July 2016

Cove Gallery Newsletter
July 2016

Happy Independence Day weekend! We hope everyone has a fun and safe long weekend.

Each and every 1st Thursday of the month, we host a small reception in the form of First Thursdays Art Walk.   You can take the free trolley to stops  5 and 6.  Come by and meet the artists.

Artist of the Month

Graduating from Realist Artist
to Abstract Artist

By Sallie-Anne Swift

From a layman’s view abstract art often looks like the artist has just thrown paint onto a canvas to produce undefined images, but there is more to this type art than most people realize.

I prefer to say I graduated from painting realism to producing unique and interesting abstract pieces. There is no doubt that my fine art experience and many years of working as a graphic designer, continue to play a big part in my finished work and I believe it’s made me a better artist because of it.

As a realism artist for more than 30 years I felt very nervous and definitely not brave when it came to attempting an abstract painting, it went against everything I had ever been taught. It wasn’t until my husband and I moved from Australia to the USA in 2008, that I decided to face my fears and tackle my first abstract painting.

Initially I struggled with the freedom of my brush, my work had always been very tight and controlled and I was constantly reminding myself to “leave it alone”. I found working on larger canvas and using the biggest, widest brushes I could find, gave me no choice but to “free-up” and it wasn’t long before I was producing finished pieces that I felt were worthy of hanging and selling. Realism was stressful for me, I was continually worrying about every stroke, it was very intense and not the least bit relaxing. With abstracts, I have a newfound freedom with my canvas and it’s exhilarating! I’ve never looked back or enjoyed painting as much as I do now.

I describe myself as an artist who is continuously “pushing boundaries”. My head is constantly swimming with ideas for something that is visually appealing, that offers a unique look, yet still conveys reflection, depth, shadow and light and displays my great passion of the ocean.

In my studio music plays constantly while I paint and my cat (Captain Jack), watches overhead from the top of the closet. Although I have very clear ideas in my head, I am not just throwing paint onto a canvas, and a little on my feet.

I paint with purpose and my brush strokes are still precise in their application. Maybe it’s because of my more formal art training or my years as a graphic designer that rule my abstracts which are unusually well thought out and balanced for an abstract artist. Without my previous experience as a realist artist, I would not know how to create depth, light, shadows, and balance or apply special techniques.

If my paintings draw you in, stir your curiosity, make you take a second or a third look and you really do want to touch them, then I have achieved success.

I am constantly asked, “How did you do that?” and my answer is simple…

“With many years of practice and experience. As an artist, you never stop learning, every time you do a painting, you learn something new.”

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