I love each new issue of Artist magazine I receive. I always find inspiration in its pages, and even more, I find myself being challenged in new ways. I’m continually being pushed to try things that are beyond my skill level. The articles and how-to’s help me step away from my artistic comfort zones and look at the world — and my expression of it — from many different perspectives.
The experience has taught me that art isn’t a singular concept. We can approach it from any direction. It is ours to create as we choose.
A recent article shared an art journey along the Dalmatian Coast of the Adriatic Sea, including the island of Korcula and the main town, also called Korcula. It’s a medieval walled town surrounded on three sides by water, and “whose buildings mass up to a central spire of the cathedral.”
As soon as I saw this walled city, I wanted to paint it. I loved the jumble of shapes, the contrast of the red-orange rooftops against the sea, and that gorgeous spire of the cathedral rising above it all.
Of course I could never really paint a scene like this, but why let that stop me? I wanted a chance to explore the city as an artist, to play with all those shapes, to enjoy the colors, and to create something uniquely my own.
The scene was such a radical departure from my usual painting that it became almost a dare.
I began with an orange-toned canvas panel, then with pencil, I drew in a mish-mash of buildings, using the spire as a focal point. Next, I used a brown acrylic to outline the buildings. It was impossible to tell where one ended and another began, but that was precisely what I loved most about Korcula.
Another radical departure for me was using a new set of water-soluble oils to create a simple underpainting, blocking in some of the brighter colors. Later, after the underpainting had dried, I used my usual oil paints to play with the colors of the houses, and to add windows and doors. I left a little bit of a street — is that what it really is? And I used dark greens, reds, and other colors to add trees growing along the edges.
I like my crazy, mixed-up town of Korcula. It was a fun painting to do, and I’m very happy with how it turned out. It’s different from my usual art, and maybe that’s what I find so appealing about it.
Sometimes we need to make radical departures from the ordinary, especially in art.