Wednesday, September 27, 2017

They Call the Mighty Mississippi the Wall.








From my painting excursions into the Illinois river bottoms along the Mississippi, visits along the Ohio in Paducah, KY and to our recent trip to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I have been told that one who spends his leisure time on or along a river is called a River Rat. I’ve been called worse things.

The name Mississippi is derived from the Native American peoples Ojibwe word "Misi-ziibi," meaning "Great River".

The longest river in North America, it is the third longest river in the world at nearly 2,400 miles. It reaches from the Canadian border and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River is an important area of the wet lands with a massive ecosystem and environment that covers ten states, two Canadian provenience's and creates the third largest water shed in the world.

The Mississippi River has been a focal point in American history, from Native American tribes who flourished along its banks, through European explorers, the American Civil War, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.

Western settlers and traders called it the “wall” because of the difficulty of crossing her, it being the biggest barrier to western expansion. For decades man has tried to tame her.
Nature always wins.


They Call the Mighty Mississippi the Wall.
Oil on panel, 8x10, © Jim Serrett














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Monday, September 18, 2017

Girl in the Red Kayak





Anyone who follows my work or my blogs knows that most of my landscapes and waterscapes come from our exploration of the local lakes by kayak.  Linda and I paddle the lakes in the Shawnee National Forrest area often and have grown especially fond of Cedar Lake. It has some of the most beautiful, secluded and peaceful areas to paddle.

The Lake has become a muse for my plein air work and it is one of those places you can go a thousand times and never tire of. The lake is large enough to turn into a good vigorous paddle or you can just slowly explore the necks and fingers. Either way you can always find an adventure along its banks.

More important is that it has grown to hold a special place in our hearts.

There is a communion with nature when you are quietly floating on the surface of the lake, and it gives us sustenance. “Fuel for the soul”, as sappy as it sounds is a real thing or it can be. Those moments are real when we stop and just see, and feel and be present.

The lake has given awareness and inspiration, a connection to the spirit of the land that I may never have known if I never stopped to pay attention and experience the moment. 

And when I close my eyes and imagine I see the lake in my mind’s eye, as I have painted it.

The Girl in the Red Kayak

Oil on panel, 11 x 14 inches

"Gratitude is the heart's memory." (French Proverb)





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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Grey Sunset






Grey is never colorless,
color is about comparable chromatic relationships.
Say that three times fast.


Grey Sunset, oil on panel, 5 x 7 inches, © Jim Serrett






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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fourth of July Inspiration: Childe Hassam







"The Avenue in the Rain," by the American painter Childe Hassam. (1859–1935)
oil on canvas, 42 in. x 22.25 in.  1917, Courtesy of The White House Collection.

The Impressionist work depicts Fifth Avenue in New York City in the rain, decorated with US flags.
It is hard to think of the 4th without thinking of a Hassan painting.



To learn more about Childe Hassam click this link.





Happy 4th of July!





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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Upcoming Exhibitions - See My Work











See my work at OA Gallery, “SKY'S THE LIMIT!”
St. Louis' Premier Exhibition of the Boundless Landscape
June 2, 2017-July 29, 2017






I also have some work in a few local shows, I thought I would share.













PADUCAH AREA PAINTERS ALLIANCE


Event Dates: 5/2/2017 - 6/2/2017
Location: PAPA Gallery
Address:
124 Broadway
Paducah, Kentucky 42001
United States
















THE HERRINFESTA ART EXHIBITION


Event Dates: 5/13/2017 - 5/29/2017
Location: Herrinfesta Italiana Art Gallery
Address:
3 South Park Avenue
Herrin, Illinois 62948
United States



HARTLEY INVITATIONAL


Event Dates: 5/7/2017 - 6/1/2017
Reception: 5/20/2017 
Location: Hartley Gallery
Address:
100 S. Park Avenue
Herrin, Illinois 62948
United States







Explore - Question - Learn - Enjoy, Jim 


Website - jimserrett.com 
Studio Blog - jimserrettstudio.com 
Landscape Blog - Pochade Box Paintings











Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Long View







This has been a busy spring, lots of art activities going on, exhibitions and shows in several local communities which I am participating in. So it’s been a lot of framing and organizing of work, between that and the turbulent weather we are having here, there has not been much brush time.

Did get this little study done, I like these long views across the plowed fields, very typical Southern Illinois scenery this time of year. It is also a pretty good metaphor for me to keep in mind, when placing your work out there to exhibit you need to see the long view. Like everybody else I get impatient about the goals I want to achieve, I tell myself my skills need to be at this level, my sales at that and so on and on. The reality is that with all of this stuff, - the journey to success is not a sprint, but a marathon.           
To find a good pace and take the long view.


The Long View, oil on panel, 5 x 7 inches, © Jim Serrett Studio



“It's not a sprint, it's a marathon.”







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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Quiet Evening - Kinkaid Lake







This is one of those paintings that has been percolating for a while, I have done a couple oil studies and sketches at this location. And even though I have some good references I think the source of this painting or concept has been painted in my head several times. I think anyone that visits this spot and stands where I worked, would recognize the place from the painting. However, this piece is more of a memory painting of several experiences of this scene during the fall. I wanted to paint that crisp air of early fall, the mood of the transitional season and hopefully the essence of the land.


 Quiet Evening, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches, © jim_serrett 


There are a lot of videos online about Kinkaid Lake, it's a big sport fishing destination. I found this interesting drone footage video filmed at Kinkaid Lake Paul Ice boat ramps from Eric Ripley. His drone hovers right over my painting spot and gives a great birds eye view of why this lake is so popular.






Eric Ripley - YouTube Channel



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Landscape Blog - Pochade Box Paintings





Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Artist and His Muse - Dutch Ridge, Cedar Lake





I paint what I see as I find it in nature, mostly. I never paint it exactly, I pick and choose elements I like, move a tree here or there, add more interest to the clouds. Do some rearranging and compose some harmony out of all the chaos to make visual sense to me.

What I always strive to do is stay true to the original idea, in it is the source of inspiration.

Without inspiration you are just making marks. No matter what embellishments I may add or take away in a painting, they must support the original concept. What is the painting about, is it the sky? If that is the inspiration, then everything supports that idea. When you know what to emphasize in a scene you understand what elements to manipulate to better communicate the feelings you have about a particular place or time. When its about the mood or feeling of a place then your choices should speak to that connection. That relation is certainly the hardest concept to focus on and express in a painting.




Dutch Ridge, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches, ©Jim Serrett

This becomes the artist-muse relationship, that goal to capture something illusive, intuitive, private, visceral or complex. It becomes a creative force of its own having the power of moving the intellect or emotions.

I am not certain how many sketches and paintings from Cedar Lake I have done; I just know I am not finished.

“I'm not in control of my muse. My muse does all the work.” Ray Bradbury








Muse; noun: Muse; plural noun: Muses; noun: muse; plural noun: muses
1. (in Greek and Roman mythology) each of nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences.
2. a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.

synonyms:
inspiration, creative influence, stimulusformal afflatus "the poet's muse"





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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Even in Front of Nature One Must Compose.






Nearly all of my work begins with some type of preliminary sketch, either a thumbnail drawing in a sketchbook or oil study in my Pochade Box. Lately I have been spending a great deal of time sketching, gathering information outdoors and drawing from my imagination. Creating small rough abstract sketches to work out composition and design elements. 






Mainly I am using pen and ink with watercolor. I like the ink because you don’t fiddle with it as much as say a pencil sketch, you just have to lay it down with some speed and confidence. It is very permanent mark making and you simply/humbly live with what you put down and move along. Over that I wash in some color, do some crosshatching and try to capture the value and mass pattern. I call them my scribbles; and that is what they are, quick notations of design ideas based on nature.


They are exercises in capturing what I see in front of me from direct observation (the Art of Seeing) but also it is about the simple pleasure of drawing.







I look for a strong arrangement of dark and light patterns, the Japanese use the word Notan which means the "dark-light" harmony.  But a notan is also as much about shape/form, positive/negative, figure/ground relationships. It is why it is such a strong abstract design tool. I like to think of it as being the ying-yang of composition. Ever walk into a gallery full of art and be instantly attracted to a particular piece, drawn to it from across the room? Our eyes are drawn to the strong arrangements of shapes and patterns. As you learn to use this design tool you will recognize it in paintings and drawings of master artists.







Slow down mentally and take a long look at your subject, carefully choose the center of interest or theme of the piece, what it is about, what has drawn you to this motif and design outwards from that point. Simplify and edit down the elements by making them subordinate to that central idea. That is the key to good composition.







It is fun working out compositions and concepts, playing with the elements and ideas based on the anatomy of the landscape. Let them evolve and "brainstorm" many studies, before you know it you will have sketchbooks full of Composition Thumbnails which are a library of knowledge and imagination to work from.

“Even in front of nature one must compose.” ~ Edgar Degas



Color Studies:
Last Light, oil on panel, 8 x 10 in, Jim Serrett

Over the Horizon, oil on panel, 8 x 10 in, Jim Serrett




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Website - jimserrett.com 
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Links:

Notan is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark as they are placed next to the other in art and imagery.





Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thanks for Listening 2016







How very grateful I am for you.

To my dear friends, colleagues, collectors, bloggers and loved ones who made 2016 such a wonderful year, you will never know how much your support is appreciated.

This Blog has been an amazing thing and has served multiple purposes. It has created a creative community of which I am a part and given me a voice to speak about the art I create. It has allowed me to think deeply about my work, art in general and its importance in the world. It has given me a window into the making of my art and by others, and a wealth of information to share and digest. I admit it has been mostly about me, for I benefit the most. But it would not exist without you.

Thank you. Thank you all for your continuing support.


“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”     ---Friedrich Nietzsche






Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, Jim



For my loving wife Linda, I know that no words can express how grateful I am for you.
I am a lucky man. 
My goal and promise in life to show you every day how much I love you, appreciate you and cherish you.
All my love, and Happy Anniversary!




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Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim 



Website - jimserrett.com 
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Landscape Blog - Pochade Box Paintings