Great turnout at the opening reception for my solo show “For the Love of Color” at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery in Reston. What a thrill to exhibit 44 recent paintings in this large, beautiful, well-lit space and to witness the growth and continuity from one piece to the next. I was so honored to share my work with the numerous friends & colleagues who came “to see what I have been up to.” Many were struck with the light and color as they entered the gallery and commented that the energy seemed to radiate out into the lobby. They agreed that the title “For the Love of Color” was well-chosen and remarked that the joy and happiness engendered by the paintings are especially needed in the darkness of winter as we wait & hope for spring.
The show, “For the Love of Color,” is in the Jo Ann Rose Gallery, in the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne, 1609-A Washington Plaza, Reston, VA 20190. It will be there through Sunday, March 5, 2017.
For the last several months I have been preparing for my solo show “For the Love of Color.” The image here is one of the paintings that will be exhibited, Mosaic Floral #2.
Here are the details:
“For the Love of Color,” a solo art exhibit by Mary Ellen Mogee
February 7 – March 5, 2017
Opening reception, Friday, February 10, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Jo Ann Rose Gallery,
Reston Community Center — Lake Anne
1609-A Washington Plaza • Reston, VA 20190
Gallery hours are: Monday – Saturday 9 am-9pm, Sunday 9am-8pm, except during events/classes. Call 703-476-4500 x3000 to check if the gallery is open before you go.
I’ve been painting up a storm to prepare new paintings for the exhibit, and I’m really pleased with how it is coming together. Along the way, I’ve taken a look back at my earlier work, examined how my art has grown and changed through the years, and found several common threads and themes that still ring true for me. As installation day approaches, I feel as if I’ve rounded the curve, and it’s a wild, exhilarating sprint to the finish line!
I am being assisted by fellow artist and curator Andrea Cybyk in decisions like which paintings should be in the show and how they should be arranged on the walls. Together we are working to make “For the Love of Color” a WOW show. I can’t wait to share my LOVE OF COLOR with you!
I work with several other artists at Art Happens Here Studios, or AHH! Studios. AHH! Studios are working studios, and not a gallery. Normally, we are not open to the public. This weekend, however, we are participating in the 2016 Great Falls Studio Tour, a self-guided driving tour of scenic Great Falls, Virginia, to visit artists in their studios, chat with them about their processes and motivation, and appreciate the great variety of art being produced in our small community.
My studio mates and I have cleaned and organized our studios a bit to welcome visitors. This first photo shows my studio wall with paintings at various stages of completion. I use this to show visitors how my painting process works, from beginning to completion, and to explain what I am trying to do in my current series.
Studio wall with paintings in various stages of completion
The next photo is of a corner of my studio where I have hung some earlier works that are not part of the current series, and some matted works on paper (in the bin). This work illustrates that my earlier work is similar to my current work in some regards, such as use of bright colors, while it differs in style and subject matter.
Tomorrow, Sunday, is the last day of the Studio Tour. Our studios will be open from 10 am to 5 pm. We hope you can visit us. We’re at: AHH! Studios, 717 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA. Our door is on the side of the building. Call 703-785-5784 if you have trouble finding us.
In my last post, I showed the second layer of the painting in which I am
exploring color luminosity. The image here shows the beginning of the next layer–a variety of abstract floral shapes have been painted on top of the miniature “frames.” This is the point at which I am trying to get the colors to glow. According to the process I learned, I should be able to get luminosity by making the color on top more saturated than the color below and the color below one step darker. When I look at the painting, I see some colors seem to glow — like the little pink “rose” on the lower left, the yellow “daisy” in the upper right, and the multicolor “pinwheel” also in the upper right. However, it seems to me that those flowers glow more because of their brightness and the complementarity of their hues — such as between the yellow daisy and its blue-ish background–than because of difference in saturation. I will continue to play with the remaining miniature frames and see if I can get luminous colors by making the frame color a bit darker or the saturated color a bit lighter, and perhaps by making the flowers a bit smaller relative to their frame.
I welcome your thoughts on how to get luminosity in painting and on this particular process for doing so.
As I mention in my Artist Statement, I am currently pursuing luminous color–that is, colors that glow—by painting a series of abstract florals on long thin canvases. This series will be part of the work I plan to show at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery in Reston, VA, in February 2017.
Flowers present the perfect opportunity to explore the luminosity of color, since color is their very essence. One way to get color luminosity is by contrasting color intensity or saturation, which means the color’s freedom from white or gray. Contrasting color intensity means contrasting a color with no white or gray (a “pure” color) to a color with lots of white or gray (a grayed color). I am applying lessons learned in a Skip Lawrence art workshop “Skip’s Not-So-Basic Basics.”
Beginning of Painting
In the painting in this image, I began preparing for luminous color by laying an undercoat of a very grayed blue, in this case Prussian blue mixed with titanium white and carbon black, using Golden fluid paints. The underpainting blue is a medium value (value means the lightness or darkness of a color). I did that because I wanted the next layer to be one step lighter in value than the underpainting; the third layer in turn will be one step lighter in value than the second coat. I am doing this because the best way to contrast luminosity is to have the most saturated color next to, or on top of, a less saturated color that is also one step lower in value (that is, darker). I added the curving lines to give a suggestion of flower stems. They will be covered up when I paint the geometric shapes. These shapes are intended to be miniature “picture frames” in which I will later paint abstract flowers.
The next image shows the painting at its current stage, with the mini-frames painted in a variety of colors. You may notice that the colors of the shapes are brighter (more intense) than the underpainting, but still subdued. The flowers in the shapes will have the most intense color when I am done. You may also notice that all the colors look similar; they “go together,” they don’t clash with one another. I achieved this by mixing some of the previous color into each new color that I mixed. For example, the underpainting color was the base for mixing the blue and green hues. I added some of that mix to orange to get a greenish yellow, more yellow, then pink, etc. to get the other colors. Because they share some of the same pigment, the shape colors are related to each other.
The next step on this painting will be to begin painting flowers on the shapes. I hope to get back to this and report on progress soon.
Today I spent a lot of studio time taping off squares and other shapes to make sharp edges. The edges are turning out well, thanks to a comment from JW Harrington that led me to try it with heavy body acrylic paint rather than the fluid acrylics I have been using. Thank you JW!
The first layer I painted rough shapes in navy, a variety of tints of navy (navy mixed with various amounts of white) and these tints mixed with other colors. In the second layer, I began to group some of the shapes together by painting over them with transparent and translucent paint. In the third layer, I painted hard edged shapes as mentioned above. These shapes will function like little frames in which I will paint abstract flowers. These shapes are in a variety of colors, most of which are unsaturated (think of them as mixed with gray). My purpose in using unsaturated colors for the little “frames” is to make a more gradual transition from the very dark navy to what I intend to be very bright and happy flowers.
At some point when the new direction of my work is clear, I will have to give it a new series name. The Spring Joy series was inspired by work of the contemporary Philadelphia artist Bill Scott. Now I am trying to take the idea further. I’m excited; I don’t know where it will go. Here is where I am/it is right now.