Stepping Stones

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There are necessary exercises, explorations and disappointments needed to arrive at the next painting.
Even within individual expressions there are moments when one may feel lost. I had to abandon this painting on location to leave it for another day when I felt a bit sharper.

Like trying to make way over waters of uncertainty, an artist must choose a Continue reading

Antiquity

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Last week I attended artist Robert Genn’s celebration of life and realized even more how much he and his art contributed to his family, friends and admirers.

The late artist’s antique Bentley was parked outside as if he had arrived in it to be with us – perhaps he had. I snapped a picture going in and then felt compelled to paint the car when I left.

It was getting late however, so I decided to do a quick Continue reading

Positive and Negative

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Today I did this oil on location of a little jar of wild flowers on Galiano as the sun was setting.

It was a cloudy day at first that came with some negative feelings about motivation. I fought it all day with positive endeavours like my warm up exersices, hiking up the mountain, eating good meals and having a nap.

Close to the end of the day, I got to my easel to try building a little Plein Air painting. The first strokes turned to areas I could paint around to make “negative” shapes which allowed my eye to focus on the positive ones I built up with paint later.

In this context negative supports the positive. I think in my day it did as well.

May you have a positive experience along those that seem negative – In the end it’s all about balance. And may your day end well too. Jane

Seeing

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In this world of visual art it seems that each new painting starts with seeing. Seeing what is in front of us, what is inside of us and what is about to be. Visualization becomes as important as implementation of the artist’s past experiences and skills. Painting, I have found, is a balance between imagination and reality where both live on the same page with endless explorations occurring simultaneously right before ones eyes. For me it is like watching a good drama: I see the paint become my characters, the colour their mood and intensity their expression. This then involves looking intently while filtering out for a moment what is to be included or not. It is a look and see process. Then the whole thing starts all over again like a similar story unfolding yet with a different ending. Seeing is believing and believing is seeing. I think it is good to practice “seeing” all that we can. If it seems difficult, perhaps we should ask for “better sight”. Jane

How Long?

Galiano Vista 34 x 55 Oil on Canvas, Painted on location

I am often asked: “How long did that take you to paint?” With a smile I like to say that it took me “a lifetime”. This Galiano piece for instance took many small plain air paintings to become familiar with the place and ways to paint it. The larger work could not have been accomplished without the previous ones. It also took a number of abstract expressions as practice of my brushwork and working with compliments of colour in preparation for the large canvas I was to paint. I believe a good painting doesn’t necessarily take long to paint but requires the expertise and experience gained up to that point and the openings to creativity. My experiences influence my paintings more than time and my emotions more than reality. Sometimes a quickly painted work can hold as much interest and be pleasing in some way than one laboured over for hours and hours. That’s because art is not so much about the time taken to finish as what the artist brings to it, using every part of who they are. This is also how style forms. In the end a painting can have a powerful influence….and in a way becomes timeless and often priceless. May we cherish our time and keep in mind that we too are priceless no matter how long we take to become who we are meant to be. Jane

Creative Passion

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Discovering Creativity – What is its fascination? It can be all consuming, the only focus of the entire day and even an obsession of sorts. It may involve a different start, a thought captured on paper, another unfolding journey perhaps down an untried path, a new process, unusual materials or even a mistake. These all fuel the fire for more creating and more discoveries. The mundane, unchanged and essential practices, however, are just as important to creating and may even build creative passion. The creative activity becomes a temporary retrieve from the usual situations so to include them willingly may actually help. Passions need not be obsessive and the difference between obsessions and passions I believe, is that obsessions tend to own and drain you while passions free you to create. I have found that there is not one particular way to keep one’s creative passion alive and trial and error seem to be the best teacher. Creative passion can be practiced by being trustingly open to receiving this gift, which I believe we are predisposed to, whether its in solitude, by making conversation or taking action. It takes a certain choice to let go of control and a thankfulness for what we can do and what we have ….even if it is an empty canvas, since a lot can happen from there. Are we willing to surrender to it? Jane