Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Now What? WIP

Here's one I've been playing with, 24" X 36". It's somewhat like the Pound of Paint picture I posted last week. I've taken the landscape theme I've been working on and reduced it to bands of pattern and colour, enlarge it to have a better look. Today I stuck a variety of turquoise shapes on it but pulled them all off. Nothing seemed quite right, putting it away for a few days.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

" A Consistent Body of Work"

"There Goes the Neighbourhood" mixed media bas relief 24" X 36" click to enlarge

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

A Pound of Paint

I finished this one a few weeks ago. It is 12 X 24" and likely has a pound of paint on it. Manipulating the various gels, polymers and acrylic paint was a bit like icing a cake, if you could imagine at least 10 different kinds of icing on the same cake. Fortunately this one is for the eye, not the tummy. Not sure if this is a good painting, but it was a good learning experience. Have a click on the image to enlarge and see all the yummy texture!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Doris McCarthy

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:

Doris McCarthy -Boughton Reflections 1984

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Transitional Piece

Salt water grass, 12 X 24" oil on canvas

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

Who Is It?

" It's sheer physical labour being an artist, but it's the thing I love to do.
I have rejoiced in it every step of the way."

This month's mystery artist will either be very easy or impossible, depending on your interests! I was going to make it easier but there is a ringer in the crowd. Hopefully this photo and quote will provide a little more challenge for him....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

True North

True North 10" X 20"

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

Jonas Gerard

In February I will be travelling to Asheville NC for a weekend workshop with Jonas Gerard. Jonas will not be teaching any techniques, rather this is called a BE Workshop. Get in touch with your inner artist, just BE, express yourself. Sounds a little 60's and a little scary. What if a really strange and messed up inner artist emerges? Maybe she should stay bottled up? I was going to travel to Asheville on my own but after talking to Jonas and telling my husband what the workshop is about he has decided he and the dog will accompany me. Jonas confidently and calmly told me that this workshop will change my life! G (husband) will ensure that my life doesn't change my life too much and that all 3 of us return to Canada the way we left.
I'm looking forward to an advance preview of Jonas, Friday night on ABC's 20-20.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Red Hills

Red Hills, acrylic on board, 18" X 34"

Sometimes a painting seems to have a life all it's own, you just have to be there holding the brush and let it happen. This was one of those paintings. But no brushes this time, I used a brayer and various rags and paper to blend. I had to work very quickly as the paint dried much too fast, rag in one hand water spritzer in another. I almost had it, but put too much information in the foreground, trying to define grasses of various colours. It was OK but not the atmospheric feel I was after. A few hours later I redid the lower part as distant hills and Wham! There it was, a gentle painting smiling back at me. I knew it was time to back off. Where did this painting come from? Can I go there again and get another?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Yes, Kandinsky!

Vassily Kandinsky, Composition X, 1939 130cm X 195cm

The mystery painter was Vassily Kandinsky. Congrats Dave! (aka Stlukesguild).
With the shift in my style to somewhat more abstract I have actually been reading art books, not just looking at the pictures. Kandinsky gradually abandoned recognizable forms and perspective in favour of powerful colour and dynamic compositions. He felt recognizable objects harmed his pictures and limited his freedom. Paintings should grow out of what he called "inner need" not any external model. The artist's voice and his soul is the source of inspired painting.
I'm not sure if my soul was at work on this piece below but I was certainly able to abandon perspective and objects. And I had a lot of fun doing it, that has to be good for the soul!

Composition 1, 30in X 30in