I love mystery. There is something that inspires the imagination in the mystery of veiled truth. For example I prefer to cover my body with flowing wraps which allow a peek at the layers beneath. Different colours, different textures create a sense of intrigue. Truth looks much better in this case when it is mostly hidden… In my paintings I encourage curiosity as the viewer peers into the layers of hues and forms, not quite knowing what lies beneath. A garden fascinates when one cannot quite see what might be at the end of that curving path. I am in the midst of creating some mystery in my studio/gallery. I wish to install a small transition between my workspace and the area in which I will display my finished meditations. It is more of an invitation than a separation. Several years ago my aunt who died in 2006 spend many hours taking beaded seat covers apart and re-stringing them so that they might be hung in doorways and closet entrances. The project was never quite completed and in all our moving I could not quite part with the love they represented. There are several places in our new home where the beaded doorways finish a corner beautifully. What is on the floor in the photo is the nearly finished doorway to my workspace entered from the gallery. Not only does the intrigue beckon it glows in the memories of loving hands. Life is so good.
Monday, December 8, 2014
With the exception of some horizontal surfaces my studio workspace is ready to go! So exciting! Soon it will be filled with canvases undergoing the final stage of any project: varnishing. In the mayhem surrounding my show in March, storage and moving, the work did not receive this important finishing touch. These beautiful pieces will be again on display at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in the Mezzanine Gallery beginning 15th December, that is one week from today… Better get a move on, yes? Yes! So why is varnishing important? There are some artists who do not bother with this step. There are good reasons why they choose to leave the surface unprotected. One of the best is the movement the various contrasts the different mixtures of paint can create. Some are brilliant gloss and some are dull. The pattern thus created may be an important part of the whole. I prefer a more even finish. I also like the enrichment of colour the varnish tends to produce. The most crucial reason for varnishing is, of course, archival. Varnish can be removed and replaced. Its removal means a surface which has collected many years of dust and grime can be renewed without damaging the underlying image. Artists have a choice between glossy and matt finishes or the blend of the two called ‘satin’. My preference is satin. I also understand the usual application is two coats, one applied horizontally and the other vertically so no spot is missed. Two satin coats would obscure the work so I apply one or two coats of gloss and finish with the satin usually. It is really a personal preference depending on how I want the work to look in the end. Life is so good!
Monday, December 1, 2014
We often hear of writers’ block. Creative blocks come in many forms. As a visual artist I occasionally encounter moments or even weeks of arid, fruitless futility. These voids can be created by my own avoidance of regular artistic practice, pushing paint around. Lately my blocks have come in more physical forms like the two feet of snow between my soul space and me. By the time I had shoveled it away I was in need of a cuppa. Unfortunately I only had time to extract the tools I required before heading off to repair some major holes in plaster walls. I am getting good at that! Today is the beginning of a new month, a new liturgical year, a new lease for a new tenant…. This means the scrub pails appear and the oven cleaner gets another workout. I have different paintbrushes in my hands these days. It took three of us all day to get the place in order for someone new. There is still some touch up painting to do once the primer dries and I will not be doing that tomorrow… God is good. Random encounters have produced a new tenant without even advertising and somehow I mixed my weeks so although I thought tomorrow was busy with various meetings, not so. A small smile twitches at the corners of my mouth as I contemplate some rich organizing hours in my studio. So good. Life is so good.
Monday, November 24, 2014
I unpacked half a dozen boxes and put the contents in three different places: on the shelf, in the garbage or into recycling. The walls in my studio are also being adorned with some of my early work, the milestones such as my very first watercolour. Some of the older paintings are still stored away in another location. Soon it will all be in one place. Today my daughter who wanted help moving furniture distracted me. She is purging as well… must be the season! A few more boxes, portfolios filled with paper and some other art supplies ended up in my studio. Sometimes I wonder if I am making headway. My show at CAVA has come and gone. Collected the paintings on Wednesday. For those who missed it “Invitation” will be showing again at the Glenrose in September/October next year. A select number of my mixed media series “Connections” will be showing in the Mezzanine Gallery at the Glenrose beginning December 15th. I have found the varnish and I plan to put the finishing touches on at least those pieces before they go up again. There will also be some all occasion cards on sales as well as the possibility of purchasing the book on the series. There will be an official opening reception for the show sometime in the New Year. All is well and all will be well. Life is good.
Monday, November 17, 2014
My studio seems so far away… this is a view from my kitchen window. The long vacation I have taken since my show was delivered leaves a certain lethargy. Again my space is full of stuff having moved more treasures in from a previous residence. Some will be stored, some will be given away, some will be trashed. There is another load coming in sometime in the future. It should be the last of our scattered possessions. Do I really wish to deal with it? Do I really wish to unpack, find the varnish to finish off the paintings to be hung in December? My focus has been on a different kind of creation lately: relationship building. In between the various family activities, which were an absolute blast by the way, I created shelves for the pantry and tucked away loose ends. The bookkeeping is up to date for example. All the appointments I postponed are this week instead of last. More disruption and a perfect excuse for not refocusing. The thing is I have already proved I can work amidst chaos. The excuse does not wash. It comes down to a decision. My tendency is to wait for a block of time. In recent experience that block of time has diminished to one or two hours instead of days. I can get a lot of work done in two hours. I may even find the varnish! Life is good.
Monday, November 10, 2014
It is totally thrilling when a good number of invited guests actually show up for the opening of a show. The interaction is so much more exciting and fun. There were a lot of people I had not seen in a very long time as well as those who had never been before. Meeting and greeting is one of the skills I enjoy most. It was a pleasure to discuss the process and the ambition of my work. Out of the discussions blossomed a new idea for the resolution of a perennial problem within the completion of my watercolours. I had not found a way to include a few verses from the bible within the image as I do with mixed media. I now have an idea and a new problem. Problems are not always bad things. They are challenges to my imagination. I love challenges. My imagination is ready for another leap in faith and stretching. So good. This all fits in very well with the ambition of my work: to bring light and goodness into a sometimes dark world. Life is so good.