Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ernie Marjoram, Joan Ransohoff, Grace Swanson: March 2-27, 2010

In Favorites, Grace Swanson’s watercolor and acrylic paintings draw from one of her favorite subjects – the still-life portrait. Swanson personifies still life arrangements of flowers, fruits, and animals in traditional figurative compositions in which the face or front of the object is predominant. Taking a photorealistic approach, Swanson amplifies her floral arrangements with heightened color, contrasting shadow, and dynamic scale to impart energy and express the personality, beauty, and even the mood of the object.

The title of the show also refers to show’s watercolor paintings that have received accolades from prominent members of the art world who juried Swanson’s work into national and regional competitions. Swanson states “since a juror’s choice for awards and inclusion into an exhibit is subjective, I consider my accepted paintings as among the jurors’ favorites.”

One such painting is “Tulips,” exhibited at the Watercolor USA Exhibition at the Springfield Museum of Art in 2005, which depicts a brilliant bouquet of deep-pink tulips tossed onto the painting surface. Swanson lovingly applies layer upon layer of rich glazes to the petals and leaves to create luminous transparency and meticulous verisimilitude.

Known for paintings of architectural landscapes, his current exhibition Figures and Faces represents a new direction for Los Angeles artist Ernie Marjoram. The exhibition includes drawings and paintings created from live models in a variety of mediums including graphite, charcoal, pastel, watercolor and oils. “I find the human face and figure to be among the most complex subjects, and I work from life as a way to develop and test my drawing and painting skills.“

Amidst the current resurgence of artistic interest in the figure, there are many locations in LA where groups of artists have access to professional models and can draw short five to 15 minute poses and longer three hour modeling sessions. “I work in a variety of media depending on the amount of time I will have and the result I hope to achieve. Photographic accuracy, even a strong likeness are not my objectives, instead I seek to capture the natural character of my subjects while exploring the effects of light and color.”

Figures and Faces includes quickly executed color sketches as well as more finished paintings done in the studio based on preliminary drawings.

Joan Ransohoff's colorful paintings are the result of a love of beauty and a focus on nature, trying to capture the light and changing vivid colors.
Raised in Glenview, Illinois, she studied life drawing in studio classes at Northwestern University, but not until she moved to Los Angeles in 1980 did she study plein air painting on location with the California Art Club.

"Painting outdoors changed everything," she said. "Trying to record nature as the light shifts with rapid brushstrokes, in fresh colors is very challenging, but the results can be magical."

As an artist, Ransohoff's believes nature is the best teacher.

"In California, I only have to step out my door. I don't over analyze any scene or set up. I just try to channel the inspiration I feel and hope that I can express these feelings on canvas."

This exhibit is largely a collection of landscapes depicting the California coastline from Malibu to Cambria. But it also includes scenes painted on location in Carmel and Malibu State Park, two small harbor scenes from Martha's Vineyard, painted last summer, and two large still-lifes dealing with Asian pots and jars and fruit and flowers which are recent endeavors inspired by all the rainy days.

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