Join me for an evening of art at University of Guelph-Humber Art Gallery in Toronto.
Just a quick mid-week post to make sure all my subscribers get the official invitation to my show opening next Thursday evening. On display will be paintings inspired by my trip to Portugal last January. The university has a lovely gallery and the Event Planning students have been working hard to make this a special opening reception. Parking at the school is free after 5. Hope to see you there!
“Impressions of Home”, 10×10″ mixed media on wood panel.
This piece was totally experimental, as most of these small ones have been. Finding out what I can do on wood has been fun. The thing I haven’t tried is using my carving tools, and that is mainly because I haven’t had time. I’m sure I’ll give it a go once I have some time and space to get back to work.
I made good use of sandpaper in this painting. I’ve got many layers of paint here, so gentle sanding with fine paper or steel wool gets me down one layer, but wet some of the course stuff and I’m right back to the wood. The main thing is that I pay attention as I’m working. I have to be totally in the moment, and stop when it gets somewhere that works.
There are a few things that have happened during these experiments that I really wish I could repeat… but of course each element depends on everything that has come before. I’ve taken notes, but even from one painting to the next I can’t seem to repeat myself. I’ve managed to get some beautiful textures. Even on the pieces I don’t think are my best, I have areas that I just can’t bear to cover up.
With only a few weeks to go, I’m getting on with doing my finishing. I can’t leave it until the last minute, in case I run into a problem. I’ve set up a make-shift varnishing station in my bedroom because the space I usually work in is full of kitchen stuff. I’ve attached the hardware on my large pieces with them laid flat on my bed. And I’ve been going through my supplemental materials and updating things.
I still have to write my artist statement for this particular body of work. Probably my least favourite thing to do (and that’s likely why I’m procrastinating). I really don’t know if this gallery is going to use it in some way, but I know I’ll need it eventually, so I suppose I might as well do it now.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve stopped the constant painting. I certainly feel better… much less stressed that I won’t be able to pull it off… but the urge to create is there again. I look at the few half-finished paintings that have been so recently abandoned and suddenly see what is needed. I figure as soon as I’ve got my kitchen unpacked in the new cabinets I’ll be back right back in my studio, working away.
“Requiem”, 36×48″ mixed media on canvas.
I’m reading a novel, “Requiem” by Francis Itani. It popped up on my Library’s “you should read…” section, and as I was uninspired by other offerings, I took them up on their advice. It’s about the internment of Japanese Canadians during WW2, and the toll it took on one family in particular. It’s taking forever to get through it… not because it’s boring or not well written, but because I’m often already exhausted when I start reading and I doze off after a few pages.
The story is engrossing. The protagonist is an artist, and the act of creation is what saves him from being consumed by bitterness. He works his way through his grief by creating. His emotions are all left there, on his canvas. This sounds remarkably familiar. I think as artists, that is what we do, to a certain extent. At least this is what is true for me.
The definition of Requiem is an act or token of remembrance. I thought this was a perfect title for this piece because I can see evidence of every layer of paint, every mark… even if I covered it eventually, the texture is still there because of the thickness of the paint. The colour from the underpainting shows through in spots. I can see a hint of green from the first layer, some of the pinks still show from when I first decided it should be red instead. There are large quiet areas, evoking the feeling of calm I needed at that moment. The linework is covered in spots, but not completely. In some places, it is enhanced.
This piece is like a map of my psyche at the time of creation. I suppose that is why it feels authentic to me. I’m not doing anything new or revolutionary, I’m not the innovative, “turn the art world upside down” kind of artist. I’m just working through the emotions that would otherwise be bottled up and giving me an ulcer. Art therapy, indeed.
“Resting Place”, 10×10″ mixed media on wood.
It’s been a strange couple of weeks, weather wise. North America is in rough shape. The west coast is burning… still. Both Canada and the US. Hurricane Harvey made a mess of Texas, and this past week Irma crushed the Caribbean like it was nothing. We have yet to see what destruction José is going add to the mix. Add to that a devastating earthquake in Mexico. How can anyone possibly still deny that climate change is real? I think what’s going on right now is hard-core visual proof that what scientists have been predicting for the past decade is coming to pass. it’s a very scary situation.
I whine about my home being a mess right now. First world problems, right? At least I’ve got somewhere to go. Somewhere warm and dry, food in my belly, a healthy family all making our way without much to complain about. I can earn a living doing something that keeps me somewhat engaged, I have enough money left over to pursue something I love. I’ve got it good. I am reminded of my luck every time I check the news and see what’s happening elsewhere.
My friends in Texas are safe. They haven’t been online much (not that I expected them to be), but they did check in to say that they made it through ok. Seems everyone I know in Florida has checked in as well. For that I am thankful. I hope the people who have been displaced can manage to find shelter and someone able to help them, and those who have lost loved ones can find comfort. I hope everyone will find their resting place.
“Urban Forestry”, 24×24 mixed media on canvas
I have this tube of green paint. It’s a lovely rich, deep emerald… not a colour I would normally use, but it is a colour I like and would wear. Someone gave it to me, and I want to use it, but it just never seemed to fit with the mood I was going for, so the tube sat on my work table, waiting.
I actually have more than a couple of tubes of paint in colours I don’t usually use. They all came in the same box from the same person. I’m making a point of trying all of them out. I’ve found a use for some of the light pink tones (they make a lovely soft grey mixed with certain greens… but the naming is just stupid. Light portrait pink? In my almost 50 yrs on earth I have yet to meet anyone with skin this colour), I’ve decided I love the violet, orange and the turquoise and I will purchase more when I run out, but there are a couple of greens that I just can’t get a handle on.
I wanted this piece to feel like walking through the woods on a summer morning. I didn’t get there. It’s more the quick dash through a city park on your way somewhere else. To me anyway (hence the title). Even though I got the emerald green to work here, it totally changes the feeling of the piece. I’m ok with that… it’s good to know that even the saturation of a colour can change its impact. Every painting teaches me something.
This is the first mid-size piece of this group that I’ve posted. I have done a few more, but I did 20 of the small ones first, and I feel like they were more interesting. While doing these larger pieces on canvas I kept trying to repeat some of the things that worked so well on wood, but since the substrates are so different the techniques didn’t work at all. Once I’ve used up my inventory of canvas I may switch over to wood completely. It’s more expensive, but wood panels can take way more abuse. Or perhaps I’ll try unstretched canvas like I see artist’s online using…. they can work on a hard surface like a floor or wall, then roll it up to ship or store. Anyway, that is in the future, and I have to focus on the immediate. Like the show that opens on October 2. I have a month to get it together. Better get moving.