Tuesday, November 22, 2022

First layer of paint

I'm starting a new painting... not sure yet what it's going to be, but the first layer of paint has to go on no matter if it ends up an abstract, landscape or botanical. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Part3 of a 24x30 inch painting

I've got a show coming up in November... I thought I would be able to get this larger sized piece finished beforehand. Turns out I can't... not if I don't want to rush it anyway, which I don't. It always turns out better when I take my time and let it flow. 

Anyway, the show is November 5-6 at the Waterside Inn in Port Credit. Details here: https://artsonthecredit.ca/fineartshow/

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Part 2: Adding collage to a painting

I'm working on a larger botanical painting for an upcoming show. This is the second stage in my process.... here I lay down collage elements, primarily text, on my intuitively painted background. 

This does a couple things. First, it gives me some interesting shapes to work with. I like using text because using letterforms in art feels like adding a contemporary element. It's like a newspaper or magazine headline, and I grew up in a world where print media was king. It also adds some edges that take paint differently, giving a variety to my marks. 

Not all of these elements will be visible in the final painting. I used to think that painting like this was a bit wasteful... why layer on all these things when half of them are covered up? Now I understand that all these layers of paint add something to the texture and richness of the piece, and allow me to utilize some other techniques, like sanding or scraping, that actually remove top layers to reveal hidden gems. Every thing I add or remove makes for a more interesting surface, and that makes a painting something that will draw the viewer back to it many times. If I can see it all at first glance, what is there to bring me back? 

I'm posting shorts of my painting sessions on my YouTube channel. I may not remember to film them all, since I seem to be a bit hopeless in the sharing department, but I'll try. I even have a post-it on my easel to remind me!

Monday, May 16, 2022

Excavating memories of school days


"Early Morning Sunshine", 10x10" mixed media on wood cradle panel. 

My memories of my early school years are forever tied to one kid I befriended right at the beginning. She was a tiny, little girl, while I was.... not. I didn't fit in... I had red hair and freckles, my mom made my clothes, and I was big. One of the tallest kids in my class until middle school, I towered in the back row of every class photo from grades 1 to 5, while my tiny friend was always in the front row, dead centre. 

Kids can be cruel. They don't seem to have much of a filter, and will point out and make fun of anything that makes someone stand out. I had the misfortune of having a small accident the day before school started... I was out with my mom and our new dog (not a puppy, an adopted, older dog), and she had me hold the leash while she dug something out of her purse. The dog took off, and not wanting to let her get away, i held on to that leash, getting dragged a couple blocks on the concrete as a result. My face looked a little worse for wear. My earliest memory of school is being approached by a boy in my class and being told "I don't like you, you're ugly". Yikes.

So, I took it upon myself to make sure my little buddy didn't get bullied. Or as much as I could anyway. I got bullied a bit myself, but because of my size it was usually older kids in the neighbourhood (my older siblings played their part, of course) and not the kids in my class. I was a pretty weird kid. I suppose it was unavoidable. 


The two of us were always in the same class. I don't really know how kids got assigned their classes in the 70/80s, but I suspect the school administrators realized I had taken on this role and it was one way to make sure this kid didn't get hurt. Her house was in the same direction as mine so we walked together every day, and sometimes I had lunch at her place because she was much closer. It worked out well for everyone, and to this day, we are still friends. 

In primary school we had recess twice a day... the bell would ring and the entire school would pour into the school yard and run around like maniacs for 15 minutes. The two of us would usually sit along the fence or walk around picking "flowers" (weeds) or play some silly game with a couple of the other kids. Queen Ann's Lace (Wild Carrot) was the flower of choice, and finding a patch made for a great day. When I see them now I still think of my friend "Hedgeheight" (original nickname, right? She was, quite literally, the height of the hedge around her yard when I christened her with that one. I don't think she's gotten much taller). It reminds me of a sunny spring day in the school yard, talking about our favourite things and picking flowers.

We don't talk all that often these days, but we check in on each other from time to time, and she will sometimes make the long trek from the other side of the city to come to an opening. It's nice to have someone around who has known me for the majority of my life, and shared many of the same experiences. Thank goodness for email and the internet, because it's a lot easier to keep track of each other now than it was in the 80s.