I love color! Love, love, love it! Bold, saturated, luscious color! It can have such a positive impact on people. Combine color with design and contrast and that’s the essence of my artwork. Even as a child, I was fascinated by optical art and the hippy-dippy flower power art of the 1960s. As I grew older, I learned about fractals and mathematical designs that had a major impact on the type of art I am known for now. Most people are surprised to learn that I started out as a portrait painter. Even though I had all this color and design stuff running around in my head, I was urged to paint realistically and led to believe that my abstract creations were too colorful and whimsical to be considered serious or fine art. Isn’t that crazy? Well, I think so. And I’m on a mission to prove otherwise. It started about eight years ago when I was going through some personal struggles. Life seemed to have lost its meaning. Finally, one day I just decided to paint what needed to be expressed and my artwork just blossomed. I had no idea how wonderful my life as an artist would become.
Awakening was the first painting I created in my current style. It is a very abstract and expressive work. When it was accepted into a prestigious juried exhibition, I knew I needed to continue. Several months later I painted The Big Spin, which was my first work with the spiral effect. As time went by, I began to refine my style and technique. My paintings became smoother, both to look at and to touch. As I started to experiment more with color, I had a pastel phase and Vibe was the result. It’s one of the very few works I created using so much white! But this painting sparked the interest of one of my clients. He loved the ripple effect and said it looked like a droplet hitting the water. Then he asked if I could turn it sideways and put a fish in it! He wanted to celebrate his big catch by commissioning artwork and that’s how my demonstration, Shiira, painting began.
I started Shiira by placing the focal point (center of the ripples) and then positioning the fish (mahi-mahi) as if it were swimming toward the focal point. I use a watercolor pencil in a neutral color, such as raw sienna, to sketch as it is easy to cover and won’t smear while I’m painting. After sketching the fish, I then set up the design pattern for the ripples by making concentric circles around the focal point. In this painting, the circles are fairly evenly spaced apart. I draw them freehand rather than using a compass. I think it has a more natural feel that way. I don’t get too particular with the design sketch as it’s just a general guide for when I start painting.
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John Lovett provides tips on how to use circles in perspective
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