MY IRISH ADVENTURE FOR “ART IN THE OPEN”

written by Joshua Lance, 8/10/2018

Between 2018 and 2019 I completed posts on a different site and I’m slowly transferring these posts from that period.


My first painting in Ireland

Portugal is over, so what is an artist to do?  He goes to do an art festival.  In Ireland of all places!  I planned this several months ago and haven’t done an arts festival on this level.  I was part of an international art show called “Art in the Open” where nearly 200 painters from everywhere emerged in Wexford County, Ireland to paint at various beautiful locations.  And I completed eleven paintings where I just put up on my website.  8 days of painting bliss.  Where to begin?  I’ll start from the beginning.

This painting of “Wexford Red Boat” was my first painting completed in Ireland.  It was my choice where to pick out the spot, and I have never done boats before.  I soon found out there were many firsts on this painting trip.  I painted alongside a few other artists that day.  It was a bit cold, in the 60’s which for the summer is very nice.  Early in the trip, it was cold, cloudy and rainy at times but the weather became hotter and drier as the week went on.

The composition was a bit complex, as there were so much detail and information to choose from.  The point is to always simplify into shapes and colors and save the details till the end.  I didn’t know it at the time, but this painting was going to be at the Green Acres Gallery exhibition at the end of the trip.  All artists had to choose two paintings and get them in the gallery for a two-day show.  

So fast-forward to the end of the trip, this painting sold!  I was told about this before I entered the gallery that day.  I found out that the gallery didn’t want the artists and patrons to mix because they wanted the patrons to have space.  The patrons paid $50 to use as a credit to see the show first.  They were the first group in, and I couldn’t mingle with them, ah so crazy!  So I walked around town and returned two hours later to find out someone purchased one of my paintings.  I was so excited about seeing a red dot by my painting.  It’s been years since I entered any kind of competition and I wanted to meet whoever bought my work.  They weren’t there at first so I went downstairs and got a drink and chilled.  Soon after, I decided to go back upstairs and there they were, the great Irish family who bought my work was right there!  So glad we met and talked.  Personal attention like this is important to me, and I hope it added to their experience too.  

Because in the end, people who purchase your work must be like gold.  You have to nurture and take care of your clients.  They’re now a permanent part of your life as your art is to them.  That connection will never be broken.  

My painting sold to a great Irish family!

The Legend of Saint Antonio & El Nino

I wanted to paint from a master painting.  I was searching around and I came up with Murillo’s “Saint Antonio of Gadua & El Nino”.  When I visited Seville last winter, I saw this painting and I got a postcard of the image.  Religious paintings are often complex and challenging because there are so many layers (more than emotional too) to contend with.  I knew I had to paint it and somehow my style will come through.

 

 

I started the painting figuring out where the colors and values go.  The first stage, as I like to call it, the embryo stage of painting.  It looks like an abstract painting and miles from the destination.  Slowly, the forms, values and shapes come together and become tighter and more refined.  Faces and bodies start to appear.  The more you paint, the more details you start to uncover.  I had to make early decisions what to put in and what to leave out.

 

 
As you can see, the forms are starting to take shape.  The lights and darks have their place.  I started with the large masses and now I’m refining them by filling in the color and details.

 

 

The colors and masses become more full and I’m continually refining the facial features, the lights and darks.  Though I’m aware the composition is a bit different than the original, I try to remain faithful to Murillo’s painting.  But not just to copy, to make it my own.  If the human connection between Saint Antonio and the child isn’t there, the whole thing won’t work.

 

 

The last stages include warming up the flesh colors, and both figures have their own. And that’s intentional.  The fingers were also important, and even the toes.  Finally, the blue flowers were added like the cherry on top of a sundae.  It was very fulfilling to do this painting.  It’s great that I challenged my own skills to paint this, and it will be exciting to see how future paintings will turn out.

Portugal Roundabouts

In Portugal, there are some unique things you take notice.  How the homes sparkle with hand-painted tiles, the abundance of lemon and orange trees, and the popularity of pastelerias, or bakeries in English.

But if you’re living in a small town such as Sao Joao Da Madeira, what is quite noticeable are the roundabouts.  Yes, the little circles that makes the cars go round and round.  There are more roundabouts in this town than any others in Portugal.  Because of the abundance of these man-made wonders, there are maybe one or two stoplights in the entire town.

My studio window faces one, and believe me it’s always action-packed.  There’s a poetry in motion of watching cars going around these circles.  Many cars don’t slow down.  They can’t go too fast though because of the pedestrian crosswalks.  Not by law, but by honor the drivers must stop whenever someone crosses the street.  It’s one of those things that just makes you go “I don’t ever see that in the USA”.

Which brings me to painting two different “Roundabouts” paintings.  Two different perspectives.  The centerpiece is the oval-size water fountain in the middle of the circle.  But I wanted to try different things with both works.  The sunlight on the streets, the shadows, the depths of the trees.  “12pm” was done a few days before “6pm”.  Rather than usually explaining, I would like for you to observe and see the difference and make your own conclusions with both paintings.  The only intentional plan I had in mind was to keep the brushstrokes simple in a complex composition.  I also saved the cars for last, as I wanted to add a little life to the roads.  If you ever get to Portugal, you’ll see what I mean.  What do you think?

 

Portugal Roundabout 6pm

Portugal Roundabout 12pm