"Passaggio" - oil on canvas, 36 x 36 in, La Crema Estate at Saralee's Vineyard
For me, moving paint around on a surface is an exercise of an intuitive, intimate relationship with oil paint, color and my painting knife. It is similar to sitting in my oversized and out-of-date stuffed chair where I journal and meditate, and where my cat sits near my head on the back of the chair, purring. Yeah, painting is like purring.
I think about all of the various aspects of my life while I am painting, a series of lovely, annoying, gritty, fabulous and regrettable episodes that are part of my collective existence, while I simultaneously critically consider color, line, space, harmony and balance. “Life” sits on the back burner in a big stew pot sharing space with my psyche, the painting process, and all the classical decisions and comparisons that create a piece of art.
Today I’m pondering about how much the elements in the stew pot have to do with the final outcome of a painting, how “life” might become mashed up into the paint, and how the essence the life of an artist could perhaps reside forever, interlinked within the layers of paint, gesso and substrate of an artwork. Speaking for myself, I am painting the stew pot of L I F E. And it’s all about love.
Jill Keller Peters
Found Beauty on the I-5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 - Oil on canvas, 6" x 12"
The painting is extended around the sides of each canvas.
Available at La Crema Estate at Saralee's Vineyard. Each sold separately.
On a previous post that I sent out in March, I wrote about the spark of creativity. The small works in the suite displayed above are inspired from a drive I took to Palm Springs in February along the bemoaned and boring Interstate 5.
This drive was anything but boring, and I saw scene after scene of serene beauty lying in swaths of green, blue and white. In this series, I painted one literal impressionist painting of the land, sky and an almond orchard. The remaining three canvases were painted with the same color palette, but in varying expressions of richness and chroma, blended together or pulled apart. It was both challenging and fun. The small works are included in the paintings at my show at Fulton Crossing.
These works are available.
One of the best places to be is that moment when you get the spark to create something new. It is a moment that can wake you up in the middle of the night, loudly, or, more often, is affected by a series of colors, one moving into the next. Here lie three canvases, and they have an inspired thought, just waiting. They lie in between the planted seed of inspiration and the actual effort of employing pencil, charcoal, and paint. No sketch, just pictures flying through my head with possibilities of color harmonies, line and design.
They are small, 6" x 12", and I am painting them for a show that will be at Fulton Crossing in May. I am very enthused to get a start on them, but have to attend to some business before. However, after reading Annie Leibovitz's quote, I believe that they are just where they should be, ready, until I have cleared the way for full attention and the delight of painting them.
- Jill Keller Peters
I painted this work from my memory of October 9, 2018, standing out in the street with my neighbors, our cars packed only with essentials, waiting to evacuate. I could see
two pink glows against the night sky, one from Coffee Park and the other from Fountain Grove/Mark West. Our adult children and their families were evacuating from Rincon Valley, and we were uncertain of their status. I merged the two pink glows into one.
This painting is Available. Please contact the artist for more information.
"It's been phenomenal, but everybody keeps congratulating me on my resurgence and my big comeback. I haven't been away, guys. I've been working steadily for the last 63 years. "
Resurgence - oil on canvas, 48" x 36"
My home is in Santa Rosa, California. During the firestorm of October 2017 my beloved town experienced unprecedented destruction beyond belief. In the Tubbs Fire, 4655 homes and 94 commercial buildings were lost, vanished. (Press Democrat, 11/1/2017) In the affected parts of Santa Rosa, people from every walk of life fled from their homes. Others of us took people in, on guard, with our suitcases and cars packed and at the ready.
Betty White's quote is right on the mark. It's going to take time to restore our county, working with a steady, determined vision. Seasons will pass, the hills and vegetation will recover and the wildlife will return. We'll see thriving businesses, all ever changing. My displaced friends and community members will find new, permanent places to live. All a series of tiny, imperceptible steps, full of patience.
Painting these new works has helped me place my vision on Resurgence, dwelling on the conviction and deliberate resolve that will continue forward in our reclamation, and spring back to the familiar where we can, reawakening our surroundings and our lives to what is most meaningful to us.
These new works, shown above and below, are full of dreams for the phenomenal, for a full and beautiful recovery.
"Peace is not something you wish for;
It’s something you make,
Something you do,
Something you are,
And something you give away."
I enjoy the negative space on the canvas very much while developing a painting and designing an art piece. Looking at the painting in process above inspires me to want to work more with the use of negative space. In developing my current artwork I am committed to color, to showing off color, to fill each empty block with color and cause all those various colors in the painting to interrelate, to perform together, dance and harmonize and cause a feeling of beauty and order. I am drawn to the use of more whites and light tones with my work.
The white space in the unfinished painting above reminds me of snow: clean, pure, untouched possibilities peacefully surrounding and supporting the color. Peaceful. I want to prop myself up and surround myself with elements that say peace.
-Jill Keller Peters
You may want to read:
El Dia de los Muertos
It Looks So Simple and Easy, Right?
Two Artists Under One Roof
"The Greens Are Envious of Each Other"
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are the messengers of overwhelming grief,
of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”
La Artists - a painting by my friend and colleague, Tamra Sanchez
. . . HeaL . . .
Today is El Dia de Los Muertos, the day we celebrate and honor the lives of loved ones who have crossed over before us. I have been thinking so much about loss lately, mourning and grieving with my community and friends here in Santa Rosa. In this short blog I am considering what other losses that I might observe: One's home, one's community, one's livelihood - one's nest egg, one's breast, one's health . . . one's country.
It takes time to come to the point of celebration as in this ancient tradition. Life lived hand in hand with death. Loss requires a deep grieving and much courage.
There was a time in my life that in my deepest grief I could not paint, didn't even want to. The viceral event that brought me back to painting was during the time while my daughter was in chemo, a young mother with two very young children. That was the point that painting became a paramount part of my survival, a strange and arresting alchemy.
Regarding El Dia de Los Muertos, in the same way that I I dance with my departed grandson - I dance with the memory of other great losses, because they are what made me who I am today. I look at my life and see a stunning, unending thread. I see the brilliant colors of the frontside and the shadowy backside of a tapestry, all in interconnected with each other, all so genuine and poignant. Today I celebrate the beauty of life and just how Lucky I have been to have lived both sides with such generous benevolence.
Indeed, one has to look for the lucky part to see it. I send my deepest condolences and heartfelt love to all effected by the fire. Be gentle with yourselves.
-Jill Keller Peters
You may also want to read:
It Looks So Simple and Easy, Right?
Two Artists Under One Roof
Do Something Beautiful
"The Greens Are Envious of Each Other"
Why All Those Squares, Anyway?
"I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort and disappointment and perseverance."
- Vincent Van Gogh
Maybe simple is the right idea, but perhaps it's not so "easy". Simplicity is exactly what I'm going for. Colors are placed onto a grid to perform their interaction of color, their visual dance, and lead the eye to follow rhythms and pauses within the composition, allowing the viewer ultimately to go deeper within the artwork.
When I begin a new painting I think a great deal of how I want the painting to feel, and how to go about making that happen. Following that, I choose a color palette that complements the concept that I am about to explore.
In all my work I plan out a simple roadmap that often takes a diversion, leaving room for spontaneity and some color adjustments.
Next, I draw a grid of the composition (the plan) with a pencil and a straight edge onto the canvas. I write some color "notes" onto the canvas with a pastel pencil. The notes are a guide for possible colors I could use; they help me to progress into a direction for the feeling that I want to convey.
I use masking tape to mask the edges of the color blocks, mix each color block separately and apply the oil paint with my painting knife. It is very meticulous. For some reason I love this aspect of it. After painting 3 - 4 color blocks, I pull up the tape.
The paint must be bone dry before taking the next step, taping over an already painted edge in preparation to paint a new adjacent color block. Note that in the above photo the tape is pressed onto some of the dry, previously painted color blocks. You may also see some of my "notes" written on the canvas.
In this photo I am pulling up the tape, and all is going as it should be. On some occasions I have moved ahead with the painting too quickly because it felt dry to the touch. This causes some of the previous painted color to pull up off the painting with the tape, causing me to experience that sick feeling in my gut. After this happens, I need to repaint the previous color block which requires more drying time, meaning I have to wait an extra week or more to proceed with this area of the painting. It is more than frustrating, believe you me. I see that the painting is teaching me that it wants more time. It wants me to be more patient.
I find the thrill of pulling up the tape to reveal the beguiling interaction of color is worth every tedious step. When it's right it is ultra satisfying.
"The meaning of a word - to me - is not as exact as a meaning of a color.
Colors and shapes make a more definite statement than words."
- Georgia O'Keeffe
"A colorist loves colors as a writer loves words. It is the love that comes through when the mind gets out of the way. Don't think too much. Trust your instincts. We all have the colors needed to make beautiful paintings. I try not to worry about what I do not know, what I have been unable to teach myself. My inabilities serve me better than my abilities. Art is not something that is learnt and then practiced, it is a form of communication and one is always trying to say something clearer. The mind messes up love and it messes up painting."
The thoughts above, by Ken Kewley, are from an excerpt of a lengthy article that I very much resinate with, as an artist who works primarily with color. I took "written notes" from the article, and ended up rewriting practically the whole thing. It's true, the mind is always trying to say something clearer, or in an alternative, or an additional way. My main indicator of not over thinking is an extremely satisfying feeling, a spark, a deep peace, a freshness, like feeling of fresh air wafting through the room.
Even still, I get stuck sometimes, usually toward the end of the painting when I have to ask myself just what the heck I'm doing, why I love this so much. And then it's patience that is required along with my own love of the art of balance.
Patience, my dear Watson. It's only a matter of time.
"Art enables us to find ourselves & lose ourselves at the same time."
- Thomas Merton
We are not only two artists under one roof, we are married.
I create inspirational paintings, and my husband, let's call him "Josef", he creates visually as well, with food, but just as importantly with the palette of taste, flavor, relish, tang and smack.
Our house is relatively small, and the entire domicile is my art studio, and a placeholder for my paintings that are awaiting their journey to an exhibit, a personal space or place of business.
Josef and I compete for this space. During the years that he worked in the restaurant, the Green Music Center, Meals on Wheels and for the Schulz family I had the run of the place. Well, things just don't stay the same, and our home has become a shared working community, because he runs his business out of this dwelling as well. Some days we step all over each other, but time has taught us pretty much how to dance around it in respect to when one of us needs quiet, a listening ear, a trained eye.
We hang out on the patio relaxed and happy, talk about the people he met that day, among them, the three chefs from France, the happy local regulars, and "restaurant row", where the three former, well known Sonoma County chefs are still at it, but in a different way. Not glamorous, but still creative and connected with their audience.
We are artists. We take our creations where they can be viewed and drunk in, and tasted and savored, to connect. We add something to people's lives that was not there before. We rely on our wits and on the gifts and kindness of life, and the love of family and friends. I love our life, and express my gratitude for your gift of attending one of my art shows or teaching me to tap dance or cook, or who spent some time sharing a part of your life with me. In appreciation to the artist in all of us,
Luminous Color Explorations