Every artist has them-those works that never quite make it to where you want them to go. you look at them, and look at them, and hmm. Nope. That is when gesso comes in handy. Although, when you’ve done something textured, you have to be prepared to deal with the impression of the under painting coming through. Sometimes, it works. Other times, not so much. In this case, I kind of like the textured surface from the old work coming through to the new one as it adds another dimension to it. Not my fave medium, as anyone who has been following this journey knows, in this case, the acrylics came in handy.
Apparently, once again, sleep deprivation leads to interesting things. The moose, which was a sketch, and then a sketch on canvas, and then some colours here and there, came full circle at 4 am. There are still some more details and finishing touches, but it appears that this is the direction I am going in for a while yet.
Apparently, when most people are sleeping, I am up at 3 am. And like anyone else, I did what any other good little artist would do when sleep is evasive…I finished off another painting. Still playing around with different aboriginal influences, this one has a lot more details. Maybe lack of sleep. Maybe whole new direction. Still needs some finishing touch ups due to caffeine induced shaky hand lol. Will see what the moose ends up looking like after I get a nap or two in.
Once again, with the new year, comes new things. However, in order to make room for new things, new styles, new fun, i need to downsize some of the pieces currently taking up residence in my limited studio space.
All works not currently associated with a gallery are on sale up to 40% off. If there is a piece that you have been eyeing up, send me a message with the title, and I will send you details regarding prices. Please note that prices do not include shipping. Pieces can be shipped on the stretcher bars, or I have successfully shipped different pieces around the world by taking them off the stretcher frame, rolling and sending. That would mean, however, that you would have to get them re-stretched, or framed accordingly. Please also check for import fees depending on your country.
For those of you who either know me, or who have been following the artistic journey I have been on, you know that I am always into trying new things, whether as a professional artist, or as an educator. In the classroom, to facilitate all the students’ needs, I sometimes modify or play around with projects…I mean, isn’t that what art is all about?
One of my students enjoyed building a massive spider for the haunted house. So much so, that when I thought about a possible next project “Hey____, how would you like to build a moose?” slipped out of my mouth. A Moose?!? Reindeer given the time of year maybe. This was promptly followed up by the thought, “What WAS I thinking?!” Within 10 minutes, said student had taken a garbage bag, stuffed it with newspaper, wrapped tape around it, and had produced a very life-sized replica of a moose head. What to do, what to do…You can’t exactly make a life-sized free form paper mache moose, so I needed a substructure. Luckily enough, I am fortunate to have some great colleagues who help me out when I engage on these wanderings of madness. He built a sawhorse out of wood to give me a stable structure. Hence, when you see the pic, you can see we were somewhat limited by the shape of it when doing the legs (they are slightly splayed lol).
Bunches and bunches of recycled newspaper were used with masking tape to create the sculptural form. Then layers and layers of paper mache were added. A coat of gesso and voila, we were ready to paint. There were some discussion as to whether or not to make it a Christmas moose given the season, or a natural moose as one would see in the wild. After some thought, I remembered the famous Toronto moose where each one was turned into a work of art. I thought about possible art to work into the piece and decided on a mixture of Haida, Woodland School and Australian Aboriginal styles. It isn’t done yet as there is a lot of detail work I would like to add, but you get the idea…who knows where we will go next!
Sometimes when I look at a piece I have been working on, even when it is “finished”, there is something “missing”. It is “ok”. It kind of looks “done”, but hmm. And then I think, “What if?. What if I added something there, bolded this area out there, put this little bit in there. Why not? What stops us as artists from playing with a work further, experimenting and adding? When you work on a piece for a period of time, especially in oils when you sometimes have to wait days or weeks for a layer to set in the drying process, that hesitation comes from the “what if I totally screw it up and ruin the whole damn thing” fear. What if I take it from “ok” into the “crap what I have done holy mess” zone? I just spent weeks, sketching, layering, adding, lovingly adding brush stroke or palette texture only to foul the piece up to “I HATE it”.
Fear is the enemy of an artist. When we fear, we fail to push, to reach, to stretch, to grow. It is natural to like working within a comfort zone, to keep things safe. I am not a representational artist by any means. Everything I do, even when there is an intent for it to be recognizable as something specific comes filtered through my vision and interpretation. But even then, I have these preset subconscious boundaries that I have placed on myself somewhere in the depths of my psyche. The best example is my latest “finished” painting, “Whispers”, one of my forest interpretations, where the feeling and spirit of the forest is presented through colour and flowing line to convey the emotion one feels when presented with that magical majesty of old growth trees.
It could have been considered complete as I presented it last time, but looking at it something was bugging me and I was dissatisfied with the final image. I was hesitant to go at it again, because then you risk taking thing too far, adding too much, and fail to self edit. To leave it or not to leave it? To sit looking at it always wondering what it was that was irking me about it, or risk “ruining” it and going overboard? And that my friends is where the intuitive spirit as I like to call it takes over. You see, I don’t think we can really “ruin” a work. We can change it, we can push it in a way that we may not like as a final product, but if we do not ever, take those risks, then we will never grow. It once again comes down to there are no failures, there are no mistakes, it is all part of process.
And then some! None of the following works are done by any stretch of the imagination, but it would appear between my own mind’s direction and the desires of others, this is what I will be working on for the next while. Will be interesting to see where the mind goes next, no?