A great Canadian author once wrote a poem about the prairies and part of it reads “if you’re not from the prairies you don’t know the skies, you can’t know the skies…..” Never was this more evident than on my road trip back to my roots. The canola fields were in full bloom and the skies in full magic.
I painted this little painting from a photo that I took on the side of Hwy #1 when I pulled over to take a photo with my phone, for I could no longer stand not trying to catch the beauty before me. Sadly I feel that justice has not been done either with the photo or the painting but if you are from the prairies and you do know the skies, you will be able to close your eyes and imagine what I was trying to achieve. I will keep on trying🙂
A month without painting is a very long time. When you step into your studio you are met with the disarray that you have forgotten you left. Also at the door to greet is a very cold easel and a band of disgruntled brushes. You find yourself responding to the greet by telling the lot of them that life can get in the way of your passion but that the break can ‘do you good’. At the time it seems less likely that a break is what you want or need but on and off detours allow for reflection.
My break this time was semi planned. I had designs on, at the very least, gathering material for future works. Thing is, the detour turned out to be exhausting and brought with it a few ‘side trips’ which took longer to manoeuvre than I was planning. Such is life. The upside to it all is that I was afforded a lot of ‘thinking’ time. Planning, considering, collecting, evaluating, knowing, breathing….all part of the agenda. One of the ‘side trips’ happened to be shocking when a lovely deer hit us on the highway. The resulting back issues and cold added to the thinking time🙂 Needless to say I felt ready today to spend a short while in my studio….under the influence of tylenol.
To appease the easel and brushes and myself I decided to keep it simple and fairly stress free. Paint what you know my little voice said. So I did….
Today’s Reflection. Oil – 6″x6″
Kept it simple but still had fun🙂 This little painting is in auction on http://www.dailypaintworks.com if you wish to check it out further.
It was just over a year ago now that I had my art hanging in a show with several fine artists. The artist whose work was hanging next to mine, whose work I find quite accomplished, blurted from the relative silence “I don’t want to paint another dumb painting”. I remember thinking at the time that I too was against painting another ‘dumb’ painting. I have thought about her revelation on and off …as if to remind myself the ‘dumb’ paintings have to be out of the question. Problem is, I feel like I keep producing paintings that are missing the mark, bordering on dumb perhaps. What mark, I have yet to entirely understand but feel a slight glimmer is feeding the hope that for the next while ‘dumb’ will be involved with the past tense.
A tension is created when your art is well received and patrons describe to you how much they love having a piece of your art or how emotionally uplifting they might find a certain painting, when your heart is feeling that you haven’t quite grasped something….something is missing. I do believe that this is what my fellow artist was referring to as a ‘dumb’ painting. A painting in which the artist themselves feels that some unknown has yet to be reached. This unknown, I might add is most likely different for every artist. I am coming to believe that it is this unknown that keeps any visual artist, musician, actor, any creative person, moving forward in search for answers.
So, to the Less Said….Of late, I have been reading up on and putting my brush to some Abstract Expressionism. I have not shown any of my work to anyone because it is so different from what they are used to seeing from my brush. The direction this investigation is taking me is to a place where I am beginning to see that what is NOT said in a painting or drawing is just as important as what IS said. For instance, one DOES NOT need to fill the ENTIRE canvas…..in opposition to my devil of a kindergarten teacher🙂 What one needs to do is make the lines count, the hue count, the value count, with the less said the better! The struggle here is to say enough but not too much=balance. To leave some work for the voyeur. Sounds like life, right?
One day I may just become brave enough to show this side of my art🙂 I will keep you posted….
Fun: merriment, mirth, gaiety, hilarity, frolic; source or cause of merriment….or so my Webster says. Instagram; that is all that need be said. I have begun painting hilarity and merriment, with permission, after I began to follow @nycsubwaydogs. These dogs travel the subway systems as you or I. They are almost always in a carrier of sorts. I have even seen large dogs in backpacks or being carried in bags. I have had so many laughs that I get my laugh quotient plus some. Here are a few examples:
Anyone that knows me well knows of my aversion to social media. It has become a part of my life for the sole purpose of a marketing tool for my art work. I have not embraced it and have gone forward into its depths kicking and screaming🙂 I have been encouraged by people I trust of the value of these media and have put my faith in their belief in this system of engagement with the masses. I have to say that until now I haven’t seen any concrete benefits to the marketing and selling of art and have begrudged the time it takes out of my painting life to be a contributor. I am also not happy with how I am becoming a ‘phone checker’.
One of my sons was over a few weeks back and suggested I add Instagram to my repertoire. I had heard this advice once before from my good friend who has been instrumental in the development of my website. I had ignored her advice but didn’t exactly get the chance to ignore my son’s. He simply picked up my phone, asked me a few questions and voila…I was signed up. I asked him what I was to do with this and he suggested I begin posting my painting life. Hmmmm…I thought. Something more to keep on top of. I began this journey by posting the tools of my trade…
To my surprise 5 people looked at the photo (not exactly this photo but the one I posted is stuck in instagram and I don’t know how to move it to a blog, ha)….5 people I do not know. With that photo I wrote Labor omina vincit – Virgil’s Georgics- Steady work conquers all things. The treatise for every diligent artist.
I thought this was interesting so I decided to post a few of my daily paintings in progress. That was well received bringing with it more views and comments. Comments from ‘real’ artists. Artists from around the world.
Through the exposure to this instagram process I have come to realize the artistic brilliance of mankind. Doesn’t matter where we are from, what our preferred medium is, the pure talent ‘out there’ is nothing short of miraculous. I have renewed my appreciation for photography, how food is arranged on a plate, how flowers find themselves in the most unique of vases. I have laughed at the subway dogs of NYC, been in awe of a painter from Iceland, looked into the eyes of a baby pig somewhere in the middle of our continent. I have received comments that have given me cause to continue my craft and gave advice to a young mother /artist struggling to keep ‘it’ going with her new found life….just find 1/2 hour a day I told her.
My favourite though is checking out artists as they view my posts while the Nike swoosh comes to mind….Just Do It.
I decided to challenge my Instagram followers today. The challenge was to look carefully at a panel that I had covered with acrylic paint and see what they could see ‘within’ the paint. This is the process I often use to ‘find’ my subject matter before I lay brush to canvas.
Now look carefully🙂
The next photo shows what I found:
The background is painted in acrylic but I decided to paint the crow and ball of wool in oil. This is what developed. The title of the little painting is Controlling the Situation and it will be posted on the auction site http://www.dailypaintworks.com if anyone is interested in checking that site out.
I love two things about this process. I love finding the subject within what first appears to be a whole load of chaos and second, in this case at least, I love to paint crows and title the paintings with titles that reflect the human condition.
Simply Soooo Much Fun!