Am I Overthinking it? Rene Flynn-Federspiel
Rene Flynn-Federspiel sends this note along about her recent work for our New Directions show:
Am I Overthinking it?
My preparation for the "New Directions" show began in 2014 with lots of looking at other artist's work. I began with Francis Bacon then Lucian Freud, John Singer Sargent, Morandi, contemporary painters Alex Kanevsky, Kenny Harris, Israel Hershberg, Yael Scalia, then back to J.B. Camille Corot. They have in common superior draftsmanship, a way of conveying emotion or causing an emotional reaction in me that I needed to inject into my own work. As Cezanne said, "A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." I wanted to find my own visual language to grow my images in a new direction that was an honest progression or honest leap. I wanted to get a certain feeling of both light and space along with a rawness in my way of handling the paint. Nothing "precious". Using my photo references from 17 trips to Europe, I consulted the image I was creating on canvas to lead me into finding the most powerful way to say what I need to say. I made up shapes, made up colors, left more areas unclear or understated to act in a supporting role. I changed my palette and built my shadows with a new range of colors, placing one area of color next to another and letting their relationship create the image. In the Italian light, colors do not brighten in sunlight but lighten and bleed out color; another useful realization. I have added greens to my palette, working to see and block in shapes in my landscapes
Physically, I am now painting looser and painting from the shoulder or elbow instead of knuckles or wrist. Also, I am now standing further back from my easel and using larger brushes or a palette knife, working wet into wet.
I want my paintings to be beautiful but as Ingres said, "In all beauty there is strangeness," to which I say, celebrate that strangeness. I find myself in full agreement with one final quote by contemporary painter and colorist, Ken Kewsey, who said, "...like a songwriter rhyming words that do not really rhyme, we invent color relationships to get at the surprising juxtapositions that are found in nature. It is a way of staying excited, staying in love...to love and to be honest, maybe one does not exist without the other, and a desire to communicate that, this is what it takes to make art".