Online art exhibits, Finding inspiration at home, and more

Tuesday Night Painting #2

Kelli Thompson, Farewell Transmission, Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in

Hello painters, 

I've moved my studio to my apartment since the shutdown and have commandeered the kitchen table for my painting work. I've been putting in a few hours each day on a series of paintings that you can see on Instagram here. While watching the paint dry and thinking of what's next, I alternate between scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and the news.

Instagram is now awash with all manner of artists, curators, and gallerists, looking for an outlet for their work. I've come across many new projects, online art installations, artist interviews, and more. I'll share with you one online art exhibit that I really enjoyed, plus I'll suggest some ways that you can generate some inspiration if you are feeling cooped up at home.

Scroll down to find some colorful eye candy to check out for this week.

Hayley Youngs, Joaquin Phoenix, Acrylic, 30 x 48 in

I'm sharing with you an installation of paintings that was meant to take place in NYC this month curated by the artist Kirstin Lamb, called Rainbow/Prism [click for a link to the show's website].

Lamb writes about the theme of her show: "Rainbows and prisms break white light into color. Painters work to divide color on their palettes and observe color from life to place upon a surface. In this show I am interested in painters whose practices highlight the rainbow, the literal brights of the spectrum in their work. Imaging not so much from life but from a kind of alter-plane of magik and conjuring, wishful dreaming and gauzy filtered viewing."
Hayley Youngs, Gardens and Fountains at Versailles, 2019, Acrylic, 18 x 24 in
Hayley Youngs, Summer Sundog, Acrylic, 2019, 18 x 24 in
I love the color choices that happen in Hayley Youngs' paintings, which are full of lush and vibrant pastels. Her candy colored palettes involve eye-catching shifts in hue and value, typically featuring two dominant colors and many jewel-toned accents. There's a lot of excitement and action happening within her compositions. Lamb describes these canvases as "part hard edge and part flower bed."

Youngs' paintings remind me of the work of Hilma af Klint. These sun-soaked colors and dynamic patterns are what Hilma's paintings may have looked like if she were creating in Miami instead of in Sweden. 
Hayley Youngs, Spring, 2019, Acrylic, 18 x 24 in
Hilma af Klint, Number 25, The Dove, 1915
Hilma af Klint, Number 1, Altarpiece, 1915
Hilma af Klint, The Dove, Number 3, 1915

The artist Kelli Thompson likewise composes very hard edge, geometric abstractions with a similarly vibrant, jewel-like color palette. I'd describe Thompson's compositions as aggressive, with sharp shapes, triangles, and arrows demanding your eye go where they are pointing. Yet the colors are easy on the eye, and pull back on the aggression of the shapes themselves.

Jen Shepherd's paintings provide an interesting counter-point to the hard-edge abstraction of the others. The hand of the artist is clearly visible in Shepherd's work. Drippy marks and brushy strokes stand out, as do the bright neon colors contrasted against some murky grays and blues. 

Kelli Thompson, The Final Voyage of the Liquid Sky, 2018, Oil on panel, 18 x 24 in
Kelli Thompson, Dutchess and the Proverbial Mind Spread, Oil on panel, 18 x 24 in
Jen Shepherd, Magik, gouache, water-soluble spray paint on canvas, 34 x 24 in
Jen Shepherd, Enlightened, gouache, water-soluble spray paint on canvas, 60 x 48 in
There are other great artists and artworks in this show that you can check out for yourself here at this link. Hope you enjoyed some of those colors and compositions! It's a very psychedelic show, and I wish we could all take a field trip there to see it in person. I think Hilma would have enjoyed it as well. 
This week I found a great NY Times article called "How to see the world when you're stuck at home"  The author, Reif Larsen, talks about how he and his three-year old son coped with their cancelled beach vacation to South Carolina by clicking around on Street View from Google Maps to recreate their lost trip.  I love Google Street View and have used photos and screenshots from there as the inspiration for some of my paintings as well. There's a website called that finds and uploads some incredibly odd, ridiculous, and fascinating scenes from Street View, so you can use this site to start you off, or you can browse around Street View and find your own images to use. After reading Larsen's tale of traveling from the comfort of his own home, I thought this would be a perfect prompt if you don't have any ideas of what to paint this week.

There's a lot of striking photos you can find on your own on Street View that can provide inspiration for a new painting. As an example here's one that I pulled off the 9-eyes website:

I could take this and easily transform it into the beginning of a painting. The key to getting your painting started is looking for large, simple shapes that can suggest the beginning of a composition. I'm going to take some of the simple, large shapes within this picture and start filling them in with solid colors using Photoshop.

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3: 

You can quickly get a composition started by using the shapes suggested by a photo. You don't have to stick with this arrangement of shapes of course, but it's a way to kick things off. For some people, a simple hard-edge arrangement like this would even be enough to call it a finished composition, and then after that it's down to fine-tuning the color palette.

So if you need a prompt this week I highly suggest taking Google Street View for a spin and see what you can discover. Again, it's fun (and maybe a little creepy) to see how your neighborhood gets captured in this program, but also great to explore places you've never been before or would love to revisit.

I encourage you to click on all the links in Larsen's article because he takes us on a pretty fun journey. There's lots of random and surprising things you can come across in Street View and it can be really enjoyable exploring either your own neighborhood or a country you've never visited before. 
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And finally, in the Boston Globe this week, I will share with you yet another article about Helen Frankenthaler's time spent in Provincetown which you can see by clicking on this link. You might remember this NY Times article about Frankenthaler that we looked at in our class last summer. 
And so we reach the end of another Tuesday Night letter. I hope to write to you again next Tuesday to keep the painting vibes going. Here are some more tunes that I've been listening to lately in the studio (which is now my apartment):

Melodiesinfonie - AO Longo Do Rio
Basa Basa - Homowo
RAS - Boogie
Isaac Hayes - Hung Up on my Baby
Steve Hauschild ft Julianna Barwick - Saccade

See you next time!
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