.” But as I’m painting again it always looks better.
Now it goes on my wall of contemplation, so in the evening while I’m reading or watching TV I can keep looking up and see it and in those glances I see things that make me happy or that are just not right.
I thought I was done with this but I see that white beam in the back is bothering me. So more painting is to be done.