Saturday, July 30, 2011

Favorite Artist #4 – Pierre-Aguste Renoir

In my dining room, I have a large framed print of Renoir’s “Dance at LeMoulin de le Galetta.” After spending so much time with this painting, is it any wonder why Renoir is one of my favorite artists, and why I like people present in my paintings?

Renoir's life (1841-1919) was not always easy. There were times when he didn’t have enough money for paints (I can relate). What he did have was a hunger to paint, an appreciation for beauty, and a love affair with life. He celebrated beauty wherever he found it. He especially loved to paint feminine sensuality.

He used vibrant light and saturated color. He enjoyed focusing on people in intimate or candid moments of their lives. After his marriage, many of his paintings focused on his wife and children.

With his friend Claude Monet (another favorite of mine), he painted plien air near his home (1860s). As they painted light and water, they discovered that the color of shadows is not brown or black, but the reflected color of the objects surrounding them. Today that effect is known as “diffuse reflection.”

I love Renoir because his paintings always seem to be in motion. They are always about activity and vibrant life. Even when there are no people about, he paints the leaves quaking in the wind or the streams gurgling and bubbling as they tumble over meadowland. He was a “tender and sensitive” artist who painted not only what he saw, but what he felt.

He shifted focus and style during his lifetime, and I’m doing the same thing. I’m putting more drama, story, and energy into my paintings. Like Renoir, I find people to be the most interesting creation of all.

With These Hands -- Hope by Carol Allen Anfinsen

I have interspersed my paintings with his. He is more an impressionist than I am, but his spirit, his love of light and energy have been a great influence on my work.

Americana by Carol Allen Anfinsen

Leap of Faith by Carol Allen Anfinsen