Long lost siblings

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.

oil painting of man's face close up and cedar tree
Cedar Falling, oil on canvas, 38 x 48"

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.

oil painting of girl close up with decaying tree in desert
Desert Girl, oil on canvas, 16 x 20"

A little animal love

Right from the sketchbook today: this is a mock-up sketch for an illustration of another little story I’m working on. It may soon be digitized so stay tuned – this could be fun!

pencil crayon drawing of cat and rabbit
Page 3 sketch, graphite and pencil crayon on paper, 4 x 4"

Drawn from a photo by Liby Ball who owns this miraculous cat.


Towards the Old House, the warmer colours, the dry scrub

I have always been fascinated by my surroundings and easily get lured into the landscape. This painting may be a good example of this. Lately I see myself favouring warmer colours on my palette, mimicking the gnarled lines of the vegetation with my brushstrokes and inventing characters that are as enamored with adventuring as I am.

Here it is, the second painting in my new adventure series:

oil painting of girl and old house
Towards the Old House, oil on board, 10 x 10"

A new adventure in a new place

There has been about a two month hiatus in my oil painting practice – something I did not really enjoy and will not repeat if I can help it. Nevertheless, I felt right at home in front of my easel today, minus some awkward moments getting used to painting like this again (paint on face, dropping brushes, spilling oil mediums etc.)

Here is a painting from a new series involving adventuring and strange places, and always, as much nature as possible.

oil painting of old house and girl in long grass
Old House, oil on pine, 10 x 10"

Process work

I found Art Without Compromise in the library and although I’ve only read the first few chapters so far, I found a neat exercise to do. It involved making photocopies of whatever grabbed me from the last ten years of my sketchbooks:

photo of a pile of sketchbooks

I then pasted those randomly into another small sketchbook and have been picking it up from time to time and examining the themes, styles and ideas that pop out at me. The result has been an interesting book work in itself. I find myself finding narrative in it and generating stories from all the old ideas. Here’s a little glimpse:

photo of sketchbook
photo of sketchbook
photo of sketchbook

Curious with a cat

Curious with a cat
at dusk and pondering
the fro and wandering
of the pigeon

On paws and padding
down darkened alley
we pause and gawk
at its swoop and squawk

drawing of lion and girl
Curious, ink on paper, 6 x 9"