I must admit I am hooked on negative space. That does not mean I am a negative person… I just prefer developing the shapes around what people usually look at; the shapes most people do not even know exist. I must also admit I have taken it to the extreme. My new series does not have the traditional “objects” one sees on any given day. Apart from the drawings of women (or men as some see them), there is not a whole lot of representational imagery. I choose the spaces to darken and lighten. Out of those choices organic forms appear. This is not as easy as it sounds. As I gaze upon the runs, drips and drops I see clear shapes between and these shapes are broken up even further by the texturing I have previously added to the surface. The texturing plays an important role in breaking up overly large areas such as the ‘sky’ or ‘water’. Instead of painting in the whole section with one monotonous colour (usually the undercoat) I fill in the textured areas only leaving the interplay of undercolours showing through… Negative spaces within negative spaces! Fun! There are some decisions to make however. If I included every negative shape instead of amalgamating some into a cohesive whole, chaos would reign to the point of overwhelm. If I do not include enough it would cause a case of underwhelm…. Balance, it is all about balance! Love it.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Some paintings are bossier than others. I had an argument with a couple, well, more than a couple, recently about the choice of materials they called me to use. I kept explaining that I had a deadline to meet and I did not have time to fiddle. All to no avail. Over the years I have learned to listen to my paintings. They know better than I do about which media create the best results for a particular mood or message. If I panic and insist on having my own way, I usually give up at some point and begin again. The results are just not there. Resistance is futile…. Sigh. Several images have determined tissue paper to be the key ingredient. I love what tissue paper adds to a piece. The random textures and brilliant colour mixes cannot be duplicated. I love the results. Okay. Big deep breathes and I will use tissue paper to fill in the spaces. Negative spaces are the topic for next week! The trouble with tissue paper is that it is fiddly. Very. I use tweezers to pick up and manipulate the tiny morsels. I save all the little bits for fill in as I go along. I have found the torn edge sits better on the surface with its natural ragged form. Scissors are out. So drive me crazy! Yes, calm. Breathe. At the end of the day I am thankful I resisted my resistance. Live is so good.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Inside the new series called “Connections” are several mini-series consisting of three to six paintings within each grouping. This is an example from one of the mini-series entitled “Winter Delights”. It is not quite complete as the poem and the psalm have not been written in along the branches or the sides of snow banks. An isolation coat will be applied to protect it as well before it is put on display. At the moment I am bringing the canvases to this point and then storing them. They are basically done as the poetry has been written and the bible reading selected. My deadline approaches. I am still in the midst of painting. I thought two of the four left to do were finished until I glanced at them sitting in the corner. One was put away, the other remains on display waiting for my approval. Something is missing. During my moments of gazing contemplation the solution will come to me like a gift. I know I will recognize it when it arrives. And I will be grateful for the inspiration. In the meantime I will turn my attention to the two remaining tableaus. One is well on the way; the other has not been started… Well, it has been started; it is at the stage of completion, the longest, most surrendered part of the process. Gazing contemplation is the norm at this point. I stand and stare a lot. I may not look like I am doing anything and in a way I am not. Doing has taken a backseat to receiving. I am opening myself to receiving the inspiration to complete. It is such a blessing to be able to do what I do. Life is good.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Today I am dreaming of warmer weather and a new studio. This is a sneak peek at the new residence of Blanchet Fine Arts. It is the view from my kitchen window. At the moment the old wooden door is frozen open as there seems to be a drainage problem. I believe the back yard melts into the garage producing a lovely ice rink where the gallery will be located…. Yes! I am going to have a permanent gallery as well as a workspace. So exciting! Shortly I will turn my attention to buying new windows and a new door so the renovations can move ahead swiftly and smoothly. A set of pull-down stairs is on the list as well. Attics are wonderful. They hide away all kinds of clutter that is used perhaps once per year, things like Christmas decorations and the last seven years of tax receipts. Ah yes, tax receipts…. It is inventory time again. I face the same challenge of the last two years. I have no idea what I really own in the way of inventory. It is in boxes. Some of them I gave away; some of them remain unpacked, a situation that has not changed in almost three years. Most of the still packed items are for teaching. I hope to get back to teaching this fall. I do have a workshop in Redwater on April 5th. It is all about mixed media. Yes, I had better pay attention to what I do pack with that in mind…. I have already started packing in anticipation of the next move this summer. So exciting! Life is good. Life is very good.
Monday, February 3, 2014
My feet are cold today. I have not taken my boots off all morning and the studio feels colder than usual. The temperature outside is a bit colder; I suspect it has more to do with my metabolism. I could use my cold feet as an excuse to go home. I could use my dripping nose for a reason to protect my canvases from integral damage…. Instead I put on another jacket and my lab coat. I may even boost the heat for a while. I have noticed an interesting phenomenon though. When I am into my painting, I am warm, or, at least I do not notice the cold. My complaints start as soon as I take a break. My breaks include a hot cuppa, water with some lemon juice. Tonight I will take a bubble bath. In the meantime I am so enjoying my negative spaces. As I have been working on the last two panels there have been other cold feet developing as well. I decided to fill the negative spaces with tissue paper rather than paint. Why? I ask myself, why did I do that?!? It takes so much longer than paint. I want to bail out; I don’t have time. Again the deadline dragon is breathing fire. So. All is well and all will be well. See? Look at the magic forming on the surface. It is so exciting! Breathe, calm. Be thankful. Life is good.