For most of 2016, I’ve had this canvas on my easel. I worked on it very slowly, adding layers upon layers of colour. For long stretches of time it just sat there in a semi-finished state while I looked and it and thought about it. What was nice in working on this piece was that I didn’t rush myself into shaping it into ‘something’. I let it be what it grew to be and only in the last stages did I really shape it into the beastie it is now. Because I didn’t rush it, I was able to bring to this piece some of the techniques I’ve practiced this year with the gouache.
This piece is called Drako, for obvious reasons (because it looks like a dragon). In terms of the inspiration behind it though, there was a phrase that had come into my mind in the early stages, ‘sometimes you need a map’. That’s because this canvas started out as something very different (tones of pink) and after the canvas sat abandoned for a really long time, at the beginning of this year I took it in a very different direction that eventually led here. Each piece in a sense is a voyage of discovery. More often than not this is an exercise in getting out of my own way to allow the image to form into something cohesive instead of forcing it in one direction or another.
My existential art map is something I’ve developed over the years and actually over the course of writing this blog to date. Writing my reflections on each piece has helped me map out my process. It gives me faith that in those moments when I stare at the canvas and think – my god this is garbage – that if I keep going, it’ll move past garbage and become something I’m happy with.
I feel good about ending 2016 on this note. Thanks for tuning in.
This is my first mandala of 2014. It’s called Bird’s Eye View. It was snowing steadily all day today. Even though it was a fairly warm day in comparison to recent days, I couldn’t bring myself to walk to the art store for more canvas. Instead, I spent the afternoon drawing at the dining table.
Recently, I’ve been watching a documentary series called Through the Wormhole. One episode I saw last week looked at near death experiences. In that episode, there was a snippet of footage of a butterfly flying through a forest. Since then the idea of flying with an animals eyes has stuck with me. One of the ideas discussed involved the notion that at the moment of death, our minds might latch on to the consciousness of other being in a quantum like transfer of awareness. That’s the best way I can restate it – non technical as I am.
This mandala explores that idea – of reaching out beyond human form and seeing life through another’s eyes.
Hope you enjoy the mandala, and as always thanks for being interested in my work.
Friday night I watched a documentary called Black Fish. It’s a really moving documentary about the dysfunctions that develop in Orcas when kept in captivity By extension they spoke of the injuries and deaths of Orca trainers over the past 40 years. They spoke a bit about the intelligence of Orcas. Apparently they have a highly evolved sense of communal intelligence.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about these animals and the pain that we put them through for our whims. This painting came from thinking about free Orcas. There’s something quite magical about them. I hope I’ve captured a sliver of that beauty.
This painting is just over a week old. It’s so different in colour and tone than my previous work I wasn’t sure it was done. I’d leave the studio and think – ‘Nah, it’s not done – it needs more to it’, and then I’d come back in, look at it and change my mind. I actually really enjoy it. Hope you do too.
This piece was done with thoughts of two of my friends who are getting married this spring. The piece is composed of two framed mandalas. Each reflects the other and are bound together by the spirit of the bird. It’s a story about the love and union of two separate and beautiful souls.