More energies…

I finished ( at least I think I did lol) the latest large painting. A mass of energy directed onto the canvas, this one is what it is and the responses to it have been interesting and diverse, which is what all art should evoke. At 40 by 60, with the bold colours and movement, it is not for the weak of heart, or for those who favour more subdued colours or scenes, but I love it…I think…unless I work on it more. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to get a photo that captures the essence of it live as the light tends to play with the layering of glazes and changes the colours and the details.

untitled-View 1 oil on canvas 40/60 knives

untitled-View 1
oil on canvas
40/60
knives

Untitled-View 2 Different light Oil on canvas 40/60 Knives

Untitled-View 2
Different light
Oil on canvas
40/60
Knives

And something that harkens back to the series I have been playing with. This one shows the complimentary yet conflicting energies that sometimes we deal with in our souls.

Energies Oil on Canvas Knives

Energies
Oil on Canvas
Knives

Energies

After a while of different directions (turtles, moose, aboriginal inspired styles), I found myself swinging back to the knives. I had a need to return to bolder, bigger, more movement. There were energies at play, building, waiting to be told in giant stories with broad strokes, energetic slashes and colour, colour and more colour.

Awakenings was the first to emerge, followed by Vertigo, the largest canvas to date that I have worked on, almost as tall as I am. Both of these are going to TAG Art Gallery in St Catherines, along with Ghost Spirit and others.

The last one is untitled to date as it is still a work in progress, but it is pure energy, an explosion of colour. We will see where that one ends up, but channeling energies seems to be where I will be playing for the next while.

Awakenings Oil on Canvas

Awakenings
Oil on Canvas

Vertigo Oil on Canvas

Vertigo
Oil on Canvas

Size perspective-artist and Vertigo

Size perspective-artist and Vertigo

Untitled-Unfinished yet

Untitled-Unfinished yet

Energy

I am a firm believer that we as artists are conduits for energies. Sometimes a work will “flow” effortlessly onto the canvas a symbiotic meeting of spirit and media. Other times, there is a battle, a struggle where it seems like energies are at cross purposes. Perhaps, the story being told isn’t the “right” one for the moment, the intuitive spirit is waging an inner war with the logical, what is thought to be the “right” story.

For this painting, I started off with an idea or concept. I have always loved Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings and saw a plate created to represent her work that was stunning, a balance between delicate and powerful. I loved the energy that it had so started off with that in mind. Wrong. Somewhere deep within, my own energies, the place where I am in my psyche, spirit, was at counterpoint to what I thought I wanted to do. I started off in one direction and absolutely hated it. It was not subtle (not that many of my works ever are). It sat there, heavy on the canvas, flat and boring and disappointing.

I looked at it. Left it. Looked at it again. Was tempted to pitch it. But stubborn woman that I am, I was determined to fix the damnable thing. And that was when I let it go-the preconceived notions of what I thought I wanted to achieve, the ideas of what it “should” look like. I pulled out my knives, mixed a crap load (technical term) of colours that I “felt” at that moment, and hit it blind, no direction, no “have to”, no “thinking” or “should”, just “be”, let the energy and where I am take me into the space and place where the energies are just channeled from the soul onto canvas.

I am much happier with the energy of the piece, the flow of colours, contrasts and movements because that is where “I” am. And that is the whole point really sometimes 🙂 Not the best pic as I took it on my phone since the painting is wet, really large and hard to move, but you get the idea I hope.

Energy

Have you ever?

There are so many things that I would like to capture on canvas-so many things I would like to try.

Have you ever wanted to paint a full wall? Take a blank slate and just cover it in colour? A huge canvas and just set yourself free and smoosh, and splatter? What about taking the canvas and becoming the implement that paints, use your hands, your feet, your whole body to immerse yourself in the process so that you and the canvas become one.

Have you ever wanted to paint the smell of spring rain? The sound of the loons on the lake as it stills and reflects during the magic hour? The smell of the wood smoke from the sauna-the anticipation of relaxation before the plunge into the chill water that refreshed and rejuvenated the soul? The hush in the forest in winter when giant snowflakes drifting delicately to the ground is the only sound you will hear? The sound of a child’s laughter-the full belly kind that is pure unabashed joy? The feeling you get when you play with little baby toes and fingers? That kiss at the moment where things click and you melt? The warmth of a hug where all you need is the strength of the arms around you? The taste of tears? That deep satisfying moment where you are sitting with someone and not saying a word, and everything is good in the world?

Oh the things left to try.

Crossroads…

And here I am again, at the crossroads. Well, at least artistically or metaphorically.

A bunch of ideas are playing around in my head and on the sketchbook.

I have a very cool, tripped out funky sketch, something that I really haven’t done before except in sketches, and maybe a bit in my “Jazzman”. I love it as a sketch and want to paint it…but…am just not sure how it should play out on canvas and with paint.

I also have a new forest series sketch. I’ve taken the concept a bit further, highlighted the powerful moon in the back and played around with landscape and trees…but…it reminds me a lot of “Whispers” in a way, and is that a good thing, or not, and do I want to do another one along those lines.

There are the dark hedges of Ireland that I have only seen in pictures to date, although i have plans to go, and they totally fascinate me with their tendrils entwining, the patterns and colours, the mystery and mood they create in contrast to the path they allow through. I have a sketch and I want to do them…but…where will my interpretation take me and how to capture the magic of such a place.

And then sitting outside with the sun filtering through the birches, the fall leaves falling and blowing, I had another idea about doing a background like those in the forest series, but then taking the palette knives and doing powerful birches in impasto..but…hmm….

There is a story waiting to come out and I can feel it pressing upon me. I know that there is something that I “need” to do and can feel it…it makes me antsy and dissatisfied and edgy as an artist. I can almost put my finger on it…just. Sometimes, when life gets so frenetically busy, the psyche for lack of a better term starts smacking me upside the head, telling me to sit…be still…listen…hush…breathe. And again. It will come.

What if? Why not?

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.

 

"Whispers" Oil on Canvas

“Whispers”
Oil on Canvas

“Compartmentalizing”

And here is the finished painting…perhaps a message about the pitfalls of trying to compartmentalize. Unfortunately not the best photo as the size of the work presented challenges trying to get the right lighting. If I get a better shot, will post later.

 

Compartmentalizing