Sunday, November 30, 2014

Finding the Image | One Day Workshop at the Art Gallery of Lambeth

"The Brass", 24x36" Acrylic on Canvas
There was a time when starting a painting was the most difficult thing ever. In all the classes I had taken we did sketches, thumbnails for composition, worked out everything in advance... but for some reason that just didn't work for me. By the time I got started there was too much already in my head, and within minutes I was anxious and unhappy with the way it was looking.

That all changed when I discovered there was a whole group of painters that worked without a plan. Intuitive painters. They worked things out as they went along, solving problems as they came up. What a revelation for me!! I was fortunate enough to take a workshop with Jesse Reno, who in sharing his many words of wisdom, set me off on the path I've been on for the last few years. 

The time has come for me to start sharing what I've learned. I've put together a one day workshop for painters who find starting the hardest part. We will do a couple short creative exercises, then move on to a small painting on canvas or paper, starting with.... well, nothing. It will be messy, it will be fun, and by the end you will have one more tool to beat that block that comes from staring at a blank canvas. 

Call the Art Gallery of Lambeth (in London, Ontario)  at 519-652-5556 for registration details. Supply list will be sent by email to participants, or you can buy a materials kit directly from the gallery. I want to keep the class small, so registration is limited. 

Saturday January 17
Intermediate - Some Experience Required
10 - 4 pm
$75  + HST

+ material kit available at the AGL

See you there!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The stuff we find when we clean up...

New entry in my Found Poetry Art Journal completed this week... Inspiration approached me, and insisted
on complete freedom. Sounds very appropriate to me.  
I made an attempt to clean up my studio this week. It's a mess... it's a very small room with a whole lot of stuff in there. And I can't find anything. Hence the clean up.

As happens sometimes, I got distracted while sorting through my pile of books. I found one of my old little recycled books that I had forgotten about. I had started it to do a creative exercise called "found poetry". I thought I had posted those images before, but I can't seem to find them... I guess after a couple years of blog posts it was bound to happen. I didn't understand about labels and tags when I started, so most of my first year is uncatagorized. Oh well. It happens.
You look, one more time. Taken inside stories, it's inspired adaptation is but a delicate stretch.
I got this exercise from a book by LK. Ludwig. What you do is this: cut out words and phrases from anything... magazines, newspapers, books, flyers... whatever. I edit when I do this. No brand names or such stuff. I've got a bowl I keep on my worktable full of these little slips of paper. I pull out a bunch of words at random, and try to put them together in some way that holds meaning. Once I have my "poem", I paint my page and collage everything together. It's a pretty fun exercise, and great when I don't have a lot of time but I want to do something.
Sunset intimacies challenge identities lost and found
Beyond sunrise border crossings, everything is good. Finally...

So, now my studio is nice and tidy... or kinda tidy anyway. And I can get back to work. But I might do a couple more of these first...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

2015 Calendars now available

My 2015 music inspired calendar, front and back cover
After much debating, I have decided to put out a 2015 calendar featuring my music inspired paintings. It was not an easy decision... even though I can do all the graphic work myself, the printing alone is not cheap. And to print enough to resell them at a reasonable price means I had to do a decent sized run. Yikes.

So now they're done, and they look fantastic. Better than I thought they would, actually. There's something about seeing a years work reproduced on that glossy stock.... I'm glad I did it. I might do it again next year.

My family and friends have been incredibly supportive of this venture. Thank you so much. I've actually already sold out my first run after posting photos on facebook, so I'm printing 50 more. Then that's it. If you would like to have one, you can order by contacting me by email (you can use the blog contact form, or email me at mariannemorrisart @ I accept paypal or email transfers... I was going to try to add a shopping cart on here and do it that way, but there's a lot of stuff I have to do for that, and I just don't have time right now. You can see this series in it's entirety on my website.

It would make a lovely Christmas gift for a music lover in you life. Just saying.

Edit Nov. 17 - It's been brought to my attention that I've neglected to add price and purchasing details to this post... Sorry about that. Calendars are $20 each + $5 for shipping. Contact me via email to order. Thanks. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Art Journaling: Good Enough

I am a perfectionist. 

I admit it. It's one of those things that I try to change about myself, but I can't. I want things perfect. If I can see that something isn't quite right, I can't seem to leave it alone. It drives me crazy. And it gets in the way. Nobody else is going to notice that this shade of red is not quite what i wanted, or that the shape of his lower lip isn't quite round enough. Nobody can tell. Except me. It's not right, dammit, and I have to fix it. 

As I've been told many times, "the perfect is the enemy of the good". It's true. If everything didn't have to be perfect, I would get SO much more done. But is seeking to improve a bad thing? Shouldn't we all try to be better in whatever we're doing? It's a tough question... when is good, good enough?

This particular spread started out ok. Then, and I have no idea why, I went over all the lovely textural bits with oil pastel. Ick... that didn't really work. So what do I do? I figure I can take it off with solvent. Oh, yes, that worked well. The paint just kind of... melted. It turned in to a big puddle of mucky, grey goop. Not knowing what else to do, I just put it away. Went on to do something else.

Now that I'm nearing the end of this book, I'd really like to finish it up. It was time to deal with the mess I'd made (I really should have taken a before photo... it was really and truly ugly). The goo I had before had dried, so I did my journaling in white paint pen over that and then went over that with acrylic. I set a timer and did a quick 10-minute self-portrait using a phone photo. I had to set the timer because I know I could easily spend an hour trying to get a likeness, when that really wasn't what was important. It doesn't look like me, but for 10 minutes, its acceptable.
Almost done my "Advice from the Inside" Visual Journal. Second to last spread! Yay!!
Not too bad a save in the end. The only real issue is that the paint scrapes off the oil/acrylic mix underneath... actually I'm pretty sure the pages will stick together when I close it and I'll lose chunks when I pry it open again, but whatever. It's good enough...which, oddly, was the initial phrase that I started with.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jazz Legends: Duke Ellington

The latest in my Jazz Legends Series: Duke Ellington. Acrylic on Canvas.
Signed limited edition prints available soon.
Here is my latest installment in my Jazz Legends series on Global Vernissage. He's finally finished… this one seemed to take me a while, as you can see by my working photos (which are all posted at the above link). The final result turned out decently though, so I'm glad I kept at it.

Anyone that paints will understand about the "ugly phase". It's that point in every painting where you look at it and go "Ick…. I Just can't see how I'm going to make this work". This is the point where a lot of potentially good artwork gets abandoned. I have it with every painting. Seriously. Every. Single. One. I think I had it more than once with this piece. Sometimes all it takes to fix it is a couple brushstrokes. Sometimes I have to tone down the color or add a glaze to an area. I've abandoned many pieces over the course of the last few years, but usually because I haven't noticed some weird anatomical mistake I made at the drawing phase, and I just didn't have enough enthusiasm left for my subject to bother trying to fix it. It happens.

I think so many artists get discouraged enough to stop when their painting hits this point. I understand that, I really do. But if you just keep going and push through it, you'll find you can fix the problem and be satisfied with the finished piece. Try putting it away for a while and then going back to it with a critical eye. Or maybe talk to an artist friend about what you think isn't working. If you think the idea is worth working through, don't give up on it. The results can be worth it.