01 July 2011
Reviewing landscape artist Laurel Daniel is kind of like nepotism because we both belong to the online group Daily Paintworks—we are fellow Daily PaintWorksians (it’s a stretch, I know, but try to work with me on this). Anyway... Back in the dark ages when I joined Daily Paintworks, she was part of the dominating block of artists from Texas (yes, 4 out of 12 constitutes a dominating block in my book). For courtesy’s sake, I will not mention the other Texans (Qiang Huang, Carol Marine, Virginia Vaughn). • One key to landscape painting is composition and Ms. Daniel has a keen eye for it. Her background in graphic design surely influences her compositions. There is a certain logic to graphic design that helps an artist see a subject and manage it for their purposes—nothing is set in stone, not even the physical reality of the earth. This logic enables an artistic freedom to bend that reality, just like an artist’s knowledge of human physiology enables them to move on with their art rather than be consumed with doubts about their drawing being correct or not. For example, the anatomy of some of Michelangelo’s figures is just plain freaky, but the viewer doesn’t care because the work is so beautiful. Michelangelo had moved beyond the basics—bending and contorting his figures to his will. Oh my. I wandered off, didn’t I? Sorry. Let’s get back to Ms. Daniel. • Not only are her compositions well thought out, but her brushwork is confident and lively as well. A straightforward palette of nine colors does her bidding, producing rich and engaging colors that marry well to the locations shown in her work. • The work is displayed on two blogs. “Laurel Daniel Blog” shows her work in general, large and small, and it is where she talks a little about her journey as an artist. “Laurel Daniel Small Works” is a showcase for her smaller pieces. Her small work is done en plein aire and also in the studio, both serving as studies for her larger work. It is a bonus being able to see how the dynamic smalls spark the beautiful larges. • Combine good composition with a deep and engaging palette and invigorating brushwork and you have the oeuvre of Laurel Daniel. Please go take a look at either or both her blogs: www.laureldaniel.blogspot.com and www.laureldanielsmallworks.blogspot.com.