I’ve decided to try and refrain from painting on weekends to give my body a rest. I will share with you on those few days a week my more elementary practice of sketching. You’ll see more experiments, more works in progress and more simple observance or records of the life around me…
This first sketch is a true testament to my dedication. You cannot imagine how much I wanted to scarf the remainder of this blueberry bagel with cream cheese. But I resisted… just long enough to record it and then it was gone. Inhaled like kibble at a labrador’s schnoz.
This is the exterior of the cafe where said blueberry bagel was consumed with gusto. If it seems a little hastily recorded, it is because the morning was quickly heating up and I was eager to retreat to the air conditioning and rest my eyes from the bright sun of a New Mexico morning.
This light sketch was done in just a few minutes when this man grabbed a paper and sat down to wait for his sandwich “to go”.
For those of you following me into the woods, here is a sketch worked from graphite into watercolour and finally pastels and ink. I enjoy the wild energy of the foliage contrasting with the calm pools of light and shadow at the base of the tree as well as the pose of the person whom you may or may not notice at first…
Here is another painting in my new body of work on the theme of merging with the natural world. It is a lot more subdued and calming in person but I needed to photograph it with more light to catch the detail.
I’m working on a group of paintings (well, at least a pair of paintings): sleep-walkers, sleep-swimmers, sleep-paddlers caught in the middle of their dreaming when you wander out with a flashlight to see just where they’ve floated off to. To me these paintings are strongly connected with the paintings Cedar Falling and Desert Girl from yesterday’s post.
Today’s painting is a thank-you to artist Peter Doig, whose canvases fill my dreams on a regular basis. Who has painted many canoes, star-flecked skies and pudgy, dancing pine trees.
Thanks is also due to Canadian musician and poet Gordon Downie whose music and lyrics filter into my mind (and heart) on a near-daily basis. The songs Starpainters and Lofty Pines were particularly influential in the making of this painting, and the next painting that I will aim to post tomorrow.
Thanks also to my brothers who pasted the constellations with tiny glow-in-the-dark stickers on their bedroom ceilings growing up. And who continue to dream big, lofty dreams with white paddles flashing with silver…
Sometimes the process of making a painting is over in a blink. The ideas come to me in an instant, I make the time to plan, sketch, set up the colours and dive in. My body cooperates (no headaches or back aches) and hours later I stumble out of the studio in a dehydrated daze trying to remember when I last ate… I’m happy when I peek back through the door and see a new creation staring back at me… I’m excited, often surprised as I stare at it… the painting almost seems to be saying, “What? Did I get the wrong address? Isn’t this where I’m supposed to be?”
But quite often, this is not the case. Sometimes ideas germinate for a long, long time. I sketch, I plan and nothing develops out of my efforts so I leave it alone and move on. Often I let the ideas go forever (there will always be more) but some are more potent than others and I keep thinking about them from time to time, curious and hopeful that they might still one day grow.
I made Cedar Falling a few years ago and it has since been waiting for a “sibling” painting. I had many ideas in mind and never found the time between my four part-time jobs to test them out, always afraid they wouldn’t turn out and I’d have wasted my time. For the past two months however I’ve been walking past the imposing 38 x 48″ canvas of Cedar Falling, which I set against a wall in my living room – a constant reminder of those ‘loose ends’ in this story.
So for the past two weeks I’ve been piecing together more of the imagined narrative and have three new small canvases in various degrees of completion. Below is the first one that I finished today. Hopefully the other siblings will also find their full force and I’ll post them here… maybe they won’t. It’s a mystery. Stay tuned.
In my world amazing women get giant statues built to honour them in beautiful cities where tourists stroll with umbrellas to appreciate the simple things in the fountain-mist. The simple things like a garden well tended, a tea perfectly steeped, the gift of a good book, and the precision and beauty of a moment caught in a photograph.
This is a portrait-of-sorts of my aunt, who can appreciate all those things she does so well (along with so many other things), and whose presence is a gift to all who know her.