News From the Studio/ Alice Dustin

This fall I’ve been busy with two shows.  One is a solo gallery show (in Delaware) for which I painted three different series of paintings.  An example of one series is pictured in the blog.  I worked on small format still lifes almost all with the white napkin that appears in this painting.  In some ways it was a study of “white on white” as I set them up with a white background wall and used white porcelain vases or pots in the set ups.  The light was somewhat diffuse and it was fun developing a kind of high key/light color palette.  I framed the paintings with a narrow silver frame which adds to this airy feeling.  At the same show I have a series of local scenes, several larger format paintings mostly of a stream with reflections in the water.  These paintings have definite moods.  The ones painted with fall colors feel dreamier with the gray water and colored foliage.  The summer paintings are cheery with the sun creating shafts of light crossing the water.  The sky reflects a deep blue in the water and catches the top leaves of the trees giving them an almost white yellow-green edge.  A third series is of architectural features in nature–statuary, buildings, barns.  Most are white on a green ground of leaves, trees or grass.  This series is also a smaller format.  I think I am intrigued by the white subject set in a colored ground.  
The second show which is represented by the larger still life inspired by Cezanne’s still life paintings is a two person show that I will have with a 93 year old artist friend of mine.  This show will also feature three series of paintings.  One series is the large format still life.  Some are set off by a dark ground, others sit in more radiant settings including a window and other light colored backgrounds.  There is a short wall with snow scenes and a medium length wall with water scenes ranging from still reflective water to more active wavy depictions.  The only ocean scene is from Antarctica with its turquoise icebergs floating in dark waters.  This show called “Two Artists, Two Generations, Two Views” is interesting because of the contrast between the two of us.  We both find inspiration in nature, either the still life or the natural world, and we both prefer the more painterly approach, yet both our methods of painting and our thinking processes diverge rather sharply.  I have an ala prima attack to my work.  I start and finish in one sitting, the speed or momentum of painting is part of what drives me.  Bernice Paul, on the other hand, comes back to her work more than once.  Often she begins with an old painting over which she adds new information and has an amazing openness which will let her be free to make dramatic changes to her work right up to the moment she has resolved all open issues.  We paint both separately and together which is a great treat for most artists whose work is mainly solitary.  Our companionship is boosted by our mutual respect and by the energy that each finds in the other.  At times we discuss art themes, but more often we meet as friends, paint side-by-side, and just plain share lunch or a snack.

———Alice Dustin


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