Jukey in the Jungle--Boynton Health Services-Uof MN
Jukey in the Jungle is hanging in the Eye Department at Boynton Medical Center at the U of MN. As a graduate of the university, I donated this painting while I had a show in the gallery there. Isn't the Eye Department the perfect place for this colorful jungle scene? I really had fun putting my silly parrot in an imagined scene. I needed something for the right hand corner and painted some flowers like I had seen at the Vet Clinic. I am certain the people in the waiting room must have thought that I believed them to be real while photographing them from a couple of angles. Oh, the life of a painter! We are caught in odd moments of observation or worse--taking photos of plastic plants--anything for our art.
African Bee Eaters
Does the composition for the African Bee Eaters look a bit like the Mount Kenya painting in the post below? This was painted as a commission for an esteemed retiring professor. They gave me a list of birds that she liked and I picked the European Bee Eaters, because they are very colorful and I had actually seen the African version while travelling there. I started a composition of seven birds that had a corporate team look about them. One bird seemed in charge with others clustered about the leader, but something wasn't working. The background was too fuzzy and painting the twigs they perched on would have required the steady hand of Neil Sherman to carry it off. I made a bold move and restarted the painting four days before the deadline. All was painted wet on wet and the flying bird was added on the third day to round out the composition. As fate would have it Dr. Joseph and her husband had also seen these birds in Africa. It was a reminder of their trip there. I am so grateful I listened to the little voice in my head and trusted that I could make it work.
Nancy Winter and I took a fabulous trip to
East Africa in 1999 with the Board of Directors from the Oakland Zoo (that's
another story). One of us took this photo on location and so for a
significant birthday, I painted it for her. She has displayed in over
her mantle these 10 years.
As another significant birthday approaches for Nancy and with the knowledge that my painting abilities have improved tremendously, I
was able to wrestle the painting away from her under the condition I would only work on
the zebras. Well, you know the rest of the story... I immediately tore off
the protective cover on the back and removed the professional frame and got
down to totally repainting it. I love its new
look...but will Nancy? I hope that I get another shot at revising it in 10 more years. Happy Birthday Nancy!
Had a beautiful day paddling on Hemlock Lake in Central Wisconsin in late September. The Vacation Group, as we call our ourselves, has been together since we were in our 20s. We had a lot of fun checking out the Bunk House and reminiscing about Blue Gill weekends when the yard was full of tents and we looked good in little bathing suits.
This painting belongs to Julia Anderson and Rob Plunkett and will reside in Minneapolis until Rob's family discovers the painting and insists that it gets moved to the lovely log cabin on Hemlock Lake. I have visiting rights!
A co-worker handed me this apple--a random selection from a bag he had purchased at an orchard he had visited. I turned it around and around admiring its color and shape. I decided to do its portrait. I discovered it to be much more challenging than I had originally thought. Its voluptuous top and delicate tapered bottom rivaled any life drawing in difficulty of execution. Next the color changes were distinct, but had lovely transitions from one color note to the next. I painted, I struggled with transition. I painted again. I scrapped the paint away and started the passage over again. After two evenings of trial and transition, I completed the apple painting. A friend who stopped over and saw it sitting on an end table declared that at first she thought it was a real apple. It is a real apple to me. It represents the apple in paint that I held in my hands and slowly turned around and around to admire its beauty. Paintings to the artist are experiences that we choose to honor and recall. That Apple, The Place, The Season.
I started this painting 6 years ago. Got it blocked in and then seized up and put it in the attic. With an additional 6 years of observation and painting experience under my belt and help from Instructor Richard I completed the 4' x 3' canvas. I hope it speaks to The Moment--sun going down, wings leveraging, water splashing, and birds about to settle into the water. A place, time, event.
Most of the decisions for this painting were with what to do with the water. Too many darks and plants on the water competed with the elegance of the birds. Once again simplicity wins out in "what to leave in"/"what to leave out."
This is my entry for the juried fine arts show at the MN State Fair. They take about 1 in 5 entries. Cross your fingers that they like this painting as much as I do.
There is always that weird subject matter that you try your hand at and then wonder what am I going to do with this painting? Where can I put it in my house that could startle or humor someone at its discovery? This one moves around the house for my own amusement. It is the "portrait" of a Mexican good luck skeleton, which I don't understand, but local Mexican artists probably sell a number of them as objects of curiosity. Certainly could sell some toothpaste. I had to restrain myself from adding a bit of starburst sparkle to his nice set of choppers. (I posted 3 new paintings today--see more below).
Thanks for visiting my post. My name is Sharell Benson and I grew up in the Zumbro River Valley of SE Minnesota and on the edge of the Mississippi River bluffs. It was a wonderful place for a formative artist to grow-up and be in nature everyday. The name of the blog commemorates this Place and my connection as a landscape painter.