Saturday, September 2, 2017

Flounderer in the Shallows of Art

Summer studio has been productive. Now what? I need to update my website, photograph work properly, look for a way to show what I've been doing. I'm kind of torn between two "bodies of work" I'm working through.

Why do I always do this, start one thing and have to have another project happening at the same time? Henry Samelson , in his blog, calls it having a Buddy of Work, or work you do alongside of your main preoccupation at the time. Trouble is my preoccupation seems to be divided down the middle. I tell myself "pick a lane road warrior" (a line from a Frasier episode).

I'm sitting here now between a wall full of paintings in the"weathering realities" series and, on the other side of the room, two of the oil paintings on old paintings with an old painting waiting on the easel to be set upon.

Two, of a large number of  oil paintings, behind and on the floor.
An old landscape I'm painting over on the easel.

Just a few of the many many paintings in the
'weathering realities' series
I'm not finished either series yet. I want to continue for a while before I start deliberately looking for venues, although I've already had an online show of some of the weathering realities series. It came my way, I didn't seek it out and if something comes my way I would consider showing some of this work again.

Do I have to choose a lane? What does it mean if I don't? How do I present them? Do I look for shows of the two separate bodies, or do I look to show them together? Am I just a flounderer in the shallows of art? Maybe you shouldn't answer that, it might crush me.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Studio Glimpse

Wow! since my last post, in April, the studio is humming. It's been a long few years of various stresses, illness, moves, accident, death, day job. Through it all I've painted and drawn. I've shown and I've sold work. I feel I've moved to a more solid place in making work.

For now, I don't have a 9-5 part-time job and other life stresses have let up. I'm able to spend more time in the studio and travel. I feel the difference. There is time, there is space and, in my new studio, there is light.

As usual I have two projects on the go. A project I'm calling Weathering Realities in ink and acrylic paint on paper that I showed, in part, at Galerie Cerulean last month. The second project, going on in the background, is a series of oil paintings over old paintings. 

The ink on paper paintings are not as cohesive a group as the oil paintings. They are wildly experimental within the confines of materials and subject matter, the subject matter being my response to and attempt to weather psychologically the impact of current political realities. In other words, making them helps me get through the awful days in which we live. 

The latest Weathering Realities experiments alongside some of the oil paintings on  the right.

The oil paintings started out as a side project, but they are a more consistent and calmer companion to the other work.

Painting over old paintings, a more cohesive group that started out as a side project.

All together now. One side of the studio, with dog, where I look at
some works from both groups of paintings
  
More oil paintings. The one on the floor is the first larger work.
I find it too blatant, too disjointedly expressive so far, I'll be going back in.

Studio vignette. The blue elephant sculpture (studio mascot) was made by my daughter in
elementary school a long long time ago.


A new start, ink on paper.

The most recent oil painting in progress.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Exhibitions, Travel and Change

Back from the desert

Well, that trip I talked about in the last post happened. It was wonderful 2 months and one week on the road. I'm back 6 weeks now and have already taken a short solo camping trip since then. I did only four small drawings of the desert while I was away and otherwise stayed away from art altogether.

Dome Rock Arizona

World affairs and change

My painting is changing. I think the Secret Messages series is done (but not all on my website yet, I'm working on it and planning to work on the website also). I'm moving more and more into abstraction. It started happening with the Secret Messages series. The change has been gradual and recent, so, we'll see how that evolves.

Oh, and, an online show of the new work! at Gallery Cerulean in their Project Room. This came out of the blue. The gallery director, whom I know through Facebook and Instagram, emailed me and asked me to show in the Project Room. Online exhibits suit me. The cost of framing for a show is prohibitive and this way I get to show my work at venues I have respect for and that are all about the art, not the commercial. Besides the online show, Timeraiser purchased one of my paintings. It will be auctioned this week at Timeraiser Vancouver as a way to raise volunteer hours for non-profit organizations!

The election in the US of a complete twit, threw me for a loop as it has done so many. Immediately I could not paint, feeling what is the use? But I needed to try to calm myself and painting is how I do it. I know my efforts 'don't mean a hill of beans in this crazy world', but they are what I have. It's how I communicate about, and weather realities. So I opened my sketchbook and started apathetically, it helped, I became less apathetic. The show  at Gallery Cerulean is an exhibit of some of these efforts.

Below is one of the latest pieces in this new series titled "Weathering Realities".

Turbulence, 4 x 6"





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.