I make a lot of art in the winter. Perhaps it’s being cooped up inside that lends itself to this pastime. I’m not inside much in the late spring, summer, and autumn. But winter is a different thing. The weather can be harsh and unrelenting as it pelts us with snow, sleet, and westerly winds. Just being inside, IN my studio, motivates me to experiment with the materials at hand. Maybe the myriad of contests / juried shows gives me the nudge I need.
Florals have it!
This past month (February, 2021), I can’t seem to stop making art. Acrylics, mostly. Florals seem to be calling me again. Close-ups. Abstract florals. Large ones. Small ones. It doesn’t seem to matter. I’m also drawn to adding texture to my paintings. Collage (papers, detritus, collected and dried vegetative matter). Modelling paste added to a canvas before painting. Palette knife painting. Anything to remain loose and abstract.
Goals for viewers:
The goal of my paintings is to draw the viewer in, to fill the viewer with emotion, to make the eye wander around the real estate of the painting. Up, right, left, down again. I want the viewer to stand back from a large creation, then inch forward to soak in the details. I want to challenge the viewer’s eye and assumptions. Cause the viewer to think, emote, breathe in the creation.
Bundling myself up and going for walks (snowshoeing/x-country skiing) helps stir up even more motivation and creativity. Fresh air clears my mind and allows colour (viewed, imaginary, and remembered) to seep in. Often the backgrounds of my paintings are desaturated with the main items punchy with colour. The underpainting (the layer of colour added after the substrate has been gessoed) is often bright. Then I begin the process of muting the vibrancy by moving paint using various techniques and materials (spraying, glazing, scrubbing, scrambling, acrylic inks, liquid acrylics, oil pastels, charcoal, to name a few).
Importance of Walks:
The image below was taken in mid-February. I remember that it was a particularly chilly morning. You can probably make out the accumulation of ice and frost layering the branches and buildings of my neighbour’s property. The bleakness is beautiful in an understated way. The portability of my smartphone with its decent built-in camera makes it easy to capture the mood this sort of landscape offers. Those ‘moods’ inform my painting (and writing).
Below is an underpainting for a acrylic floral (36 inches x 48 inches stretched canvas) I intend to enter into a large Ontario painting competition. Do you know what has been placed over the wet paint? It’s plastic wrap I’ve salvaged from a large canvas. Like many artists, I hate throwing anything out! Here I’m using the plastic film to manipulate the paint, to smear and create an underpainting filled with texture. Sometimes a hint of the colour will still manage to peak from the background into the finished painting.
Stay tuned for future blog post updates about the finished painting and how it does in the upcoming painting competition.
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