I paint because I’m in love with my subject and I am delighted by the process of applying colour to a blank surface.
In the book Art and Fear the writers suggest that the observers who admire the finished piece of work have no interest in the artist’s process:
MAKING ART AND VIEWING ART ARE DIFFERENT AT THEIR CORE. To all reviewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork…In fact there’s generally no good reason why others should care about most of any one artist’s work. The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars.One of the basic and difficult lessons every artist must learn is that even the failed pieces are essential.
It’s amazing what a little bit of sunshine and blue sky does to lift spirits at this time of year. Tomorrow we’re expecting 12 Celsius- positively heat wave weather! Although we will likely have at least one more winter storm, in the here and now, it feels and smells like spring. I love it! Continue reading →
Wherever You Go, There You Are is the title of a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn (son-in-law of activist Howard Zinn). The book is about practicing mindfulness through meditation.
Buddhism and cognitive therapists teach us that our interior dialogues are always present, chattering to us in every situation.
Iris are my favorite personal flowers. The iris in this painting came from blooms in my grandmother’s garden in Toronto over 60 years ago. I paint them every year and think of my mother and grandmother.
My paintings always reflect my state of mine. While I worked on this, I brooded about a problem in my non-painting life that turned this into a very purple and blue painting. But as the week wore on I changed my way of seeing my problem and that’s when I (coincidentally) changed the focal point in the painting to an optimistic yellow iris.
I actually do have some yellow iris like this one, but they didn’t bloom this year. Well, except for on my canvas. 😉
I started this painting outdoors in front of my ‘model’, the flower bed. I have a wonderful pop-up screened tent to protect me from vicious black flies, who are out in full force in spring. The orange curtain is clothes-pinned to reduce the glare from the direct sun.
I bring in the work to refine it in the studio…along with some flowers.
Here you can get a better sense of the size of the painting.
Sometimes luck and opportunity come knocking together.
Over a year ago I was invited to participate in a new comprehensive book–Painting in Acrylics – the Indispensable Guide. The publisher emailed to ask if they could feature a couple of images of paintings from my website to illustrate the chapter on sgraffito painting.
The artist-author Lorena Kloosterboer lived in Belgium and the editor in England. The book would be published in the UK and the US.
In return for my images I would be given credit in the book, my website would be mentioned and I would receive a copy of the finished book.
I have to admit that my 1st reaction was skepticism. Like many visual artists I’ve been invited to publish my work in the past–but at a cost of hundreds of dollars in ‘books’ that would only be distributed to the participating artists.
So how did this opportunity come about? The author found my website in an internet search. I had tagged some of the paintings as sgraffito . She was looking for samples of that style.
So if you are an artist, let this blog post be a reminder to you to include detailed descriptions of your artwork and your methods on your website so that search engines–and publishers–can find you.
It has taken years for this book to go from concept to publication. 12 months ago I submitted many images of my paintings, my studio, and my painting setup to Quarto. I sent high resolution jpegs to the publisher through the free version of Dropbox. It is a server ‘in the cloud’. I uploaded the large images required for printing, shared the password, and Quarto downloaded them. I didn’t have to make a DVD or snail mail anything.
This is the most comprehensive acrylic guide I have ever seen with extensive information about acrylic painting–styles, materials, color theory and so much more.
There are paintings from over 90 artists all over the world.
Artist – author Lorena Kloosterboer writes clearly and is generous with her step-by-step descriptions of her own high realism painting process.
I love experimenting with art materials and this book will show me new ways of working with this versatile medium. I highly recommend this book for artists at all levels. I know that for me, getting my hands on it is a great way to start 2015!
If you want to take a closer look at the book, click on this link to view it and my current favorite art-related books.
There were years and years when I believed that all abstract work was bourgeois and decadent and wasn’t actually art. The shift in my thinking has been gradual and unexpected. All I can say for sure is that the more I paint, the more I feel drawn to the work of abstract artists. I notice this when I view art exhibitions or when I look at online works. The bold colorful paintings of abstract expressionists past and present excite and move me.
And yet what I paint still remains literal… That is, the viewer knows exactly what they’re looking at. Even when I try to paint in a non-representational way it gradually morphs into a flower painting or landscape. I can’t seem to help myself.
So I decided to create a series of works that would challenge my way of approaching a painting.
This series that I created for my October 2014 show in Annapolis Royal is my way of abstracting flowers. Instead of painting live flowers, I painted from sketches of mine of live flowers. The “big deal” for me was to use a previous drawing as a point of reference rather than the actual plant or flower.
The original drawings are ink and ink stick on watercolor paper. I cropped them that I would be forced to paint a larger-than-life version of the flower which is also not my usual way of painting.
20″ x 20″
The finished paintings are one painting removed from the original subject and have morphed into an abstracted painting that suggests a floral theme. I would like to experiment by cropping these paintings and developing new and changed versions of them.
It’s like playing “broken telephone” with the brush.
I’ve very excited to explore a new approach to a favorite subject and I can’t wait to hang these in a couple of days at my show in Annapolis Royal. Please come, if you have the chance!
Today was the anniversary of my dear father’s birth (1910) and death (1996). I don’t know how he managed to enter and exit this existence on the same day, but I think there is something unique, even profound about it. And speaking of coincidences, I know that some of you believe in them and I want to tell you about one that happened to me today that is connected with my father.
When I was about 6 my father came home with a book of the Brothers Grimm Fairytales. It’s the only book my dad ever read to me and when he had time, I’d ask him for the same stories over and over again.
He wasn’t a perfect father and I certainly wasn’t a perfect daughter but we loved each other and I cherish those memories of being read to and still have that book in my collection.
Fast forward to February. There was a call for submissions to a community art show in Bear River called “Fairy Tales and Fables”. At the time I was organizing a retrospective and sale of my watercolors and had set aside lots of experimental paintings to use in collages.
As well this winter I was frightened by a couple of dogs one of whom had (in my mind) a wolf-like appearance. But did he really? Or was I creating my own fairytale?
I also took this photograph during the January thaw and I loved the perspective of peering into the woods to see people on a path.
I drew (pardon the pun) from all of these elements to form an idea for my submission to the art show.
I sketched and cut and pasted a mixed media collection that combined my dog experience with the Red Riding Hood tale.
In my version, the viewer of the painting watches the story from a very safe distance, and from the point of view of the predators, which is why I called it “The Ambush”. I had a nightmare as a child that there were 2 suns in the sky. It was terrifying because it presented a dystopia of an alien solar system. For this painting, I put several moons in the sky to ad a surreal feeling to the work.
Sometimes our fairytales are self-created. My father’s Canadian fairy tale was about the winter he spent living with his 2 German buddies in a log house they built on their homestead in Alberta in 1931. That experience was so rich for him that he told this story and the details many, many times over until I felt like I had been there.
When I was thinking this morning about my father and his brief experience in Alberta, the telephone rang.
“Hi Flora. I was wondering if you had sold that painting from the fairytales show. It was my favorite and I’d like to buy it.”
The caller is originally from out west. And do you know what else? I had forgotten that Red Riding Hood is in my Brothers Grimm fairytale book.
Happy Birthday to the man who taught me how to swim, how to tell time and how to imagine a fairy tale.