Author Archive

Unfinished Business

 

Hi there.

I know. It’s been quite a while since I posted last and I don’t really have an excuse. Sure, I’ve had weeks here and there where I’ve been busy but it’s mainly about applying the butt to the chair and just doing it!

I must admit to having experienced a period of doubt lately. I’ve been in a few shows recently and watched as other artists sold their work. I’m happy for them but that ever-present dormant seed of doubt in my ability started growing and last weekend grabbed a hold. I always get great compliments about my work but few sales. I was beginning to think to myself, “Why do I bother?” and then I decided that the reason I bother is not for anyone else but for myself. I don’t want to change what I do to please others. What I paint is who I am. It’s a glimpse inside my head and how I see my world. Take it or leave it.

As sometimes happens I will paint gleefully for quite a while working my way through an idea and producing a handful of paintings that I feel happy with. I knew I wasn’t finished with the series of Horizon paintings I had been working on earlier this year, and I had always intended doing more. Somehow I got stalled. Yes, I worked fitfully on various small pieces showing different subjects but I could still hear that spaciousness calling me.  At last I’m back at the easel with my big brush and this time the paintings will be more atmospheric, more ‘meaty’. The first few paintings in the series are mostly sunny and bright, as if at midday, or at the latest early afternoon. These new ones will be larger and about subjects like the beginning or the end of the day, maybe a storm, perhaps the mystery of fog, or whatever surfaces from the paint.

The painting shown in this post is the first one of this bit of unfinished business and is a work-in-progress. It’s a fiery sunset and it measures 18″ x 36″ . It’s not finished yet but is coming together quite well. Onward and upward!!

Blessings, Georgina


Strength and Vulnerability

Yellow Tulips

 

This painting was for a demo with a student. The flowers were a mixed bunch of yellow and white and I painted the white ones as yellow. I added the fallen petals and leaves to add interest and balance to the lower part of the painting. I started the demo using the live flowers but took photographs for future sessions as they wouldn’t last of course.

I enjoy painting flowers for the challenges they give me. There are plenty of opportunities for solving the issues of light, colour and values. Flowers are solid yet translucent and delicate. Creating the balance between strength and vulnerability is one of the puzzles. These tulip stems have the strength to hold up the beautiful bowl of the flower to the light but both stem and flower can be crushed in an instant. Strength goes hand in hand with vulnerability.

Hmmmm, we can learn a lot from flowers. I will continue to explore the challenges.


An Unexpected Gift

The New Coat

A couple of weeks ago I took a drypoint etching workshop with accomplished printmaker Candice Moen Perry. I’d signed up for the workshop way back in October after she gave a demo at the art society I belong to. I had done some printmaking many years ago at art college and I’ve always liked the linear quality and texture of etching. It’s very akin to drawing which I enjoy too.

When I arrived for the workshop on the first of two afternoons I was surprised to find that I was the only student. Some others had signed up but had dropped out one by one. I was expecting to be told that the class was cancelled, but Candice was adamant that she was still going ahead because she could tell that I was really interested in learning the technique. I felt very privileged having this private workshop and the weekend turned out to be a wonderful experience. As we talked we discovered that we both were working on similar projects and shared our ideas about them. I learned a lot more than just how to make a drypoint etching. 

 The process that Candice uses is very different to how I originally learned. Instead of carving into a metal plate and using stinky inks Candice uses plexiglass and water based inks – still messy but easy to clean up and not so smelly. For reference I used an enlarged copy of an old black and white photo of myself when I was about four or five. The photo was taken in the tiny, concrete covered back yard of the row house we lived in at the time. I don’t look very comfortable, do I? The contrast of me in my finery against this backdrop of broken fence, bricks and factory chimneys appealed to me. 

Laying the plexi over my photo I carved the lines into the plexi with an etching tool – a sharp pointed stylus. The plate was then inked and run through the printing press to make a test print.  The process of completing the plate involved trial runs through the press until I was happy with the image. I then printed a limited edition run of five prints (see #1 above). I’m very pleased with the results and now I want to do more as I have quite a few ideas I want to try.

Thanks to the generosity of a fellow artist willing to respect my committment to learning I had a wonderful weekend. I consider the whole weekend as a gift. Not only did I get to rediscover a medium I hadn’t worked in for many years, but I also got to enjoy the sharing of knowledge and experiences.

Georgina


Life is Full of Surprises

"Gulf Island Beach"

 

You never know what the day will bring. In December 2012 I participated in the 3rd Annual Peninsula Art Tour – a two-day event which showcases many artists in my local area. I had a great time with the four other artists I shared a space with, received lots of wonderful comments about my work but alas no sales – until close to the end of the first day. A lady approached me and asked if I was Georgina and did I still have the print of one of my paintings that she had seen on the previous year’s tour. I said I did and could bring it the next day if she was willing to come back. She replied, “Of course”. ( The piece is called “Gulf Island Beach” – see above). She explained that she and her husband had been looking for a piece for above their fireplace for about five years, and they had not seen anything they liked until they saw my print on the 2011 tour. She had emailed me through my website that night but somehow I hadn’t received it. She saw my name on the list of artists for the 2012 tour and had made a special trip to find me. I was pleased with the sale, of course, but even more touched by her comments, and by the fact that she had sought me out. Something for me to remember – it’s not always about the money.

Blessings, Georgina


Where Earth Meets Sky

Mirage I

Mirage II

Mirage III

 

These are the first three paintings in my new series “Where Earth Meets Sky”

We as a species evolved on the savannahs of East Africa, and built into our cognitive and neural systems, especially our visual systems, is this concept of the horizon line. To be able to see the horizon made us feel secure. We could see if an enemy or dangerous animal was approaching. We could see the changing weather and we could see if there was anything out there to eat or even a fellow human to take as a mate.

The image of the horizon with a big sky has always captured my imagination and I have used it in a number of my paintings. I respond to the expansive, airy openness of the vista. Recently I have wanted to explore the possibilities of the image further and have worked at distilling the idea into a simpler concept. The paintings are still recognizable as landscapes but the idea is pared down. You could call them semi-abstract, but each one still evokes a sense of place, and maybe sometimes a certain feeling of the loneliness of that junction where the earth meets the sky.


En Plein Aire

“Lightkeeper’s House, Georgina Point, Mayne Island” began as a plein air (in the open air) painting. I was staying on the island for a few days with a friend who also is a student of mine. We wanted to do some sketching and painting outdoors and managed to fit in a couple of painting sessions and a sketching session. 

The weather was quite sunny and this particular day also quite hot. As the sun rose higher the shadows naturally were constantly changing. I took a photograph of the house just after I began so I would have a reference photo to work from later and spent the rest of the time working on shapes and colours.


Dry Spell Update

 

Self Portrait as a Child

Zentangle 1

Zentangle 2

Zentangle 3

Zentangle 4

 

I actually wrote the previous post a few weeks ago and didn’t get around to posting it. I posted it now to remind myself of the “ups and downs” of the creative process. Since writing that post I’ve been teaching and also working on and completing a self portrait as a child.  I’ve been playing with other creative outlets too. I discovered the doodle art called “zentangle”. I’ve always loved to doodle but this is doodling on steroids! It’s fun and it allows me to indulge my love of pattern and design. Oh, and it’s very addictive!

I recently spent some time on Mayne Island, one of the gulf islands of British Columbia. I was accompanied by a friend who also is a student of mine. We did some plein air (in the open air)  painting, some sketching and generally enjoyed being artists which did involve drinking quite a bit of wine. I’ve since finished a small painting (10″ x 10″ ) that I began on one of our plein air sessions. It’s of the lighthouse keeper’s house on Georgina Point – yes, believe it or not I do have a point!

I also resurrected some writing I had done many years ago and spent a couple of weeks tweaking the poems and then designing and producing a small book for my own enjoyment.

This “playing” is getting my creative juices going and I plan to complete at least three paintings by the end of September.

Blessings, Georgina


Dry Spell

Feeling a bit adrift right now. After finishing the “Art of Dessert” series I can’t seem to settle into anything. This is not new for me. I usually feel a let down after I finish a project but this time the down phase is lasting much longer. I have a few ideas but nothing that “wows” me. Maybe that’s ok. Maybe I just need to sit with things for a while and let them percolate. I’m not sure I want to dive into anything so focussed as the last few paintings I did.

I find  myself dealing with feelings of expectations – my own and of others. All in my head of course, but they’re still there. The voices that whisper, “Maybe those last paintings were a fluke. Perhaps you can’t really paint. Maybe you’ve lost it or never had it. Who are you trying to fool?”. I try not to pressure myself too much but as each day passes without something started on the easel I get more concerned.

The general consensus from friends, relatives and respected artists is the element of “play”. I have to change my perception of what I do – more play less work. I do have an urge to experiment more with materials, working with texture and colour – something more abstract. And using different shapes of  canvas in larger sizes too.  I think that’s the way I need to go. I need to create art that satisfies me while resisting the old habit of  getting too detailed or fussy. I need a break to try different styles, different colours and to loosen up my “painting muscles”.


Had My Cake and Didn’t Eat it Too

Last of five. "Black Forest Cake"

 

Well, it’s done! This is the last of five paintings for the “Art of Desserts” series. I completed the challenge I gave myself a few months ago to paint this series of cakes, and I’m feeling pretty good about the way they turned out. The original idea was to paint six but as the series developed I felt that five was better – and odd numbers are always better than even ones. The cakes are currently part of a show I have in a local coffee shop/gallery.


The Art of Dessert

My progress on this project has been slow but steady and I’m pleased with the results. I’m having fun finding interesting fabrics for the backgrounds and matching them with the subjects. As a one-time fabric designer and quilter I love fabric and I’m enjoying playing with pattern and texture. The paintings are starting to take on the quality of portraits, something that I hadn’t thought of when I started. Each one has developed a definite character and evokes a different feeling. I had deliberately chosen to make these paintings appear “over the top” – highly decorative with  the patterned fabric and diplayed in ornate gold frames. This now seems to support the “portrait” idea. I wanted to celebrate the art of the cakemaker and now I see I have an added message – cakes have personality! 

I’m  finding that the cakes don’t change much over time – they just get hard and stale –  but any fruit garnish tends to shrivel after a few days. The frosting doesn’t change  either, in appearance anyway. I take photos of the subjects in position at the beginning so I have a reference for later when things start to age. I’ve finished the fourth one so I just have one more to do to complete the challenge I gave myself. I’m sure I’ll have them all done by the deadline of late April.