Putting together a small exhibition

I have a small exhibition in Aalborg University library right now. Despite corona social weirdness and limitations, it feels great to see my pictures hanging on the walls in this nice space. I really wanted to show my works in 2020 and it’s happening! It will last till the end of January.

It happened quite unexpectedly, even though I was talking to the art union representatives for several months. Their sudden call was a nice last moment 2020 surprise.

Now to a few technicalities of putting together a small exhibition 🙂

It is the second time I have my pictures presented, but this time it was much more difficult to put it together – mostly due to the grown volume and difference in materials. Today I paint not only in watercolor, there are many pictures in acrylics and oil. I wanted them to play nicely together, and I think it worked in the end, even though the pieces are rather different in mood and contrast. I took some pictures of the ready exhibition and of my “casting” at home. 

A separate challenge was to hang frames on the walls nicely. I’ve never tried hanging a bare canvas frame before. It turned out to be quite difficult for a newbie like me J  I spent like 3+ hours putting them up. I needed to figure the order first, and even though I had a vague plan of my grouping, I had to change it a lot on the way. Make them hang on the same level was also “fun”. With my lack of experience in the field, it was quite an exercise, but learning was exponential)). Now I think I’ll have far less trouble with a similar task 🙂

At the same time I felt a bit under the weather because of corona situation. Exhibiting at the moment when not even half of the potential viewers can access the pictures is not feeling exactly great. So I was a bit hesitant to share the news on social media. But then I finally pulled myself together and made a small post on personal Facebook. I think I’ve never got so many positive reactions and comments on social media before, it was awesome – I am very thankful. So now, when the exhibition is almost over and almost no one can see it due to a harder lockdown, I still am writing about it. Because every step matters 🙂

Have a nice day and stay safe, everyone.

Oil

A month ago I started going to a painting studio Monday (sometimes Wednesday) evenings to learn a bit about oil and acrylic painting techniques and just book some time for painting at least once a week. What can I say?

Oh..I enjoy oil paint so so much! My background is watercolor and most of the time it’s just a lot of stress: you have to be fast and you get only one attempt, almost no chance for fixing it later. Oil? It’s the texture, beautiful soft mixing properties, no change in color after drying. Downsides? It dries very slowly. So to get the next layer, you have to wait at least a day or two. For an impatient person like me it’s a little hell, but, on the bright side, I get a lot of time to think about the next layer, and planning is good even in arts 🙂

So, in a month I finished three paintings, sizes are 20×30 and 30×30. My personal favorite for now is the mussels :3

My goal was to get less figurative, and I told my teacher about it from the start, so today he said something like, “ok, I can see you can paint, so do you want to push it a bit further?” Yes, I do 🙂 so on Monday I’ll start my first big abstract, 60×60 or so. Looking forward to 🙂

How to use references?

Recently I’ve seen a drawn copy of a photo I pinned to one of my boards on Pinterest, and then I’ve seen more pictures like this. It made me think about references in general. Just a quick note for those who are not sure what a reference is. A reference in art is an object, often a photograph, used for getting the details like anatomy, lighting, colour etc. right in the drawing/painting. Ideally, an artist should be able to draw “from head”, and some people are strictly against using references. But I think it is all right to use them in order to get a more realistic image – a bit of help to get the shape right. Quite often I have an idea of what I want to paint/draw in my head, and then I start looking for a suitable image to use as a reference, quite often I have a particular pose in mind, or an object.

What I am against, is when someone makes a copy of a beautiful photograph she saw – on Pinterest, for example. I don’t think it’s real art then, because the photographer has already done all the work: found the light, made composition. Making a copy is more of artisan, not a real artist. But sometimes it is really hard to resist “copying” something, especially when the picture you’ve seen is so great – I’ve tried that myself 🙂 In this case,I think it’s a good idea to add something of your own to it, supplement it with a new character/element, tell a bit different story, use other colours. Maybe even though it’s not 100% yours then, it’s still have your individuality in it.

I am a big fan of Pinterest, but now I think I’ll be using it less for references and more for recipes and cool things for the décor 🙂 Where to get the references then? Magazines, commercials, movie screenshots, pictures from your vacation, just what you see around you. I think it’s not even the question of where you get your references from, it’s about how you work with them. Do you copy it all, or just get that one line you were not sure about, or that combination of colous that you haven’t thought of before.. there are many ways. I’m trying to use the pictures I take myself more. I’ve collected quite a lot of material while travelling, and on a usual weekday try to not be lazy and pull out my phone every time i see something interesting.  

These watercolors are based on the pictures I took on my last trip in Asia, one with my phone and another with the camera. Trying to do “art” of a snapshot is quite an exercise, makes you think 🙂