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Ingrid Lee, is an international award winning artist in modern porcelain painting, abstract expressionist acrylic and mixed media paintings, fabric art. She teaches masterclasses and creates collaborative art projects to share creativity and inspire art enthusiasts in Australia and overseas. When she’s not painting or writing, she’s baking and tending her rose garden. For information about Ingrid’s exhibitions, masterclasses, projects or commissions contact ingridleeart.com ingridleeart.com
The challenge of abstract expressionist lustre on porcelain is where I am at. For a long while I have wanted to use lustres to paint in as similar a style as I can to my acrylic work. So, unlike acrylics where I have a first layer of colour to lay down first thinking (see here, here and here), which builds up to a certain level of what I see in my mind, then the rest develops from that point. For this new painting I have to visualise and work through the painting at many layers and levels so that I can lay the correct colours and effect for firing, so that they will be seen later. Always remembering that once fired- it is permanent and no room for error. For those who understand the process of lustres or glazes with watercolours, this is not easy. Acrylics are very forgiving!
Here are some images of old works with glazing, these photos are from studies which I taught in masterclasses years ago:
Very early stages of ink painting, it was a study of glass bottles, from memory this was the first day of the masterclass (the whole painting is A2 size)…it was a 3 day class, so this is unfinished at this photo:
A small section of larger painting using glazes with acrylic painting, “Asters”. See the whole painting on facebook
While it is easier to control the colours for traditional painting of flowers or animals…abstract expressionist or expressionist work for me not only deals with the immediacy of composition, but it must also reflect the feeling, at that point in time- not easy when you have to wait, and can change your application of paint! For porcelain painting, each layer of paint and ideas must be fired- so there is stop start of the flow of emotions and thought. It is an interesting problem on an intellectual level, for which I do not have the time nor inclination to philosophically anal-ise- and no that is not a typo nor indulge in deliberating that notion here further; I have the fortune of children who require lunch and other attention which brings me back to my reality and focus (the life of a female artist with a family is interesting )…so I will focus on that which is most important the creation!
For me, this style of work is not just a quick brushstroke approach in a single layer of colour, brushed on, ready to fire only once…this is not my style nor way of thinking. The colours must build to reveal the thought and the feeling- as they do on canvas. The beauty of porcelain is that it is translucent in effect, has a different feel to the final painting, it has a cool intensity…resonating much differently than canvas does- largely because of the difference in painting surface. Of course brushwork is inherently connected to this, but it is more like an extension like a petal opening to reveal what is inside, or at times it is a linear communication in itself.
For this painting, I know that on the final layer, I will use gold/platinum work and maybe some paste- so this is not thought of until the end- they are the final thoughts and solutions to the idea expressed. But like on my acrylic paintings, where I have these layers of medium lights, I must plan for these in advance and work down, not up in the painting- if that makes sense. I realise that I need to ‘feel’ in the middle of the painting, and work down to create the depths which will reveal the final lights….a problem which I worked through in the painting “Maybe It’s Love.”
This is the plate I’m working on, a 30.5 cm oval porclain plate..concept explores the dream like state of being in love, love is a two way dream….
Masking fluid for the lighter areas. This is what the lustres paints look like before I fire it….there are 5 colours on this plate.
I decided to try another approach and started a second plate, and add the second figure on the first firing, and simplify the design at this stage, also using different colours (again unfired).
It is an interesting method for me to try channel my feelings and thoughts to be expressed in this style. I was really happy with the paintings “Falling to Pieces” they ustilised more simple techniques, effects and design elements to express the ideas with. The current plate of “Union” precipitated some of those techniques I had been thinking through…I think I have now been able to think it through more. The challenge of lustres is that I cannot see any intensity of ‘real’ colour as they are all brown or yellow or green liquids…so I think tonally and ignore the chroma. So it is painting on many levels, like a mental multitasking, so that the final result will represent my initial response to the muse or concept- I keep journal to map out the plan.
Is it abstract expressionist work or expressionist?
While it is not important for me to find a box to place my work into, it is an interesting notion for me to think about- this one time In my concise nutshell, the tradition of abstract expressionsim in the 1940s America, reflected spontaneity of brushwork and application of paint to release the creativity of the unconscious mind. The method of painting was as fundamental as the painting itself. Interestingly such works during this movement were at time neither abstract, or expressionist ..rather focusing on the spontaneity as previously described. So in relation to porcelain painting using my methods…how spontaneous is sponteneous?
Willem de Kooning, Mary Callery, Arshile Gorky, Helen Frankenthaler are particular influences for me.
Then, expressionism, largely founded in Germany 1905-1930s reflects intense, personal and passionate expressions of the artist;s inner most feelings, rather than to represent reality of the world around them. It is characteristic of violet, unreal brushwork and vibrant colour. Conceptually the canvas is the vehicle for where he emotions are communicated from. See more images etc here. Particular influences of Chagall, Kandinsky, Klee, Marc, Macke, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova and Max Ernst. A gallery of images from this movement at the Guggenheim
What ever it is is not important, rather it is the expressive processes and product of creativity involved in these lustre applications which drives my work.
Silk Ribbons and roses…what am I doing?? If you’ve read most of the posts to date, I’m busy painting on a variety of projects, so what do I do when I need a break? I spend time in my rose garden. I always share my garden with my online friends and followers, and I’ve written and posted about it my blogs before…but this is where I relax and have space. My beautiful roses were in full bloom when I got home from Thailand inn November 2012; but sadly because of the heat now in January, my garden is not happy. So to brighten my day, I’ve gone to look back on my photos from last November, and I’ve been inspired to work on an silk ribbon project I started last year.
This rose isn’t finished yet, but it gives you an idea of what I’m doing. I am using the colours of my roses to create the silk roses on this art work. I find making these silk works a very relaxing experience, and even though it is still painting and creating, it is not as emotionally and mentally tiring as my other work at the moment; but it is very rewarding. Clearly, this one rose is not finished…but I hope you enjoy this early stage of the work. I really enjoy combining painting, traditional embroidery stitches, and ribbons for this style of art, see some of Other ribbon work.
What do you create to relax? Please share you ideas in the comments If you like this picture or post, please share with the likes, pins or tweets below!
I started this painting at the beginning of December, and it is still on the go (yes the other porcelain paintings I’ve been working on are still being worked on too…but things dry at different times, kiln firings take time, so I maximise my time! ). This post is to document my thinking through this painting and where I am at during this series of art works about Destiny and Love…it’s a long post. This series of artworks has been an interesting journey, one of bringing up old feelings, sharing experiences which are personal, or had been locked away, thinking and observations of love over the years, inspirations from what I read and music I listen to…and while I paint and explore, I expect that the works will represent the thinking through my understanding of the concepts. This is one of the largest paintings I’m working on in the series of Destiny and Love, it’s 152 cm x 90cm…I have not given it a title yet.
I have been researching Tenebrist painting, particularly the works of female Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi.
Her paintings left an impression on me since I first saw her work at a Melbourne exhibition in 2004 (I will write about this in another blog post). The use of extreme contrasts of light and dark in figurative compositions to reflect drama is a technique which is of particular interest. While my current painting is not figurative nor technically tenebrist, (my other paintings using this technique will be different, talk about this later), this painting is the first process of discovery for communication of style and thought of an adaptation of it. For this painting, I wanted to use my techniques of layering intense complimentary colours in contrast to darker background, to show reveal the composition and forms (in place of the figure), in abstract expressionist style.
Here is the first layer of undercolours and combinations of intense colours.
As the painting has progressed, the darker values are working to create the contrasts and mood. I do not work with black, I prefer to create a richness which balances throughout the painting and mix with my own darkest values, and contrasting them with complimentary colours to grey them down or make them pop. The paints I use are a flow consistency, not structural, so they are easier to build up with thin layers of glazing. For me I still want life in the painting, and to utilize the idea of movement in the background of the painting, as shown in Velazquez’s work, I will see how this approach goes.
…still a long way to go….
So how does this connect to Destiny and Love?
Destiny….how do I understand it now, after 8 paintings (I haven’t shared all completed art works at the moment, I have planned for about 20 more)???? Is destiny the result of wanting what you want today, but realising that it takes longer to have what you desire, and what you desire will truly come in time? I think that concepts I’ve explored in the paintings so far direct my thinking that all things will come in perfect time, and that we should enjoy the journey while finding what it is we want…maybe this is destiny.
The biggest part of my journey through these paintings has resulted in my learning about how to deal with my relationship between impatience and time- something which also I have learned about through love. So I think that destiny is a journey, not a finite thing that will result in happiness or unhappiness, it’s not about getting what you want, but what you are going to discover about yourself.
Through abstract expressionism I have been able to communicate my actions and immediate feelings and responses to experiences and observations about Love and Destiny. Through this whole journey, which started as far back as the creation of Ingrid-creates, and my exhibition of Journey for the artistic soul in Russia, and my research for this current series of paintings, I have realised that I am not fearful of feeling or expressing my feelings and thoughts because I have come to realise, that that which makes me sad or disconnected, or fearful is really an energy and experience which can I use to transcend from those shadows toward finding light and hope, this is the path to the journey of finding love…maybe. This painting in particular represents that transcendence. So this journey of being connected to my feelings and expectations of what I want is going to reveal something wonderful.
What this journey is…is not about romantic love, this is about love for myself, learning to express those feelings connected with our everyday perceptions of love, but really what I have been destined to do, as I understand it, is to find and understand the passion within, harness it, by making the choice to create my experiences.
I will wait to see how this painting finishes…..
Another painting on porcelain in this series “Maybe it’s Love”
In this post, I’ll explain the Steps of an Artist’s creative process by exploring the background to this painting, as well as explain how and why this new series of art works has been inspired. The style of this painting is abstract impressionism, and I think that this post will give some insight to you, about this approach to painting- it’s more than just random splodges of colour! Hopefully if you enjoy my art works, which I assume you do or you wouldn’t be sharing my art world with me, some of you might be interested in a small insight to my creative processes (if not, I hope you enjoy the pictures all the same LOL).
Painting : “The Air That I Breathe”
Here is the completed painting of “The Air that I Breathe.” I have added a few close up images to show the detail and more accurate colourings. There will be a few more works in this series, and they are relating the the notion of Destiny and Love. The concepts will be explored as new art works develop, revealing my understandings and impressions as I go on this new journey.
As I briefly explained in a previous post, “The Air That I breathe” was inspired by k.d Lang’s cover of this song. I have been listening to a wide range of music which is supporting this theme of destiny and love, which I am exploring throughout this series of works. Note, that each art work in this abstract impressionist style is created differently; this is only one process, but what is similar across of my art work, is that this process moves dynamically.
For this painting in particular, if was k.d’s vocal interpretation and arrangement of the song which initially stimulated the feel and colours, the ambiance of the works. The phrasing and tempo is what I interpret for the initial conceptualisation of the work (and again when completing the top layers of work). So, I sing with k.d (yes I can sing and used to perform as an amateur many years ago ) and interpret the music first, just as I would reading the words for lexical and literary device of a novel or poem for interpretation. After I have a concept in my mind of this initial interpretation, I explore the lyrics, and which ones are most poignant to me to start understanding the forms and shapes I will use- this is largely for a rough idea.
This is the underpainting, which is also transparent through the middle sections of the final artwork, but lays the foundations to the main concepts. These background colours represent the deep desires, wishes dreams for love, but at some stage there is a place where love is found within ourselves, making the true love we are to give and receive and grow from a self love and place of peace.
The lyrics about “Sometimes all I need is the air that I breathe” can be seen in the final build up of transparent layers surrounding the core, with small embers of the heart burning contently as a new type of understanding of loves brings calm and peace. The use of gold with the white paint in the middle ground, creates a sense of warmth. This is a technique I used a lot in my exhibition work for SPb, and I have used it to create the ambiance and atmosphere of lightness and peace.
If you’d like to know more about what inspired the focus of Destiny and Love for this series of art works, please read my next blog post- it all started in St Petersburg
A truly magical experience, my first night in St Petersburg after a 30 hour flight! Anyway…I would like to do two compositions of this image St Petersburg at night, one on canvas and the other in lustre work on porcelain. The curve of the buildings on the second image makes for a more interesting design.
Remembering some of my first evening in St Petersburg..the buildings are of note to perhaps an allegorical compostion…not sure yet.
I remember bare feet in the square below- but only for a moment…it was cold….those platform shoes killed my feet and I had useless stockings!
Here is a silk ribbon piece I’m experimenting with, after learning the techniques from my masterclass with Valentina, I am applying them to a few different David Austin style Roses…when I am happy with what I want to achieve, I can start my larger composition.
I have been using acrylics to paint onto these, but I’ll have to invest in some silk paints as the colours aren’t strong enough. Like I said, this is just playing with techniques…I’ll be happier when I’m using silk ribbons as they have a softer flow to the form of the flowers, satin is too stiff (this project has been done in satin just to practise with so I don’t waste the more expensive silk ribbons). I’ll try one more rose study, just a single bloom without the angular leaves and try to capture the more rounded shapes as much as I can with satin ribbon, but really it’s to understand how many individual petals I need to make and how to structure the heart of the rose correctly…so I’ll keep playing until I am happy with these.
Every sight, smell and sound of St Petersburg was inspirational, and stirred my creativity to write poetry, draw sketches and ideas, so much so that each evening was spent sorting out my photo journals across twitpic albums and facebook in an attempt to organise my thoughts for later.
However there was one place which evoked a different feeling and inspiration, Catherine’s Palace. I had a great sense of calm despite the opulence and decadence of the many rooms dedicated to artworks, antiques and ‘palace life.’ Maybe my sense of calm was due to a consistent state of amazement and wonder at the splendour of the gardens and grounds and grandeur of the palace
But, there was one room which totally amazed me, at first I thought it was the mirrored ball room….
A very unglamourous photo of me….but I had to take photos somehow!!!…and yes I know, the shoe covers are stunning
But then I walked into the Amber Room. Here is a special photo of me in the Amber Room, a complete chamber decoration of amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors. This photo is special not only because of the beauty of the room itself, but because photos are not allowed to be taken- obviously I didn’t take it, so I’m still a good girl but I greatly thank my friend for taking this picture all the same That room was simply breathtaking…walls, floors, ceiling, artwork…amber has such a magical sensation.
So how will this visit to Catherine’s Palace influence my artwork? These are photos which trigger ideas for me at the moment….
Largely colour, decoration and opulence are the main themes….
And I just had to end this post with Catherine the Great herself!
This dress was stunning!!! It’s the same dress she’s wearing in the painting (left). The colours and materials used were amazing…and to think I walked through the palace where she did!!!!
Anyway, back to colour….I was experimenting to see how the underlayers would affect the final intensity of the chartreuese and oranges. The painting was undercoated in a pale lilac (seen on the side of the canvas).
I chose this lilac colour because it complements the oranges, and greys down the chartreuse, while still leaving it to stand out, where that luminous green is more built up.
I also wanted to place complementary colours boldly with brushstrokes to create energy.
Why do I create art??? Sometimes my brain wouldn’t hurt so much if I didn’t But there is that deep seated drive to do what I do…and if I don’t get my thoughts out- who else will? ;) French philosopher Simone Weil sums it up best:
The work of art which I do not make, none other will ever make – Simone Weil
So when I think I’m creating shit, or it’s not working out…at least noone else will make it!! ha-ha-ha!!!!
While I’m always espousing creativity and being creative, the only way I got here was by the commitment to my cause, which is being creative *lol* That’s today’s big C word
Lot’s of things can spark and stimulate your creativity…happens to me all the time and sometimes too much . But it’s harnessing it, and making it productive, and making the commitment among all the other responsibilities you have that makes it work, so that you can find your true authentic and creative self…a no brainer really. Drop the crap that’s constraining and holding you back, commit to the process of creating and let it flow……..
“Commitment unlocks the doors of imagination, allows vision, and gives us the “right stuff” to turn our dreams into reality.”
Note to self…..Sometimes easier said than done ha ha ha