Karen Cooper is a figurative painter, who paint with oil or acrylic paints on canvas. She do not make reproductions of any of my paintings, so each one that you look at is a unique rendering of her point of view.
I have a failure to report to you today. It's extremely foggy here this morning, so may we use that as the excuse??!!
I suppose not. But let me begin at the beginning.
A few weeks ago, I shared this painting with you:
This caption accompanies the painting:
al fresco at the Burgermeister, near Red Square.
a study for a larger canvas.
For those of you who have stayed tuned and are wondering if you will like the larger canvas more than this "study", well you can just stop that right now. The exploration of this setting on a larger canvas went out on the garbage truck Monday.
This brings to light a few choice thoughts on the subject of studies:
1. for art patrons and even some artists, who think that every painting an artist creates is a winner and deserves a place in history, or at least, the world - sorry, you are holding on to an erroneous thought.
2. while studies are an excellent beginning to a larger canvas, they are not a guarantee of it's success.
3. and the choicest thought I've saved for 3rd, possibly I did not study enough for this particular paint-on-canvas adventure?
I love art history, and have explored many of the greats.
How many times did Cezanne paint Mont Sainte-Victoire?
And how many times did Monet paint that haystack?
Google 'Barge Haulers On The Volga' - Ilya Repin, and count how many times he created it. Search out the pencil/charcoal drawings of this subject which he did, as well. I got to see an exhibit in St Petersburg where several of them hung next to the final rendition and it's incredibly interesting to see the progress from beginning to completion. May I share some images please?
My visit to the State Russian Museum was in 2015 (before we gained much success with the Russian language, ha!) but now as I look back at these images, I enjoy the accompanying label. See down there in the lower left corner?
In text it's
In pronunciation, say S-kees.
In definition, English, it's a sketch. A study.
And you thought artists just knocked out winner paintings all day-everyday. Effortlessly.
Dream on, art lovers, dream on.
And for the artists reading this page, keep up the good .
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Grinnell, Iowa - where I am actually not, at the present. We've been traveling, and we still aren't home! Our flight, back through Chicago, was of course canceled due to too much snow falling.
Anyway, stranded in a hotel room, gives me time to show you a good story. Yes, that IS the correct verb.
(Sidebar: painters have that special benefit of being able to "show" their story.)
Back to the focus now. Yes, we have been traveling, husband to a conference, and I went along to paint the city. Or at least a couple views of it.
Day 1 was a struggle and you probably won't get to see it.
Day 2 was fun! I found a deli and it became my target. It was a fairly busy street corner. Lots of comments, from passers-by and I think a lot of them secretly wondered what on earth I was trying to prove.
Then here comes a man in a white apron, from said deli.
At first he just wants to take a photo. The painting is just barely blocked in.
He comes across again. Takes the photo.
He comes across the street one more time as I am packing up.
And then we have a great conversation. His name is Ricky. He is the third generation owner of the deli. He's in the process of passing it on to his son. He hopes it will pass to his grandson, who is not yet born.
I guess you just had to be there.
What a great day for painting.
ps. see that little neon "open" on the front of the deli? When I finally get back to the studio, I think I will add that in. Then I will post the painting's official photo. Stay tuned
Greetings, welcome to the Cooper studio, where I am not.
Nope. We are traveling. In a city whose name I will not mention here. But they have a lot of street people. Who try to have conversations with other people on the sidewalk. No, I was not making eye contact.
I'm from Iowa. Where when you are trying to be friendly, you simply wave and smile.
IknowIknow. Different strokes for different folks. For a smile and a wave, Russians would judge you as the village idiot.
So it goes.
At any rate, rest of story: it was raining, thank the good Lord I'd remembered my umbrella, but one gentleman tried to convince me it was his. I ignored him, while waiting for the crossing signal, but it was still a 'don't walk'.
I decided to try my best Russian language negatives on him, figuring he would be confused and shut up.
Я не знаю.
Didn't work. He thought I was talking English. His language. Because he wanted me to be speaking his language, right?
I think there is a correlation here for artists. You knew I was going there, right??
(Hopefully artists get to land on the good end of the correlation!)
While a painting is an artist's message to the world, the rest of the world might hear it in their own language. They PREFER to hear the message in their own language, because then they can understand what they want to.
And truthfully, isn't that okay??
After all, we've already agreed, different strokes for different folks. The converse of that would involve a really boring world to live in.
So paint on fellow artists. There is someone out there who will get what you are saying. Or at least imagine they are.
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Grinnell, Iowa, and your latest entry to the painting of the week column.
This week's entry: Friends Sincere.
The painting hearkens back to a trip to Moscow, and specifically, historic Old Arabat Street. It's famous for painters, who park an easel on the pedwalk and paint the street scenes and/or people.
It's also a pretty good place to find a fine cafe. (we did!)
People often ask about the inspiration for a painting. In this case, it was the posture of the two women. I was instantly intrigued about what their conversation could possibly be about. Their posture told me it had to be a friends heart to heart.
A lot of times I take color cues from the reference material. But in this case, I pretty much used just the postures in a cafe setting.
First, here's the color study I did.
Then please let me show you some reference photos that show what I was thinking about as the painting progressed.
Then because I decided I really needed petunias, and it's winter in Iowa, I had to inspire my paint brush with other beautiful petunias/flowers!
And there you have it - where this artist's mind was traveling during the creation of the painting Friends Sincere.
And a complimentary link to it's view in my web portfolio (link)