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 ūüôā 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

And I found another moose at 4am…

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.

Moose

Moose

The latest in the new series…

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.

gecko

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

Opening Doors…so to speak

Sometimes, ideas just pop into my head, seemingly from out of the blue. I have the privilege¬†of working with high school students and they continue to be¬†a source of inspiration for me. One of my projects has been running¬†school art battles. Individual artists¬†will compete, creating works within a specified time frame, using specific materials¬†and themes…for our year closing, or in this case, year opening battles, we’ve put together team battles. This year’s inaugural battle saw 11 teams of over 70 staff and student combos battling it out and it was magnificent!

So, this idea, you say…well, it was to use doors as the canvas. The theme was “gateways”. Each team was provided¬†with an actual¬†door and they had to produce¬†a finished piece in 30 minutes. Luckily, we are blessed¬†with some amazing local businesses who are more than willing to help out. In this case, Artefacts in St Jacob’s (an architectural¬†salvage business) donated a number of doors to this project, thereby allowing us to accommodate all the people who wanted to participate.

In the case of my “team”, we decided to blend the inside with the out, and used actual¬†stones, both painted colours and natural to create our gateways. A play on gateways/pathways, actual paths…well, you get it. Although we did not finish our door within the time frame (a bit challenging with two team members out of four running the gauntlet of technical difficulties keeping things progressing smoothly for the battle), we did make considerable¬†progress and plan on completing the door in the upcoming weeks. I will post pics of the finished door. I guess my point is-think outside the box. Let nature and unusual¬†things be your canvas and palette. Don’t be afraid to try new things and most of all…have FUN!

 

Setting up our "colours"

Setting up our “colours”

 

The canvas

The canvas

 

Phase 1 Design

Phase 1 Design

 

Phase 2

Phase 2

 

Phase 2 another view

Phase 2 another view