Behind the Scenes: Insights into my creative process
I thought it might be of interest to you to have some insight into the ideas and inspiration behind the paintings I create. Every so often I will choose one piece and provide some background.
May 2018: Embrace Your Black Sheep
Recently, when a friend and I went out to bring her small flock of sheep into the barn, all six of them were spooked by the presence of two new horses in the next paddock. The nervous ewes refused to come in and milled about or fled to the far corner of their pen. Except one.
She knew that an evening bucket of grain awaited them in the barn stall. Suddenly she broke from the others, sprinted into the barn and happily munched up the prize.
Audacity, daring, a touch of recklessness. Doing what it takes to get the job done. Art, as in life, is sometimes rewarded by trying something out of step with others. Embrace your black sheep!
Spring 2018: A Personal Calligraphy
Look closely at a water media painting and you can sense the movement of the artist's hand. Like most of us, I am drawn to those movements and applications that seem skilled and assured. It might be compared to looking at the artist's handwriting - a personal calligraphy if you will - that becomes distinctive and recognizable. Some painters "write" in a measured, precise hand. Others with a more lively flourish.
Painting with water media on luscious natural papers is a treat, one that I have returned to after many years of focus mainly on acrylic media. Water media, with its inherent desire to flow, puddle, sweep, sparkle, stop, run and pool has a language and a will all of its own! One that requires balance between control and abandon and one that facilitates paintings that suggest a uniquely personal calligraphy!
* Check out a variety of water media paintings in "ESSENTIALS"
December 2017: "Horseplay"
When the first snowfall turns our world into a proverbial winter wonderland, it's not just humans that love to head outdoors to romp and play. On the farm the horses always had a great gallop and enjoyed lots of horseplay in the snowy fields.
Affirmations are positive statements thought to help overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. They help us to visualize and to believe in ourselves and can assist in making desired changes. Try this affirmation next time you are fortunate enough to behold trees alive with birds : "I welcome miracles into my life."
August/September: "Klimt's Crow"
The rich surfaces and textural patterning of Gustav Klimt's paintings are universally appealing. My tiny painting (6x6") pays homage to his remarkable creations with their flattened shimmery patterns of nearly - abstract compositions. Klimt, a highly skilled tile maker, used his tiling skills to wondrous effect in his paintings, his creations combining both fine and decorative arts.
July 2017: "Urban Encounter"
Vancouver (BC) is going to the birds! An official bird has been chosen (Anna's Hummingbird) and the city has pledged to create conditions for native birds to thrive. It will host the Vancouver international Bird Festival, August 19 - 26, 2018. The exchange between the birds that inspired my painting were not unlike many Vancouverite first encounters: some uncertainty, much curiosity and finally a " welcome to the neighbourhood!"
June 2017: "Blue Poppies"
A recent painting holiday in France has re inspired me to practice plein air painting. There the country fields were splashed with red poppies - enhancing the stunning natural beauty of rural France - and since I've returned I've been painting the gorgeous poppies in my own garden.
April/May 2017: "Garden Guests"
Little darlin, it's been a long, cold, rainy winter... and yes, we were all dreaming of the sun, George. Anticipatory pleasures of a garden filled with flowers,birds and sunshine is what I tried to capture here in a somewhat whimsical style.
March 2017: "Snowbird
I have only recently discovered the fun of working on Yupo paper. It is perfect for working with a variety of materials and always leads to unexpected results. Warning! You will find the hours fly by as you explore the myriad of possibilities this surface provides. With "Snowbird" I mounted the finished work on a deep panel before applying a contemporary resin - like finish.
December 2016: "Barnyard"
This highly textured panel transports me right back to childhood and the busy hours my siblings and I shared mucking around my grandparents' farm. Especially memorable rituals were milking time (including warm shots of milk for the barn cats) and gathering eggs (still warm from the hens). I painted subtle metallic outlines/halos around the animals, a bit like the religious icon paintings of Eastern Europe but this time with farm animals, not saints, gilded.
November 2016: "Fall Foliage"
The colours, textures and elusive light of the autumn season inspire quick and loose studies. In this case the fall muse resulted in an abstracted version of weathered hydrangea branches, fortunately rescued from the pre-winter mulching purges!
October 2016: "Poppy Garden With Finch"
Few encounters are as charming and as welcome as the appearance of finches in my flower garden. In this painting I wanted to convey a sense of both the mystery and delicacy of bird and foliage, enhanced by intense reds and by a shimmer of gold throughout. The heavily textured surface helps to convey the interplay of light and shadow throughout the garden.
September 2016: "Roots & Wings"
"There are two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children: one is roots, the other wings." A recent family wedding prompted me to consider this often quoted, enduringly resonant observation. Consequently when the images of a hawk and a sheep took form on my canvas I began to understand them as visual representations - metaphors if you like - of those words I had been thinking about.
The painting is energized by loose applications of line and texture, suggestive of flight and freedom, but held in balance and supported by the limited palette.
A Poem for my Readers
It is a delicious thing
to write, to be no longer
yourself but to move
in an entire universe
of your own creating.
Today, for instance, as
man and woman, both
lover and mistress, I rode
in a forest on an autumn
afternoon under the
yellow leaves, and I was
also the horses, the leaves,
the wind, the words
my people uttered, even
the red sun that made
them almost close
their love-drowned eyes.