Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring and Easter

Spring is a late-comer in our part of the world this year and I for one am quite happy with the development.  Temperatures have been cooler and until the past couple days we have still had minus zero temperatures, factoring in wind chills.  However our area has been free of severe flooding or violent weather experienced elsewhere so the only complaint we could possibly have is …. The flowers last longer!

The photograph included was taken at 6 a.m. this morning. Hamilton is located on the shores of Lake Ontario and we are subject to heavy fog whenever air temperature changes quickly, so looks like we are in for warmer weather. Don’t you just love foggy mornings when objects are surrounded in soft veils of  silence and subdued light;  like finding a surprise around every corner.

‘Surprises’ reminds me of Easter egg hunts. When my children were younger I worked very hard to hide Easter goodies in many, many places and as they got older, in more difficult to find places. One Easter a friend arrived with a pot of poster paints and he proceeded to paint ‘bunny’ footprints all over the hardwood floors. Wherever I concealed a treat a trail led right to the hiding place. There were pink prints, yellow and green for ‘Mr. Rabbit’ had hopped on the flowers as he went from home to home. It took me forever to wash the prints away and they had to be removed a few at a time after the children were asleep. When I started to wash them away I was met with a wail from my five year old twins “the bunny prints mom, you can’t take away the bunny prints”.  So a new Easter tradition was added to our family. 

Unfortunately the children are now adults and the grand children are beyond the hunt stage so it is now all about a huge Easter dinner, and a bunny for my 47 year old eldest son.  Easter wouldn't be Easter for him without his favourite chocolate bunny!   After two ham  dinners this year I am ready for long walks in the cooler than usual spring air …. Walk away the calories!

Another sign of spring which I so enjoy is the arrival of ‘pussy willows’. I don’t know the correct name, I’ve just always called the catkins which appear on willows ‘pussy willows’. And for your enjoyment here are some I collected from this year’s bounty.

Back to painting tomorrow; today must be dedicated to filing my income tax!  Horrid chore!

Friday, April 22, 2011

People Watching


Yesterday marked the first day in over five years that I have taken public transit….and I must admit I had a very good day. I am a people watcher! I had forgotten how enjoyable it was to ride public transit and share space with so many people. I cannot go up to each of them and say “How Do You Do” and shake hands. As I taught my children eons ago …nor can I ask them ‘What’s your name and business?’ But I can watch and imagine.

I wonder who they are, where they are going and why. I wonder where they have been, what roads have taken them here. I wonder what their hopes and dreams might be. Such a diverse collection of people from many walks of life and from many ethnic groups.

The 6:40 a.m. trip comprised mostly business and work people; well groomed and well dressed in preparation for the day ahead. The 12:20 p.m. trip included a different mix of passengers entirely.

You could pretty well tell something about the early morning passengers – dressed for their respective jobs; from nurses to business or retail workers to construction or steel workers. But the afternoon group was a great guessing game. People who were very quiet and restrained; those who looked bone weary, others carrying on converations as though they were the only two people in the world.

I wondered why the young lady across from me looked so angry. Her entire demeanor was one of anger – her facial expression was tense, her mouth firmly set, a look in her eyes that could cut through steel at a hundred yards. About ten minutes into the ride; coming to the end of the bus route her expression changed from anger to such hurt and pain. Her eyes glistened with tears. I sort of wanted to give her hug and tell her all would be well.

So many in the afternoon crowd trying so hard to hold on to youth. I believe mini skirts should be left to the ‘mini age’. Well. at least not to the overweight and those sporting as many wrinkles as my three score and ten face! The lady next to me sported such a skirt and very, very expensive wrap around sunglasses! Granted her ‘bod’ was in pretty good shape but not her face. Or the lady with the brilliant sienna hair and green eyeshadow with a facial expression that denied approach.

Many expressions were just blank; as though if they didn’t look at anyone they could remain anonymous in the crowd. And I love the ones with the ‘music’ plugged into their ears ….chatting on hand held devices at the same time. So many now are what I call ‘plugged in’ with cords attached to their ears.

Interesting to check out their shopping as well. Mother’s with small children trying to conceal ‘easter goodies’ out of sight; an upscale boutique shop for the lady next to me; a couple grocery bags from the farmer’s market for some others.

Love people, love watching people. Love to sketch as well if I can do so without being ‘caught’!

The three portraits included are from people on the bus; the sitting figure was done from a distance at the bus terminal.

Enjoy.  And Happy Easter to all; however you celebrate.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good or Bad Paintings

A friend asked yesterday which painting I thought was my ‘best’ Immediately I knew which one I considered “my best”.

Interesting subject … how do we know when a painting is “good”, “excellent” or a “throw that one away"

I’ve never entered a juried show, and cannot anticipate every doing so; so don’t know the criteria established for these shows. Would some ‘jurist’ deny my ‘best’ as garbage, and by what measurement?

I was taught that a good drawing is the underlying precedent for a good painting; that without first identifying all compositional aspects in a drawing, the painting would not succeed. Sometimes, very rarely actually, I pay attention to all the aspects of a ‘good drawing’ …. Identifying scale, proportions, form of composition, emphasis, focal points, motion. Sometimes! Usually I simply work from an initial sketch and hope for the best.

It seems to me that ultimately a painting must ‘speak’, it must have a VOICE if you will!  First, to the artist saying ‘here I am, this is what “I” feel, this is what “I” see! The trick of course is to convey to the viewer the same message.

I look at the painting included here – which I’ve titled “Indigo” and I know what it says to me; I have personal reasons for considering this my best. From a compositional aspect or ‘design’ flow I see changes I should make; but will not as I may wind up altering the moment I ‘felt’ this painting. I will not divulge what I see or feel in this painting at this point because I am more interested to know what readers of this blog ‘feel’ when they view “Indigo”.

I firmly believe that a “good” work of art must move the viewer; must provoke thought and recognition of ‘something’ personal to that viewer.   What do you think of “Indigo” ? Does it speak in anyway to you?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Frost Along The Way - Palette Knife

And here I am once again.  Sometimes life just becomes too involved to allow free time to do what we would 'rather do' ... such as posting a blog.

Been very busy of late, not too much in pursuing my artistic endeavours.  Family and so much else. 

Returned my leased car; and I must admit being 'wheel less' hasn't quite registered yet.  Not paying the exhorbitant auto insurance rates is quite enjoyable!  My insurance went up nearly 40% for the next year ... and that is accident and ticket free!  Three areas in Ontario have been designated 'highest claim areas' and unfortunately Hamilton is one of the locations.   Consequently a $600 hike for the year.  So I've renewed my shoe leather, purchased a local transit pass and will be joining the masses standing in bus lines!

One thing I did miss recently was my computer.  My daughter took 'old Lizzie' away to try and load Windows 7.  It didn't work!  Looks like I am in the market for a new one soon.  In the meantime I now have my computer back as it was and all is right with the world!

Oh yes, right!  This is supposed to be my painting journal. 

Attached is another palette knife endeavour.  This one I call 'Frost Along the Way'.  Am loving working with the palette knife; but haven't been doing much lately.  The gallery where I displayed my work has closed shop so I am currently looking for a place to hang my paintings; all 32 of them.  Looking with little success; it seems no one wants to hang landscapes.  I am certain landscapes will again become the art purchase of choice; and my children will be able to unload them long after I have departed for sunnier climes!

Thinking about what I might paint next; perhaps work on some of the old trees I have sketched.  Without a car I will not be able to visit my favourite painting haunts and may have to change subject matter.  Perhaps being without a car will be beneficial in may ways. 

Meanwhile, enjoy the latest palette knife painting!