Marianne Morris | Artist

Living Life in Full Colour

Category: Shows

Finding Direction

Visual Journal abstract entry in blue and gold

My intent here was to create a background that I could draw on with ink and white pastel. But I got a bit carried away with the paint.

Somehow I’ve become a carrier of a sketchbook. It’s not something that I’ve done regularly over the years… I’ve always had a sketchbook, and I’ve worked in it now and then, but it’s never been something I always had with me. It would usually take me a year  or more to fill one up. I think it’s because I paint more than I draw, and instead of going out and drawing the world around me, I would take a more “visual journal” approach with a book that could stand up to a bit of abuse.

I’ve been carrying this book around with me for the past two months. It’s almost full. All the practice has been good… I’m most definitely seeing improvement. But I have a show in October, and I need to figure out what I’m going to paint. So I went back to my tried and true, and made myself a little book out of watercolour paper, and started to paint.

Since I’ve been drawing in ink, my first thought was that I could do some mixed media kind of thing, using paint and india ink. I got out my paints and started, thinking I’d do a background, then add in some kind of abstract drawing, and take it from there. It didn’t quite work the way I had planned. I got totally absorbed in the way the paint flowed. I was mesmerized. I had painted something very much resembling work I’ve done before.

Back to the drawing board… this time I started with the drawing. I tried to draw one of the many stone archways I have in my sketchbook, only this time using a stick so I would have very little control over the resulting marks. I just ended up making a mess. The ink spattered and caught, but the shapes were interesting. Once it dried I used paint to try to pull the random marks into some kind of composition. It’s not bad, but a bit too chopped up. I did manage to capture the feel of a passageway though, so that’s encouraging.

I still have a bit of work to do. If somehow I could manage to combine the two approaches into something cohesive, I may have a something I can work with.

Abstract painting of an archway

Again, I thought I’d do a background and draw over top. Again, it didn’t quite work out that way.

Spending a Day with Dale Chihuly

This room got a lot of attention. The patterns created by the light on the walls were almost as interesting as the forms in the ceiling

This room got a lot of attention. The patterns created by the light on the walls were almost as interesting as the glass forms in the ceiling

Toronto has been home to many excellent art exhibits in recent years. Right now there are actually two big shows worth making a trek for: Impressionist landscapes at the AGO, which I hope to get to this week, and Dale Chihuly at the Royal Ontario Museum. I’ve heard so much about this show… even people I know who are not really into art have gone. But time seems to be in short supply these days, so the only way I was going to get there was if I set aside everything else. So glad I didn’t miss it.

In the past, I have to admit the only thing I really knew about him was he made these huge blown glass chandeliers. The photos I had seen of those were enough to make me want to go to this show. But when I heard there weren’t any there I lost a bit of enthusiasm. Of course he did other stuff but it hadn’t really caught my attention. But seeing a photograph and seeing the real thing are two very different experiences. The pieces the ROM had gathered were truly breathtaking. Amazing how he takes blown glass to a totally different level. The things that struck me was how he used reflections and light as part of the pieces, often with the reflections being as or even more important than the glass itself. Very inspiring.

Spending a day with Lawren Harris

Last week, after seeing my last specialist, I figured I would probably be going back to work this week. I felt pretty good, I was up and around, and my hands were better, for the most part. But since the weather was still lovely, and I was still off, I thought I should take advantage of the time and go do something I had wanted to do but couldn’t seem to manage. So I went downtown to the Art Gallery of Ontario, and saw the Lawren Harris exhibit.

I have never been much of a group of seven fan. I think their work is interesting and can appreciate the obvious skill displayed in their pieces, but landscape painting has never really been my thing. The exception to that is Lawren Harris. There is something about his landscapes that seem to transcend landscape painting. They are calm. Serene, even. Seeing them in real life, it’s even more so. It was a really fantastic show and I’m so glad I didn’t miss it. But for those of you that did, here are a few of my highlights. Not the best photos in the world… I used my phone with no flash, and the lighting was not ideal, but you can still get the idea. (Click on the first image to go through the slide show so you can see the pics at a decent size. It’s worth it).