Saturday, August 31, 2013

From the Deep Forest

 These two paintings are finally complete. I feel as though I have been on a journey deep within the mossy, wooded gardens of my own interiorority which is reflected outward as these silent, thrumming paintings.

Erratic Moment / Deep Forest I, 36" x 48" acrylic on canvas

Resting Ground / Deep Forest II, 36" x 48" acrylic on canvas

Monday, August 19, 2013

Three New Waterfalls

Tumbling into Ecstasy / 60" x 40" / oil on canvas
 I'm not sure what it is about falling water and rocks but I can't seem to get enough of them.
I love to sculpt the rocks with brush and pigment onto canvas and then paint those swirls of flowing, tumbling water that erupts over and around the ancient rock. I love the relationship the water has with the rock. One so solid and unmoving the other so fluid and full of movement, perfect partners.

Carving Rock / 60" x 40" / acrylic on canvas

The two paintings above were inspired by the same place, different times, different moods, different energies. No one moment is like another and so it is with paint and painting. If I painted the same place over one hundred times, each painting would be different. Every moment is fresh, alive and new when we are able to see it that way.

"Rough and Tumble" is a smaller piece that was painted with much love for this erratic tumble of rocks. A place in the forest where the light and the water are left to play and tumble across the rock's surfaces in an endless choreography of changing beauty.

Rough & Tumble / 30" x 24" / acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How to Become an Artist

  “The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” ~Auguste Rodin

I was inadvertently asked the question, "how do you become an artist?" the other day and I have been thinking about this. When did I "become" an artist? I think I am still "becoming" and hope I will always be on this journey to becoming. I am continually filled with doubt and discomfort about my status as "artist".

The first step to "becoming" would be listening to your soul speak to you. In my case, it never stopped speaking to me from the first moments I can remember. Life spoke to me through the trees and the forests, the wind and the sky, the light and the shadows. As a child I knew that I was a part of all this and could never be disconnected from it if I wanted to feel alive. I could not have articulated this in words but I knew it deep down in my bones. I found I could express this connection with shapes and colors better than i could with words.

Finding your voice as an artist is not easy. The first attempts are sloppy and difficult. Learning to master your tools and have the self discipline to stay the course in spite of all the voices around you telling you that this is not a rational life choice are all grist for the mill.
Learning not to take rejection personally, learning to stand up again after your ego takes blow after blow, learning to develop a strong enough ego to contain all that bubbles up to the surface from the unconscious when you start to paint seriously. There is much to learn and navigate and unless you find a strong mentor, much of this road must be navigated alone.

My advice would be this: Find your voice by painting steadily for at least a year. Sequester yourself and listen within during this period, find your own way apart from all the outside influences and opinions. Once you have done this develop a strong body of work and then, and only then, create a professional portfolio to introduce yourself to the outside world.

Now you are ready to bring the outside world in and you will find your own natural rhythm in this. For me summer is a more extroverted energy, the out breath, where I attend shows, exhibit my work, travel with my paintings, do artist talks, look at other art and so on. Winter is my inhale time. I slow down, turn inward, read more, hunker down in my studio and let the impressions of the summer emerge onto the canvas.

Other thoughts and suggestions:
  •  Always use the best materials you can afford
  • Open your heart to beauty and grace, they are happening all around us
  • Be courageous and listen within
  • Fiercely protect your creative time and space
  • Be kind to other artists, there are always those greater and lesser than us.
  • Share with and encourage other artists
  • Look beyond the visible surface of things and feel the life force beneath.
  • Spend time alone in nature
  • Go to as many gallery openings as you can
  • Spend time looking at great art
  • Stay humble
  • Listen
  • Stay on the edge, never get too comfortable with your work
  • Stay passionate and keep the work alive
  • Never stop "becoming"
“Beauty is the illumination of your soul.” ~John O’Donohue

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Clouds, Rivers, Rain and Paint

Lac Ouimet in the Morning

In spite of very erratic weather with rain and sun exchanging places constantly throughout the week-end, the Domaine St Bernard managed to charm all who attended the annual Art Symposium.

 The shifting clouds and light created some of the most fantastic skies as a backdrop for the week-end.

 This was the seventh annual Art Symposium held at Domaine St Bernard, which is a beautiful land trust looked after by the town of Mont-Tremblant with acres of forested trails and the peace and calm of the former monastery which first created the domain.

 Having lived in Tremblant for almost 30 years, many old friends dropped by to visit during the week-end which made the event very fun and meaningful for me.

 Though each artist had only a small space in which to exhibit the informal nature of the show and the generosity of the organizers makes it a fun event! This is one of the few shows I attend where the artists are not required to pay a fee and we are even given a lovely brunch on Sunday as well as lunches and breakfasts throughout the week-end! A great group of artists participated and its always fun to share and exchange thoughts and ideas with other artists.

 There were sculptors as well as painters on location and many created fine pieces of artwork during the week-end.

 Several cash prizes were given at the closing ceremonies and I was most honored to receive one of the "Judge's Choice" awards which was a nice way to end the week-end.

 The next morning before heading back to the city I dropped in on my beloved river, La Rivière du Diable. The river was singing her lovely roar as I sat on a rock in the warm morning sun, absorbing her river energy.

 As always, I feel nourished and replenished by the rocks and river. I am now back in Montreal and heading to the studio to release that river roar onto canvas.

 It never ceases to amaze me when I sit with the river or forest, even for a short period of time, how much my awareness is elevated and opened to the abundance of beauty surrounding us everywhere.

Life is beautiful.

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