Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter Morning Birch Trees

Winter Morning Birch Trees
Judy Vars
Original Oil and Cold Wax Painting
60 x 54

As a long time Alaskan, I've noticed that were all obsessed with the sun and with most in the winter there is not enough sunshine to keep my mood up and in the summer there is too much sun, it shines way, way, way  past sleeptime keeping me awake and hyper all night long. Today in January the days have started to get a little longer currently the hours of daylight are a full seven hours and 30 minutes.

This time of year the slanted angle of the sun and the far Northern latitude make for the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets that I have ever witnessed. Sometimes the light is pure lavender in the sky and on the mountains, sometimes the sky in powder blue, sometimes it’s lit up like a campfire, and sometimes it’s every shade of pink God makes. Since I’ve lived here I have seen sundogs, ice halos around the sun and the moon, phantom lights that I can’t explain and northern lights. One thing for sure it’s never ho-hum .

As an artist and nature lover, I have contemplated the sunlight and the atmosphere for decades, and as an artist I have the hubris to attempt to duplicate what I see in nature through my art.

Winter Sunrise and Birch Trees has been a labor of love. At the beginning I applied the Fibonacci sequence and the golden mean to make a pleasing composition (this left brained activity made my head hurt) This painting was developed in stages some areas have up to 10 layers of paint. To pump up the paint and give the birch trees added texture and dimension I used cold wax medium, the effect is one of hyper reality. The kind of experience we Alaskans wish the rest of the world could experience. 

Treat yourself to some serenity take this morning sunrise birch tree painting home today.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Winter Trees

Winter Trees
16 x 20
Encaustic Beeswax
Judy Vars
This was painted with encaustic beeswax, layers and layers of waxy paint create the luscious snow texture. This technique known as accretion makes this type of encaustic painting a little unstable, so it requires a little extra care, so don't throw it around and bang it up against other things or put it in direct sunlight or anywhere over 160 degrees!


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Cave Girl

Cave Girl
16 X 20
Judy Vars

My “Cave Girl” was reproduced after Alaska’s most renowned artists, Sydney Mortimer Laurence. I was interested in studying his tonalist methods and the overall atmosphere of this painting. Sydney Lawrence has always been somewhat of an enigma with many stories and myths surrounding him. Gold Fever lured him to Alaska in 1903 and in 1912 he resumed painting. 

 “Cave Woman” is a diversion from Sydney’s usual style which is very large landscapes and one of the few paintings which feature the human figure as the main focus. Sydney was a romantic painter in the style of the late 19th century romantic period artists, he is best known for his use of light and the massive scale of his paintings needed to capture Mt. McKinley and the Alaskan landscape. This and many more of his original paintings are displayed at the Alaska Heritage Museum, inside the Wells Fargo Bank, 301 West Northern Lights Blvd, Anchorage, Alaska. The museum manager, Tom D. Bennett was kind enough to allow me to take photographs of this painting; he informed me this was in the home of the President of the Alaska Railroad for years before becoming part of the Rasmuson’s permanent collection and is worth an estimated $150,000.00.
I have been unable to locate any other pictures of this work, however prints were made.

The original painting is large 40 x 60 (approximately) and contained is a grand gold baroque frame with electric candle sconces on each side; this I imagine created a mysterious flickering effect on the painting when turned on. I am on the hunt for a frame for this when I find it I plan to make candle sconces on each side, I will then take a video of this for your viewing pleasure. Or better yet come to Alaska and see it for yourself.