Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Saturday, December 15, 2012

San Francisco Bay Blues

San Francisco Bay Blues, 36 x 36, oil on linen

Hey everyone! Sorry for the decreased frequency in posting on this here blog. The holidays are getting in the way. No, actually they're not. I've just been in a bit of a creative rut. 

Not a technical one this time around, but I'm feelin' a lack of inspiration. You know how it is. I just grimly work through it, usually, just painting whatever and however I feel like. And when I'm away from the studio, I'm looking at books and surfing the net, searching for great works by other artists. 

Lately I've been looking at Arthur Streeton, Edward Seago and Charles Warren Eaton - not obscure names in landscape painting circles, but perhaps less well known to general audiences. I certainly didn't know about them in art school, but discovered them only after I started painting landscapes seriously. 

There are SO many great painters out there both alive and dead, it's like Christmas when I "discover" one. And it happens often, too, just because my knowledge is so limited. I guess that's a good thing about being ignorant? Haha~

Anyway, books on Streeton, Seago, and Eaton are on my nightstand right now. I look through them nightly, and marvel at their work.  I'm inspired by them, although they haven't cracked my rut. In due time... in due time.

The painting above is a larger (36 x 36) version of a previous version, and it was done a few months ago, before I hit my slump. There is a lot of experimentation and surface work going on - more abstract than many of my previous cityscapes. The drippy stuff just happens as a part of the working process, and I usually take them off but on this one I felt compelled to just leave them. It signifies my transitioning toward pushing the process forward, and placing less weight on "correctness" of representation. 

Drips are nothing new for contemporary artists, of course. But it's new for me, and if they feel like an honest part of the process, and not a gimmicky decoration, I'm OK with it. I guess the size of the canvas has something to do with it. On a smaller painting, drips didn't look like they belonged. On a painting of this size, they just happen because I'm using big 2 inch brushes loaded with paint and solvent and medium, moving my arm in big motions. Paint flies everywhere.

Kind of a rambling post, huh? Streeton, Seago, and Eaton don't have much to do with drippy abstractions, but hey, it all adds up. 

What's on your nightstand?


  1. Beautiful painting Terry!
    The drips are great. I think they add character and personality to this wonderful work of art.
    "San Francisco Bay Blues" is very successful on so many levels. This piece has great drama and emotion! The colors, the design, the brush strokes, and yes even the drips all come together to make this a pleasure to enjoy over and over again!
    I hope you are out of your slump soon and get to experience the joy an artist can experience while painting and being creative!
    Good luck!

  2. All part of being a painter.
    You've named some of the greats I have in my own book collection and I agree, there are So many incredible artists to glean inspiration from.
    I personally like drips and imperfect application of paint. This is a beautiful piece from the steepness of the shadowy hill to the lovely soft color of the Bay.

  3. Thanks Mary~! Yes, no shortage of inspiration out there~

  4. Streeton is a fantastic artist.... A real fav they don't come much better I like alot of the Australian impressionists fine artists .Charles Condor , George Lambert ..another .just to name a few . I've stood in my national gallery and my mind eye is always flawed by the capacity they had to convey the rare beauty of there subjects .... And in saying that I find incredible passion here in your work too ..... I'm kinda struggling much like what your say here .... I'm disillusioned with the reaction of people to art and the way the world is full of all these so called experts .... But then there's one in every crowd as they say ... I'm sure it's just a moment along my path ... But I want to turn the clock back and see how such humbled artists did this thing called art and they seemed to hold it down with such grace and flare ....

    The books are everywhere in my house and I often look into them to smile and feel much envy ....

  5. Thanks Sandra~! Never seen a Streeton in person. I guess I'll have to make a trip to Australia~

  6. Terri they are nothing short of fantastic , and have been inspiration to me for along time ... Yes come over and see sometime , you won't be disappointed ....

    I've been looking at more of your wonderful work on this most inspiring blog .... I'm going to try and do some small studies in oils from some of my own life drawings - try and dig myself out of this pit of disparity .... Thankyou for the inspiration Terri!!

  7. Thanks Sandra~ You are too kind.

    If it weren't so far and expensive to travel, I'd come do a workshop in a heartbeat.

    Who knows, it may yet happen~

  8. One of my favorite plein air painters is Phil Sandusky in New Orleans. I just started surfing Amazon for plein air painters and he's got 4 fantastic books. I just study them and learn from looking and then trying and looking some more. I really like doing urban settings because it takes away the need to make pretty paintings. Ever since you and Phil I've been using my car as a paint studio. I just strap a board on my steering wheel and find a parkking lot to paint from!turni confined