Sunday, June 1, 2014

My past as an artist: Change and Growth


"Butterfly", Oil pastel and graphite
 on paper from about 2005
A few weeks ago I ran into someone who had purchased something from me many years ago. I was dropping off some work at a gallery, and he happened to be a friend of the owner and had stopped by for a visit. He took a look at my paintings and said he would never have realized they were done by the same artist, they were that different.

A simple, off the cuff observation... but it caused me to take a look at some of my older work that I had put away into the back recesses of my brain. I pulled up my old pictures. I looked at the few pieces I still had hanging around the house (much of my older work was destroyed in last year's flood). And while I see that my work has changed pretty dramatically, I can still see many similarities.

"The Journey", Charcoal on paper from about 2006/07. I think.
My records are somewhat incomplete here... I was working
full-time and had a small child. I was exhausted. 
Thematically, my work is much... well, happier I suppose is the best word for it. Like a lot of artists, I am prone to introspection, and when I started to seriously use art as a tool for self-expression, my life was in a bit of turmoil. But as far as subject matter goes, I am still working with the figure, and still exploring how the figure blends into and stands out of their surroundings. Still fully forming some areas and leaving some parts flat. I thought today I would share some photos of my older work. Keep in mind, art is one of those things that improves immensely with time and practice. For this reason, I'm not going too far back...

"Flying", oil pastel and graphite on paper. Again, from 2004/05. I was simultaneously looking
at cubist art, trying to figure out if yoga would help with my physical issues, and studying the mandala
as a spiritual symbol. I still have this piece, though it has been a bit battered and bruised. 

"Sorrow", oil pastel and graphite on paper, from the same series.

Another example of my charcoal drawings. I was studying native art and trying to figure out what, if anything,  my Metis heritage meant to me. I still have this one... It was framed but the frame broke during the move and it happened to be upstairs waiting to get fixed when the basement flooded. Only one other piece from this series has survived. C'est la vie. 

Ink drawing from 2009. I had been completely blocked for quite some time before I started working on these little drawings. They came from discovering the whole "Zentangle" thing, combined with a creative exercise where you take one word and do a mind-map type of expansion based on that single thought. These are just little drawings. I had intended to rework them as paintings, but I couldn't figure out how exactly to get what i had in my head onto my canvas. I gave up after a couple attempts.  

Another example form the same series of drawings.