Monday 20 October 2014

Inspiring Image: A Wild Life

“Resting Cat”, 22”x42”, acrylic on board, Bob Kuhn (1920-2007)

Bob Kuhn was a master of modern wildlife painting and a true original.  He began his career in art as an illustrator for magazine covers and calendars.  His early work feels a bit stiff in its execution, which was likely required by the graphic nature of the commercial world he worked within.  Once he moved into fine art painting full-time, his work began to take on a more organic quality with special attention paid to paint application and texture.  With his keen eye developed from years of drawing from life, Kuhn’s subjects are expertly rendered and often in wholly unique poses.

Kuhn is known for his deceivingly simple compositions with their signature horizontal formats and flat fields of color.  These large areas of color are often beautifully designed shapes with complex textures achieved by many layers paint applied with brush, palette knife, and finger.  Kuhn’s work is all the more impressive because he worked with acrylics, a medium that can be tricky to use in a painterly fashion.  His main subject matter was North American big game, although he beautifully captured African and Asian species as well.

Saturday 18 October 2014

From Behind the Easel: Colour Me Glad

“Autumn’s Embrace”, 24”x18”” acrylic on canvas

Autumn is here and my heart leaps.  The shortened days and crisper temperatures remind us that the year is quickly sliding into the darker half.  We collect our bounty as we brace against the barren time ahead.  Our thoughts turn inward while personal journeys of recollection take hold.  But before we shutter ourselves away for the winter, we are treated to nature’s triumph of color.  The artist in autumn is offered the most freedom to explore a vivid palette while remaining true to the source.

My painting “Autumn’s Embrace” features a pair of cedar waxwings against the turning leaves of an aspen.  I love to walk among stands of aspen as they filter the light and gently quake in the breeze.  Their turning leaves have almost a pointillist quality and I decided to frame the tree in my painting quite closely so it has a slightly abstract feel to it.