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.
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.
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.
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:
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: