Mandala

mandala Dec 26 2015

This morning I was out for a walk with Kai and I felt the familiar stirring that I wanted to make something. I sorted through whether it was something written or drawn, coloured or black and white, realistic or abstract, 3 dimensional or 2 dimensional and eventually realised that I wanted to make a mandala. Then, in my mind I went through my paper collection and and decided on a grey page. I got home, dug into my art supply stocks and sat down to make this. A few hours later and here it is. I feel so much more relaxed and centred.

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Shades of Grey

I’m now four classes in to my oil painting class at OCAD. For starters, my teacher is amazing. I’m more than a little star struck. Not only is his work stellar, but he’s also a really great instructor. His name is Bogdan Luca. His work reminds me of waking from a really intense dream and not being sure of whether I am awake or asleep.

This year, in my own artistic journey, I’ve endeavoured to learn more about color. I feel as if I’ve finally made some real headway in that direction. Learning about colour feels like seeing the world as I’ve never seen it before – in higher resolution. At my painting class we’ve often been challenged to create grey tones that are in a sense colourless. The word grey is really a catch-all for the myriad of tones that cannot be described by any other colour reference. The world of grey can simultaneously be tinted to be brownish or reddish or bluish or yellowish – all depending on how you get to that colour mix. I finally understand why my art teacher forbade the use of black to mix colour all those years ago – because when you learn how to arrive at certain tones without black, there is a depth of colour that becomes discernable. It seems as if your eye can somehow detect the many tones within the single pigment. This world of grey constitutes a great deal of what we actually see.

The mind autofills so much of our interpretation of what we see. A wooden table appears at first to be brown – but when you pay attention to what your eyes actually see, without letting your mind interpret it for you, the truth is that the reflection of light off that table is what describes its form. Therefore what one paints is the reflection of light, married with its shadows. This is the world of grey.

Shades of Grey - no black used

Shades of Grey – no black used

Im not sure as yet how this relates to abstract painting. All of our classes have focused on still life painting.

In terms of oil painting, I’m really enjoying the medium. Unique to oils is a depth of colour rendition that is quite lovely.

I have two more classes in this course. It’s been thoroughly worth the investment of time, money and travel. Working in a studio environment this way is so satisfying. At the end of each class I feel thoroughly spent in an altogether pleasant way.

The Blank Canvas

Creating something new is always daunting.
I’ve been staring at a blank canvas for 2 weeks. In a sense the reason why I haven’t touched it is because of something that’s happening inside of me. Although I’ve completed work since I broke my ankle, those pieces have been continuations of things I began before. Other than a few sketches – I haven’t created anything new since I got hurt.
The event of the injury was significant in my life. Healing has come with an enhanced understanding of my own vulnerability and with that has come a fear or breaking my body through my mundane daily routine. Through the recovery, my closest relationships have changed in a myriad of deep and meaningful ways. I’ve felt a revival of passion that comes with understanding that I won’t always be as vital and capable as I am now. In short – I’ve changed.
So when I stare at the canvas, I’m not sure what I want to say. In ways, I keep trying to find projects that step around that issue – because I just don’t know the answer. I suppose I can explore that very question through painting, but for the moment all I have are words. The brush strokes will come with time.
Thanks for tuning in.

The Messenger

The Messenger, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30"

The Messenger, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30″

This turtle has been wanting to be painted for a while. I started this piece a little over a month ago. As some of you may know, I had an accident around that time. I was walking my dog on a pedestrian trail near my house when I slipped on a patch of ice and broke my ankle. This is why I haven’t posted in a while.

Source images of red sea turtles have been taped up on my art room wall well before my accident. I’ve had a long time to think about him. When I first filled in his outline on the canvas I felt like I was in over my head, but I got into a great painting zone and after half the night, I was happy with how he turned out. I’m really enjoying a totemic approach to animals these days.

In terms of process, as an experiment while making this piece, I took progress photos every time I took a break. This turned out to be a great technique for me, since I changed my mind a few times about the way I painted the sky as well as the peak. It was by looking back at previous images that I was able to determine what I really wanted.

It’s kind of amazing how many hours went into this piece. In the past I might have been more frustrated at the time it took to create. Now however, with more experience, I am no longer as impatient with my work. That’s something great that’s come to me through this accident – patience. I hope I don’t lose sight of it when I’m walking again.

Hope you enjoy.

Crush

Crush

Black, white, ochre, red and yellow. Those are the only colours that I used to make this piece. A long time ago an art teacher told me that I should avoid using the colour black straight from the tube. In this piece I’ve played with it in different ways – including using it straight out of the tube. A final rebellion against one of the last lingering painting ‘rules’ in my head.

The beginning of this piece was heavily influenced by 90’s alternative rock. That sounds like a disclaimer. It’s true though. There’s a lot of nostalgia in this piece. My 17 year old self would approve.

Undulating Memory

24 x 24 acrylic on canvas

24 x 24 acrylic on canvas

I finished this piece last night. My previous post ‘Lost’ was inspired by this canvas. Since writing that post the canvas has been at least 2 other beginnings of very different paintings. The same major undulations however remained throughout. In this piece I used a range of colours I haven’t tried before. It took a while to figure out how they made me feel and how they’d fit in. I haven’t painted much with browns before so that was one thing I wanted to do when I started out. In the beginning the lilac tones were a happy accident and when I realized they worked with the browns it changed the whole piece.

It took a little while to realize where the piece was going. I was walking to work yesterday morning and looking at birds flying far off against the colour of the sky when it hit me that this piece was an abstract landscape.

While doing this piece my boyfriend said that I should try having a few canvases stretched and ready to go in the studio so that when I get frustrated and lost on one canvas I can just move on to another without majorly changing what I’ve started. I suppose that would take the pressure off the one canvas so I’ll see if that works.