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Preview: loriann signori's painting-a-day

loriann signori



landscape paintings - Loriann Signori



Updated: 2017-12-13T20:20:09.965-05:00

 



Brush Creek 3

2017-12-11T03:00:00.231-05:00


Ah, Back to Brush Creek. Undisturbed time in a beautiful place, talking with like minds, what more can a person want?
My days were structured. I would rise at 3:00/3:30 AM (I was still on east coast time so I decided why adjust? More focused time!) Walk at sunrise, most times with my friend Lori. Except the one memorable time when I was alone. (That is when I met the mountain lion. I'll save that story rather than getting segued now.) Return to work.  Lunch with others at noonish.....more work. Dinner at 6 ish. Talk, sleep and do it again. BLISS.
During this time I accomplished 12 finished paintings. Rarely can I do that. The reason was- I only used one brain the entire time. Never needing to stray from my painting brain was amazing. During the usual course of the day I (and probably you) wear many brains. For me it's painting, teaching and home/family. Not having to switch brains was bliss. It meant I was always thinking about my work, never straying from its problem solving.
 After many fruitful discussion with the other artists I discovered things that may be obvious to others, but not me. First, our group consisted to a good mix of people. Intentionally they do not group like with like, instead it was a group of diverse interests- Adam(composer), Lori (short story/essay writer),  Laurie (documentary film maker and writer), Ivy (graphic designer), Ryan (photographer) and Crystal (fiction writer.) The one thing we had in common was that no work exists without tension. Music, writing, film, music, you name it, tension must be there to have interest. It's what creates energy. I have always known the way I make tension. If you are interested I will post that list at another time. But now, I added another..... strength vs fragility.

Another nugget of wisdom from the residency. Always continue your search but be open to realizing it was really a different search you were on... not the one you first thought.




new show and Brush Creek

2017-12-04T06:44:02.304-05:00

First I need to invite you to my new show. "Between silences"opens on Wednesday with the reception on Friday night December 8th 6-8pm. It is at Gallery B in Bethesda, Maryland. It will display many of my new works from Wyoming. Before I departed for the residency I had delivered all of my chosen work to my framer. I was relived that it was done..... but I had no idea that I would be so productive that I would bring back 12 new pieces to frame! Here are a few of them.



In total the show has 37 paintings.I will be doing a demonstration and talk on December 16th.
My next post will continue to share the magic of Brush Creek. Thanks for looking!




Brush Creek Residency

2017-11-27T03:30:44.188-05:00


Brush Creek Artist Residency was an amazing experience! It is one of those experiences I will remember forever. I don't know quite where to begin. I think I will divide it into categories that will provide manageable chunks.

The place: Gorgeous, hills, mountains, open plains and plenty of amazing sky provided an inspiring show every minute. Sometimes it was the pink glow for the rising sun on the brilliant snow and other times it was mid-afternoon with snow frosted trees contrasting against a blue sky. It was exquisite. The ranch was miles wide with some many trails that it was hard to complete half of them during my stay.


The People- Bruce and Elizabeth White are the generous benefactors of the whole program. It's so wonderful when people promote the arts! Sharon and Caitie run the program and they are simply adorable and  helpful in every way. There were 7 artists including me. It was so cool to be placed together with artists from different disciplines, one composer, one film writer, one novel writer, one short story writer, a photographer and one graphic designer. Here is a link to read about each. 


In my next post I will write about the experience of working there and then the following post will have a couple of stories. I'll leave you with two thoughts- this was a life-changing experience. And...... I am now in love with Wyoming.



Working

2017-11-06T03:30:09.025-05:00



So much of the work we do happens in our heads, before even picking up a paint brush. This painting (above) is one I did about 6 years ago. I liked it but was never truly satisfied. It has lived in my brain since. This summer, when ideas started to brew, I took it downstairs from the loft and looked, drew and thought. Pastel sketches happened (middle photo) and then I knew what to do. It's almost finished now. Some finessing with the temperatures in the larger masses and the small light mass in the distance, but I am close.

I leave for the residency in moments. The super shuttle should be here soon. In Wyoming they are expecting 1-2 feet of snow when I arrive! Wow! Winter here I come! (At home today the temperature will be 70 degrees!)



packing for my residency at Brush Creek

2017-10-30T05:30:12.586-04:00

(image)
pastel from memory, a place I have painted 500+ times

There is nothing better for an artist than time and space to think solely about his/her art. In the 21st century is a a difficult think to find/or make.
I was fortunate to be awarded a residency by Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. They have an amazing ranch in Wyoming where they offers time and space for artistic exploration through immersion in the extraordinary beauty of the West. 
Writers, visual artists, performance artists, musicians and composers are the residents who are at liberty to structure their own time and activity while on a creative retreat.
Amazing, eh?!
I will be there in November till right before Thanksgiving. Right now I am packing my boxes and readying my boards. When I return I will post photos and stories so stay tuned.

BTW   I have a solo show coming up at Gallery B in Bethesda Maryland. Mark your calendar. The opening is December 8th, Friday 6-8 pm. It runs from December 5-30th. Hope to see you there. Toodles for now.




Important tools when working

2017-10-23T05:27:06.137-04:00


(image)
3x8 on copper
Teaching is something I really enjoy. There are a couple tools that my students find most helpful.
First is the "instant check list." That is a list of the 6 major contrasts to consider in a painting.

1 Light and Dark
2. Cool and Warm
3. Shape- large and small
4. line and mass
5. Saturated and muted
6. Edges -sharp and soft

Place this list near your painting and think about how you check them off. When you run into problems it's usually one of the six offenders.

Nothing beats making a small black and white sketch in your sketchbook before making a painting stroke. Light and dark and shape will be addressed right there. While doing that take the time to write some notes about color and feeling.

(image)
4x6 on gold leaf
Painting to me is all about exploration and wonder. I wonder what will happen if I do.....  These two paintings are on metal. one on copper and one on gold leaf. Why you ask? Why not?
Enjoy your own personal journey.




10 year anniversary

2017-10-14T07:55:48.121-04:00

(image)
11x11 pastel, from Bath County Plein Air

So here it is my ten year blogger anniversary...yay!

Time to think about my relationship with my blog. It began as a a tool. I was finally beginning the journey as a full time artist. I was super excited and scared. I didn't want to fritter away my precious time. So many artists had warned me that you need to prioritize. Now that I am not reporting for a "job" it can be difficult for family members to realize that it is a job and no I'm not free to use my time freely. ( I still do do some part time teaching.)
To help me I did two things, first I set a work schedule. Next, I decided that I would no long rely on photos, instead my work would be done on location or from my memory.

Thus the blog was born. For many years I blogged very single day, without fail. I painted everyday, including Christmas, rain and snow. Finally, after 6th year (I think) I decided I needed more time to work conceptually on the works and not worry about blogging each day.

That is when my work took an new leap.

Now I still love painting and blogging my small works outdoor and from memory. I still have a schedule that I adhere to. But it is through dedication and the ability to have my work on the brain all the time that I think it has grown the most.  It's like wearing a hat on my head all the time. Sometimes it feels just right. Sometimes it's too hot. The hat never comes off.
Things that help that I had no idea would help.:

1. reading poetry
2. meditation practice
3. walks to SEE
4. plein air competitions (now that's a love/hate relationship but it's always a benefit in the end.)
5. friends, especially my art friend Christine Troyer
6. remembering the creating is about constant play and not knowing.
7. creating from my heart and not worrying about how different and out of place my work can seem at a plein air competition.
8. my husband's undying support

Thank you to all of my loyal supporter and blog followers. A special thank you to Marking a Mark super blogger - Katherine Tyrrell. She noticed and displayed my work to a wider audience through her book and blog. Thanks Katherine!



Bath County Plein Air

2017-10-04T07:20:07.537-04:00

This week I am staying in a small cabin that is completely off the grid.  No cell service what so ever. This makes for state of silence in the mind that is a breeding ground for creativity. With small requirements on the artists this plein air festival is sweet. I love having the saturation of time and energy just on my art.  I call it bliss. More about the event when I return home.



we can't be creative if we refuse to be confused

2017-09-20T15:42:02.383-04:00


(image)
pastel, 19x19

Embrace confusion.
We can't be creative if we refuse to be confused. Change always begins with confusion; cherished interpretations must dissolve to make way for the new. Of course it's scary to give up what you know, but the abyss is where newness lives.  great ideas and inventions miraculously appear in the space of not knowing. We must move thru that space that is bathed in fear. On the other side is the reward...beauty reinvented.

I was reading an article by Margaret J Wheatley titled, Turning to One:Simple Conversations to Restore Hope for the Future. This is basically what she said, but interpreted to art/painting. It has stayed with me for the past year. Think about it and tell me what you think.



Secrets

2017-09-11T06:41:01.877-04:00


 I once read that a great painting has secrets that the viewer wants to know. 
Now I think about that. I see George Inness. I see his Home of the Heron than makes me want to be absorbed by it, like a sponge.







life's imperfections

2017-09-06T18:35:19.569-04:00

I don't remember where I read this, but it has stuck in my mind for a long time now.

I will paraphrase,
"Scratches on the old record, this is what life is made of. It's life's imperfections that make it beautiful."

I find myself thinking about that when I create. This particular pastel made the idea tangible.



paint what you love

2017-09-06T18:37:27.783-04:00

(image)
Washington State
I have been traveling (without my computer) for most of the summer. I have missed posting and will try to wrap up my thoughts in this one post.  When I thought about where I go when I travel I noticed a thread. I paint what I love.
(image)
Chincoteague
1. I return to the same place, sometimes even the exact same field for 10 plus years, like I do on Whidbey Island
2. lI ook for the same concept over and over- fields or water with large masses


This year my obsession with fields extended to working with the horizontals and verticals that break the monotony of simply horizontal planes. Chincoteague and Washington State seem to rule. The bottom line is I paint what I love and know intimately. I am not searching for the next big thing. I am not painting postcards to "remember my trip."
The concept is already here, in my head.
(image)
Prince Edward Island
Think about it, why do you paint what you paint?



Fog

2017-08-17T18:23:49.083-04:00

Fog is the great unifier. Down at the Potomac River, this morning. (image)



Construct and deconstruct and repeat

2017-07-17T03:30:01.679-04:00


I have learned that the reason why I paint is truly to fall in love with wonder, over and over. Each time I am at the easel I begin with an intention, yet I allow the painting to truly lead the way. This way painting is more like a good conversation. You can't plan it...you can plant seeds, but you need to listen and respond.
My painting falls somewhere between realism and abstract. I constantly construct my landscape and in the next turn deconstruct  the whole piece. Oftentimes, when I  I leave the easel for the day  my painting is unreadable. When I come back I find my way thru again.
These particular paintings are pastel on top of oil.



chincoteague Inspriation

2017-07-14T04:30:06.915-04:00

My recent painting trip to Chincoteague was inspiring: fog, colored air, quiet and unbelievably- no bugs!
Both of these paintings began with a fluid acrylic underpainting. Then I took notes to describe what the landscape felt like.
Later, back in the studio, I added clear gesso and marble dust, then pastel. The buildings are simply found in the paint, not drawn. It just appears like magic.... a conversation with the painting.




those pesky greens

2017-06-28T06:12:03.331-04:00


(image)

So many people dread summer just because it is GREEN. Here are a few tips I use for working with greens.
1. Find the possibilities. I do many smalls before beginning a painting.
(image) 2. Try using different colors underneath for your under painting. What happens if you use only neutrals? Or just complements or analogous colors. Stretch!
3. Make a tiny hole with your hand.  Look through it to isolate the color. It's not really green, right? Most of the greens out there are layers that make an interesting warm or a cool and many are neutral.
4. Push it. Sometimes you need drama.    Exaggerate.

Here are three in summer...all green and all different times of day. All three were painted within 5 miles of my home.







creating smalls to prepare for large paintings

2017-06-23T05:25:02.029-04:00


My recent workshop artists in Cincinnati embraced the challenge of creating "smalls." That means that each member is creating a small 3x3" or 4x4" painting a day. The point is simply to be there and respond. Easy, eh? Unfortunately I can not show you their work since it is on a private Facebook page, but I will show you two of yesterday's smalls.



Whistler- and seduction by realism

2017-05-24T13:13:45.436-04:00

(image)
study from Sanibel Island
Whistler talks about this in some letters. Here is one recipient's quote,"He complained that he was seduced by that damn realism and it was so easy to just paint what was out there. And I think maybe he worried that he wasn’t being original enough, that he was too closely associated with Courbet, that he hadn’t been well-trained. And that he had kind of gravitated to Courbet’s realism because of his lack of training.”

Ruskin was too ill to attend, but several artists, including Burne-Jones, took the stand to defend Ruskin’s position, though the defense of Ruskin was more of an attack on Whistler. Under questioning from Charles Synge Christopher Bowen, counsel for the defendant, Burne-Jones characterized Whistler’s work as “incomplete . . . an admirable beginning,” “deficient in form,” and without composition.
Oh, to be as deficient in form as Whistler!



Moon set in October

2017-05-09T20:28:49.786-04:00

Breathe, see, feel, know.
Paint.



The horizon line and red buds

2017-04-17T07:01:10.134-04:00

The horizon line is a tyrant that demands you find a way to manage its particular demands. How do you bridge the two completely different and unrelated elements (sky and land) in the landscape? How to deal with " the line?" Each situation is different and requires a new way of adapting.
I have been painting by the red buds since their arrival this spring. The silvery beauty of the naked trees contrast to the golden greens of the bud leaves...and then you add the pow! of the red buds and wowza!!!! Fun! I just can't stop.




Visual kiss

2017-03-31T11:59:14.432-04:00


Painting is like a visual kiss.  Touching you deep inside. It's not our job as artists to simply take inventory of what we see. We are not describers of what we see.

Remember how you see is different than what you see. 


I'm on Sanibel Island enjoying the warmth. The feel is so obviously sultry and yet exciting.



Value always does the work

2017-03-13T06:20:11.036-04:00

The master Jean-Francois Millet wrote in a letter, "If a sketch seen in the dim half light at the end of the day has the requisite balance- ponderation- it is a picture: if not, no clever arrangement of color, no skill in drawing our elaborate finish, can ever make our a picture."
That said- as one surfs the slippery tide of color vibration one can easily get lost. My solution is to also spent time making large value pastels. It's one of those catch 22s. The abstract of the painting is always the mos important..if that doesn't work it will never work. We want to be free to answer to the painting rather than impose the "scene." Therefore I make these and then put them aside.



Be still

2017-03-20T19:48:46.970-04:00

(image)
8x8 pastel

Be still and alone. In your silence the world will offer itself up to you.
This painting had to sit for two years. I had to learn to listen to what it needed rather than force my agenda.



Vincent van Gogh and mistakes

2017-02-06T05:00:17.221-05:00

In a particularly impassioned letter to Theo from October 2, 1884, Vincent writes:
If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie… That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.
You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything. The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves.
Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas IS AFRAID of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of “you can’t.”
Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.
But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something, and hangs on to that, in short, breaks, “violates”…
Think about it. Working on old pieces that you long ago gave up on is a great way to feel some freedom. You no longer have the inspiration in front of you. If you began from a photo you hopefully no longer have that...and bingo you are completely free to make a beautiful song with the painting.
Ever since I have been in my walking boot (8 weeks and counting) it has been difficult to stand for a long time to work on my super large paintings.  During these weeks I have taken time to review my plethora of unfinished or unloved works stored in my tracing pads. This was one I did in plein air (last summer) and later gamsoled down in places. I had that reduced piece on my shelf for weeks. Looking to see the secrets that lay inside. When I finally returned to work on it, it was easy.




Doing smalls

2017-03-20T19:48:21.910-04:00

(image)

(image)
(image) Here are four small paintings done by the roadside. They are done quickly, without thought. I simply respond.
It's funny how if you just allow yourself to  react without making a color plan, the light even feels better.  I love these little Haikus!
Try it sometime and let me know how it goes. I think you will love the spontaneity.
BTW I will exhibit some of these little jewels in the Waverly Street Gallery's show -Process and Inspiration. Here is a link to the show.