Paintings by Dianne Mize

Click on image for larger view.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Moth Mother: Third Phase

I know this painting is close to being finished; in fact, I could very well call it finished, but it needs a bit of something more and I'm not sure what.  I know it's at a place where I could overstate (overwork) it and lose it.  So I'm going to live with it for a little while and see where it leads me.

Enjoy your Thursday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Moth Mother: Phase Two

This one is slow to speak to me.  Perhaps I'm distracted, knowing it is most likely the last painting of the series.  Who knows?  But rather than rush it for the sake of being a consistent blogger, I've kept it on my easel where I see it every time I walk by.  Finally this morning, I turned it upside down (as often I have suggested my students do) and it was then I saw what needed to happen in the next step.
Moth mother painting, phase two      Watercolor   20" x 28"
The creative process continues to amaze me.  Just when I think I understand it, it throws another mystery my way.

The weekend approaches.  Enjoy your Thursday.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Moth Mother: Phase One

Finally, I got the underpainting set for the moth mother painting.  It took a couple of days to get a feel for the direction for this one.  As I've said before, this phase of the painting determines all that follows, so now that's set. 

In spite of all my efforts, I cannot tweak these digitals to do justice to the painting, but at least they give an idea of what's happening. 

As a reminder of the content of this one, here's the reference photo I'm working from:

Enjoy your Sunday.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Refections on the Painting Process

Whatever happens at the beginning of a painting determines the progression of all that sets up the painting's destiny.  It's a kind of karma:  the seeds that get sown predict the outcome.

Aware of this, it takes a while for me to apply the first strokes to the painting.  I never know the outcome, I cannot imagine the painting finished.  It always reminds me of the birth of a child:  the moment a child is conceived, his/her genetic makeup determines the person that child will become: male, female, gay, straight, tall, short, blond, brunette--all that and more .  To enable that child to become the person he or she was born to be rather than to brainwash this little human to become what the parents would prefer or what social structure demands is a juggling act that becomes the responsibility of new parents.  It's a daunting task.

And those of us born artists have the thrill of repeating this creative process with every new painting that emerges.  Everything we are translates into what we see and how we see it.  Our preparation--the skills we've mastered--determine how we express what we have perceived.  Our imaginations enhance our interpretations.

Now, isn't that a miracle within itself!

Enjoy your Friday.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mother Moth: Preliminary Drawing

More or less, I have finished the preliminary drawing for the mother moth painting.  At this point, I want the emphasis on the eggs she's laying.  We'll see where it leads.

While doing this moth series, I've been acutely aware of how closely related are art and religion.  In both, so long as the participant adheres to the belief of status quo, all goes well, but the moment an idea or concept gets questioned, eyebrows begin to raise and hostility shows its ugly head.

I am reminded of being an art student at the University of Georgia back in the 60's when traditional or classical approaches to art were scorned as dead (just like God was during the same era).  Students who wanted to find their voices in a more traditional approach were dressed down by their instructors as well as their peers.  So in order to maintain a grade average, the student was forced to adhere to the dogma of the day.  It bothered me then and it bothers me now.

Too many of today's artists are stuck in that anti-traditional attitude, blocked from perceiving beyond it.  Andrew Wyeth has been accused of overworking his pieces just because he chose to define his images while Willem de Kooning was praised for his distortions and vague images.  In religion at that time, students believing God was alive and well were sneered at and considered less than intelligent.  Today some of those same kind of attitudes persist, even if in reverse.  As Howard use to say, it's the pattern that matters.

Actually, the attitudes of neither religious zealots nor artistic dogma matter to me.  What matters is that I'm following my inner light, that I not allow that candle to go out, in spite of any prevailing attitudes.

Enjoy this Monday.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mother Moth Revisited

There's at least one more moth painting to do.  What began this moth series was a mother moth who, back in the spring, chose my screen porch as a place to deposit her eggs just before she died.  What's odd about this is that the Polyphemus usually finds some camouflaged spot in the woods for laying her eggs, but this mother chose a spot out in the open on a screen panel at the front corner of my front porch. 
I did a small painting of her shortly after discovering her, but since that time have been intrigued with the Polyphemus theme--as you know.  I realize this is somehow playing a large role in my coming to terms with Howard's death; there's a serenity while doing these paintings.

I thought perhaps "Ascending" would be the last one in the series, but after finishing it, I want now to go back to the original mother moth and revisit her as the final painting in the series.   I'm beginning as usual with sketchbook studies to familiarize myself with the subject and get a sense of where I want to take it.

Here's a closeup of the value study of the eggs.

The painting will be another large one, the same size as "Ascending."  Beyond that, the idea is evolving.  And as I always say, stay tuned.

Enjoy your Friday.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The fourth moth painting is finished.  I entitled it "Ascending." 

"Ascending"      20" x 28"    Watercolor on Paper  
A painting shown as a digital in cyberspace is always at the mercy of individual monitors and translations.  I always hope persons seeing a finished painting receive a decent interpretation of it, but then that's always the risk we take whenever we share images over the web.

Beyond that, I'll let the piece speak for itself.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Four Moth Painting Evolving

I got myself into a pickle on this one.  The environment had totally separated itself from the image, having become too cool against the warmth of the image.

Richard Schmid emphasizes (and I agree) that if the overall temperature of the painting is not in harmony, the painting will be off kilter no matter what else is working.  So my task since the last post is the get the overall temperature working together before proceeding to further definition of the moth.  This is close, though not exactly where it should be yet.

I've included my reference photo here as a reminder of what got all this in motion to begin with.  I notice in the reference photo that the moth's big eyes are hidden, and this painting will honor that.

I know what got me into this pickle:  I was thinking too much.  Often teachers preach sermons and then make the same error they were preaching against.  My constant sermon is "don't think while you're painting."  Just like playing baseball or playing a musical instrument, all the thinking and working out skills needs to be done ahead of time so that when the performance begins, the whole person can let go.  Inevitably when we start thinking about what we're doing while we're in the middle of it, we mess up.  Try thinking about every move you make while driving a car and you realize by doing so, you've taken your eye off the road.

Have a fine Tuesday.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Moth Painting Four: Second Phase

This is a fun painting to do.

Since my last post, I have defined the background space which the art world calls "negative space," a term I've not always subscribed to since its function in a painting is anything but negative.  It is the environment in which the image lives and its handling means everything to how the imagery is perceived.  But back in the abstraction era when everything about a painting got analyzed and minimalized, the term "negative" got born and became embedded into the visual language.

While defining the environment, I began to lay in the value structure using the colors I find in the resource image.  It's crucial at this stage of the painting's development that I respond to the original image.  The composition is set, the drawing is done, there is nothing left to figure out, so now I am free to respond to the image itself.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Moth Four: Painting Begins

Finally, the first wash of the new moth painting.

Remember the notan study?

Rather than focus the painting's structure on light and dark, I decided to go warm/cool, with the cool areas falling within the dark side of the notan.  And it seems right to keep as many lost edges as I can manage. 

Now I'm waiting for this to get thoroughly dry so that I can go move forward.

It's a chilly 42 degrees on this October 2 morning in north Georgia.  Beautiful day ahead.  Enjoy.