We were supposed to paint ouitside this morning, but it rained so Ovanes took us into his studio for a slide show. We then painted all afternoon at a small lake part of the Snake River.
The slide show was great. In addition to showing us other masters the he admires (Sergi Bongard, J.Sorolla, etc), he actually showed us his earlier work, much of which he felt embarrassed about. This would be akin to Robert DeNiro showing the public video of his school play. This takes guts.
I noticed–and he pointed out–quite a few changes in his evolution. First, his latest work has much looser brush strokes. Somewhat softer/blened, but overall more sophisticated and confident. Second, his early work was overly literal, not as interpretave as it is now. He paid more attention then to local color, rather than varying color to reach a higher artistic interpretation/objective. Last, his color harmonies were less sophisticated. He pays much more attention now to the vibrations created by warm/cool color variations. Of course, even back then he could have painted any of us under the table!
After the slideshow, I stuck around to view the art for sale in his studio. I was on a mission, with Mike’s okay to buy.
Luckily, he came back into the studio just as I was narrowing down my choices. Without telling him which I was interested in, I asked him to point out some favorites. Thankfully, I’d chosen 3 of the 4 he named (out of 20+) in the room, so I felt my taste was on target. It was wonderful to hear him talk about each piece, and what he saw in them.
In the end it came down to two:one, a reflective early evening light painting of Tuscany; or a light-filled, vibrant painting done in hawaii. Thinking about Mike and my collection, I realized that most are of the quiet, somber variety, so I went for the happy painting. It’s truly an “artist’s painting”, since it’s unfinished, suggestive, makes you think. I love it, and hope Mike will too. I’ll ask Ovanes tonight if I can post it online.
I then spent the afternoon painting the nearby river. Finished two 8X10’s, one of which is shown to the left (“Idaho Sky”).
We have a demo tonight, so will likeky be watching Ovanes paint until midnight again. This is the life!