Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gardening Paintings - Influenced by Ben Snijder's Work

This week, I'm finishing up my semester-long college painting class. It's kept me up to my elbows in oil paints since January.

Final Project: select a master artist, create a series of four paintings (minimum size: 18" x 24") that are influenced by studying the master artist. Influenced by, not copy. And, complete in 6 weeks.

My Artist: Dutch-born artist, Ben Snijders http://www.bensnijders.nl/

I like the use of palette knife and broad brush strokes of Snijder's work.

Painting 1:
Influenced by Snijder's painting "Still life with red accents and enamel"
Photo of my still life set-up:

For this painting, I opted to use complementary colors of orange and blue, versus the monotone approach shown in Snijder's influence painting.

Painting 2:
Influenced by Snijder's painting "Two Bottles of Red"
Photo of my still life set-up:

Although I did add yellow flowers to the final painting. I must admit, this is my LEAST favorite of the 4 in the series.

Painting 3:
Influenced by Snijder's painting "With Barbara"
Photo of my still life set-up:

I used denim as the theme here, taken from Snijder's composition. I simply threw a pair of my jeans up on the stand to serve as my background.

In progress photo of the painting:

Painting 4:
Influenced by Snijder's painting "Blue Pots"

Snijder's painting is monotone in blues, and for mine I opted to use purples. For the background, I tossed in several purple shirts, and a purple towel!

And, the final painting of peat pots and crocus.

Whew!! What put this project in perspective is learning that Snijder's has taken up to a year to complete ONE painting!

Twitter Friends to the Rescue!
Part of our class presentation had to include a bit about our chosen artist's background and process. In researching Snijder's, I came across an 8 minute YouTube interview of him that was completely in Dutch.

I could tell that between minutes 2:30-4:00 that Snijder's is describing how he goes about setting up his still life.

What to do? I reached out to my Twitter artist pal Debbie Lamey MacDonald (@lameymacdonald) of Nova Scotia to see if she knew Dutch or knew anyone who spoke Dutch and could provide a translation.

Being the wonderful Twitter pal that she is, she reached out to her followers.

Within a day, Evelyn McCorristin Peters (@EvelynMcCPeters), another Twitter artist friend from Florida, responded. Her hubby is native to the Netherlands and could provide the translation! Many, many thanks to Debbie, Evelyn and her husband. Being able to include the 1.5 minute piece of the video clip as part of my presentation was the perfect addition! The prof and classmates got a chuckle.

The Translation:
If you wish to view the video and wonder what is said between minutes 2:30-4:00, here's a quick overview:
Snijder's prefers to focus on models and still life over landscapes. He prefers them because you can make the composition exactly how you want it to look. He built the studio himself so he would have the correct light. He says the winter light is the best and most beautiful.

The still life they discuss is the first still life for that year. The interviewer asks where does the still life begin and end in the set up? Snijder's says he constructs the still life display bigger than he is going to paint, so he can chose the best composition. In this one he liked the blues and the piece of red cloth so he placed the red in the middle. For balance he put a leaf on the left and other objects on right. He has worked on this painting for a year, it is complete. Some go very quickly and some take a long time.

He is very careful about what he shows to the world. He will refuse to sell a painting if he does not think it is good enough.

Related posts:
If you liked this post, please visit my other "final project" posts for drawing class over the past year:

* Drawing II: Influenced by Berthe Morisot: A Series of 4 Oil Stick Paintings
* Drawing I: Teapots in Subtractive Chalk

I'm thinking about taking Black and White Photography for Fall semester. I hope to post photos of in-class paintings soon. Thanks for stopping by!