Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Art Thought: Someone is Knocking at the Door

I wonder when to follow an established style and when not to.  My current painting is beginning to look like a Thomas Hart Benton painting.  Should I follow his style as I try to solve problems within the piece?  Should I ignore this style? Should I let Thomas Hart Benton in to my party?

1/2 Hour Later:  OK.  So I figured out that I can use THB to get down the structure in the painting.  After all his painting style captures shape and value really well. The area where the greens sprout out of the bulb was tricky to document, especially since the onion is growing so fast. I can use THB style to capture the structure of the onion and then go back in after it has dried and rework it in the style of Mark Granlund.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

From Finland to My Living Room - A Painting of the Old Family Farm

I was introduced to, an online auction site, the other day. I checked out their site and found beautiful fine art pieces and antique furniture.  Many of the paintings I saw were older paintings from the era of a painting I have in my house.

My mother was moving out of her house this last year and when I was helping her downsize her possessions, we came across a 1912 painting of the family farm in Finland. My father was born on this farm in 1932 and his mother sold her part of the farm in 1934 to move here to Minnesota. I visited the farm in 1972 when I was eight years old. To this day, the farm is still in the family and has grown to be quite large.

The painting is on canvas and, I assume, painted with thinned oil paint.  I thought of removing the painting from its frame to observe it more closely, but the back was sealed tightly with old masking tape and nails.  I don't know how old the frame is.  It is a manufactured frame molding - newer than 1912.  I didn't have the heart to disrupt the packaging.  It is painted on a thin piece of canvas that sits loosely in the frame, only supported by a piece of pressboard. From my dated recollections, the barn on the right in the painting looked the same in 1972. The house has been changed and the outhouse was still there when I visited as a child.

Having moved to the States in 1934, my family does not have a lot of ties to our relatives in Finland, but we do occasionally communicate with them.  The internet has made that much easier.  This painting, a landscape painting of a wooded lakeside and a carved moose are three of our connections to this past life of a distant family.

The painting on my living room wall has a faded ink signature. It is hard to read. The first name looks like Elma. But then I looked at the bottom of our carved moose and discovered a name there of Irma Luin ja Ossr(?)  It looks like it could be the same person.  The story is that the moose was carved in 1949, while Irma was rehabilitating injuries from WWII.

I'm thankful to have these connections to my family from another country. I'm hoping some might read this and share more information about this artist in the family whose work has traveled to another continent.