It's only January and I feel as though I'm making more progress on my art already. I've rented a small area in a local artist-run studio/gallery (called fittingly "The Studio Gallery") in Grandin Mall in St. Albert. All of the artists renting space work several shifts a week and can paint to their heart's content as it is fairly quiet. I've been more productive in three days there than I've been all fall in my home studio, having completed a large piece (Tears of Red Buffalo), painted two more smaller pieces, and started another large piece (Acid Landscape). I've continued my series of small pieces on a thick canvas, as I like the format so well, and artists really should provide a size range of pieces. I have also started a series of abstract city landscapes.
July was busy with four different venues that I showed at. Some of my older work from 2007 was on display at The Studio Gallery in St. Albert, my larger work was up at the St. Albert Art Walk all of July in the Bookstore on Perron, I had my new works at the Whyte Avenue Art Walk from July 10-13, and I had more small works available at the Sportex during CapitalEx from July 17-26. "Tears of Red Buffalo" was one of the show paintings chosen from the Art Walk to show all August at the Paint Spot Gallery. I sold a few over the summer so that was positive. I'm now preparing for the St Albert Painters Guild October show, and I'll put a few works in the Studio Galleries in December. I'm working a few new pieces, but they are coming slowly and won't be ready for Christmas.
Tears of Red Buffalo
18x36x3 Mixed media on canvas $740
I started on this painting because I wanted to do an animal portrait for an upcoming Guild show, and a buffalo is a powerful figure. I also wanted to continue experimenting with paper on canvas and wanted to do something with heavy watercolour paper that I could fix to the canvas as a second layer that would immediately form depth. The original design came about quickly as I sketched ideas on newsprint. The skull design came from a postcard I picked up at Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, and the buffalo is done on a heavy watercolour paper that I fixed to the canvas with a lot of acrylic medium. The concept I had was a tribute to the buffalo, and the plains Indian culture that depended on it. But the culture is being lost under the sands of time and the buffalo is barely keeping up. The tears stream down from the lemon yellow sky. The stripes near the bottom are part of the plains Indian habit of dividing objects with primary colours.
City Blue, Rain
24x24x1 Acrylic on canvas $360
With 6 hours in the Studio Gallery it is best to have at least two paintings to work on, so I started this one without any real concept of what I wanted to do. I squeezed a pile of blue paint onto my palette, picked up a medium putty knife and simply smeared it down the middle of the painting. Liking the heavy presence of the blue form I added more, and then scraped some orange across the corner. With some inspection and time I formed a concept and proceeded to add horizontal bits, and then found that I had to fill in the white with green paint, as I hadn't toned the canvas. As it turned out the blue over white comes through brilliant, blue over the green is very dark. I think it evokes a city scape under muted light, with rain and slick roads.
12x12x3, Acrylic on canvas Gifted
This is a continuation of my series of small, thick paintings with a predominant gold theme. I chose waves as a sub-theme that prompted me to put in blue above and the semi-transparent greens below.
36x18x3 Mixed Media on canvas SOLD
I really like the format of these canvases and I wanted to continue working in the funky silk-threaded paper that can be used for such a heavy texture on the canvas. The horizontal nature of this painting immediately suggested a landscape, so I allowed myself to follow that as a theme. I had a concept of a marsh, logs fallen, others standing and live trees. What followed was not necessarily what I had envisioned, however, I have learned to go with the flow and see where the current takes me.
The Far Shore
36x18x3 Mixed Media on canvas In the collection of the artist's family.
I am still liking the format of these canvases and I continue to work in the funky silk-threaded paper that can be used for such a heavy texture on the canvas. This started life as a vertical painting while I was at the Whyte Avenue Art Walk, but I decided it worked much better as a horizontal landscape. I decided not to envisage anything until I worked in the paper and filled in some of the gaps. Once I added the blue and let it bleed out I found my "lake" and the rest came together quite nicely. This I have found is a good technique, just have fun, be open to the pattern and see where the current takes me.
16x20x2 Acrylic on canvas SOLD
This painting started life simply with three swooshes of primary red, yellow and blue. I looked at these swooshes for a long time and wondered what the heck to do with them. I put the canvas behind some others and went on with other work. Finally one day I decided to do something, anything, with those darned swooshes. I added gold, and red and black and white and I scratched it and etched it about. Finally it was starting to happen, then I added black around the edges and was appalled at it, so I grabbed a pointy palette knife and dragged the paint into the center. I liked these tooth-like features so I put in more and then filled them in with gold. The title took a while to come to me, but it does remind me of strife.
24x24 Acrylic on canvas $300
This was to be another in my series of two dimensional, minimalist, city-scapes but when I first painted in the streaky blue of the background it just said "water" to me. This halted progress for a bit as I wasn't sure where to go with this painting-to-be, but I eventually added the greens, yellows and red-oranges. Sand, surf and sun; Winter Escape! Sure wish I could!
12x12x3 Acrylic on canvas SOLD
This is another in my series of small, thick canvases with a predominant gold tone, although this time I have turned it into a diamond. Using a brush and not a palette knife enabled me to make finer directional strokes in the paint, so that the alizarin crimson appears to recede into the gold, and the purple vertical grounds in the crimson layer. This painting sold in 2012, never say never! Keep showing your work; you never know when it will sell.
City Dark Red
18X24 Acrylic on canvas Gifted to a good friend.
Continuing with a city theme I wanted to do something simple, yet bold, with a black stripe across it. I taped off the rectangular areas and started with the black stripe. From there I added the blue swirling line and the gray-blue one. I like the colour of alizarin crimson but in keeping with a darker tone I added a touch of black and painted the background quickly to give the sketchy look. It is a city, simplified to a few forms.
City Sun Rise
24X24 Acrylic on canvas In the collection of the artist's family.
Driving to work in the spring I spotted a scene with the sun coming up behind the towers downtown. It stuck in my mind so I developed this roughly textured painting in acrylic.
On the Queensway
18X24X2 Oil on canvas $200
Several years ago I was sitting in a car on Toronto's Queensway going nowhere. Not unusual at rush hour. I spotted this underpass painted bright purple with the partial word "SUCKS" on it. That's all I could see. What sucked wasn't apparent, although sitting there certainly did. I had so long that I took out a sketch pad and captured the concept. I finally got around to doing it in thin oils.
12x12x3 Oil on canvas Gifted to a good friend.
In my series of small paintings I seem to have developed a beach/water theme. This just reminded me of little waves on a beach, ergo the name. It's done in thick oils, definitely fun to apply and work, but messy and slow to dry.
12x12x3 Acrylic on canvas SOLD
Another water theme. After completing this one I thought for some time before I realized what it reminded me of. Watching water swirling along side a boat, with a view of the railing and deck. Not that I've ever had the opportunity to see that, but one can dream.
City, Cold Rain
36x36x2 Acrylic on canvas SOLD
I am continuing with an urban theme, in this case a cold-looking city landscape under a threatening sky. Someone said it looked like Regina in a snowstorm. Odd, considering that I grew up in Regina. Perhaps my sub-conscious is dredging up images.