Friday, March 28, 2014

Meet Artist Libby Fife, Spring Obsession Open Division Accepted Artist

Elizabeth (Libby) Fife

O-052  In Between  acrylic  10x10  $165
What I paint:
I paint landscapes and figurative works using acrylics on board and canvas. The work is realistic or representational in the sense that it comes from actual images-things that I observe-and that there is a kind of resemblance to those images. It's also abstract in a sense because it doesn't portray things in minute detail, down to the nitty-gritty. I omit and refine and simplify because that is my world view. It's how I see things in real life and so that is how I paint too.

Why I paint:
Why paint instead of say, playing an instrument or cooking or dancing? Painting seems to allow me to express, through design and content, what I think and feel about my interests and the environment around me.  With the exception of writing, painting is the only other creative outlet that gives me the freedom to explore and share with others the subjects that interest me most.

How I paint:
My technique for painting is simple and straightforward and matches my personality. Ideas for paintings begin with my own observations. I become attracted to something that I see. It could be something in my landscape or a person's gesture in a vintage photograph.  I then gather information to flesh out the question or idea.  This gathering usually involves in-the-field research. By that I mean I take my paints outside and get busy! I look at colors and the design of my idea and try to get a feel for things. If it's a conceptual figure piece, I do some online research to learn about my subject. Whether I am painting a landscape, a building, or a figure, the bottom line is that I have to be connected to my subject in some way otherwise I just can't paint it effectively.

What the work is about:
Part of my work is project driven and reflects what I am currently learning about at any given moment. My questions or interests are the starting point. I utilize vintage photographs, both my own and ones that I find, along with my writing and research to structure and support each project. The common denominator in all of this is my desire to learn about something that interests me, to paint it and to write about it, while making a strong and interesting-to-me composition to support it.

The second part of my work has more to do with what I call "structure." For painting, structure to me has to do with puzzles. How things in my environment fit together. Although I view my world as a whole, I quickly zero in on what that world is composed of. For people, it's their body parts all moving together with their environment. The gestures of their figures set against their background or interlocked with other figures. For the land, it's all of the pieces such as trees, hills, and sky acting together. To me, people and objects are not stagnant even if they are frozen in time in a photo. Shapes, colors, and light and shadow are important too but really secondary to the above. 

O-053  Winter Hillside  acrylic  10x10  $165
About The Faces (or Lack Thereof):  
 I currently paint my figures without facial features, relying instead on posture and gestures, color and line and shape, to express what I think. I accept that images of people in general can provoke strong reactions whether or not facial features are included. Getting a reaction by not including facial features is not my intent but it's very OK when that happens.  It's my hope that all parts of my paintings will elicit responses and get a dialogue going. I love to talk about my work and am anxious to know what others think. It's why I have gone to some length to explain what I do, how I do it, and why I do it.

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