Sunday, September 28, 2014

teaching also, is learn as you go

Acrylics demo 1 - 9 x 12"
I started teaching a session of studio classes this week.  I have to say it is always a learning curve for me as well.  I usually plan a short painting exercise focusing on an element that I feel is important, demo it, then encourage the class to try it out.  After that we work on a slightly larger painting project keeping in mind the principles from the short exercise. It's definately not a step by step guide to creating a set painting.  Each one is working on their own subject, but trying to follow the task at hand. 

Acrylics demo 2 - 9 x 12"
What I'm learning is that this method is good for some folks and works well when there is people in the same class working in a variety of mediums.  I think it can be a bit too challenging for some who are new to their chosen medium or who haven't painted in their chosen medium for a long time.  I forget that getting back up on the bicycle sometimes takes a little bit more attention to technique and method.  

oils demo 1 - work in progress
So that is going to be the challenge for me going into this week's class...finding a step up that is just right for each painter to encourage them in their efforts.  This Thursday's class will focus on colour mixing.  It's one of my favourite subjects, but there's a lot to it; I dont want it to become overwhelming. I do want it to be relevant; applied to the subject/project that each person is working on.

I am quite delighted to find out that teaching occasionally as I do seems actually quite good for my own art practice, in that it makes me more aware of sensitivities other than just my own. I learn to see subjects the way another person sees it, which is unique and equally valid.  Fresh insights opens up my own mind and way of working.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

On The Patio

On The Patio - oil on canvas- 30x30
I worked some more on this piece after supper last night. I had started to get more literal than I wanted, in details like clothing, faces and flowers, but I didn't like where it was heading.. I did a fair bit of reworking, and I'm happier with the overall mood now. My main thought and interest in painting it was the passage of  light spilling across various surfaces, and so I wanted to keep it about that.  Which was the reason I had to say bye-bye to Frederic and Charlotte under the tree...ha ha. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Perspectives annual juried show BAA

Here I am talking with Niki about her wonderful painting that will be hanging in the BAA art show when it opens this Thursday evening at the John M. Parrot  Art Gallery in Belleville.  Yesterday was a busy day selecting works for the show.  I was pretty tired afterwards, so I took the slow road home on highway 2 which was rather delightful.  Thursday will be a busy day as that is when I start teaching this term; a morning class and an afternoon class. Immediately after class is over I will hop in the car and drive an hour to Belleville for the opening reception.  I'm looking forward to it though, they're a fun bunch!  If you're in the area drop in to see the show.

Friday, September 19, 2014

We the jury...

The Belleville Artists Association's annual juried art show selection is Saturday Sep 20.  I will be jurying  along with Prince Edward County artist Mile Murtanovski. It's not an easy job, but it's exciting.  Hey, it's lookin at art!!   There are around 100 entries; 60  are to be chosen from these for the show. 
What will I be looking for?   Impact.  Originality.  Proficiency.  Passion.  Vision.  Structure.  Cohesion.  In the end any jury decision comes down to an opinion.  That is all.  That is the nature of it.  Different jurors will have different opinion's and the decisions of the jury will be influenced by that.  For anyone (like me)who has been disappointed by the opinion of a jury in the past, take heart.  It is only an opinion, and probably one from someone who see's quite differently from you.  If there is one thing we need to know as artists, it is to listen to our own voice.  Constructive thoughts can be helpful, but opinions are arbitrary. 
photo resources & thumbnail
Here's what I've been working on in the studio yesterday and today.  It's still a work in progress, but I'm liking the direction it's taking so far.  You can see the photos I'm working from and the thumbnail sketch for the square format. I'm working on a 30x30" canvas which I love working big, but it's funny I find it takes more planning.  I have to premix amounts of paint ahead, as I need more of it to cover areas that I would normally sweep on with one stroke on a smaller panel.  I now know that is why smaller works often have so much more vitality.  Anyway...

work in progress - oil on canvas - 30x30"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

To glaze or not to glaze...that is the question

Morning by the Park -oil on canvas14x18
 Can you see the difference of these two paintings...let me give you a hint, it's a subtle colour shift. The one on the right is pinker. 

I completed  'Morning by the Park' with a rather bright cool spring light effect, but I'm feeling like maybe it needs a little warming up and so am considering adding a glaze.  Of course it's quite wet now, so the glaze will have to wait for a few days before I can apply it.  In the meantime I thought I'd ask public opinion.  Do you prefer it as is(on the left), or do you prefer it warmer(on the right)?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Artist talk at RLAA

I have been a member of the Rideau Lakes Artists Association for a couple of years; though I rarely am able to make it to their monthly meetings. Whenever I do, however, I'm always impressed with the enthusiasm and vitality of this group of artists.  There is a whole gamut of experience from seasoned artists with years of experience as well as new artists who are equally welcomed and encouraged in the group.  They hold many workshops for their membership and exhibitions around the Rideau Lakes vicinity. There's always something going on; once a month they hold their membership meetings and after business is finished and refreshments have been served, there is usually a speaker or a demonstration to enjoy for the second part of the meeting.  I was invited to be that speaker at the RLAA yesterday. 

As it's a vibrant group of artists I wanted to talk about something that every artist can relate to, which is the evolution of an artists style and their careerFor me the best way to express  the living/changing nature of art was to present a slide show of how my own art has morphed through the years.  
Great Grandfather was chief restoration/repair
artist for the vast collection at Burghley House
I also included a little ancestral background of artists within my family, which I felt also related to how my art has developed.

Burghley House, near
Stamford, Lincolnshire, UK
It's funny, in my life as a student the thing I hated most was standing in front of a group and having to do a speech or a talk.  It struck terror into me... but there was none of that yesterday. 

 The RLAA has a super system for presenting power-point slide shows, and after a few technical difficulties initially setting it up, David Gilmore got it running smoothly for me.  I was very grateful to him for that because having it to spur along my discussion points made it way easier and quite natural for me.  I was delighted, many folks asked me questions afterwards (a good sign they found it interesting; bored people don't ask, they just want it to be over! ha ha!)  It was a really good experience!

Next month, Michelle LaRose is scheduled to speak.  I think I will try and make it to that meeting as I'd be interested to hear about her process of creating her contemporary abstracts.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ontario tomorrow

It's coming to an end. My time with Ella and Rachel and Matt. It's been the most special time getting to know my new little grand daughter. I've been here for 9 days and tomorrow I will fly back to Ontario, but I will take a bit of Ella home with me in my heart.  

Painting, this week has been on the back burner, or I should say, the night burner.   Matt and Rachel's house has a lovely downstairs bedroom and sitting room that I have been staying in.  When we say goodnight and they all head to bed, I head downstairs.  Usually I'm not in the mood to go to sleep right away, so I stay up and paint a little with my travel watercolour set. Tonight it's three 8x 2inch  watercolours; just enough to satisfy my need to paint, but not a big commitment.  
Burning the night oil seems a good way to wind down before I go to bed.  At home I  rarely paint at night.  I like painting first thing in the morning if I can, it's when I have my best energy.  My mind is fresh and rested after sleep, it's easier to focus and commit myself to the task at hand.  I get so immersed in painting at that time.  Often when I'm ready to take a break after a few hours, it's a complete surprise to me that it's nearly noon!(and I'm still in my pyjamas rinsing out my paintbrushes.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday in Halifax

Me and Ella
I'm in Halifax with Rachel and Matt and my darling little grand daughter Ella! We are having a wonderful week, it's a treat to help out when I can and to share this very special time with them.  I know the time will disappear far too quickly for my liking! 
I brought some travel watercolours with me to play with during nap times etc.  I've been experimenting with them on a specially prepared canvas instead of watercolour paper.  It's interesting to get the feel of how it behaves; it doesnt' quite flow the same as it does on paper and it takes quite a bit longer to dry.  But it definately has possibilities, opening up an option for using watercolour and not needing mats, glass and frames for hanging afterwards. this sounds a great option to me. Here's this in progress experiment, thus far.  The travel set doesn't have a big selection of colours just a few basics, but it's been fun playing with the medium again.
experimenting with watercolour on canvas