Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My painting process by Aida Garrity

Some people have asked me how do I start my painting process. I could talk for weeks on everything that should be consider but I will try to summarize it as follows:

1. I do not quickly set up and start a painting. I normally walk around the area or the model to see how I can find something that is really interesting to me. For example: a better view of the subject, a color contrast, etc. By taking my time during this step, I establish my statement in the painting and this means "finding a meaning and a reason for painting the scene or specific angle of the model."
Thumbnails of different compositions

2. My second step is the composition. In order to select the best composition, I create a series of thumbnail studies. These are very small free hand sketches that can vary in size from 1 1/2" x 1" to 5 1/2" x 4". I use the small thumbnail sizes when I am working on Plein air paintings. Large thumbnails are reserved for studio paintings. I also use thumbnails to evaluate the color scheme that I plan to use in the paintings. As an example, I evaluate different background colors.

These two steps for me are crucial because I need to have a definite idea of where I am going with a painting. It is very simple, in order to get somewhere...you need to know the directions or you may get lost and get nowhere.

In my next blog I will continue to describe the remaining steps of my process. In the meantime, take a look at the examples that I added to this post related to the thumbnails.

Till then! Have  a happy painting!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Books as a means of motivation and inspiration

A few weeks ago there was a post on Facebook related to artist's favorite books. The post immediately triggered my curiosity. It was interesting to see that all the books that were recommended I already own and read!.

During the development of my art career, books have become a companion and a source of motivation, inspiration and learning. For those of you who enjoy reading books too, here is a list of reasons and books that I recommend based on my own needs and experience:

a) Art books are a good source to learn about the path that master artists has gone through to grow as an artist. At this time, I am reading "Cecilia Beaux - American Figure Painter" by Sylvia Yount. I absolutely love it! I also recommend "John Sargent" by Evan Charteris.

b) I also use books as a source for helping me resolve problems that I encounter in my painting process. If I find an obstacle while I am working on a painting, I immediately look for ways on how other artists tackled it in their own paintings. Some of the books that I consult the most are: Alla Prima I and Alla Prima II" by Richard Schmid, "Oil Painting Secrets from a Master" By Linda Cateura, "An Artist Teaches - Reflections on the Art of Painting" by David Leffel, "The Language of Drawing - From an Artist Viewpoint" by Sherrie McGraw, "Not Far from Home" by Daniel Gerhartz and "Vision & Voyages" by Susan Lyon among others.

c) Books that lift our artistic souls to a greater level. This is difficult to explain but here are some books that I highly recommend that are related to this subject: "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri, "The Painter in Oil" by Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst and "The Eye of the Painter" by Andrew Loomis.

I have some more books that I recently received and I am really looking forward to read them. In future blogs I will provide more information about these new books.
Happy painting and Happy reading!!!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What inspired that painting?

I recently finished a portrait that I titled "Brendy". Brendy is a beautiful model and family member that I greatly enjoy painting.
Her beautiful face, sensitivity and values triggered my curiosity and desire to capture all her great qualities on the canvas.
With the help of my mother, I set up my visual concept that already existed in my mind and that eventually became the framework of my painting.

Based on that concept I set up the composition, values and colors. During the painting  process, I encountered some obstacles that were resolved by studying the work of master artists like John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn and Cecilia Beaux.

As Robert Henri quoted "A work of art is the trace of a magnificent struggle"

Here is the final painting!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"Capturing a Moment"

As an artist, my motivation is to be able to transmit a message that will catch the viewer's attention and leave a significant impact in their lives.

One of the rewarding things of painting outdoors is to be able to exchange with people that stop by to offer encouragement when we are capturing on our canvas what inspires us. As a result of the exchange, I get emails from some visitors describing the beautiful impact of the moment and their own experience. Here is an excerpt of one of the latest messages that I received:

"“I was so excited to see your painting of Lobster Cove completed.  If you recall, my friend and I were there together watching you paint that scene .  It was a very special moment for us, both talking with you and seeing you  work.  It was like story telling with many different narrators, as we circled your group, looking at the ocean and the shore and viewing the many different interpretations around us.”

 It makes me feel immensely happy to receive this type of feedback which is the product of capturing the wonderful world that God created.

Thanks to all of you for taking a moment to stop by. Your comments are a real blessing to me!

©2013 Aida Garrity. "Lobster Cove - Monhegan Island", Oil, 11 x 14

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Learning from the Masters

Painting for me is a passion. It is a visual language where I am trying to communicate to the viewer the beauty that I see in the world that surrounds me.  As part of my learning process, I have dedicated some time to study the work of other artists - specifically, masters of the past.

The exercise has been very rewarding and it has helped me to solve the problems that I encounter during the frustrating moments when a painting is not successful. The process has provided lesson about color, edges, tonal values and brush work.
One of my favorite master artist is John Singer Sargent. He was the greatest of modern portrait painters. An account of Sargent's technical methods is included in the famous 1927 biography by Evan Charteris. Sargent's five (5) basic principles for painting can be summarized as:
·         Directness: He aimed at once for true tone and color. His technique was basically Alla Prima.
·         Economy of means: Economy of effort, fewer brushstrokes possible.
·         Accuracy of value: Absolute precision on the lightness or darkness of each tone.
·         Attention to transition: The flow of one tone or color into the adjacent one. The treatment of edges whether sharp or soft.
·         Everything based on observation: the artist must develop the power to see with accuracy and analytical discern.
One of my favorite paintings of John Singer Sargent is the 1892 masterpiece "Lady Agnew" which is located in the National Museum of Edinburg, Scotland. I was not able to copy it at the museum, instead I used a high resolution photograph. Of course, I do not claim that my study would be an exact replica of the great masterpiece but the exercise provided great lessons about color, edges, values and brush work.
Here is my study of Lady Agnew!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Have you ever spent a day doing things that you really love?

Well, this past Friday August 9th, I dedicated the entire day to share with my artist friends, visiting museums, attending opening receptions and looking at great art. It was such a rewarding day that started with a trip to visit my great friend, mentor and master artist Judith Carducci. I also had the pleasure of meeting my artist friends Kim Moore, Susan Cone Porges, and Carol Medhurst and we all headed out to have a great lunch. The afternoon adventure proceeded with a visit to the Butler Museum of Art in Youngstown, Ohio where we enjoyed the art of the American Impressionists, John Singer Sargent and Robert Henri. We also had the chance to see an outstanding portrait of Judith Carducci painted by Mark Giangaspero which is showcased at the 77th Mid Year Exhibit.
Judith Carducci's Portrait painted by Mark Giangaspero

The story continued with a visit to a visit to the BayArts area where my friend Judy Takacs was having her opening reception for her famous Chick With Balls exhibit which I greatly enjoyed.

It was a very wonderful and inspiring day!



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I was honored to be part of the Publisher's Invitational Paint Out that took place at the Adirondacks this past June 2013. A bit more than 100 painters very part of this wonderful gathering at Paul Smith's College. It was wonderful to share with some other artists without having to compete with each other. I greatly enjoyed the beautiful waterfalls and the serene mountain scenes. It was a great feeling to share with old and new friends this amazing Plein Air experience! Here are some samples of what I was able to paint:
©2013 Aida Garrity. "Monument Falls At The Adirondacks" Oil on canvas, 14" x 11" Private Collection. 

©2013 Aida Garrity "At The Adirondacks" Oil on canvas, 8" x 10" Available through my website www.aidabgarrity.com