Just an announcement that I've set up a new blog on my own domain at www.jenniferyoung.com/blog . Please update your bookmarks, or, if you have been following my blog through a subscription, please update your subscriptions:
As of today all of my posts are at the new location but I am still formatting my links and fine-tuning the content. I haven't yet linked my new blog to the rest of my site, but I'll be working on that tonight.
Well, after at least a month of not being able to post pictures except through a time-consuming workaround, I have decided to search for another place to blog. Once I get my new location set up I will post it here (unless I am somehow prevented from doing so). In any event, my new blog will be linked from my website, so it will be easy to find, once I have everything in place.
I thought I'd write a little bit about creativity today since it has been on my mind a lot lately. Often times people will equate creativity with "production". But for me, a lot of things go on "below the surface" that I would equate with creativity, even if there is not a lot being produced as a result.
Right now I am involved in a lot of experimentation and exploration that doesn't necessarily result in a finished painting or drawing. It's possible that some of these "experiments" may find their way here on my blog if I feel particularly happy about them and want to share, but the real point is to always explore new ways to grow.
Sometimes I go through periods of high production followed by things taken at a much slower pace. I pay attention whenever I reach a certain comfort level with my work. Comfort can be a good thing--a really nice and in the flow feeling. But sometimes I feel so comfortable that it makes me downright uncomfortable, if that makes any sense! That is when I know it is time to regroup, branch out, take a break, experiment, or do a little bit of all of the above.
For example, today I have drawn out a new painting of Tuscany. I've also got an abstract painting underway. Who knows where that will lead me? And "on the side" I've been painting lamps and furniture, just for fun (and because I need some lamps and furniture!) Now I know that there are some art marketing gurus out there who may not like me doing so many different things. You should focus on one thing and do it well! I have heard that over and over again, and I can be, and have been a pretty good focuser. I do believe it is important for artists to develop their voice and a strong body of work. But I also know the value of experimentation, just for the sake of exploration.
So I'm playing with landscapes and different mediums. I'm playing with non-objective artwork. Temperatures have been in the high nineties here lately so not much playing en plein air, but when the weather breaks I'll probably play with that too. And I'm playing with furniture. Since the lamps are the only things I have pictures of right now, I'll post those here:
These were old seventies olive green lamps (the "old" olive, not the "new olive") that were tinted with bronze and had those brown speckles in them that you see in a lot of decor from this time period. I had a "before" picture of them somewhere, but I can't find it. I bought these at a yard sale ($5 for the pair) and painted them a metallic turquoise to match my turquoise pillows. I also applied a silver leaf to the base of the lamps and bought simple linen shades (since I figured there was enough going on with the lamps!) They may be a little too "Liberace" for some folks but I LOVE my lamps! Here is a close up:
The landscape shown in this photo is one I did of a Key West scene. I really need a larger painting to go here, but the colors were right so it will do for now (until it sells or I make a new painting ;-))
On another day at Lake Como we ventured out to another lakeside village called Varenna. Varenna is super charming; with very narrow streets and teetering stairways:
We actually considered staying in Varenna, but opted instead for Bellagio. In hindsight, Varenna would have probably been almost as good a choice, but Bellagio won out for me because it seemed to be somewhat sunnier and had more of an open feeling to it. I honestly don't think we could've gone wrong in either place though.
In keeping with the theme of this trip, in Varenna we did a TON of walking. One of the most beautiful places we visited was Villa Monestero. This villa used to be a convent but is now open for conferences and classes, and the gardens are open to the public. We spent a good deal of time checking out the gardens, which had an amazing array of plants and trees:
Here's Dave at the start of our tour:
This is a painting I completed of a scene we admired that day. This is a view looking out from the lakeside garden promenade. It's called "Lakeside View" and measures 24x30".
That same evening after touring the beautiful villa, we walked back down to Pescallo and made a reservation for dinner at a local restaurant called La Pergola. It had outdoor seating (under a pergola!) that overlooked the lake and mountains. We were perched right over the water as we ate fresh lake fish, pasta, and vegetables cooked simply but with perfect finesse.
One of the most beautiful things about this area to me was the way the light played across the mountains and the water. As we ate, I kept looking at the evening light on the mountains and I observed such dazzling transformations. Every time I looked at them they would look totally different. "Look at them now!" I'd say to Dave. "Look at them now!" (to the point of being quite annoying, I'm sure.)
This painting is one I just completed using my photos, sketches, and notes from that evening. It is a canvas measuring 24x30" and is called "Evening Shadows on Pescallo".
As I mentioned, Lake Como was awash with beautiful lake front villas. In Bellagio there are two villas that have opened their gardens to the public. On our second day in Bellagio, we decided to stay in town and visit one of the them, Villa Melzi. Villa Melzi was owned by the Vice President of the Italian Republic under Napoleon.
The main house is closed, as it is a private residence, but visitors can still roam the stunning gardens, plus visit a small museum and chapel. The azaleas were finishing up when we were there in early June, but the gardens were still ablaze with all kinds of color and a beautiful variety of gorgeous trees. This is a painting I just completed of a gazebo in the gardens that sits right at the edge of the lake. It measures 24" high by 20" wide.
One of the nicest things about our room was that it looked out over an old fishing village called Pescallo. From where we sat we could see the rooftops and the fishing boats sitting on the glassy water. It was a beautiful scene from above, so I imagined that it would even be more beautiful up close!
The day after our arrival we followed a very long narrow, sloped stairway (a little street- Bellagio style) that led to the village of Pescallo.
It is my understanding that at one time Pescallo was the location where they held an open air fish market. Today it is a quaint, sleepy little lakeside town. We went down there several times to sketch and just contemplate the beauty and peacefulness of the place.
On two different occasions I was fortunate enough to meet a couple of the elderly villagers who were living out their golden years in Pescallo. They were so gracious and kind- and patient! They urged me to speak in my broken Italian and just smiled as I undoubtedly butchered their beautiful language.
I am an artist and my primary works are vibrant landscape oil and watercolor paintings of France, Italy, and the American south. You can read more about me on my website (www.jenniferyoung.com) and my painting blog (www.jenniferyoung.com/blog)