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THE METAPHORICAL POWER SEAT
Watch a short video narrated by Stephanie Bartron-Miscione,
as she talks about the backstory of this painting.
Taming Wild, Update of a Work in Progress
For a young South Dakota girl growing up on the prairie, the saddle represented: freedom, independence, adventure, control, thrilling speed. Pretty heady stuff imprinted on the mind and heart of a little girl – and somewhere in my lizard brain, it’s still there!
This beautiful hand tooled saddle is more like a throne than any riding accouterment that I had; it embellishes the memories of those emotional connections. It also made the last two years of interpretive work continuously compelling for me: interpreting the botanical motifs of the leather carver, myriad layers of leather color and highlights, and the visual interpretation of metaphors.
Every minute of painting this Objet D’art was in honor of the horses I loved, the best part of my childhood on the prairie, and what I learned about personal power from … Read More »
Progress on Taming Wild as of August 2017.
I have enjoyed full-time, uninterrupted work on Taming Wild since the end of August, with the exception of a week in CO with our kids.
For some reason, work on this painting is more difficult to accomplish with the kind of stops & starts that happen all during the busy, amazing Maine summertime. The results of my work are much more satisfying with the momentum of a daily routine, maybe because there is another layer of purpose for this painting. I’m doing something that I’ve never done before: the saddle’s embellishment is another artists’ work: I’m interpreting his leather carving into a watercolor painting, and I want to do that in a way that honors his recognizable, distinctive style. At the same time, I’m taking creative license with the sensuous, nouveau flow of the botanical elements and making it mine.
I was … Read More »
I created 30 watercolor browns to layer for capturing the reflections on this saddle – always going for the glow.
I really work preliminary drawings: lots of groping for the line and changing my mind. Years ago, I learned to do that on vellum to save the surface of my final draft paper for the sable tip of watercolor brushes. I end up with a contour drawing with lots of notes to myself about the details of light and shade, color, phone calls I need to return, etc. – an honest working draft. Read More
K. Christianson, a friend that I grew up with in SD, now living in CO, recently mentioned in an email that she was downsizing her clutter by getting rid of things that she no longer has any use for. In fact, to make the point about how ruthless her intentions were, she was actually considering giving up her treasured saddle! http://sbartron-miscione.com/taming-wild/ Read More
Setting up the saddle still life was going to be difficult, and the more I thought about what was involved, the more daunting it became. I’d been looking at the saddle on our banister in Brooklyn for a couple of weeks and made the decision to hang it: for a better view of my favorite parts, a more visually interesting angle, and a more interesting statement — the horizontal profile would have been the easier choice. Read More
There are a seventeen of my favorite rocks in this painting. Some are pieces of Maine that have such a strong sense of place that they make me long for Deer Isle every time I look at them. The others are from Colorado where my children live, and they remind me that my heart lives there too, with them.
After creating a color palette specific to one rock, I lived in it. Each rock became a completely abstract visual puzzle: of shapes, colors, light and shade — that fit together in a unique configuration that created patterns. Those patterns became texture and finally, that is what defines everything there is to know about what it is.
There are eleven very complete, self-contained, tiny abstract paintings that are intensely detailed with layers of watercolor. The others, using a different medium, appear to be in … Read More »
I am sometimes asked how I can be the same artist who began my life as an abstract painter, but now work almost exclusively in the forum of realism – painstakingly detailed, slow realism. Read More
I recently came to an obvious conclusion about attempting to move a still life: it really isn’t possible to duplicate exact conditions in another location. The light is going to be different, the placement of objects is going to be difficult to recreate in some cases, and impossible in other cases, such as with objects that are hanging — impossible! Read More
I wanted to post this poem that was written by a collector of my work. The poem is about my paintings, my creative process, and about living with my work. I posted a blog entry a little over a year ago about creating a print that this collector commissioned for his spectacular dinning room, using the image: A Night In Frenchboro. He wrote this poem and I asked for permission to add it to my website blog, to which he agreed… Read More
Only a few people have seen this work so far, but it may be more evocative than anything else I’ve done, the early feed-back suggests that it is – and it feels that way to me. Maybe seeing the objects hanging, instead of traditional still life presentation as objects on a table, makes them resonate with more emotional connection for the viewer. If so, that is a very good thing!
I always know what I want to happen in my work, which is fully realized in this painting, and there is huge satisfaction in that!
Comments are invited,
S.Bartron-Miscione has been invited to be the guest artist at:
Ann Korologos Gallery
211 Midland Ave
Basalt, CO 81621
Her recently completed still life painting, Coming & Going, will be on exhibition at the gallery beginning in December 2014
This detailed study of Columbine was painted in June of 2013, it was my first decision about the Colorado still life:
Coming And Going.
I gave myself all of the visual information necessary to paint from when I was ready to add it to the composition without living specimens available. Most of my paintings have a botanical element, which always serves as an eloquent reminder of the glory and fragility of life. . . Read More
The bighorn sheep’s skull & antlers are hanging from a steam pipe over my drawing board, my painting is on the table, progress is slow – it’s slow realism.
Now I think of these not only as the power part of a bighorn sheep, but as a living part of the mountains themselves.
Everything that I paint has it’s own visual texture, and how to paint that in a way that makes you see the essence of the subject is a process that reveals itself slowly in the beginning. There is a process of trial and error involved with getting the line quality, contrasting values and delicacy or crudeness of the mark-making to reveal the distinctive look of my subject. Today I’m (finally) confident that I know this texture well and can honor this amazing body part in a way that depicts the power and exquisiteness of it’s reason to exist.
There are a few compelling things that came together as inspiration for the painting that I’m working on now. My son, Nick, and his bride, Michelle, started their life together in Colorado. I wanted my next painting to have something in it that would be a visual tag to Colorado, so I painted a small bouquet of columbines when they were in bloom last summer — symbolic of my heart in Colorado. The columbine has a complex physical structure with five Fibonacci Petals that provided a link to my enduring fascination with spirals. That got me started on a still life that makes use of some objects and ideas that I’ve saved for a long time.
I became interested in spirals years ago with the first botanical paintings I did. It would be impossible to produce a detailed study of a pineapple, or the seeds in the center of a … Read More »
I wanted to get back to Frenchboro during sailing season this summer, to give a print of the claw (A Night In Frenchboro) to Tammy Desjardin at The Offshore Store. She gave me the claw two years ago and I wanted her to have the image that her gift inspired. That was my incentive to produce an edition of Giclée Prints from this painting. About the same time that I was involved with proofing the color with my printer, some friends on the island started a conversation with me about a commission for a specific space in their dinning room: twenty feet over the entrance to a spectacular round room with floor to ceiling windows overlooking ocean vistas in one direction and beautiful gardens on the other side. We agreed on a composition of rocks with a lobster, but they were discouraged by … Read More »
I started my life in art as an abstract painter and for me the transition to realism is a logical progression. Details are the most noteworthy element of my work and everything examined on very close inspection becomes abstract. Artists can see things in general and reduce them to their gist, or see things in particular and enlarge them to their grandeur – I work with the latter. The minute details fit together and build an object from the inside out: they evolve from the abstract to the realistic. During the hours and months of that evolution I am happily ensconced in the abstraction. While the forum of still life uses objects to reveal things, the forum of abstract art is a more emotive expression – I hope that the resulting response to my work will be understood and felt.
The kind of realism that I’m interested in is about presenting painted objects that are so hyper-realized that they look like they could be picked up from the paper; whole and complete in your hand. I’m trying for realism that invokes the senses of taste, smell and sometimes even sound. – emotional connection. I’ve taken the claw as far as I can go with that goal.
I’ll start the rocks in the spring, right now I want to paint something tropical.
I had a few days of dazzling, low angled light coming through my north facing studio windows this week. It gave me a good look at the claw’s reflection on the high/gloss paper strategically placed for capturing it. I stopped work on the claw and focused on painting that lovely ghost image of it from this light source that is unique to late Oct. during days of full sun, between 12:30 – 2:00PM.
Shadows and reflections are just as visually interesting to me as the objects, and just as important to the success of a composition.
It’s interesting to watch a painting evolve with the dry- brush process, because parts are hatched whole – different from an all-over coming together.
The textures, colors and pattern of cuts on this claw are so complex and rich that I’m happily subsumed by the abstract art of it! BUT, it’s important to respect the registration of those marks, because they inform the shape of the claw, and also tell the story of the life of that crustacean: the claw damage describes its use and possible demise.
I did a contour drawing of the claw and some rocks to begin this still life, the claw is a symbol of time passing and the changing dynamics of an object that has been both reviled and revered, the rocks represent immortality. I masked the drawing and the ground, then layered several pastel colors to create a molten gray-green field behind the objects. I began painting the claw.
For sailors, one of the best things about living on an island off mid-coast Maine is that there are dozens of beautiful island destinations in any direction that the wind would take you. One of our family favorites is Frenchboro.