American artist Christine Lashley shares her process and inspiration for her new solo show of landscape paintings.
Transparency and layers in the environment have been the focus of my recent paintings. Nature elements of water, foliage, and the earth’s geology are important in my art; but urban structures, such as glass, and buildings also inspire my creativity.
My work shifts from realism and tangible objects to abstraction and emotion. Even when creating a painting I move between quick, intuitive marks and then let an artwork ‘rest’ to carefully consider each future brush mark. I often ask myself, “what is the painting trying to say,” or “what does it need?” These questions are often answered by going back to my on location art studies and my memory versus a photograph, which seems to only record excessive details.
The act of painting on location “en plein air” has changed somewhat for me. I used to try to make a final painting as quickly as possible and think of it as done. Now, I use my field studies to capture color notes and harvest information. I am mindful of the experience and may abstract this later in the studio using memory to distill an idea. Of course, I still create outdoor paintings (I have done plein air competitions for 10 years). However, removing the expectations of always making a final work have pushed my creativity in the studio: to see what I can remember, to design better paintings, and to plan for a certain size if needed. A by-product of this process has been the creation of larger artwork to fit a concept, such as the vast feeling of the marsh.
Creating a large body of work in one year for my solo show at Principle Gallery was a challenge, but one I enjoyed. The gallery requested larger paintings, so I worked my way up from my typical 30×40″ to 36×48″ and then the 40×72″ (Blue Symphony and Silver Harmony). These largest works were from the same reference, but a different interpretation.
I’ve found that exploring different light and shapes, but the same subject is a great way to deeply connect with a scene. Sure it’s working in a series, but with a little twist, the subject becomes less literal, and I start to invent part of the scene and highlight areas I like. This lead to paintings that were completed faster and had a cohesive feel for the show.