Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When I was a kid...

This a post about sources of inspiration. Its a winding path I am taking here but bear with me.

Detail of forsythia painting when I was 4 or 5
I had been searching for this "Forsythia" painting that I did as a very young child for quite some time, even emailing my mother to see if she had it. Turns out it was right under my nose, badly creased in a book that was one of those "All about me" books that kids can fill in.

Please ignore that bit about being a hairdresser or movie star

I know I was very young when I filled in this book based on the items that my mother filled in and my address. I am positively giddy when I see this and wish that I could tell my 5 year old self to just be patient.
It was in this book that I found the lost painting that I wanted.

I was looking for it because I always loved the simplicity of the floral abstract. I remember painting this and knowing that forsythia do not actually look like this but that what I was doing was unmistakeably floral and I was happy with that.

I think that is why I gravitate towards floral themes in my art.
I ordered The paintings of Joan Mitchell and have been devouring it.
 I was pleasantly surprised to see a childhood painting and several examples of her work as a student.
I love almost every painting in large color plates in the book and seeing the progression of her style.

Begonia-Joan Mitchell

The obviously floral abstracts are among my favorite but the the abstracts with a harder feel really speak to me too.
Some of the Joan Mitchell paintings were described as "happy and floral" by the writer who was puzzled by Joan's description of a "violent" painting.
I wondered about the line between pretty/floral and violent. Could they coexist on the same canvas?
Here is my first stab at that.
"What if God wears boots?" oil and gouache on canvas By Kerry Steele
This is a small (18 x 24) painting and I need to make these larger. There is a bit of texture that I like.

I have been experimenting with oils lately and think I am hooked. I always let the dry time deter me from trying them and thought they would operate the same as acrylics but take a week to dry. The experience with oils is wholly different.
The inspiration was Joan Mitchell paintings and I want to continue to explore this way of painting both in style and materials.
FYI, Mr Design du Monde hates, hates, hates this painting and you might not dig it either but that is OK.
Go ahead be honest.

 and one other, as yet untitled, late night foray into the joy of oils.
One last little thing, as everyone here was rushing out to grocery stores ahead of the impeding storm, I was rushing to the art supply store for some large canvases. My odd priorities were not lost on me.

Do tell, do you like this moodier style?


PURA VIDA said...

I LOVE this post...my mom dumped me off at art lessons when I was 6 and older and I still have some of the paintings my dear grandmother saved that are so very naive and wonderful. I think kid's art is the best!

AND...my daughter is dating a movie star who is from our town...actually he's just an actor, but pretty well known...so I'm pretty sure he circled movie star is his book..you just never know.

I love your work!

Patty Day @Pattys Epiphanies said...

What a wonderful FIND! A treasure for sure.

Christina Baker said...

This is seriously the sweetest blog post. It really touches a nerve with me. Thank you for sharing and bringing me back.

This style is totally working for you. You have a wonderful looseness to your work that makes really creates an innocence to it.


Vel Criste said...

Love this post kerry! I love it too when an artist explores out of their comfort zone, so go ahead and be moody, be"violent"!

PS: love your painting as a child, you should frame it!

Windlost said...

I love this post too, Kerry. It is very touching (and your wee forsythia painting is stunning).

I think the book you mention sounds fascinating and now I want to read (see) it!

I love all your paintings. I cannot see a difference and would have to study closer, but I do like the last one also. I think anything with straight lines I think of as more "violent" and anything with flowery curves I might think of as floral. You have a really nice style. I really do need to buy one because I am sure you are going to be famous (more famous). :)

By the way, thinking back to childhood, my first loves were drawing and reading as a child, followed shortly thereafter by fashion, and decorating my room. When I think back to all the hours spent decorating my room, bringing leaves inside to put in baskets, etc. one would think I might have seen a potential career. Sadly, I didn't know such careers even existed. And I was good at math.

But it is so nice to reflect back on our early loves as they are our truest selves, I am sure.

xo Terri

The Pink Pagoda said...

I'm so glad you found the painting! That's so fantastic that you have it and the fill in book. I do like your new painting. Linda calls my husband Mr. Pink Pagoda. Ha!

An Urban Cottage said...

I LOVE Joan Mitchell. Also love your "What if God Wears Boots." I love that you're adding/leaving splashing and drips. Those add another layer of texture and depth, and also a variation from what might be intended.

Adore your forsythia painting. It's genius!

My Crafty Home Life said...

I like it, and I am surprised your husband has such a strong feeling against it. I love how you told the story, and got here. I also hope that it was a lucky guess when you were a child, because my daughter wanted to be a Pop Star. She can't sing, and doesn't like being on stage.

Nancy said...

All your dreams really are coming true! I do like the darks in your pieces, but then again I love happy colors, too. You seem to mix them up beautifully!
xo Nancy

Julie Taylor and Danni Greenwalt said...

Love that your following your dreams...your a very talented lady!

My Notting Hill said...

Isn't that interesting - my favorite one is the last one. I also love the small one with texture. I hope you frame your forsythia painting to keep it safe and in view, I think its lovely.

Julia | Pawleys Island Posh said...

God most definitely wears boots. I love love love!