Sunday, May 29, 2016

Boxed In: Final Entry

"Secret of the Ancients", 12x12" Mixed Media on canvas. Available.

Done. The final painting. Feels like it took a really long time to get these finished, but I suppose, with stopping to take working photos, and documenting everything in between painting sessions, it added on a bit of time. At least I made it for my deadline.

I'm going to be doing something a bit different for this series. Each piece looks best in a certain direction... in my opinion. But they can all fit together for something different. So to allow a bit of flexibility, I'm going to sign them on the edge of the piece, rather than the front. I will still have to put wire on the back, but that is easily changed if the eventual owner decides they want to hang them in a different direction. The gallery is actually going to hang the show with velcro instead of hooks this time. Makes it easier with so many pieces, and that way they won't have to fill a million holes in the walls when the show comes down. The canvases they gave us are small and light, so it should work well. I can hardly wait to see how the show comes together.... some of the work I've seen posted online is really wonderful.

Excavation series, lined up horizontally. These would look lovely in a hallway... maybe on a white wall? I found another
silver in my stash that was way more reflective (Golden... of course), so I went over the solid silver areas in all
three pieces. Anyway, that's why I have areas that look warm grey in that last photo. That's the new silver
reflecting the light.  I really should rephotograph the other two...

Now that I'm done this series I have a few other things I have to focus on for the next couple weeks. My mom is moving in a little over a week, my son has a million things on the go (some of which require my input), and I really, seriously need to clean up my studio. I don't know how it can go from clean to a disaster in a few short days, but it manages to happen. One misplaced object, and suddenly I need a couple days to put everything back together.

I will post a video of the opening on June 9th... I'll try to keep it short-ish. I'll have to do the walk around and maybe have a little chat with some of the other artists. If I can get that live stream thing happening, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Boxed In: Project Entry Part 8 - Finishing Touches Canvas 3

"Escape", 12x12" Mixed Media on Canvas. Available.
This will be my last mid-week entry for this project. The end of the month is coming up, and I'm finishing up these paintings to get them to the gallery in time for the show. I was hoping to be able to live-stream the opening... I know a few of my followers who are not local would enjoy "being there", as much as they can. The easiest/most accessible version of "live" would be the new Facebook Live feature...... but alas, I still don't have access to it. Searching the help menu leads to the always  so helpful "some users may not yet have access to this feature". Awesome. First time ever Facebook has rolled out something new I actually want to use before it's available. 

I love this iridescent paint so much...
I do have other options. I'm on Periscope, but the one time I used it I got about 0 views. It's not like I've been on there much... most of my audience is not the 20-somethings that are up on every new app that comes along. So I think I'll go with the trusted YouTube platform... I can stream live (I've tried it out, but not exactly sure how it looks on the other end. How do you find live streams on there? I can't seem to figure that part out. Is it like a hangout?), and I can record it at the same time and save it to my channel. Yes I have a YouTube channel. My son was shocked.

Oh, and now it looks green! How cool is that?

I have another opening to get to this week... I was FINALLY accepted into the Artworks Oakville annual juried show. It's one of the local shows that is always really wonderful. Gets loads of entries, has notable judges, great prizes... all the things that make a juried show really hard to get into. I've entered repeatedly. To the point where when I fill out the entry form I feel like I'm making a donation to the group instead of actually entering a competition (it's the same with the VAM show, another really great juried show held at the AGM at the end of the year). Getting that acceptance email was a bizarre feeling... I walked around for a week thinking they surely made a mistake, and I'd be notified any day now. It's not that I don't think my art worthy of being in a show like that, it's more that my work is not so different that it would stand out when lined up against 100 or so other pieces. I'm make abstract paintings. Not unlike a plethora of other painters. It's just how it is.

Anyway, I will be posting the last of these paintings on Sunday. It feels like it's taken me forever to get these done.... but I've had a few other things going on. I'll fill you in on those at some point... I need to have something to talk about for these weekly entries.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Boxed In: Project Entry Part 7 - Finishing Touches Canvas 2

"Excavation", 12x12" Mixed Media on canvas. Available.  
From the side to show the interference.

Well, the first of the three canvases is finished. I didn't actually have to do too much to finish this off. I just added in some bright white highlights and did a bit of drybrushing to accentuate the texture (if you want a reminder of what it looked like, you can see it again here). After looking at it turned in all directions, I decided it looks best this way. Even when I join it up on either side with the others it looks best this way. So, I still need to sign it, touch up the edges and attach the hanging hardware, but otherwise it's done.

 One of the wonderful things about interference paints is the way the colour changes when the light hits it. How to photograph that is a bit of a mystery.

From another angle. Now it looks green. 
Here I've taken a couple shots on different angles. You can see how it looks purple from the side, but green if the light is on a different angle. As I've only used it in accent areas, it is really something that can only be fully appreciated in person. But then all original art is kind of like that... right?

If you are in the GTA, this promises to be a really great show. I've been following along with the progress shots from some of the other artists, and have seen a few of the finished pieces already turned in. Wonderful. AND, if that wasn't enough, at $100, these pieces are a steal. Most of these artists would have work this size going for considerably more... myself included. I imagine a few of the artists will take the opportunity to buy work from other artists they love but could never afford (likely myself included here as well...). If you are in the area, be sure to stop in and take a look.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Boxed In: Project Entry Part 6

Canvas 1 continuing. Photo taken with my phone, and therefore not colour accurate. 
This weekend was a little nuts. I haven't had time to do much since my last entry... but since I said I was going to post, I'm going to post. 

My mom is going to be moving soon. It's a huge job, packing up that house.... and now that she's on her own it's a bit overwhelming. My husband and I went out there on the weekend to help get things sorted. Her moving date is approaching quickly, and packing is slow and difficult when you're mobility isn't the greatest. Two days and we made a lot of progress. Still not quite there, but definitely got a good chunk of it done. She does have other help... I am the youngest of 4 kids, so she's not alone, but it's a trek for all of us. I for one will be happy when she's closer.

As for this painting...
I've obliterated that awkward block in the middle. The shape is bigger now... not sure it's necessarily better, but at least it isn't smack dab in the middle of the canvas. I lightened up that curved shape on the left. It was kind of a mid-tone grey... I decided it had to be either light or dark and light felt better to me. I got rid of the pointy, arrow-like line. I also changed that shape on the bottom... it felt like it was too much the same size as the shape at the top, so I made it a bit smaller. Again, not sure it's necessarily better, but it's different. That area on the right I haven't dealt with yet. I still don't know what to do with it.

That's all I've got right now. So here's a cute picture of my dog.
Because dogs. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Boxed In: Project Entry Part 5

the join between canvas 1 and
 two really bothered me...
 I'm back to canvas 1. If you don't remember quite what it looked like, you can refresh your memory here. The image is at the bottom, but it's upside down. When I'm working abstractly, I will regularly flip the canvas around to get a different view. Sometimes it works better in a different direction. It's definitely a good way to check if the image is balanced.

Once I had that dark area blocked in, I saw I
needed to add some interest to the bottom section. 
Stacking up 1 and 2, I can see they don't really meet up any more. It's not too bad, but this area (left) really bothered me. Since I like the top one, and I don't like the bottom one, I decided this was the ideal place to start.

My three Boxed In canvases, all
still in progress. 
I still had that big blocky shape in the middle of my canvas. I don't like that too much, so I'm going to change it. Once that's done, I rework the rest of it to balance out that initial dark shape. It seems to lean heavily to the left here, so I added a few shapes to the bottom section to make it more interesting. I will have to do something to that section on the middle right... don't know what yet, but I can decide that as I go along.

By the time I'm done this session, I've really taken this canvas in a different direction. It looks really different... there are still a lot of areas I don't like, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to spend a few more hours working on this. Luckily the other two are in decent shape, so I have the time to rework this until I like it. I still have a couple weeks before I have to turn the canvases in to the gallery. Of course I have to allow time to finish the edges, apply a layer of varnish, and attach hardware and wire to the back. I can't leave it right to the deadline, or I may end up turning something in I'm not satisfied with. Not my style.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Boxed In: Project Entry Part 4

Canvas 3 in progress. Now that I've got all 3 going, I can make my decisions looking at the grouping and keep them unified.
With canvas #2 being somewhat close to completion, I figured I had to move on to canvas 3, and try to get it to a stage comparable to the first painting. This one is going to be a challenge... when I started it I thought it was going to be a mask image, so I experimented with some pouring medium to get some organic looking forms to work with. While I scrapped the mask idea, I had these raised shapes on the canvas that I was either going to have to work with, or sand off. Sanding was unappealing... I decided to leave them and see what I could do with it. 

Set of 3 images, taken when I
was just starting on this
I also have a lot of colour on this canvas. It was going to show through unless I used a really opaque paint, which is not something I usually do. I figured I'd just go with it, and if it bothered me I would just keep layering until it didn't. 

The obvious choice for a focal point was the big splotch in the top right. Dividing the canvas into thirds, it is in the exact right "golden" section. And because I want to keep the series light overall, that area was going to have to have some dark shapes to draw the eye. Running the shape off the side of the canvas is something I've started doing recently... I read something about how composing your image as if it is larger than your actual canvas improves the way the image flows. (I really don't know why I don't bookmark these blogs I stumble across... sometimes these ideas are so helpful, and I can't share because I can't for the life of me find the post again. I will try to keep better track in the future). 

This piece isn't even close to done. It will be at least one more session, possibly two. I like the interplay of forms in the focal point, the rest of the composition needs a fair bit of work. The cluster of forms on the bottom left is messy and doesn't really work, and the interference needs to be brought through the entire piece and not just isolated in one main area. I'll get back to this one when I figure out exactly what I want to do. Sometimes moving on to something else, and getting a fresh look in a couple days works wonders. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Boxed In: Project Entry Part 3

Boxed In, canvas #2. Still in progress. I took this outside to photograph it, because the lights in my studio make
the grey look really warm. Of course I took the photo with my phone, the colour is still not totally accurate. When I'm
done I'll take a proper, colour corrected image. 
If you need a recap of this project, you can read my previous posts over the past week. Part one, and part two.

Moving right along...

I've moved on to canvas #2, so that I can get a consistent feel to the 3 pieces. When I'm working on a set that I want to go together, I regularly switch from one piece to the next while I figure out the next step.

In an attempt to show the iridescent nature of this
awesome mother of pearl paint, I photographed it
on an angle. It looks grey straight on, but
changes from purple to green in the light.

Sometimes one painting will get way ahead of the others, and then I'm playing catch up trying to get them all up to the same level. I think this is what has happened with this one. I started working early evening, and by the time I thought to check what time it was, it was the wee hours the next morning. As much as I love it when I'm in that much of a groove, I was tired as hell the next day. But still, I could hardly wait to get back to work.

I really like the silver/grey colour combination, although at the moment I think it's still a bit too dark. It feels monumental. My lines are perhaps a bit too harsh... but I still kind of like it. It feels crisp, and ragged, almost like ancient rock, or ice that's been there for millennia. The dark areas carry the eye through the image, the shapes are different, it doesn't look too busy. I will probably make a few finishing touches, but I doubt I'll do too much more. It's pretty rare that a piece will come together this quickly (if you can actually call it quickly, given that it had two pretty terrible incarnations before this one).

Of course I might still change my mind, but for right now, I like it.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Boxed In: Project Entry part 2

One thing these pieces will have that my other movement pieces don't is a lot of texture. Since I started off using collage and thick paint, I figured I'd just go with it and got out the molding paste. The movement is built right into the substrate. That should make things interesting.
Wait... what day is it?

I'm going to be posting a little more often while I'm working on this project. My usual once a week works fine for the most part, but I don't really want these posts getting super long and boring, and I want to share every step. So I'm going to try for twice a week for the duration. I have to be done by the end of the month anyway, so I think I can manage that for a few weeks. 

Here's where I'm at:

I have numbered the backs of the canvases so I will always put them in the same order when I photograph them. Starting at the bottom, we have 1, 2, 3. Number 3 is going to be the most challenging, because I decided to try out that pouring medium that's been sitting on my studio shelf for the last few months. I've got these wonderful, organic forms, but I have no idea how I'm going to make those shapes work... yet.

Anyway, I set my erupting volcano video to play on my phone, while I tried to capture the forms on each canvas. Once this part is done I don't watch the video again... I have to work each canvas as it's own image without going back to my reference. I'm not trying to paint an erupting volcano, I just want to get the feel of something bursting from a contained area. Once I had my drawings done I stacked the canvases back up in order to take a photo... then decided the shapes had to join up. They might not join up in the end... I will decided direction right at the very end as I usually do, but for now, I want the shapes to create one continuous motion.

I decided to start off on canvas 1. I like it the least... there's an awkward darkish area right in the middle that is going to cause me a bit of an issue. I like that swoosh going across the bottom right corner, so I'm going to emphasize that area. That swoosh is a large brushstroke of silver paint. I think I'll try to leave that alone, and emphasize the edges by darkening the area around it. Of course every decision will affect every subsequent decision, but it's a place to start.

Here's where I'm at at the end of this session. I've flipped it over for a fresh view... I've got some really nice areas happening, but i need to develop it a bit more. I will start the other pieces before I get too much further, because I want them all to have the same feel. And maybe working on the next one will suggest what has to happen next on this one. Stay tuned...

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Boxed In: Project Entry part 1

Attempt number one. Ick.
A little local gallery recently put out a call to artists. They were having a special anniversary show, and were inviting artists who have shown there to participate in a small works show. Each artist would be given 3 12x12" canvases, and in the end the gallery would be filled with these little paintings, which would all be for sale for $100. They named the show "Boxed In".

There is a timeline. I have to have the canvases ready by the end of May. I've decided to document the entire project from start to finish.... warts and all. And I'm off to a brilliant start.

This was the start of my mask try... I got
further,but I didn't take any photos.
My first thought was to do something a little different. With the canvases being $100 across the board, and my usual work at that size is quite a bit more, I didn't feel I could do my usual thing. My first image started with collage shapes and paint, and after 3 sessions struggling, I decided that just wasn't going to work. My 2nd attempt was to do one of my journal pages on the canvas. Maybe one of the masks I've been working on. I spent two days on that one. I was struggling.

So much for doing something completely different. I need to approach this the way I usually do.

Here's my thought process...

Theme: Boxed in

I hate that phrase. Nothing I dislike more than the feeling of being confined. I may put confines on myself, but if anyone else tries to do it, I rebel. And since that is who I am, that is exactly what I am going to do. 

Reversing the theme: Instead of Boxed In, I will Break Free.

Things that break out of their confines? Volcanoes, explosions, babies being born, birds hatching from eggs, air... in the form of balloons popping, popcorn, water bubbles.

Things of value trapped within their environments that are freed somehow: pearls, gold and precious metals, oil, gemstones... of course the value is assigned by humans, and it doesn't necessarily have any inherent value. But that's beside the point.

So. My shapes will be formed from things breaking out of their confines. And my colours will be silvers and hues of purple and blue, very light, reminiscent of ice or diamonds, and I'll use my lovely mother of pearl iridescent paint to accent areas. Because pearls. Here's stage one. Wish me luck.