"Everybody knows a work of art takes at least an hour!" Lucy to Linus, (Peanuts)

FineArtViews Painting Competition - Twice in the Fav 15%

http://canvoo.com/boldbrush/badge/13203 three times selected for FAV15%, Fine Art Views Bold Brush Painting Competition

Monday, April 26, 2010

Looking Back

Just for a bit, here, I am stepping into some past work. This piece was a coloured pencil painting that I did many years ago. I had it made into lithographic prints and managed to sell some; also sold the original art. I still have enough of these prints to paper a house with and I have not done prints of anything since. It just didn't seem like the right venue for me.
Right now it looks like I may be teaching a workshop on coloured pencil at the request of Impressions Gallery; maybe a pastel and a drawing workshop also. I haven't been doing much with coloured pencil in a while so will need to dust off my box of colours and get a few sheets of archival quality toned mat board (my preferred surface). Some coloured pencil artists are using things like Bestine to manipulate the colours but I think I will probably stay away from those kinds of chemicals as I have allergic reactions when I am overly exposed...say after about ten seconds.
It is possible to make the pencil colours look almost like paint - very smooth and texture free. For me the textural quality is part of the appeal. I'll post when I know if this workshop is a go.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

When Are We Here and Not Here?

My good friend Lyndia Terre, a fellow artist and "seeker," has commissioned me to paint her portrait. Unlike most of my clients Lyndia allows me to paint the portrait I choose rather than what she dictates. I have already painted both of her children. I am in the midst of deciding how to express her image and what I know about her, indicating both her truth and her mystery. We all have both. We are "here" in the physical world and another part is "not here" in the physical world. How to show both? We have ghosts of ourselves to consider, and from infancy to death do these ghosts change or just accumulate? What lifestyle does any of us really want and how close do any of us get to that ideal? Lyndia needs the balance of city and country and struggles with how to accommodate these opposing requirements. The very wealthy can have homes any where they choose and go from one to the other at will but the rest of us make do with feeling fortunate if we can maintain one place for shelter and comfort. Some do not have any choice beyond life on the streets or drifting from place to place with no anchor. How important is the place we call "home?"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Delayed - but now done!

It is with joy and relief that I announce the final completion of this painting which I began two years ago! The plant was added because the image felt sterile, cold, and uninviting. My client wanted this particular plant to be used and the challenge was to keep it from overwhelming the subjects, what with it's fronds sticking out all over and the Christmas decorations of ribbon, wires,
berries, and pine cones adding to the mix. I eliminated some of that stuff and changed the plant's
profile a bit. My first attempt was a disaster but after spending some semi-hysterical time considering the possibility of just destroying the entire painting I came to my senses and attacked the problem with more planning and care. I worked from the berries out, in increments, doing only small areas in a painting session. The moment my toes started to curl (my personal reaction to being overwrought and overwhelmed) I would stop. I even came to enjoy concentrating on the separate fronds, twigs, berries, and cones, allowing that to be the entire painting in my mind.
Now that it is finally completed I hope to hear soon from my client, who lives in Spain, when and where to ship it off and I will never have to see it again.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dealing with disappointments

Now is not the time to allow set backs to interfere with what is otherwise an upward focusing frame of mind. I have been turned down for the artist-in-residence position at Painters at Painters Lodge, and today received my rejection letter from the Canada Council regarding my grant application. I am still not considered on the level of the top echelon of artists. That is probably an accurate accounting of my abilities in some ways. In other ways I feel there is an oversight on the part of the jury committees. I am shooting fairly high these days so have to expect some fizzling out sometimes. I am noticing almost a plethora of amazingly talented artists across the planet. No one promised that the reach would be easy or that being seen in the crowd would come to pass. It is time to remember the people who have given encouragement and a vote of confidence through the purchase of my work and the students who seek my knowledge and
mentorship. This means something I am doing has real value. How can I be downcast when I am living a dream life in so many ways? Rejections merely push me to work harder and better. That is a gift too.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sandy has a brand new necklace!

Ok, I know it was supposed to be already finished but I maintain the prerogative to change my mind. Sandy needed an extra touch of flash. She, herself, has that extra "something" which
you recognize when you meet her...the unexplainable charisma. In paint I can only hope to indicate such intangibles with crude lack of finesse. It is a symbol, if you will, of Sandy's extra "something." I chose not to paint her in one of her performance outfits, some of which have bangles, fringe, and/or sequins and shine. That would have distracted from Sandy's face. The addition of the necklace (also symbolic of her native American heritage) is just enough. It is really too bad you can't meet her in person and feel the beauty of her aura.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Art of Debbie Reusch

I want to introduce my talented neighbor, Debbie Reusch. Her watercolours are beautiful and I especially admire her abilities since I regard watercolour to be the most difficult of the painting mediums to control. Please take a few minutes to go to her site and blog:
http://www.debbiereusch.com and http://debbiereusch.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reworking the painting

This is for comparison. The lower image is the way the painting has looked for some time and the upper image is the way I am reworking it. Not finished with it yet. The hard part is determining how tall and wide to make that plant and not have it totally distract from the faces of the woman and child. I am nervous to go back in and do anything else but I will have to get over it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Xmas in April...

I began this painting two years ago, a commissioned portrait of a mother and her young son. They live in Spain currently but have two other commissioned portraits by me of mom with her other two children, little girls. Each one is a representation of where they lived at the time and include some decorative, floral element. This one started out with a much more straight forward background - part of the fireplace, the large stuffed chair, a cushion and a bit of drapery. It has never felt right to me so it has sat here in my studio all this time, often facing the wall. Finally I decided it needed some plant life and I wanted to put a large potted plant behind them to soften the hard edges of the marble mantle and to be a complement, colour wise, to the red chair. My client asked that I use Christmas decor and, like the other paintings, very much wanted it to be something that is really in her home. She sent photos of this potted Xmas plant. I was, at first, not inclined to use it. It seemed out of place, too fussy, and much too small. I ignored it for two months. Two weeks ago I printed out the photo of the plant and quickly laid in the greenery onto the painting. It was horrible. But it was a problem finally tackled. It sat for a week. I felt the entire painting had been compromised and that I would have to begin from scratch. Then I read about "cleaning" a painting between layers of paint with diluted ammonia, and then "oiling" the painting surface lightly with medium. The diluted ammonia would pick up any undried paint. This worked. I cleaned off a good portion of the mess I had made and then carefully oiled the surface. I waited two more days for it to dry and then cut out my photo of the plant and added it to a print out of the painting so that I could adjust the composition to fit the plant. I carefully started in the middle, with the red berries and have been slowly working my way out from the center, a little each day. I gave up trying to paint it in a hurry just so I could get it out of my sight. Now I have come to enjoy this plant tremendously! In a few days it should be completed. It is adding an unsuspected vitality to this painting and I'm hoping the client will feel the same. A tiresome but valuable lesson.