Friend to Sky Blue Window -- and to just about anyone who walks through his bright and tidy second-floor studio at the Harrison Center for the Arts -- Justin Vining is fast at work preparing for his March 4th exhibit.
Though perhaps not quite as speedy as his video below indicates. In it, Vining gives a two-minute, time-lapse view of a four-hour project during which he paints Still in the Fields. It's one of the works he'll include in Coming Home, his exhibit that will coincide with March First Friday, just a bit more than two weeks away.
Known as a landscape painter who is inspired by the Midwest and his rural Northern Indiana upbringing, the Indy-based artist has painted in a wide range of styles – from traditional plein air to more illustrative watercolors and acrylics. But now he strictly uses oils. It's a style with which he's fascinated and still learning to perfect.
"I'm trying to break through personal barriers on another level of aesthetic sophistication ... trying to let go of familiar comforts and make better art, become a better painter," he says.
- Courtesy Justin Vining
Vining documents the evolution of one of his latest pieces in this series of photos.
Vining says it helps that his HCA upstairs studio neighbors are Kyle Ragsdale and Johnny McKee, both of whom offer him guidance and sometimes technique tips.
In the video, Vining says he was trying to be more fearless. He was pleased with the image he'd painted, but about an hour and a half into the process (about the 50-second mark in the condensed clip) he chucks the whole scene, wiping it away with a rag dipped in solvent.
"I really, really liked it just as it was, but I pushed myself to deconstruct it, as it's called, and then reconstruct it," he explains. "Doing this helps reveal the underpainting, and then when I reconstruct it, this gives it more visual complexity, more variety and dimension."
He admits he "took things too far" in the video and might have lost some of the luster from the original painting. "One of the struggles is understanding when to leave things alone and then when to push things further," Vining says.
But after reconstructing it and then touching up the piece a bit more off camera, he's pleased with the 4-by-4-foot painting.
For a fast look at the artist in action and to whet your appetite for additional works to see at his Coming Home, exhibit, check out the video below.