Monday, September 17, 2018

New Painting: Quiet Reflections

"Quiet Reflections", 10x10" mixed media on wood panel. Available. 

I've been a bit obsessed with Brian Rutenberg's YouTube videos lately. He paints these incredible, enormous abstracts... abstract landscapes that feel like a landscape even with no actual landscape type elements in them. One thing he says repeatedly in these videos is to "paint with your back to the window".

I think this is like my mantra of paint what you feel, not what you see. And it's what I've been trying to do with these landscapes inspired by my trip to Quebec. I have a load of photos, and before I start a new piece I look through them and decide what kind of feeling I want to capture. I've only done a few so far, so success seems to be a bit hit and miss. While I think this piece is successful as a painting, it didn't really get across the feeling I was going for. I was going for that feeling of blue sky reflected in still water and how calming it could be. But to get it working as an abstract, I had to lighten up that bottom "water" sector. It may have worked a bit darker but I didn't really like the colour i had going. I glazed with white until I had the value I thought I needed, but it lost a lot of the colour. I could have gone back in to add it back, but I liked it, so I didn't. Sometimes you just have to let the painting be what it is, instead of trying to force it into a preconceived plan.

I did learn enough doing this piece that I'm pretty sure the next one will be a bit better. The next one I start from scratch won't be until after the Art tour next weekend. I'm busy with finishing details right now... adding hanging wired and hardware, painting edges, putting a final coat of varnish on all these small works I've done recently.

As for the tour next weekend, I will have mostly small pieces with me, as I don't have a huge amount of space at my venue. It is a beautiful space though, and should we have good weather we will be able to move some of the art into the fabulous garden at Revive, giving it a special end of summer feel. I've got my fingers crossed for nice weather. I have a map on my website should you want to come out to the tour. There are many wonderful artists and artisans showing off their creations, and my particular location promises to be a hopping area with 4 venues on the same short street. You can access a digital version of the tour brochure here, to plan out your trip.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Dawn of a New Day

"Dawn of a New Day", 24x24" mixed media on canvas. Private collection. 

My niece got married on Saturday. She is around the same age I was when I settled down with my now husband (though we didn't get married until a couple of years later, this is when we bought a house, which is a pretty huge commitment). I wish her and her beau as much happiness as possible.

Being an artist in a family of artists, I knew I would do something creative for them for their new home. Since I've been immersed in trying to figure out this whole abstract landscape thing, and my niece is maybe a bit traditional in her artistic tastes (and I have no idea about her now husband), a landscape seemed to be the most obvious choice. Talking to her mom and sister we determined hues of pink would fit in with their decor. Pink. Of course.

Side view, showing how the interference looks in the
light. This photo was taken in the same lighting as
the one above, I just moved over to the side.  
I'm not really a pink person. I don't wear pink, there is no pink in my home, and the pinks I've been using in my recent work started as a challenge for me to work out how to use it (since I had a few tubes of pink paint given to me). I was sure I could do this... even if I wasn't sure exactly how.

I used a lot of texture in this piece. I'm not 100% decided if it helps or detracts from the overall composition, but it gives some interest, and gave me a way to incorporate my current obsession, interference paint. Brushed lightly over the textured area the paint only hits the raised points. This can add a lot of interest to a relatively calm area.

I chose to use interference orange... I had used blues and violets along with the pinks, and I really wanted something a bit unexpected. I also thought about how the work would change in certain lighting... having used this kind of paint in a few pieces now I have a bit better idea of what to expect than when I first pulled it out. I like that you can hardly see it when you look at it straight on. It shows up in the dark areas but not the light. But when the light hits it and you're at an angle, the sky glows. It's pretty cool.

I hope they like the painting and find a special place for it. I will offer an opportunity to exchange for something else... that's something I also do for my clients whenever art is purchased as a gift. When I give art, especially my own, I worry that the receiver will not say if it's not their thing, afraid of hurting my feelings (my skin is actually pretty thick now, after years of applying to and getting rejected from shows. It's all part of being an artist). My niece already has one of my paintings, so I'm pretty sure she likes my work, but I think the art in your home should be something that really speaks to you. Maybe she would prefer something in a different colour, or has no place to put something this size. I don't really know what her other half likes either, so that's something to consider. Whatever they decide is fine with me. I know original art in a home can really add to that feeling of it being somewhere special, and that's how I want their home to feel for them.


I am taking part in the Arts on the Credit Tour, September 22-23 in Port Credit, Mississauga. I'll have many new 10x10 pieces up for sale, plus a couple larger ones. Visit my website for details. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

New Painting: Whispered Conversations

"Whispered Conversations", 10x10" mixed media on wood panel. 

I've been listening to the audiobook of Brené Brown's "Daring Greatly" while I've been at the gym. It's one of those books that's been recommended to me a few times, but I haven't gotten around to reading.

As a creative person, I never really know what's going to inspire something. I certainly did not expect something from this kind of book to inspire an abstract painting. But when I got to the part about how sharing personal experiences and being vulnerable can lead to a true intimacy with someone, I got a image in my head that I really wanted to express visually.

Building relationships can be in interesting process. I can be a fairly open person, but it depends on how I read the other person. There have been people I'm not too sure of, and with them it can take me a really long time to trust enough to put myself out there. If I ever do. If I click with someone the process can go a lot faster.

I remember when I was a kid... the LAST thing I wanted to do was tell someone anything about how I was feeling. In my family, as the youngest of 4 kids, giving away a secret was like giving your enemy something to taunt you with for the foreseeable future. My siblings could be vicious. The girls at school were equally awful. I learned quickly that the best defence was to never give anything away. I developed a poker face... while I couldn't always put it on at will, I did try. As a result of being so closed off, I had very few close friends. I still don't have many, but the ones I have are the kind of people I can tell anything to, and not have it come back to bite me. This is a good place to be.

It took me a long time to get here. As a young adult I didn't know how to talk about how I was feeling, so when I got angry or upset I just shut down. There were a few people who kept poking until they hit the soft spots and it all came out...usually involving a lot of swearing (and sometimes alcohol. My best friends are partial to scotch and tequila, respectively). But those conversations... the ones where I shared the parts of myself that I generally keep hidden... they were like little bright lights shining in an otherwise dark world of uncertainty and doubt.

Visualizing those whispered conversations... that was an evolving process, and it took many layers. I put some value variety in the dark areas representing the people we come in contact with daily. The co-workers, the acquaintances. The lighter hues are the people closer to us. There is variety in those too. The really good friends... they are in the iridescents. They look white, but they sparkle a bit. They change depending on the lighting. They are where you look and keep looking. And they hold it together.

As I'm trying to verbalize my thought process on this, I realize that I did an exercise like this decades ago when I took a class with an art therapist. She called it a "life map", and had us use a different colour to represent each person in our lives and show how they related to us. We did a past, present and future map. It was an interesting exercise that really sparked an interest in the abstract representation of an inner world. Maybe a topic for another post...

I am taking part in the Arts on the Credit Tour, September 22-23 in Port Credit, Mississauga. I'll have many of these new 10x10 pieces up for sale, plus a couple larger ones. Visit my website for details.