Friday, July 26, 2013

Life in Small Places

I've been distracted for a while with regular life stuff and garden stuff.  I'm back now and have lots of material for new still life.  The weather is cooler too which is conducive to working in the studio.
Today I'm heading to the garden to hopefully pick the first red tomatoes.  It's Friday and a gorgeous day.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Working Process Ramblings

Working process - what does it really mean to a painter and what does a painter mean when they refer to it.  As I'm writing exhibition proposals I've been thinking about it and have been able to identify a few things it means to me.

Silver Cup Square, 16x24inches, Oil on Wood Panel

Process is taking over in my studio again. I've always been guided by my working process - a thing that happens without planning or foresight but a kind of following and surrendering to an automatic process where the hand seems to know what to do and the mind follows and trusts it.  Smalls were taking over in my studio. Painting on a very small scale, while very limiting, is also very satisfying and ironically is satisfying because it is limiting. Typically a large painting can take months, sometimes a year to figure out. A small painting can be completed in 3 or 4 painting sessions and the problems that aren't solved are easily forgiven.  A large painting occupies a large part of the mind, both in and out of the studio, and it becomes a struggle to keep moving through the process of finding where the painting wants to go and what it wants to be, unlike setting out to paint a vase of flowers on an 8x8 inch panel.
I've been so involved with doing small work this past year, where so much is pre-planned and it is so much a matter of exercise, increasing skill and getting stuff down in an uncomplicated and quick way. It is a  type of 'sketching' for me. I suspect my brain needed the break from the more involved problems of larger work that spreads across a series rather than one or two pieces. But the work of the smalls has added a new element to the larger work. Honing of skill and identifying a personal vocabulary of subject matter were important by products of the enjoyable work of painting smalls.

There are moments now, familiar to me from years of working this way,  where I freely and impulsively uncap paint tubes, begin to mix large amounts of colour, grab my rags & scrapers and smear the entire painting with paint over something previously carefully painted and then moments later scrape it back to reveal a fragment of the former painting.  It can sometimes lead nowhere but most often the cumulative layers do lead somewhere. It is a matter of trust. Trusting yourself, trusting the process, trusting that it matters.  Lessons important not just for painting.
 In a way, the meaning of  the words 'working process' can be understood  as working instinctively or intuitively; an un-selfconscious and unaffected involvement with materials

I need to remember to allow myself to be guided by this working process as a way of breaking through blocks and during times when the work feels empty.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Lost Pears, 24x30in, Oil on Wood Panel

Bringing my two interests together in this painting - my love for paint & abstraction together with traditional still life. This painting has many layers and the surface is scored and scraped back revealing the layers beneath. I am always so much happier painting on a well developed surface like this rather than a perfect white blank canvas. The forms seem to develop more quickly and intuitively when I see them against a textured colourful background.

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Painting

Silver Cup, Oil on Wood Panel, 16x16 inches

I'm still here and getting new work done although my garden is more desirable to spend time in right now. Hope you enjoy the new painting. I love this silver cup.

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Green

Two Cups, Oil on Wood Panel, 18x18 inches

Maintaining a blog is a very difficult thing to do.  I started out doing it to keep a type of journal about my work and the ups & downs of it.  I've been busy painting and gathering supplies in the last month and purposefully neglected posting.  Spring is here and once the gardening season kicks off I will have less time in the studio and so decided to work as much as possible  before the good weather entices me  outdoors.  

When painting is going well I tend to forget the up and down cycles of a life in art. When it isn't going well I remember them.  It can be a life where you question everything and wonder about the sacrifices made for it.  When I start thinking too much about it I realize it's time for a break. Thankfully gardening season is returning and I need to let my hands get busy without so much thought - I'm actually looking forward to weeding.
Warm spring sun, wet garden, new green shoots - no thoughts.