human behavior

Art Buy: Abstract Lovelies

Posted in Art by humanb on March 5, 2012

Whenever I’m feeling empty and guilty for not making time to draw or paint, I go surfing the Daily Painters Gallery for other people’s art. Sometimes it motivates me to start painting again (though I rarely do). At other times, it makes me want to give up making art forever because I’ll never be very good at it since I don’t practice enough. But more often than not, it makes me want to shop. It’s the only kind of shopping that I enjoy, and the paintings only cost on average about $75. I love evocative, original – even naïve art. I could care less who made it.

So I was pretty delighted today when I came home from work to find the two original paintings I’d purchased from Carol Engles, an artist featured at the Daily Painters Gallery.

Engles is an abstract artist, and in the less ‘impressive’ but much cooler media of oil and soft pastel. Her works also include watercolor elements, so they’re more properly considered mixed media.

The first painting below is called LA Cityscape Three. Aptly named, it evokes an LA freeway to me, with its frenetic energy, organized chaos, and vibrant color. I can see byways, an underpass, asphalt and grafitti in there, and a heady mix of West Coast and Latino cultures. The painting is even more vibrant in life. Despite its merits, it wouldn’t have spoken to me had I not taken that wonderful trip to LA three years ago – my first trip to L.A. in adulthood.

LA Cityscape Three

LA Cityscape Three, 17 x 23, mixed media on paper

This next painting is called Shopping Mall Cityscape Two, and I thought the name was not quite right. My husband immediately thought of a shopping mall, but it left me feeling more than seeing. I felt despondent, claustrophobic, and lonely.

Shopping Mall Cityscape Two, 10 x 14, oil pastel on paper

But then, that’s actually exactly how I feel when I go to a shopping mall, so perhaps it’s aptly named after all.

In the box there was a third painting – a small surprise Engles gives to her art buyers. It’s a little thing, not as interesting as the others to me yet, but of the same style and palette I appreciate. It was a good choice for me.

Lavender Canyon Rocks, 5 in x 7 in, mixed media on paper

This painting depresses me – angers me even. It makes me think of sinister back alleys in downtrodden cities, with filthy puddles of piss and garbage. The cream is a harsh winter light on a cloudy winter day. The few bright colors remind me that those alleyways are inhabited by real people, but with only a flicker of life left in them after living too long in so dark and dank an existence. But there’s a flicker still, so maybe this painting also reflects a bit of hope.

That’s the fun about abstract painting. You can deconstruct it to death and you’ll never be wrong.

On LA Cityscape Three, even Engles admits:

I really don’t see anything in particular when I start these.

And on Shopping Mall Cityscape Two:

I am not sure what I had in mind…

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