Marianne Morris | Artist

Living Life in Full Colour

Month: October 2017

Flight of the Bumblebee

Abstract painting in blue and ocre

“Flight of the Bumblebee”, 10×10″ mixed media on wood panel. Sold.

When I start a painting, I generally have no clue where it’s going to end up. There was a time when I planned. Oh, how I planned. But kind of like trying to map out a 10-year plan for your life, shit happens and things go off the rails and often you end up somewhere completely different than where you thought you were headed.

The thing with planning… I was always disappointed with the results. That thing that I saw in my head, there was no way I could translate that into something real and concrete. It looked wrong somehow. It lacked the life other artists managed to achieve in their paintings. It wasn’t just the masters that managed this, even my some of my contemporaries could breathe life into their work. And that was why they were showing all over the place, and I was not.

When I finally gave up on planning my paintings, things improved exponentially. Suddenly rather than trying to recreate what I what I was thinking, I was finding the image that just seemed to appear as I worked. This one started with a collaged image of a bee… which inspired the title. That little bee is in there somewhere, under layers of paint and graphite and scraping and sanding. The bee inspired the color palette, the flight path gave me the movement. This one is all about that bee, even though you can’t see it anymore.

This painting was sold as soon as my show came down, along with a couple others. I am still humbled that people love my work enough to want to hang it in their homes, even after the last few years of somewhat consistent sales.

I have a lot of work in my home. Seriously, a lot. There comes a time in every artist’s life where they have to clear out the old to make room for the new. That time has come for me. I am going to be holding an open studio sale, with everything discounted. I’ve got a bunch of prints, and originals of all sizes and price points. Mark November 26th on your calendar if you’ve had your eye on a painting. And sign up for my email newsletter (see sidebar for signup box), for details on how to get an even better deal. Hope to see you then.

October Wind

abstract landscape in brown tones

“October Wind”, 10×10″ mixed media on wood panel. Private Collection.

What determines the value of something? I’ve been mulling that question over in my mind all week. Something happened at work that had me questioning the value of what I bring to their (the company’s) table. It would seem that we are not on the same page about how necessary the skills are that I have worked hard to attain. What is valuable to me is not necessarily valuable to the guy sitting beside me. It seems to be a fluid thing. I’m not sure I’ve figured it all out just yet.

When I think about the work that I do “on the side”, I know the value it brings me. My art brings me a sense of calm that I don’t get anywhere else. I can retreat into my own mind, be in my own moment, and create this thing that will recreate that feeling for me when I look at it. It’s like meditation made physical. I continue to create because I need to feel like I am contributing to the world in a positive way. I don’t feel that when I’m sitting in front of a computer screen, no matter what I’m working on.

The times that I have sold a painting, I know that the person who bought it sees the value in what I’m doing. Of course they do, they just handed me money that they, no doubt, worked hard for. I’ve connected to something inside of them. It may not be the same thing I feel when I look at the piece, but they feel something. Something that they value.

I’ve brought all my work home from the gallery this week. My show is over, cut a bit short by the Professor strike at the university. I understand where these teachers are coming from. They, too, believe their value is more than what the institutions they are a part of think it is. They are fighting to be treated fairly, to have some stability in their lives. The government sees the new way of temporary and part-time as a way to save money. Hopefully, they can sort things out soon. Come to some kind of agreement and make a reasonable compromise.

The way things are right now, everybody loses.

 

Ocean Tide

abstract painting in deep teal and brown with metallic details by Canadian artist Marianne Morris

“Ocean Tide”, 36×48″ mixed media on canvas.

My initial inspiration for this piece was my photos from Portugal where I was looking down through the rocks into the ocean. The waves would roll in and crash against the rocks, creating areas of white foam. Looking into the water you could see the edges of the rocks… the crevices creating deep shadows or colour shifts where the light penetrated. I didn’t post any of those photos… they were more of a reminder for me than something for other people to look at. But they are still taped up to my studio wall. It was so fascinating to look at that I went back to that spot to take pictures again and again.

This piece is the last one I managed to get finished before the kitchen reno started. I was on a roll and could have kept going, but ran out of time. I love working at this size. It takes long enough that you can really get absorbed in the piece. I’d go back into the studio after a night of working and see something new that I needed to change. Once I decided it was done, it was definitely done.

In a way, I had been a bit afraid to work this large. I’m not sure why. It’s intimidating to look at this big blank canvas that is almost as tall as I am. But once I got going I realized the potential. This is a whole body kind of painting. I used big brushes, big tools, and big movements. I mixed big containers of paint so I wouldn’t run out of a colour. I used a kitty litter bucket to hold my water. I put a tarp down on the floor so I wouldn’t make too big a mess. And I realized that if I want to go any bigger, I’m going to need a larger studio…

Uma Noite De Arte

University of Guelph Humber event planning student team

Me and the event-planning students that planned my opening reception. They did an amazing job. Photo by Lyn Photography, Toronto. 

It’s done. The show is open, the reception is over and I can relax for a couple of weeks before I start planning whatever comes next. It was a great experience. I committed to something big, I worked hard and managed to put together a cohesive collection of paintings of a decent number. Whew.

Wine bottles and candlelight with seasonal arrangements set the mood.

Wine bottles and candlelight with seasonal arrangements set the mood.

The opening reception was inspired. I was assigned a team of kids learning about event planning, who were really thinking outside the box in terms of the “art show opening” genre. They combed through my blog and extracted bits and pieces that gave some background about the creation process, they created a brochure outlining my inspiration, they created the mood of a European bistro complete with samplings of Portuguese food. No rubber cheese and bad coffee here.

The paintings were grouped together by color scheme and arranged creatively. I had assumed they would just be hung on the walls like in most galleries, but they suspended shelving and arranged pedestals to display the little 10×10″ pieces (since they were on 2″ wood cradleboard, they stood upright with no issues). The larger pieces were set on easels around the room with enough space around them to back for a good look. I had one moment where I watched someone back into an easel and I thought that piece was a goner, but he steadied it quickly and it didn’t fall. It certainly wouldn’t have been the first time a piece had gotten damaged at a show… but the kids would have been devastated so I’m glad we didn’t have to deal with that.

students looking at paintings

Some student visitors checking out the art

Overall we had a really good turnout. Along with friends, coworkers and University staff, a lot of students came out, which kind of surprised me. I figure they came for the food, but most of them did take the time to look around and I had quite a few interesting conversations. It was great to see people so you interested in art. By the time we closed up, the comment box was stuffed full, and I felt like I had been talking for hours. Exhausted, but satisfied with the outcome.

Given that this is a public gallery and part of a course requirement for the kids involved, the paintings could not be sold through the gallery. But I am hoping that the people who inquired about pricing follow up once the show comes down. Because now I have 30 new pieces of art I’m going to have to find a place to store….

part of the art display

The art was placed around the room on easels or pedestals. The mood was created with soft ambient light and spotlights on the paintings.

Check out more photos from the show, taken by Lyn Photography based in Toronto.

Force of Nature

abstract painting in blue and teal by Canadian artist Marianne Morris

“Force of Nature” 24×24″ mixed media on canvas

Been a busy week. I’ve finished up all the last minute stuff for my show and have dropped off all my paintings to the gallery. I have a team of university students taking care of the opening reception. They are getting business degrees, and this is part of their event planning unit. They have a budget (!!!) and have been working hard on making the evening memorable.

Join me for an evening of art at University of Guelph-Humber Art Gallery in Toronto.It feels odd to be at the center of this whole thing. I’m really not used to being the center of attention. I usually find openings pretty exhausting. I’m introverted by nature, and while I enjoy meeting people and getting to know them, it really drains me. For a while, I thought if I just went to more I would eventually get better at it.  Hasn’t happened yet, but I keep trying.

The kids have pretty much free rein for the event. I don’t feel the need to be involved with all the little details. I’ve given my stamp of approval to the brochure they’ve created, and am cool with the theme they came up with. I think the whole night will be pretty fun… I hope they get a decent turnout. I think they are graded on how things go. Little unexpected things always happen, but if you just go with it things usually work out fine.

I don’t know if I’ll have time to take photos, but I will have a few friends there who I hope will get a couple. I’ll try to post a few shots next week. And if you happen to be in the Toronto area and free Thursday evening, come on out.