In this series, I will be trying to investigate the how we view the places we travel and how they influence the memories we make over time. When we go somewhere special or even familiar, we tend to see it in a different way than most. The colors or the shapes become distorted over time to make the place seem larger than life and maybe even more grand than it actually is. I want to explore this idea by painting three separate paintings of places that are special and familiar to me. The three I have chosen include Noosa Beach in Australia, the view from the hill in my backyard in my hometown, and St. Norbert from across the river. I have taken photos of all these places on my travels as well as over the years. None of them have been taken recently so that I will have some deeper memories of when I took the photo. If I had taken them recently, then the memories I have connected to the paintings wouldn’t be as profound as if I took them years ago. I also made sure that all of the pictures were very special to me. However, my theme is focused solely on the memories, so to better emphasize that, I am going to be painting these all from memory as well, at least for the majority of the painting. I will outline the main objects and features in the painting from the picture, but all of the texture and colors will come from my memories and how that place and picture made me feel. This will make the colors seem brighter and maybe more distorted than it actually was, but this will only help emphasize my theme to my audience and those viewing my painting. For my three separate paintings, they will all be the same size and orientation. They will also be of a smaller scale.This is mainly due to what materials were available to me at home. However, I believe that this size will better allow my audience to experience my memories as I do. The canvas is not too small as to make them search for every detail but also not too large so that they are overwhelmed with the paintings themselves. Plus, if the painters were made to a larger scale, then they would seem like they were all separate pieces and not part of the same series. I also feel that painting on a canvas surface will help me get the effect I want to have throughout the whole series. I am also more familiar with both canvas and acrylic paint, so I can be sure that I will know how to create the right textures and colors in all of my paintings. I also wont have to test out any colors or methods with other paints which will help save time.
For my series, I will be taking a lot of influence from two contemporary artists who have had a lot of influence in both Impressionism and abstract painting in general. The first artist that I will be basing my work on those made by Vincent Van Gogh, the famous impressionist artist. I have always been admired by his artwork and form. The way you can see his brushstrokes in the thick layers of paint he used as well as how his colors are saturated to the point of exaggeration. I find much of my work colors his in the same ways. I have always used a lot of paint in thick layers as well as having very exaggerated colors, especially in my landscapes. One painting in particular that I love and admire is the painting entitled “Wheatfield with Crows”. It was made in 1890 and has been cited by several critics as one of his greatest works. It is commonly referred to as his final painting, but many art historians are uncertain if it really is because no clear historical records exist. This painting depicts exactly what the title suggests, a Wheatfield with some crows. I love this painting because of the vivid color pallet used and how the blue of the sky compliments the golden hue of the wheat below it. The brushstrokes add texture to the piece and also helps give it some depth as well. In my own work, I will be trying to take a lot of influence from Van Goghs work as well as this painting in particular.
Another contemporary artist that I take inspiration from, especially for this project, is Erin Hansen, a painter based in Nevada and the creator of the contemporary painting style known as “open-impressionism”. This style of painting is now taught at art schools and colleges across the world. Her impressionist paintings involve minimal brushstrokes and impasto application of paint. In many of her works, she uses a limited color palette of pure, un-muddied color that deftly captures light and motion with an air of spontaneity. This helps to bring to her canvases the natural beauty of the outdoors. I find that her work closely resembles Van Goghs in certain way. This may be due to the fact that both are impressionistic painters, but I believe it is also the flow of positive and negative space in their paintings that helps catch the viewers eye and help then view the whole painting. One painting I particularly liked that motivated me to learn more about her is entitled “California Dusk” and was painted in 2019 using oil on canvas. I love the iridescent colors she uses in this painting and the way the blue green of the water is very similar yet different from the lighter blue of the sky. This color helps make the red cliffs on the right pop. I also find the way every object in the painting seems to have its owns space, with borders, likes its own plane of existence. I think that this gives the work more depth and texture than even adding lots of brush strokes.