Thursday, June 30, 2011

Back at NAC

Here I am back at the Nanaimo Art Council Gallery (NAC). It is a little busier today since art works are coming in for the July Show Case. However, overall this part of the mall is pretty bleak. I particularly find the music that comes from somewhere to left down the hallway to be awful! It is a female voice singing the same boring songs every time - but I think I only hear the odd note.

The music was so depressing that I took a techno-risk and put a Mozart CD into the portable radio/cassette/CD player.It didn't take too long to figure out I had it in upsdie down. The music is so lovely compared to wailing in the hall - but possible a bit loud for Odette who is working in the back office. When she goes I will turn it up!

Well - I decided to put my 2 tree paintings in the NAC July Juried Show Case. I have very mixed feelings about them - they are both so busy! But what the heck - they are now in the show. I don't think they are any more appalling than Faye's paintings of the north some of which I actually really like. They are sitting on the floor with other entries waiting to be hung on Monday. Someone bringing in her own work for the show commented that they reminded her of Emily Carr and Van Gogh. I was astounded - because those are the two artists I have been studying lately. It appears that they have influenced my painting! Probably the combination is Emily Carr forests with a Van Gogh pallette. Very interesting!

One reason I put them in is that I think art needs to be seen. Art is a social medium and it can't just sit at home and still be social. However, I have some questions about jurying. There are clearly standards that can be set - but the great modern artists (including Carr and Van Gogh) did there best to break with the standards of their day. Neither of them made any money with their art - though both were somewhat recognized by the deaths. So - my conclusion - put it up and don't pay any attention to the jurying.

A seond reason for bringing them in is that art is now my main continuing interest. This came to me strongly yesterday when Mike and I went to Vancouver Public Library for a celebration of a new book on BC library history. I realized that I was still very passionate about public libraries - especially the author's point about libraries sharing resources. Public libraries will probably never be well-funded so they have to take the meager resources they have and share them. I don't see this as a problem - I see it as a lovely challenge. Very few of us have all the resources we would like to have - and that makes us more diligent, careful, and caring. I think supporting individual learning, offering escapism from the drudgery and shortness of life, and supporting democracy - through sharing - are the most admirable things about public libraries. However, I am no longer directly invovled in all this great library stuff - so I need something else to distract me from shortness and drudgery of life. There is a lot that does that - family, gardening, boating, travel learning about new things - and now there is also painting and it can be BIG!

Another reason is that I put up my problematic paintings is that am taking prednesone for my asthma and sinusitis and it is beginning to make me a little hyper and insensitive to risk. So, just before it was time to come in for my 2 shifts today, I saw my paintings on the mantel piece and decided to bring them in.

The odd thing is that most people who come in won't look at me. I guess they just want to look around or maybe they are afraid I will try to sell them something. That is a problem - especially when you think art should be social!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bastion painting

Today I worked for about 4 hours on my painting of the Nanaimo Boat Basin - featuring the Bastion. I have pretty much covered the entire canvas with oily paint - it is no longer the wash I did yesterday.

I think the photos looks very good - actually better than the painting! The stairs up to the upper level are beginning to look realistic and I like the look of the Coast Bastion Hotel. I think I will simplify the area where the ramp meets the dock by eliminating the curly handrails that are hard to indicate correctly. I will also put some yellow green at bottom left side (on the floating palapa) to carry thate colour through the painting. I'l probably also deal with the bare piece of wall below the Bastion by covering it with oak branches - which are actually there in the photo. That will bring the reddish colour right across the painting - but I may make it a bit more orangish to contrast with the turquoise of light poles. Those turquoise poles - a real feature of the Nanaimo Waterfront. Then I need to work on the flags - which will be a main feature of this painting - a windy day in early spring!

I took it on my Samsung Android and emailed it to myself. It came as a read-only file - but - we now have new photo editing software by Serif. This is the first time I have used that software and it allowed me to save the read-only file as a regular jpeg. So here it is!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Photos of Recent Paintings

Last evening I thought I would put up photos when I got home. However, I was a bit to tired and hungry after my stint at NAC. Here are pictures of all my recent paintings.

First, here is a photo of the revised painting I formerly called "VIU Forestland." I think I have done all I can to this painting and am calling it DONE. As mentioned yesterday, I think it is too busy. My usual style is much more simplified - but it has been a big learning experience working on it. I now have it sitting on the mantel piece in the living room and I find it quite mesmerizing. I am renaming it "Ammonite Falls Path - December."

Second, here is a picture of the final version of my maple in bud painting. I had thought I had taken the photo I was using as my inspiration in Linley Valley a couple of years ago. Every time we walked in Linley Valley I would search for that maple - but I could not find it. Then, in May, I found it when we were walking on Newcastle Island. I happened to be thinking of my maple in bud painting when I suddenly saw it in front of me on the trail near the lake. I was completely blown away!for such a long time I had thought of the tree as being in Linley Valley. I had even sent the photo to the City of Nanaimo in support of making the Crown Land in Linley Valley part of the Linley Valley Park. Anyway - it is on Newcastle. This painting is also very busy - probably because I was using smaller brushes than I usually do. It is also on the mantel piece and, in a strange way, I quite like it. Like it or not, it is DONE! I am calling it "Maple Tree in April."

Thank goodness those two forest paintings are now done. They were so hard to do! The fact I couldn't achieve my vision for them made me feel as if my first 5 paintings and my art show were just a fluke.

But they are DONE and I've now moved on to 3 new paintings.

Third, here is the initial painting of a fishboat with Protection Island behind it. I started it on June 12.

Fourth, here is the initial painting of a fishboat with Bowen Island in background, also started on June 12. I actually started it first.

Fifth, and here is the initial painting of the Nanaimo Boat Basin with Bastion. I started it today, June 25, 2011.

I hope I will be able to do a good job on these three paintings. I want them to be simple and structured with no busy detail and lots of light - but, at the same time, I want them to fairly accurately represent the subjects without being to cliched.

As I was waiting for Blogger to upload these images I was thinking how lucky I am to live on the West Coast of Canada. When people working in my time zone go to bed (as I need to do) there are very few other people up working - because - until you get to Japan, hardly anyone lives to the west. So - my idea is - I get much better internet service working here late at night than I would anywhere else on the continent!

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24 - and what do I have to show for it?

It's true. It's June 24 and I have hardly done any art for almost 2 months.

But - here I am at the Nanaimo Arts Council Gallery putting in my first of three shifts for June. That must count for soemthing. Or maybe it just takes away from my painting time.

It is pretty quiet. 2 hours have gone by and only 2 people have come in. One was a most interesting woman. . She is newly arrived from White Rock and may join the Arts Council. She is about my age and interested in things people my age like - art, gardening, eating... She is so mad that the deer are ruining her garden. We had a great chat!

Well, I did do a bit of art during the past 2 months. I can't put any pictures up becuase they are still on my camera and I didn't bring it to NAC - so I will just write about them.

First a reworked my painting of the VIU Forestland. I spent a lot of time trying to make it more interesting and finished. I mainly put a lot more mauve in space between the trees trunks and changed the point from where the light was centred. Then I worked for days and days on my April Maple. I made the light between the maple trees quite orange and worked hard to get the firs and cedars working. I now declare both those forest paintings done. They are sitting in my art room and they are driving me crazy. They are so busy! I know the forest is busy and full of details - but - up close - this is too much! I think my problem is that the brushes I used were too small - so I ended up with too many brush stokes and squiggles.However, they are done and that is the end of it.

A couple of days ago I started 2 new paintings of a fish boat which I photographed from our boat off Protection Island a year or so ago. I used a large brush to sketch it in and was very careful to get the proportions right. For example, the trolling poles are much longer than the hull - which I didn't realize at first. That meant I had to redo the excellent sketch I had made of the first boat to make it the right size for the poles and canvas I decided the paintings could be a pair. That meant I had to redo the second boat to get it at the same level of the canvas as the first boat painting. I also worked at roughing in the sky and islands in the background on both paintings. I actually like them both a lot in their preliminary state.

My next plan is to start a third painting. This will be of Nanaimo Harbour with the Baston in it somewhere. Once that is sketched, I will work on all three paintings at the same time. Hopefully I'll be able to make a good job of all of them. My aim is bold and calm - so busy as my 2 forest paintings.

The other art thing I did over the last 2 months was the read the life of Van Gogh. My book has copies of all his paintings interspersed with his life story. I love the colours in his French paintings and I love his sense of design. But I don't think I will ever paint like him. I read this book whilel we were out crusing on our samll boat for 3 weeks.

The rest of my time was spent working in the garden and working on my parents slides. I moved a lot of plants around int he garden - and it looks good. I think it will look even better next year. Having the deer fence has made a huge difference. I figure my parents took and kept about 5000 slides and the slide carousel boxes were cluttering up my art room. Mike and looked at every slide and threw away about 2/3s. of them. The next thing will be to get them put on a CD so we can actually look at them occasionally and share them with other family members. I guess both things sort of count as art - but I need to get back to actual painting if I still want to be an artist.

I will put up photos of my forest paintings and preliminary boats paintings when I get home. That will be after supper - I am already starving and still have 1 hour and 20 minutes to go and no-one else seems to be dropping in!