Sunday, September 27, 2009

Processing a Painting

First the emotional connection to the landscape, then the photo, followed by the pencil or watercolour sketch, finally a small oil sketch that may or may not become a large painting.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

World Rivers

Dipping white silk into the Devil's River for @fiddlehead 's World Rivers Project.
 World Rivers honors the vital life source that is in crisis today.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Intimate Landscape

 

 
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Two of the places in Parc Mont-Tremblant that I have been painting for over 20 years! I return to these waterfalls,woods and river every year. I have painted them in watercolours, acrylics, oils. I have sketched them and photographed them. I have come with friends, family, other artists, and alone. When one sits quietly and begins to look and listen, the landscape reveals herself, slowly at first but over the years, more and more intimately. Today when I returned, my being responded with the first sharp scent of forest, by dropping into an open relaxed state instantly. I could feel the colour green touch my eyes. The sound of the river soothed my head, cool forest air released muscle stiffness. I felt hair curl and skin soften with the moist air. My breathing slowed to match the rhythm of the woods ancient heart beat. I was home.

I sat and walked along the river for many hours, touching, smelling and listening to
a symphony of colour and sound. Today was a day of photographs for future paintings. Photos I will use to provoke memory of this sacred sanctuary that resides both inside and out.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blue Prairie Sky

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot




When I saw these photos that a friend recently took I realized that I had found my way home.
I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I started off as myself but lost course for a while, not in a bad way, in an exploratory way.
I was curious, I had to try things and see what worked and what didn't. Sometimes I fell,
sometimes I got stuck, sometimes I hurt myself or others but I usually managed to find
my way back to the path that wasn't all that obvious but at least I knew it was there if I
kept walking.

I have returned innocence to a prairie girl who grew up in the
Saskatchewan bush marveling at blue sky holes vibrating between
leaves of trembling aspens.
The sky wrapped around her like a blanket of emptiness
spilling her into an almost painful blue that verged on becoming purple.

She was taught about a sky god that rained blue beauty down
into her childhood world. A god that expressed anger in
thunder and wind and deep purple skies.
She learned to love thunder from her father
who taught her to smell storms and watch them pass
from the shelter of a doorway.

Now, in this moment, today,
my brush sweeps blue strokes
across the canvas and
there is no separation
anymore.
Sky, brush, blue, god are no longer words
separated by commas but have
become one undivided moment of clarity.
I let go into this lucidity
and am no longer a painter
but when painting I
become the blue prairie sky.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Opening to a Painting



This painting has been working me over for several days. It doesn't help that I am working within the frame of a large barn door and therefore fighting the elements as I paint! Wind, rain, mist, cold have all been by to visit in my barn studio lately. Often I welcome the rhythm of the weather as I paint in this enchanting studio but as high summer begins to blend into early autumn the light & air change, making painting more of a challenge in the barn.
When a painting feels like it is coming into being, it coincides with a certain knowing that starts to settle in my body. This piece was inspired by the interaction of the water and the rocks. The water falling, caressing, in constant flux and the rocks steady, slow presence allowing the falling water to polish & enhance its shapes. I have no idea what I wanted to say about this except that it was nudging me to say something so I started painting. More and more I know less and less about what I am beginning when I start, I have some vague images and ideas but mostly I let the paint guide me. Sometimes I start to become attached to the piece and really like it, which is almost as bad as when I hate it, both are attachments of some form and almost always stop the flow of the piece. Then I grumble and mumble about how much I dislike the whole process and loose confidence in my ability, doubt and insecurity start to creep in and gnaw at me. This is usually when I turn the painting toward the wall and start another piece, this other piece allows me to move out of my stuckness and open up new avenues of thought patterns and feelings to flow in different direcitons. I usually spend some time reading or writing as well. Lately I have been alternating between Rilke's Duino Elegies and The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying, both of which will inform my paintings with their words and ideas. However, so will everything I see, think and feel during this time. When engaged in a painting, everything becomes the painting; the cactus flowers I saw today, the rainbow that arched over the barn, the small grey cat that came to visit, the warm smile of my friend Luis, the tears in a good-bye, the dripping of water into buckets from the leaky barn roof, the patterns of the clouds sweeping across the sky. All of life fuses, becoming an intensely intricate pattern of beauty that pours into paint like liquid silver...I finally let go, and NOW I am painting! Soaring through the empty sky with no limits!