This week we did, in class, a still life with fruit. Unfortunately, for reasons that don’t really matter, I was completely uninspired and bereft of creative thoughts and my painting showed it. It was too dark & unfocused, in other words a real mess. As I have discovered, however, painting is a process of problem solving and when I have something that is destined for the garbage I like to play a little and see what I can do. From my workshop with Stephen Quiller this summer I was very impressed by how much he uses ‘subtraction’ in his work. In other words he frequently lays on paint and then lifts some of it out. In some of his demos he would lay a cool neutral wash over the entire paper and then lift out sections in which he would paint very bright trees for example. It was a natural and planned part of his painting process. In the above painting I thought rather than throw it out directly I would engage in some lifting. I found the result very interesting. The lifting is particularly visible in the fruit on the left which I felt became a very interesting shape. The dark fruit on the left went from basically a dark blob to a dark blob with some character. This particular work may still make it’s way to the garbage but it certainly became a different experience after extensive lifting out.
This version of the same scene was done primarily in class. It uses another approach to colour, namely, using a mother colour. In this case the mother colour was phthalo turquoise. Every colour used in this picture contains some phthalo turquoise. Personally, over the years, I have had some difficulties managing my colour choices so I have appreciated having limitations on the colours I use. It has enabled me to gain a better understanding of colour.
These paintings use exactly the same composition and 2 different analagous colour schemes. It helped me to have a limited palette like this. It enabled me to concentrate more on the value. I was particularly pleased with the composition. I took 2 old photos I had, one of the mountains and one of the foreground and combined them in composition that, I feel, holds together.
Last January I was shown a really interesting way of recording the significant events for a full year. Towards the end of the year I became aware of the idea of Altered Books and I was intrigued to try to combine these 2 ideas ie record the significant events from the year in an artistically interesting way. The above image shows the front and back covers of my journal. It was a very spontaneous and liberating experience trying to start with the book’s graphics and then embellishing and playing with them. The front cover was done as a collaborative project with Susan Sauve. The back cover was a totally spontaneous, free form activity. I found this process a whole lot of fun.