Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Moving on Into the Pink?

I took down my last post, so rainy, sad weathery a post. I'm moving on. Today I get back to my "regular" studio work, and preparing for the trip. The way things are going down in the United States of America, I'm not sure how much I'll feel like going in December. But, it's still in the plan, I'll play it by ear.

Just gonna get to work on what's bursting to get out here in the studio. Fall is such an internal time for me. So, I'm just going to go there in my work.

I think I'll stop posting for a while and see where that brings me. Of course, I might change my mind.

Just rambling on here.

Here is a happy little drawing from the summer.

Dog in the Pink

Monday, October 17, 2016

Art, travel and all my sisters: apathy and excitement

I've got a cold, and am soo slowed down. Can't paint so I'm writing this. Feeling apathetic in the studio. It's not just the cold, there's something else going on. The "why bother" syndrome has taken me over ever since the latest move. Maybe it's the state of world affairs.

I started a commissioned portrait because somebody asked me and I thought it might push me out of the doldrums. I'm enjoying it. Though I am not thinking it's that good at the moment I can let go of the need to be good, and just try my best with it. My agreement with the commissioner is that they don't have to buy it if they don't like it.

The cold sucks, adds to the apathy. I think I should just rest or it will hang on and get worse. That's hard when I feel a need to push myself a little. I'm coughing and sweating as I write this, so maybe no pushing will be done today.

I'm a loner, I don't go to many openings, don't like the "art scene",  local, or anywhere. I haven't much ambition to be part of it all. Sad, maybe, maybe not. Maybe just realistic. So, why am I bothering, it's certainly not the money.

I've been doing a lot of travelling since the spring and am preparing to take 2 months to go on a winter road trip to Arizona. This is the thing that is most exciting to me at the moment. Planning, fixing up the truck camper, and working on my little commission.

The commission is a version of a painting I made a couple of years ago, it's of all my sisters and me. It needs a lot of work on it still. Maybe I'll give it a couple of licks right now.

Here are two stages of it. Ack, shouldn't really show it now, but wtf. Maybe someone else can relate to the place of apathy and beginning again.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Not Good Enough

I've been stumbling into the studio irregularly for a while now. As I said in the last blog entry getting started has it's ups and downs. I still like the painting I posted in the that blog entry. That was my starting point in the new studio. But, it fits with this series on my website rather than with the latest group of paintings I've been working on. I don't feel that vein (the latest work) has been tapped out yet. 

I made a better start with the work in progress below, then I veered off into another direction altogether. I posted some of those pieces on facebook. They are emotive, emotional and a way of getting out the toxins. I will probably come back to them. There always seems to be a side project. Sometimes it becomes a new direction.

The painting below is closer to where I'm going right now but it's not good enough yet. I'm going to work on it and post about that here. It might resolve in one session or take weeks. Even then I could put it aside and take it out later and feel that awful feeling of "what was I thinking, unfinished at best". It might never get where I want. But we'll see.

What do I want from it? More depth, more meaning, more solidity, more work, more risk. More.

Stage 2

Ok, take a chance, red, oops, too many colours? Make it dirtier, some white, some orange yellow, stop, wait, leave it alone, come back tomorrow, see what it says then.

Let it be ugly, bad, strange.

Stage 3

It's tomorrow, it says, more, go deeper.

It's taken me all day to start, procrastination, a part of the process. First, I'm thinking "is this getting optimistic?" "Not right at this moment. More black (or is that the easy way out), More figurative elements? Try that new paint stick Posca thing ..ooh white drawing".

Then, "Ack feels flat, dead, maybe turn off the music tomorrow".

All those voices in your head, you need them.

And later, I go into it some more though I told myself to leave it, not listening to my own advice.

The red!!  hmm, don't know about this at all.

Note: The photo light is a little uneven, it's not lighter at the top than the bottom

Leaving it now, tomorrow, there's always tomorrow.

Stage 4 (well, not really)

I've been looking at it all day, between things distracting me. Haven't started working on it yet. Took a better photo so that I can see it from a distance more clearly. Photographs do that for me, give me perspective. I am choosing not to rush in, at least for today, maybe I'll rush in tomorrow, or in a few minutes.

The photo is better, but still, gives it a darker feel than I experience in it. Hmm, is the photo trying to tell me something?

Stage 5

Still holding back, I went into it with oil markers. Thinking, slow down, take it easy, let it happen.

Here are a few of the details incorporated today.

Friday night and I'm in here, staring at a painting. I'm a hermit.

Stage 6

Oh no! ruined. Well, wiped out in frustration. Tooo bitty, too not enough, don't like the colour, too heavy, tooo messy, not right.

So, here's what happened; I was feeling maybe it was almost there, but deep down I knew it wasn't and I couldn't get past that. I kept at it till I couldn't stand it

I kept at it till I couldn't stand it.

I kept on trying, then jumped on it with a wet rag, trying to obliterate it so I didn't have to see it any more.

As it stands now, obliterated mess

Ack, I'll let you know if I think I can salvage it, maybe not. Need to do some thinking about what I'm up to. Need a plan. I am always getting ideas, but want to see this through if I can with the Secret Messages paintings.

I've been going through old art work as I unpack things and so much of it is dispiritingly bad. The good thing is that I knew it was bad at the time and so just kept on working until it got better. I do feel I've made some good work, it's just that digging through the bad stuff is not so good for my confidence. Lots of throwing out is happening.

Stage 7

Here's where I got to today. I think I'm at a point where I need to leave it for a while. I went into it thinking "nothing to lose here". Wanting to keep with the initial impulse and with the colours I started with, I continued on top of yesterday's mess.

I mixed some black, red, yellow orange and blue to get me started and scooped up titanium white the with with a palette knife. 

Thoughts as I progressed
"bring in more white so you can paint on top without the dull colour coming through"
"ooh too pastel and too pretty, too insipid, red, needs red"
"bring up the red, bring in some red linear elements" 
"better, mix some blue, put in more blue to bring it all together, not so many little bits"
"now black, bring back those figurative elements, more larger black areas, more linear elements"

So, no idea what I really think, just letting it go for now and starting something else. Unless I change my mind tomorrow.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

New Studio, new day. New work?

Despite my intentions, the move (now complete except for all the boxes still unpacked) and a lot of other stuff going on at the same time has interfered with being able to make work. And, it didn't turn out to be a bad thing. The itch to get back after the hiatus gives me energy and excitement to start again. There is also trepidation and questioning as usual.

I've finally set up  my new space. I hung all my most recent work up to get me in the frame of mind to start. I also pulled out some older work that I'm happy with and am going back and forth contemplating the two ways of working to see what pops. 

newest work hung for contemplation

Below are two older small pieces that I still love and am looking at for clues. To what, I'm not sure. They were made a couple of years ago. The newer work involves using figures. But, the latest of the newest paintings are becoming more abstract like these older paintings.

I've started something new. Where is it going? How is it connected, or not, to the whole? 

I was very happy with the start and now I'm asking where do I go from here? Make another mark, set it aside, work bigger, work smaller, return to the old ways, take a leap??  

Getting started has it's ups and downs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

All in a Days Work: Accounting for Myself

Art and Taxes in the Kitchen/Studio/Office
Recently I've been feeling that I'm not getting into the studio part of the Kitchen/Studio often enough. Medical issues at home, as I may have mentioned before :/ have eaten up energy and time. They are almost resolved now and Tax prep reared it's ugly head. Office work happened, catching up on things happened, well not really, that never happens. Now there is packing for the upcoming move and moving and various appointments that are a disruption to the day to day studio schedule.  And, what I want to be doing is preparing for and going on road trips and painting and working on showing paintings.

A move is happening and I have to get at that packing! I plan to get into the studio regularly while packing just like I've been doing through taxes and clearing up backed up office work.

Making these two slight drawings before sitting down to the computer work meant I felt fairly grounded through the 3 day office work stint.

No No No

Source of Income

I also worked on two paintings through that time. Thanks for listening (that is reading) my attempts to account for my actions, knowing you are there keeps me honest with myself :).

Thursday, February 25, 2016

What I Am Doing Part 6

Beginning to End

For Parts 1- 5 see previous posts on making this painting.

So here is the painting from beginning to end. I'm supplying a bit of a narrative about what happened in each stage. This painting was was not "thought" out, but each move was a response to what was there. In the narrative I'm describing what I see from looking at the photo of the stage.

There was no real plan, except to respond to the initial colour choices and marks made haphazardly at the beginning.

Stage 1: a painting I was not happy with that I decided to paint over:

Stage 2: I chose and mixed some colour to start with and covered as much as the first painting as I needed to in order to start fresh and loose.

 Stage 3: I brought in some warmer colour to give it more life.

Stage 4: more warm colour black, white and grey. More graphic/drawn elements.

Stage 5: Calm it down bring it together, cover some of the black and the red with grey, and white, bring up some of the yellow.

Stage 6: Bring in blue, calm down the reds and orange, bring it all together even more by breaking up the black more.

Stage 7: Bring it way down in brightness, bring in finer graphic elements. See what happens, then go from there.

Stage 8:  Warm up the cold yellows, liven up some of the dull parts to bring back life and movement.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What I Am Doing Part 5

All the Answers

For Parts 1- 4 see previous posts on making this painting.

It's been a rough transition back to the studio, but I'm here now. Now that I'm back into my studio routine I will move along with more flow for a while until the next interruption. I'll have to come and go in the next few months as I soon will pack and move. Working from the kitchen means that will be a big interruption.

Just a job
As a friend of mine said on Facebook today, making art is a job, all jobs are hard at times and easier at times. The job of making art is the job I want and is easier than any job I've ever done because of that. I'm blogging about my job because It helps me get perspective and because I enjoy communicating with others who share my difficulties and my enjoyment and those who are interested in what I do. Thanks for coming along.

The painting sits here in the kitchen as I come and go. Having it around all the time means I can let go of its status as some kind of precious object I have to be careful with.  Today I started late with actually putting paint to paper. I let myself wait until I felt I knew what to do to start. Once I began I quickly felt it was done. It gave me the answers I was looking for, for now. It told me this is all I can do with it and I should stop, let it go, start something else building on this series from this point.

I know someone who makes and modifies things, she says she is physically lazy so she designs all kinds of options in her head and thinks through every possible configuration before she starts the physical work. I'm lazy too; I sit around, I mix paint, I wander around in my mind, I look and then I paint, usually not very long at a time. Then I come back the next day and go through the same process. I love that process, it is a daydreaming, pleasure filled, all possibilities are open, all dreams can be fulfilled space in time before I start to work and the work goes best if I allow myself that time.

Let it be both dark and light
Some of my thoughts as I looked at the last stage before I began painting today: "warm up that cold yellow", "bring in more warmth with yellow orange and cool with white and grey",  "just a little now, a light touch", "let it be both dark and light but you don't want heavy, that's not where you are", "take care of that dirty yellow on the left middle it makes everything off balance, but don't bookend the orange"..

Last stage:

All the Answers,
24 x 18"
oil and mixed media on mylar

Monday, February 22, 2016

What I Am Doing Part 4

Losing my nerve:

Feels like I'm going off on a wild fling with this painting. Please see the previous 3 blog posts about the process of painting this to see thoughts about and photos of the earlier stages.

When I looked at yesterday's stage these were some of my thoughts, "don't lose your nerve, it can fail, you can start again". "hmm, pushing it back with line", "it's too pretty", it's too wishy washy","too much or not enough?", "are those dull ugly bits good or bad?" "more graphic elements" "break up that black more, too awkward", "more grey to calm down the brightness"

For awhile I felt like I was losing my nerve because of my complete lack. Then it occurred to me I don't care, it's a search, every painting is a university course.

I'm going to let it sit and dry so that I can go back into it. Stay tuned, another post in a few days. I might have to do something drastic to it! I'm thinking, feeling kinda horrible about it right now. But, excited at the same time.

Today it has come to this.  The title that's running through my head is "All the Answers". I photographed it outdoors because I couldn't stand the glare any more and since it's not raining today:

Friday, February 19, 2016

What I Am Doing Part 3

Following up on the previous 2 posts here is where I am today with this painting.

Yesterday's painting session I left off with this:

Stage 4, painting in progress, where I left off yesterday

It's lively, and unfinished. When I looked at it today, my thoughts and feelings went something like this. "quiet it down" "remember the use of grey and white" "look at some of the other paintings in this series to see how you might do it" "don't go too far too fast, let it speak to you".

Below are two photo taken part way through today's session. One is a side view so there is not so much glare from the wet paint.

Grey and white brought in. Some of the large black marks broken up, some scraping back, some straight lines. I want it to be, wait now, I don't want it to be anything, I want to find out what it will be, I want to let it have its secrets... But I'm liking how it is becoming more delicate while still feeling full of movement, at least that's what I see.

Stage 5, front view

Stage 4, side view to minimize glare from the wet paint

Below are two photos from the end of today's session.

More blue introduced, more subtle mark making, more scraping. It looks mushy at the top in the first photo because of the glare. It's a little more bold than this shows, as you can see from the second photo. Hmm, what next? I will leave it and look at it and go back in. It might be a couple of days from now as I have plans for the weekend out of the studio

Stage 6 front view

Stage 6, side view to minimize glare from wet paint
Final thoughts and feelings about this, "ack, It's a mess" then "shut up and leave it alone for a while" then "that right side, not enough weight or something" then "give it some time, wait". It will sit in the kitchen/studio for a few days and it will speak volumes. I have to figure out which sentences to listen to.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What I Am Doing part 2

Building on what I wrote in the previous post, here is where I left off on this painting yesterday. I needed to introduce some yellow so that I would have warmth to work from and to give a different life to the other colours. I work very loosely, as you can see, and when I feel tight, I close my eyes take a brush full of paint and make a mark to work from. This satisfies my wish to never be precious, to break away from expectations including my own. I like breaking expectations down as I work. 

Today I started to try to balance the top and bottom of the painting, working to liven up the bottom and bring the tone down in the top. It was crying out for graphic elements to give it some meat and to sober it up after all that yellow. I tried for some grey and some black. It feels lively to me now but unfinished still.

All these things I say here are what occur to me after the fact of painting, they are conscious decisions but unconscious needs. For instance, one black mark started to drip, and I said to myself, "no, no drips" "no" ..now why did I say that? Perhaps I am responding to a critique of drips I heard in art school or while reading someone like Matthew Collings on Facebook :). I think it's useful to listen to others sometimes, but be careful who you pay attention to. Or, perhaps there is so much organic in here already, I feel the need to be careful about flourishes. A drip can be a flourish?? Or, I can't say what I need to say with drips.

I'll work on it again tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

Again, forgive the glare, wet paint.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What I Am Doing

What am I doing? I asked myself that on Facebook yesterday. So today I thought I would write about that. I'm painting. Painting makes no sense really. I'm not in it for the money or for the career. It actually takes time away from making money or having a career, I've decided. A career might happen, whatever that is, but it's taking its time. Money might happen, and it does occasionally, but not enough to use it as a reason to do what I'm doing. And, that is not what I want. I don't want money to be the reason. I'll take it if it comes though.

My answer to my question is "this is what I'm doing, I'm painting", I'm exploring, I'm living my life the way I want. It's not easy, very few have easy lives. Sometimes it's terrific, sometimes it sucks. No self-help book or rosy outlook will change that. There are things I do that help me get through the sucky though.

Today I painted. I took another older piece, shown in a previous post and I began painting on top of it. I had already reworked it from an even older piece. It still wasn't working for me. I don't know, it was too static, too obvious, not subtle enough, not enough about painting. Lately it's all about the painting and the secret messages that are held in painting and in paintings. I will try to post a photo each day I work on it of how it goes unless that starts to get in the way, or I'm too embarrassed, or I lose my nerve.

Here is where I started today:

Here's where I obliterated enough of the image to be able to carry on. Excuse the glare, wet paint.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Exhibition at Curating Contemporary!

Safe as Houses
oil and mixed media on Huile paper, 12 x 9"

Curating Contemporary, a terrific online gallery, is showing my recent paintings in the exhibition titled Open Pomegranate.

Curator of Open Pomegranate, painter and Facebook friend Frankie Gardiner, asked me to be part of this show. I'm honoured to exhibit with Sarah Nesbit, Kyle Staver, Shaun Ellison, Mary DeVincentis HerzogFarrell Brickhouse,  Katelyn EichwaldMelanie Parke. Richard Kooyman and  Thibaud Thiercelin.

Please click over and then click on "current show: Open Pomegranate" to see the list of artists. Click on my name and the individual artists to see the work.

As you may know this website is highly regarded as a venue for established and emerging contemporary artists. I am beyond thrilled to be part of it.

Have a look at previous shows too. So much good stuff here.