Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blue Willow

I was going through some of the art websites in search of some of my favorite artists (little do they know) to see what makes them have more views and comments then others. I was noticing that each of them have a style all of their own. They rarely venture forth to do anything different from their established style. Even if one of them can draw realistic portraits in graphite, because the style established is marker, you will never see a graphite portrait. This sort of artist has been educated, studied, and knows what works well for him/her. I smiled at their efforts and how well they are all doing and then in focusing on my ability, I start to wonder and become frustrated.
Iowa Blue

Why be frustrated if I know I can draw well? Where does the frustration come from if I have studied too. Why would this be an issue?

Peacock Blue
Artists know that success in an endeavor such as art can be daunting. One cannot be sensitive to critiques nor weak when all don't crowd to purchase all of the finished products. It took me a bit of time to realize this. I recently had a critique from a piece that I was especially pleased with. I didn't ask for it, and he decided to write it as a comment on the art website. I was pleasant with the person because I have also come to realize artists might be sensitive, they (not including me) can be cut throat as well. The purpose for being cut throat is to remove the competition. It didn't work. I simply stated why I drew the piece as I did and thanked him for his unsolicited critique. Though that could cause some to fold and be done with it, I still went to search to see what I could do to make my art better and to develop my own style and stay with that.

Corn Silk
One of the things I have maintained is my enjoyment of Art Nouveau. I simply adore the style of Alphonse Mucha and Aubrey Beardsley. Mucha shows such brilliance when styling hairstyles and incorporates with flowers, foliage and branches. While Beardsley maintains a monotone with color if not all black and white, his crisp lines and attention to detail caused me to stare at each work longer then most. However, Art Nouveau didn't start with these 2 artists. I found before Mucha's time, Jugendstil was the name of the same style of art in Germany. The stylized flowers and foliage were much more extravagant and extended into architecture, jewelry design and furniture. That was it. There is no other style that has my attention more then this one. Now how can I make it my own so no matter who sees my work, can tell that it is mine without seeing my signature? It is such the compliment and the true acknowledgment of success when the style is well known.

Recently, I was studying the illustration of flowers to be inspired to develop a design for the background of portraits. As I went through the pages and pages on the search engines of the internet, I came upon the patterns of a very popular design in China. It is called Blue Willow, amongst others. It was not only the design that inspired me but the discipline of not showing color in flowers and maintaining just the same monotone of blue and white. I decided to make a go of it to see if it could work in portrait design.

The first drawing I called, Jugend. I did this particular piece last year and allowed for it to stand alone. I wasn't too sure I liked drawing a portrait in blue and the pattern looked a little too simple for my taste. So I stared at it from time to time and watched to see how well it would do with those that are following, watching, or am on their fav list. It was average, so I kept it but didn't think anymore about it. Inspired by the China pattern, I went for the other portraits and continued to draw until I completed them all. The second one is entitled, Iowa Blue. I didn't use a photograph for the portrait, I just needed to see another drawing with the flower design. I liked this one but it reminded me of the color pencil drawing I have called Clematis. Still, when finished, it still looked as if it needed something that I didn't do to the fist one. I don't know what the technique is called other then feathering the outline all the way around the image. I was beginning to like it and was ready to see the others.  

Out of Denim
Peacock Blue, Corn Silk and Out of Denim came really quick. I was a little concerned that the details weren't as keen as the other two and I would no longer be inspired to do more. But it just didn't happen. After those three came three more, Cerulean, Violet, and BrookIn completing these illustrations I was beginning to see why I enjoyed doing portraits and that of women. There is a softness of femininity that is captured with the style of art nouveau. In this style many of the women from the past seemed stoic even slightly depressed or annoyed; yet, they all modeled for Mucha. His reasoning for making them appear this way was his style - it didn't necessarily have to be mine.

I did think about the expression and about women of these days and times. There has to be a determination, a look of thoughtfulness, a little playfulness, but most of all feminine. Before I knew it I completed 13 of these blue and white pieces. So far on 2 art websites, they are doing well. Most have been featured on the front page of groups and I have received glowing comments. Have I found the style that I will use forever, I don't know. I still enjoy children's illustration and I don't see the style of Art Nouveau in that.  

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