I will be showing the landscapel below at the Harvey Milk Photo Center January 8-February 7 with Art Saves Lives, curated by Thomasina DeMaio. The reception will be held January 18th, with live music featuring the incredible Tribal Baroque! It will be an amazing reception, hope to see you there.
What: Winter Exhibition
Where: Harvey Milk Photo Center, 50 Scott Street, San Francisco, CA
Impressionistic realism has been the foundation of my art for many years, but that’s starting to change as I explore mixing identifiable forms that are relatable to abstract forms that work on a different level. Abstract art has merit, but I hadn’t pursued it until now because I struggled with how to communicate with it.
For me, the human figure is the most relevant symbolic subject in art. People are complex: outwardly transparent, but inwardly hidden. We respond to the Mona Lisa because while her body is drawn to perfection, her veiled thoughts through her smile intrigues us and draws us to this painting. So how can a painting be both approachable and mysterious?
Fast forward 450 years from Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to the 1950’s Bay Area Figurative movement (lead by David Park), when an intriguing fusion of figurative art combined with Abstract Expressionism. Painters in this school ( David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, Wayne Thiebaud…) had different reasons for mixing figurative representation and abstraction, but many found a dead end in Abstract Expressionism’s ability to communicate. They resisted being constrained by a formal “school”, but instead believed in taking freely from both figurative and abstract traditions.
I’m working on a series now that uses the figure as an anchor, like this movement. In one of these paintings (“Green Shorts”, below), a solitary figure stares out at an abstracted plane, resembling the sea. (or, is it a clouded sky?).
The figure is used as an entrance into this world of sunshine and contemplation. He stands on the picture plane as if an observer himself to the alternating bands of blues, violets and grays. It’s designed in such a way that his surroundings are open to interpretation: he could be in a museum (barefoot—probably not allowed!) surrounded by a large painting himself.
I had a lot of fun with this one. While the reference photo I used is in fact of a man at the beach, the viewer can have fun with this and imagine other scenarios. For example, he could be standing on flat land, looking out at distant snow-capped hills, sky, and clouds above. If you were not told this was the sea, could you see alternative realities like this for his view?
This ambiguity is what interests me, because I believe strongly that the best art requires participation by the viewer. Just as decoding the Mona Lisa’s thoughts are the viewer’s creation, I seek to give the viewer the opportunity to find their own meaning. This makes the painting theirs through co-creation between viewer and artist.
So that’s what I’m working on. It is fun creating these worlds, but not easy—art never is!
Postscript: This series will probably be shown in San Francisco at Spark Arts, in April, but specifics TBD.
I will be leading a 2 hour color and design workshop in San Francisco on Saturday, May 19, 10am-Noon. It is free. No need to bring materials, this is a 2-hour slideshow discussion. In this donation-based class, you’ll learn and discuss with other artists:
“For a few weeks in August, 1976, Hollywood magic flipped the coasts of the United States and transformed the coast south of Moñtana de Oro State Park into Passamaquoddy, Maine. A lighthouse was built near Point Buchon as part of Pete’s Dragon, the most expensive Walt Disney production to date.” So reported local papers as Disney built a lighthouse on the Buchon Trail, the subject of a new show at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art October 5-8. I’m honored to be one of several invited artists invited to capture this landscape “en plein air” for a show of paintings fresh off the easel. The gallery above shows some of the paintings I plan to hang.
This incredible coastal area was only opened to the public a few years ago, and as far as I know, this is the first show dedicated to the unspoiled beauty of this land. Being there last week, driven with my painting equipment in a 4-wheel drive on seldom used private dirt roads, I had a chance to see how the earliest Native Americans and their Spanish invaders witnessed an unspoiled California coast.
If you’re an artist or collector, chances are you’ve seen countless paintings of Laguna Beach, Point Lobos or Morro Bay–but you’re unlikely to have seen this incredible landscape chosen by Disney studios to amaze movie goers.
And it is an amazing landscape. Of particular interest (which I’m not posting here–come to the show and see it!) are the large rock stacks just off shore that are considered the “Stonehenge of the Pacific.” They really are incredible, and I had a great time painting them to prepare for the show with fellow artists. Several of us painted these icons, and they’re each unique. Come see what each artist saw.
So, join us, by either viewing the show at the museum, and/or watching the artists (including me) paint the area live. As a bonus, the proceeds from the show will help fund this local icon of Central Coast arts, the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. Click here for more detail, if you come, say hello!
The August show is hung! I have 9 framed works and a bin of inexpensive unframed works availbale. Open for the new Castro art walk this Thurs night, and the opening reception next Friday night (8/11). You can view these works online from my website: http://www.edterpening.com/store/
This is one of my favorite places to paint. It’s nearby, and has many of the features of far away (well, 1.5 hours) Point Lobos. I’ve been painting gouache studies recently for ease of travel, and they translate well to oil, being opaque. I like this study and will–someday–paint a large studio version. The ArtSavesLives gallery has offered me a solo show, so perhaps sometime in 2017. For now, this is available on my Facebook Store here, framed for $300.
I had a great time painting plein air in Palm Springs last weekend! I need to get back soon. The combination of blazing, clear light; nature; and modern architecture make it a great destination for plein air painters. Enjoy!
I’ve enjoyed a long, fulfilling career in Silicon Valley. It’s an incredibly diverse, constantly changing place and state of mind. It’s easy to be consumed here in a world where creating disruption is your job. It see it everywhere as I walk the city (my favorite past-time). I notice the first-time tourists who see San Francisco through fresh eyes contrasted with the emerging technology class glued to their latest device. Watching them, I ask myself, do they miss the wonder in the eyes of newcomers around them? Can we maintain curiosity, and see the world anew every day?
As an Industry Analyst at Altimeter Group, my job now is to understand and council others in technology disruption. But I need a constant: a foundation that puts these ceaseless changes in perspective. How can you understand change without understanding the starting point? For me that starts with family of course, but also, seeing and expressing the undeniable beauty around me every day. So, I paint and sketch. Every day. Maybe it’s a “left brain, right brain” thing, but for me, creating something of lasting beauty in a world of ephemeral apps, devices and marketing campaigns gives me the foundation I need to notice. And noticing—being aware—is the first step in understanding the world as it is and can be.
I was speaking to someone on a airplane last night about the visual arts and how they relate to music. Here’s my analogy: In high school, I played jazz trombone. Key to that genre is the ability to improvise. It’s a beautiful thing to hear a musician create new music on the fly during an improvisation. What may seem to be a beautiful, but haphazard, run of notes is actually the result of playing within the composer’s written sequence of cord progressions. The jazz musician creates in the moment, but she does so based on what’s in front of her: sheet music (in a sense). The same is very much true of those artists that create variations based on a theme. The subject is the theme (sheet music) and the art is the variation (improvisation).
For me, a recent theme has been Moss Beach, here in Northern California. The series of paintings below shows how I’ve studied this area, and created variations on this landscape. The first three paintings are based on the same spot, but with different mediums–oil, watercolor–and different perspectives. The last 4 are looking in a different direction, but again, studies of the same view using different mediums and ideas. From these studies, I’m learning to record and compare my feelings for the spot so I can later determine what resonates and where to build upon–as, for example, a larger studio work.
I hope you enjoy these improvisations of Moss Beach. More to come.
Leveraging my experience as a digital marketing professional, I have conducted some new research with the goal of educating artists about how to approach sales and marketing online. The research is based on a survey I conducted. The report is available below, and includes some interesting data and insights. I conducted research last year as well, available here.
As always, I’d like to hear from you. Please enter your feedback on this blog post’s comments. Cheers!
San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico is a real gem. The centro’s architecture is Spanish Colonial, and the people there are wonderful. Love painting there, and finally got Mike to go on a visit recently. Here are some paintings in watercolor and oil. Enjoy!