Saturday, December 27, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
This Madonna is almost done, maybe a little tweaking with the colours.
My inspiration was the statue which Mom and Dad had in the dining room. It was a replacement for one they brought from Holland which fell off its little wooden shrine and broke. This one too is from Holland and the shape and symbols are quite traditional in Dutch depictions of Mary (apart from the black).
I suspect there may not be traditional madonna figures in the upcoming show so perhaps this one will pay homage to history.
My next one will be a Bushman Madonna, African.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Black Madonnas – a group show curated by Tim Soper. Dark statues
and paintings of a mother and child exist in hundreds all over Europe, and
especially in France. They are revered as the image of Mary and the baby Jesus.
However, their origin may go back to pre-Christian pagan times. They share a
kinship with with ancient statues of Isis and Horus, and Cybele and Attis. These
mythical figures tell a tale of a mother and her God / Son who dies and is
reborn. Over the past year, Tim Soper has been creating his own Black Madonna
sculptures. He has invited a collection of artists to create their own pieces
symbolizing their connection to, or perception of, the Black Madonna. From
literal translations, to dynamic and challenging representations, the pieces in
this show capture the evocative and mysterious nature of the Black
I think she will be in Tim's show next month and perhaps I will make another, this time black and more like the Madonnas I remember from church. Or perhaps like the one we had in the house when I was I child.
If you have a Madonna to share Tim would like to hear from you!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid. Jules Feiffer
I must admit this is my first red or rose coloured sky. I rarely do blue skies, usually gray, yellow, white, beige - anything but blue. My landscapes tend to earth tones, usually fairly "real". The above painting seems a tad too romantic or sugary. Hence the title. Maybe it is not the sky rather the composition or treatment of content that is mushy. I'm going to post this on WetCanvas and see what the crtics have to say... I'll let you know.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Some interesting quotes about consistency:
CONSISTENCY is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead. Aldous Huxley
CONSISTENCY requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago. Bernard Berenson
And my personal favourite:
CONSISTENCY is the last refuge of the unimaginative. Oscar Wilde
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
After 2 months of travel I am back and ready to dip into the paint again. My husband and I have been to Iceland, Netherlands and the UK. We visited over 10 galleries/museums and I'll copy some of the info over from my trip blog in the next few days so you can have a look.
Above is hubby at (or in?) the Dubuffet part of the sculpture garden of the Kroller Muller Museum. The Kroller Muller is in the Hoge Veluwe National Park near Arnhem (Netherlands).
A rather saucy little nude by Van Gogh
It is an elegant building, low and simple, set amongst manicured lawns, sculpture gardens and woodlands. We first visited in January of 1995. Many parts of Holland had been experiencing severe flooding; when we arrived the grounds around the museum were soggy and the entrance flanked by a row of 5 blue porta potties, neatly connected in a row. How unfortunate we thought, the flooding has caused the museum plumbing to fail. Sure enough, when we were inside the smell of ammonia was powerful. Fortunately it had not permeated the Van Gogh hall, we enjoyed the paintings immensely. Leaving the permanent exhibits behind we headed for the temporary show areas, past a huge mound of burned chairs. More problems! The museum certainly had been having its share of difficulties. Nearby unopened crates, addressed to the museum, were stacked and unopened. Staff shortages? We were now close to the restrooms but no stench was apparent, in fact they were clean and functioning. The smell of ammonia was elsewhere….
This was our first experience with installation art. The ammonia smell wafted from a small house made entirely of salt cod, the burned chairs were another installation. The unopened crates contained art which the artist had submitted but with the stipulation the crates not be unpacked - a statement about the commercialism rampant in art. Now wiser about this “new” type of art, we checked out the porta potties. Yup! Art!!! The connected stalls were empty except the last one. We entered to check out the TV monitor mounted over the only toilet. The program on the screen was a simple one: a buzzing fly. This installation was called Virtual Reality for Poor People. Someone had made a statement about the piece by leaving a rather large deposit in the toilet. That part was real.
Our second visit to the Kroller was llast month. It has expanded and is probably my favourite museum. It is spacious, elegant and one is immediately aware of being in the presence of greatness. There are numerous VanGogh’s, Mondrians, Toorops. The Van Goghs are superb, you rarely have to share the viewing space and you can get up close and personal without the docents or the alarm system throwing a fit. Photos are permitted (no flash). I took lots!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
In a few weeks hubby and I will be heading for Iceland, Holland and England. Of course I plan to see as much art as possible. We've been to Amsterdam a few times before an have visited the fabulous VanGogh Museum as well as the Rijksmuseum and the Kröller-Müller in nearby Otterlo. All of these are incredible places to visit. I've added the "Rijkswidget" to my blog, you can see it on the left. Click it to have a look and visit the museum website too.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The piece above is an example of the loose canvas and the class in which we painted to music. I was listening to Buddha Bar, my favourite all purpose dining, painting, working music. As we are focusing on process rather than product, ie playing and exploring, I am free to take this further or flip it over and reuse the canvas for something else...
Maybe it should go like this? -
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I don't paint plein air much and when I do my work usually reflects the atmosphere of a place rather than a representation of the scene. A few weeks ago S and I spent the day painting at Kingston Mills, a favourite spot for both of us. Last week we headed across the river and across the border to Cape Vincent New York. My friend D is manging the hostel at Tibbets Point and we sat under the sun sketching the lighthouse, the waves and the lilacs.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Here it is with the first layer of colour. I'm pleased with the composition but not sure how far to take the colours, more highlights are needed to define the smaller figures and forms. As it is highly textured I may just keep it limited to earthy tones with of course a gold dome. It wouldn't be Hundertwasser without this bit of gilt. You can compare it to the sketch below to see where I have made some adjustments. This technique of cutting and pasting allows me to move the shapes around to get just the composition I want before I glue it permanently. Then the colour work begins.
The piece below is another I've done using the same techniques, this one was inspired by a Byzantine Madonna and a large female salmon with eggs. A slight force fit of ideas but both images were in my mind at the time.
Monday, March 17, 2008
"Humans have more than just eyes to enjoy beautiful things and ears to hear beautiful sounds and noses to smell beautiful smells. Humans can also feel with their hands and feet. The flat floor with straight lines has been recognized as a real danger to humans. The uneven path becomes a symphony, a melody for the feet. This path makes one vibrate with joy." Friedensreich HundertwasserA few years ago I visited amazing Vienna with a prime target being the Klimt collections. These were truly impressive but a later Viennese artist was equally impressive. Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser (his chosen name) was an incredibly creative and controversial artist. He developed public spaces that were works of art and transformed ugly institutional buildings into intriguing gleaming and colourful confections, like the one above. This is one of Vienna's incinerators and a heating plant. It was a gray ugly eyesore until the "doctor of architecture" performed a face lift. We visited the buildings which were a delight. Even the pavement in the parking lot revealed Hundertwasser's touch. The painted dividing lines were wavy, not straight. He felt straight lines were unnatural, only man produces such uncomfortable constructs. Osaka has copied Hundertwasser's ideas for their incineration buildings which are often mistaken for a theme park.
My current project is an homage to Hundertwasser, a bas relief piece using foam core and lots of textural effects. Here's a preliminary sketch of my imaginary "Hundertwasser House"
Friday, March 7, 2008
Bloggers love to get comments. One of my regular and most dependable responders is W. He doesn't always use the same moniker but you know it is W if the comment is lengthy, incredibly erudite and astute! W writes poetry and reviews art too. This post is for you W, thanks for your steady input on those quiet days when it seems know one is out there. Here's a very young Bjork with her thoughts about poets. (click on her name to get the video)
As an aside Bjork's longtime partner is Matthew Barney, a performance artist and filmaker. Check him out on Youtube if you really want to see something bizarre. Here he is in Cremaster 4. Can you imagine having these two over for dinner?
Monday, March 3, 2008
The painting above is one I sold recently at the Frameworks show. The simplicity of the scene really appealed to me as I worked on it. It is was not hard to resist adding "more". Sometimes less is more. When it was done I thought of Robert Frost's poem "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening". One might glance and stop to catch the simple beauty of sun on grass, pause and enjoy a moment lovely and light. Obviously it is not a snowy evening so here is how the poem might work (apologies to RF):
Stopping By Fields On A Hazy Evening
Whose fields these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his grass gleam and glow. etcHere's another wonderful poem that starts in a field. By Mark Strand, this poem is about not stopping, at least that is the superficial message. Strand's "verse deals primarily with the relationship between the individual self and the rest of the world in language that is spare and through images that are often surreal and dream-like." I think the style of the poem fits the style of my painting, but the message is quite different.
Keeping Things Whole
In a field
I am the absence
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.
When I walk
I part the air
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.
We all have reasons
to keep things whole.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Here in Ontario the Hillebrand Winery in Grimsby has an annual contest for artists:
"Our long standing support of the arts comes to life in Artist Series. Each bottle features the original work of an Ontario artist, a beautiful piece that captures the spirit of our province and shows the incredible talent found here. Inside the bottle is the work of our talented winemaker, Darryl Brooker. "Next time you visit the LCBO remember to support the wineries that support the arts!
You can see some of the past winners here.
Monday, February 25, 2008
click to enlarge, lots of nice texture!
My impressionistic landscape above (which has not sold yet) was one of my favourites in the show. It did get lots of attention but no takers. If it is still unsold next month I may keep it. I did 2 others like it, all reminiscences of my travels in Labrador. Labrador is a magical beautiful place, one of the last true wilderness sites in the world, right here in Canada.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
The long ride home had me thinking about the workshop, the pros and cons. It certainly was a new experience for me to view art as a therapy, a process rather than a product. Blocks to creativity were discussed : the usual nuggets of conformist schooling, repressive parenting and the evils of coloring books. I have problem with this as most of the artists we admire today came from very strict societies and frequently had major demons nibbling at their psyches. Their education focused soley on knowledge rather than imagination. Did they go to BE workshops to open up? Maybe they meditated for at least an hour a day or were sexually abstinent - these were also discussed. But I have read "Sex Lives of the Artists" know the latter is is rather dubious. (See also The Big Bang Theroy of Art, fascinating reading about creative types, maybe being promiscuous and schizophrenic is the answer.) Or was it the copius amounts of absinthe that led early artists to be more expressive? Maybe their sad, demanding or neurotic mothers were the muses that led to creativity? (Van Gogh's mother Anneke above.)
I loved my coloring books and had a huge collection of crayons. I coloured within the lines, sometimes I added my own lines. I learned that with careful amounts of pressure and various forms of hatching you can shade and blend even with wax crayons. Push enough crayon onto the page and you can put a paint wash over top. Take the page out, turn it over and make a rubbing. Oil it and make it transparent. I could go on and on. Colouring books are just another tool to use creatively. Thank you Mom!
Some more intersting reading about creativity in kids, click here.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Another full day of painting tomorrow in Jonas'
huge studio space. A pic of his painting table, a
work of art in itself, is here. He uses the edge of the table to wipe his brushes. Years of accumulated acrylic paint has totally covered the table edge with a rainbow coloured coral reef.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Today I worked on this piece, I posted an image of the underpainting earlier this week and waited for the inspiration muse to arrive. Putting work aside when I am at an impasse seems to be a good strategy but it means a lot of unfinished work sitting around the studio. I'm also waiting to decide if a piece is finished. Sometimes it looks great when I stop for the day and the next morning it may look like poop! Right now I'm thinking this one might be close to DONE. The layers are formal, somewhat meditative and playful too. Hints at a natural order that keeps us on an even keel. It has my landscape line thing going on so maybe you can see some consistency with other recent work.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I have nightmares about "a consistent body of work". Since setting out on the path to abstraction my work has been anything but consistent. I guess that means I haven't arrived yet. Even when doing respresentational work I was always exploring - new media, new subject matter, new approaches. I know that artists are expected to produce a consistent body of work, one that shows they are exploring a theme or approach in great depth. They develop a recognizable style. Either I have a limited attention span or my "bin there, done that" attitude means I have no style. Maybe my style is novelty! For now, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
The piece above is a type of bas relief with lots of shallow sculptural detail. It was selected for the KAC Juried Arts Salon a few years back and sold! It is constructed of board, layers of foam, and gritty modelling paste followed by numerous glazes of oil paint. I've only done one other piece like it. Bin there, done that!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Doris McCarthy was the elfin faced mystery artist for January. She will be 98 in July and is still painting. Look at her fingers! I was fortunate to attend a small presentation she gave here in Kingston a few years ago. Doris has been a plein air painter, working outdoors well into her 80's along Canada's coasts and northlands, sitting out on the tundra or in the snow. She did a brief journey into abstract art but quit as "it didn't sell". I love her boldness and honesty. Here's Doris' website: http://www.dorismccarthy.com
Doris McCarthy -Boughton Reflections 1984
Thursday, January 17, 2008
This painting was inspired by the salt water grasses I photographed while visiting Les Iles de Madeleine (Magadelen Islands). The colours really were this spectacular as was just about everything else we saw on these inspiring islands perched in the gulf of the St. Lawrence. This piece is still quite objective but I was starting to "loosen up" on my brush work. Sometime soon I'm going to try another version of this same subject but even looser and of course more abstract - as I am on the journey to abstraction...
Lately I feel like I am on the journey to distraction as nothing is going right in the studio! When I was doing narrative work I could tell when something was done, when it was good, when it was bad. Now with the looser approach it ALL looks bad! I wonder if abstract artists are more prone to neuroses than their more objective colleagues?
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I have rejoiced in it every step of the way."
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I think this one is done. It has had many incarnations over the past few weeks but has finally emerged as something with which I am satisfied. Punching up the values and adding more colour made a big difference. My inspiration is the Canadian north and although I haven't been as far north as this might suggest, it is much like the Labrador coastal area I visited a few years ago. Big bold landscapes, powerful skies, little vegetation. There I felt like I was on the surface of the earth, not nestled in trees and granite and limestone as I am here in southern Ontario.
I'll be a adding this one to the show I am having with Sally Chupick at Frameworks Gallery in Kingston. Our opening is Sunday, February 24, 1-4 pm; the show will continue for the month of March and April.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I'm looking forward to an advance preview of Jonas, Friday night on ABC's 20-20.