Directions – Natalie

Last week and this week I got some productive setting-up done and am now feeling just about ready to really take off. I managed to start and finish another amoeba painting last week, and did some general sketching. I also worked on my one dragon painting, which I have vowed to finish up soon so that I may move on. Here the two paintings are:

This past week, I met with T. Chris, who is managing the gallery this year, and who also teaches the portfolio prep class. He will be the one to help me photograph all of my work for portfolio submission, but in our meeting we talked more about the direction I will take my work in, and what I will be showing in my gallery show this winter. Lately, I have felt most of my work is unconnected and all-over the place. On one hand I have abstract color studies in the form of amoeba islands. On the other hand, I have classically painted still lives and portraits. On the third hand, I have dragons and creatures and concept-art looking paintings. He was immensely helpful in giving me a direction and plan for how to tie all of this together to create a comprehensive and cohesive body of work. One of the things he cautioned me against was going too much in the direction of straight concept art, which I wholly agree with. There is a certain homogeneity to concept art, I have found. Beautiful paintings of dragons and forests and mountains and space ships which somehow all begin to look as if they were painted by the same person, even if they weren’t (see this blog to get an idea of what I’m talking about). I don’t want to conform to a look, I want to create my own style which is recognizably mine.

So now the direction I am taking going forward is: more weird creatures, more portraits, meshing creatures and portraits with amoeba forms, loose gestural and messy stokes, and classically painted details. All in one.

T. Chris also shared a number of artists with me who he thought might be of interest or inspiration for my own work. The first was Jenny Saville, who paints deconstructed and somewhat grotesque portraits. There exists a looseness and gestural aspect to her work in tandem with a photo realistic ability to render facial features. Here are some examples of her work:

The other artist that T. Chris recommended was Eric Fischl, who paints very colorful, simple, and expressive portraits and scenes from Americana life. His work can be found here.

Some other artists I think will also provide good sources of inspiration for me are Lucian Freud, Genevieve Leavold, Antoine Cordet, and Benjamin Garcia. I will expand on two out of these four, but all three of the modern artists are linked above to their websites for further information. To start, Lucian Freud has been one of my favorite artists for the past year or so, specifically his later work which is mainly nude portraits of everyday people in their natural states. His brushstrokes are very heavy and thick, which lends an intensity to his work. The paintings feel very organic to me. Here are a few examples:

The other artist I will lift up out of those four is Genevieve Leavold. She is the only abstract artist I have mentioned, though I do have many others I admire (Cy Twombly and Jean Basquiat, for two). I chose her because I think her subject matter is closest to what I lean towards with my amoeba islands and such. Her paintings are reliant on color and gesture, but can be seen at times to take shape into almost realistic forms. Here are two examples, note the mushrooms and fungi that seem to be present in the first:

I will begin work in the clay studio this week, and am planning on soon having one of my friends sit for me for some portraiture. In regards to the gallery show, I will be setting up my show the week we get back from winter break.


Saville, Jenny. Rosetta 2. 2005-2006. Gagosian. Web. 26 Sept. 2017. <;.

Saville, Jenny. Red Stare Head IV. 2006-2011. Artsy. Web. 26 Sept. 2017. <;.

Lucian Freud. Two Japanese Wrestelers by a Sink. 1983-1987. Art Institute, Chicago. The Red List. Web. 26 Sept. 2017. <;.

Lucian Freud. Girl in a Striped Nighshirt. 1983-1985. Tate Modern, London. The Red List. Web. 26 Sept. 2017. <;.

Leavold, Genevieve. States of Decay. 2017. Tumblr. Web. 26 Sept. 2017. <;.

Leavold, Genevieve. The Butterfly Ball. 2017. Genevieve Leavold. Web. 26 Sept. 2017. <;.

3 thoughts on “Directions – Natalie

  1. Gwyneth Turner

    I love the diversity of inspirations you have incorporated into your work. Your ability to blend the traditional with the fantastical in a totally unique way is really impressive – it makes me think back to reading some of your written work in creative writing, which had a similar sense of uniqueness!

  2. yihengxie

    Wow Natalie… Your work has grown incredibly since the last time I saw some of your paintings. We are so lucky to have such an amazing artist among us! You comment on the concept art looking all the same echos my thoughts too. Looking forward to more of your work.

  3. Summer Cai

    I admire the width of artists that you are drawing inspirations from and of the subjects you are working with! It’s really impressive how you try to bring all these materials into your own style and into one gallery show! I can’t wait to see your show in the winter! Good luck with everything!


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