Monday, August 27, 2018

New Painting: Paper Wings

"Paper Wings", 10x10" mixed media on wood panel. Available. 

I've got a lot of art supplies hanging around my studio. Some things were given to me, some I bought just to try out. I've got a few oddball colours that I don't really know what to do with. It can be fun to start a piece with the intention of using something new... the end point is always a surprise. And sometimes that something new is added at the end, in a last ditch effort to save a painting that is just not working.

This piece went through many, many stages. A lot of them really ugly. At one point I scribbled all over it with a soft pencil, because I was at a loss for what to do next. It was once predominantly red, then yellow, then pink. It was really dark at  one point. What finally pulled it together was a bit of never before used interference green. It now has this glow that I can't quite describe. And I certainly can't photograph it. While I think the photo looks pretty good, it doesn't really do the original justice. It will, however, have to do.

Last week I did something a lot of people will think is a little bit crazy, given my age. I quit the job I've been at for the past 11 years. I'd love to say I did it so I could become a full-time painter, but alas, that is not in the cards for me just yet. I am going to another company, for a position that I hope will be a little less stressful, a little less all-consuming, and hopefully full of new things to learn.

It may seem to some like I've tossed my job security out the window (I know this because people have told me so, usually preceded by a "you're crazy"). I don't look at it quite that way. Just because the company I've spent so much time with finds me useful now does not mean they will still want me there in a few years. There have been a few people let go lately that were long-term, dedicated employees. Corporations don't have any kind of loyalty to long term employees anymore. No matter what I do, it's a gamble. The future is never guaranteed, and all we really have is the present. If I'm no longer enjoying how I spend the majority of my time, the time has come to figure out something else.

However it works out, I'm pretty sure there will be some surprises.

Monday, August 20, 2018

New Painting: Sunday Afternoon

"Sunday Afternoon", 10x10" mixed media on wood panel. Available. 

Earlier this summer I spent a couple weeks in Quebec. It was a wind-down kind of vacation... we didn't have much planned, we did the AirBnB thing so we would have a kitchen and not have to eat out every meal, we spent time with family and I my husband and I had a chance to spend some quality time together.

With my guy being big on fly-fishing, I decided to take some art gear with me to keep me occupied while he was out on the river. The spots were so scenic, I enjoyed the time in nature just sketching and taking photos. I got some great pics for inspiration. I also got some ideas for doing a few paintings when I got home.

My travels have really inspired my art. With this trip under my belt, I thought it may be time for me to try doing some actual landscapes. Never much one for realism, I knew abstraction would be the path I had to take. Literal depictions don't work for me... I wanted to relate how the landscape makes me feel, rather than what it looks like.

"Sunday Afternoon" is the first of a few I have started. This one came together fairly quickly... although at first I didn't realize what I was painting. I had worked on it the other direction, doing my usual thing with dark/light and composing a pleasing arrangement of shapes. I had it drying on a shelf when I caught sight of it the other way and knew this was supposed to be a landscape and not an abstract. A couple quick additions and it was finished.

I have a few more abstract landscapes in the works to be ready to debut at the Arts on the Credit Tour in September. I've even started a new page for them on my website. They will be available as prints as they get finished and photographed, and I'll get the originals on there after the tour. I'm having fun with this genre, so I may continue on for a bit. I'm only half way through my 100 Square Project, so there's lots of room to add a few abstract landscapes to the series.

Monday, August 13, 2018

New Painting: The Road Less Travelled

"The Road Less Travelled", 10x10" mixed media on wood panel.

I've always been a bit of an oddball. 

When I was a kid I was painfully, painfully shy. Like, hide behind my mother and cry if forced to talk to someone shy. I've never had a lot of friends, but the ones I did have were really good friends that totally got me. I hung out with other misfits, and still do. One of my high school friends described us as the "island of misfit toys". Yep, that's about it. 

Being an artist wasn't exactly a choice. It's more a like this internal restlessness that had to be put to use or it would kill me. I tried to ignore it and couldn't... it was like the world just sucked the life out of me and this was the only way to get it back. 

It's not an easy path. It took a long time before I could look at my own work and like it. And once I got over that hurdle, I had to convince other people. I've been turned down by many a gallery, rejected from many shows. I've also gotten into galleries, shown in some prestigious juried shows, and won an award. Obviously opinions of what makes good art differs. I have decided, for better or worse, to be unapologetically who I am and see where it takes me. I'm not sure where I'll end up, but pretty sure I'll be a happier person. That's the end goal for all of us, isn't it?

This painting was a fight from the first layer. You can see it in the texture... there is layer upon layer of paint. I think there was collage on it at some point, although you can't see it at all now. Just the faint edges of where the paper is glued down. I tried to smooth out some sections, but it's still a bit rough around the edges. That wandering line is like the path the painting took to get where it is... there are parts hardly visible but they still effect the whole, and there's one little area I seemed to get stuck in for a bit. I'm glad I didn't give up on it, because overall, it's an interesting little piece. 

It's weird how I can see my life mapped out in a 10x10" square. All art is a reflection of the artist, because we can't help but have who we are show up in our work. Things inspire us, we make choices based on our preferences, decide what to let stay and what has to go. I intend to continue on my own path, no matter who tries to convince me it's a bad idea. The road less travelled is often a more pleasant trip than being trapped in the traffic on the highway. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

New Painting: Summer Storm

"Summer Storm", 10x10" mixed media on wood panel. 

I've always loved storms in the summer. They are so powerful and spring up suddenly... it can be sunny and beautiful out, and within a few minutes it's like you're standing under a waterfall.

You'd think, given the number of times I'd been caught out it it, that I'd hate them. But the power always amazed me. I'd sit and watch the rain pour down and be in awe of nature. Until that massive storm and subsequent flood in 2013.... that's when those storms started to scare me.

Until then, I'd never been in a major storm. Hell, compared to what's happened in other parts of the world, this was not even a major storm. I began to pay more attention to weather related incidents in the news. And it began to dawn on me... holy shit, are we ever in trouble.

I do read the news, and was aware of climate change and the things going on in the world. I had seen an inconvenient truth, but in my naivety, I figured the people in charge were on it, and as long as everyone played their small part, things would work out.


Yeah, I know.

I continue to do what I can. I live close to my job, I keep my car tuned up and take public transit when I can. I ride my bike. I recycle and dry my laundry on my clothesline in the summer. We don't run the air conditioner if it's under 30°C. And we eat a lot of fresh food and avoid the processed stuff. Not really much in the big scheme of things, but it's what I can control. And anything else, I just block out of my field of vision. I think I'd have the trouble motivating myself to do anything if I thought the end of the world was just around the corner.

So anyway, back to my painting.....

I worked on this piece for what felt like forever. I kept adding and adding layers, but it just wasn't speaking to me. When it came together it was so fast.... I was looking for something to add some life to it, and what I found was interference orange. Pink and orange isn't a combination I would normally use... it reminds me of 70s polyester fashion if I'm honest... but since the painting wasn't working anyway, why not? It totally pulled it together, and it instantly became one of my favourite pieces.

Sometimes doing something drastic and unexpected can solve a problem in a unique and creative way.