Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"September fattens on vines.
Roses flake from the wall.
The smoke of harmless fires drifts to my eyes.
This is plenty. This is more than enough."
Geoffrey Hill

oil on canvas
30x40in, 2009

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Daughter turned 23 today—Happy Birthday Liah! Unfortunately (for me) she is living ‘across the pond’ In her younger years, to earn her keep, she had to model for me….A few excerpts from my ‘Big Girls/Little Girls’ series (excuse the poor photos) 

Mother's Intuition
acrylic on canvas
48x60in, 1999

Man in the Mirror
oil on canvas
36x48in,  1999

The Day Molly got loose and chased Everyone out of the Pool
7x12in, 1999


Saturday, August 21, 2010

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sunKent Nerburn.

August Remains of the Day
oil on canvas
10x30in, available

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sometimes I wish that I were happy just to work in the studio as it sure would make things less cumbersome re hiking and lugging my gear. Alas, I find if I don’t get outside among the bugs, itchy grasses and sudden rain it just doesn’t complete me. I guess I like the challenge of making quick decisions from direct observation and I find I get to that ‘ high mentioned in the previous post in no time—mind you I lose it just as quickly, usually because of impatience. Art~making teaches us so much wherever we are.

There is a hill behind my property that I have painted just recently but I have not worked from it in years. Well I climbed it yesterday with my French easel, found a lovely shady location under the old apple tree (image a few posts ago), and I think I will work from there for a few paintings. I like looking downward and beyond and it is very close to my home so I can access it quickly~and vacate it quickly if need be…which is what I did in the image below to escape the storm. It is rendered on top of a few unsuccessful paintings~ I was waiting for an almost rainy day, as I wanted the texture from the old underpaintings to emulate rain.

oil on canvas
10x30in, 2010


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A few months ago I was commissioned to paint a ‘wild’ garden.
The client has a number of my paintings and loves my style, which always makes it easier—actually I refuse commissions if the interested party is not familiar with my work. I think most of us agree that we put added pressure on ourselves when it comes to a commission. Personally speaking I want to envision and embody what the client ‘sees’ and for them to embrace my response.
As research for this commission I visited a number of gardens for possible paint sites and forwarded these images to the client. In his reply it was clear that he was worried re a disconnect in our ‘vision’. Here I was concerned about representing specific gardens, and did he want a road, or building, in the background etc. In turn, he envisioned a visual smorgasboard of colour, movement, and life through shapes, line, colour and texture and for the culmination to take him to other places-I was so relieved!
Even with carte blanche to ‘go for it’ I still require a starting off point, and I work out what to incorporate and where..So over the last few weeks I have been painting small studies of colour and movement from my own garden, which was liberating because I know it so well. Below is an example. I’ve also been plucking up these sacrificial flowers as reference and my studio is filled with honey jars of individual blossoms. Some wilt faster than others so I really have to coordinate my timing re flower picking and painting!

When I immerse myself into the physicality of painting it is in anticipation of the ‘endorphin’ high-where the painting takes over and transcends. For me the only way to achieve this as well as a meditative state in the studio is through guaranteed big- fat- chunks- of time—time with absolutely no interruptions other than bathroom breaks, food and water. ( I'd be fine in jail if I could bring my paints!) I always begin my workday with a long dog run in the field to inspire me -and to wear them out so I can work work work. I am hoping to have that, and the painting, finished (and approved) soon! Then maybe the air will cool and my schedule will clear and I can get back out for some fresh plein air.

August, Remains of the Day
oil on canvas
8x10in, SOLD


Friday, August 6, 2010

"Summer's lease hath all too short a date."
- William Shakespeare

August, Remains of the Day
oil on canvas
16x20in, SOLD


Sunday, August 1, 2010


The last few days have seen me holed up inside doing ‘art business’ i.e. the dreaded artist statement/submissions etc—a nightmare- for me at least.  Part of it though was researching other artists and I came across some really inspiring quotes from one of my my  ‘art heroes’  Emily Carr.  So I thought I’d share and have listed them  below.
 Also, an ‘August’ painting rendered a few years ago –the one that ‘got away’ so to speak.. I don’t know about other artists, but there are some paintings I wish I had of hung on to- this is one of them…

August, Remains of the Day
oil on canvas, triptych
36x36in, 2007


How badly I want that nameless thing! First there must be an idea, a feeling... Maybe it was an abstract idea that you've got to find a symbol for, or maybe it was a concrete form that you have to simplify or distort to meet your ends, but that starting point must pervade the whole.”

“The spirit must be felt so intensely that it has power to call others in passing, for it must pass, not stop in the pictures.”

“There are no words, no paints to express all this, only a beautiful dumbness in the soul, life speaking to life.” “

I think that one's art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows.” “

I was not ready for abstraction. I clung to earth and her dear shapes, her density, her herbage, her juice. I wanted her volume, and I wanted to hear her throb.”

Be careful that you do not write or paint anything that is not your own, that you don't know in your own soul.”

“There is a need to go deeper, to let myself go completely, to enter into the surroundings in the real fellowship of oneness, to lift above the outer shell, out into the depth and wideness where God is the recognized centre and everything is in time with everything, and the key-note is God.”

“Look at the earth crowded with growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silent, live ground, each seed according to its own kind... each one knowing what to do, each one demanding its own rights on the earth... So, artist, you too from the deeps of your soul... let your roots creep forth, gaining strength.”