Paintings by Dianne Mize

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Paying Attention

Do you ever wonder why it is that you pay attention to some things and ignore others?

I notice I'm drawn to windows, that I'm proned to unconsciously walking to a window and staring at the world outside it.  And during our recent snows, I spent hours watching the squirrels and birds as they scurried to find a morsel.  And almost obscessively I took pictures.  Every formation, every gesture was intriguing. 

I remember from my childhood, my grandmother who we called Mama Cole, used the phrase "make haste" whenever she wanted one of us to get something done in a hurry.  Never "hurry", always "make haste."  It seemed to me as I noticed the speed with which the squirrels were searching for and relishing each sunflower seed, an inner voice was telling them:  make haste.  Was that why I couldn't stop watching?

And so what does an artist do but paint whatever she is paying attention to.  Here's my interpretation of watching those squirrels.
"Making Haste"    Oil on Canvas  16" x 20"
Enjoy your Tuesday.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

One More Winter Day

I wish I had kept a step-by-step record of this painting.  It began as three birds searching for seeds in the snow.  At the end of the first session, the other two birds had to go:  their presence made the painting seem trite, but taking them away left the remaining bird sitting almost in the middle of the painting.  In fact, the right edge of the bird splits the composition in half--sorta. 

Yet I liked how I'd done the bird, so I set out to find a way to make the composition work by guiding the viewer's eye by using accents of warm light within areas of cool.
We use isolation to bring attention to a subject or to lead the eye to a place we want it to go.  The bird image in this painting is about as isolated as you can get:  its size, its contrast, its gesture all give emphasis to the isolation and by doing so, make the eye cling to the image itself.  I needed to make the eye roam around so that the viewer could register the cold of the snow and the subtle colors in it even though we call it white.

For two days the bird's surroundings morphed.  What began as a snow-covered field became woods in the background that went through many adjustments and deletes until finally there was nothing left to do and that's how you know when a painting is finished.

In this picture, I photoshopped a frame around it to help isolate the painting itself.  This painting needs the frame to be complete.  So what does that tell me?   I'll answer that:  it tells me there's still so much to learn...

Enjoy your Saturday.