Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 18 - Jessica

Here is a painting I just did of my mother, Jessica. 

It is based on a photo taken of her in about 1965 when she was about 50 years old. We used the original photo in her obituary and on the mass booklet for her funeral. This interpretation has her wearing the yellow jacket my parents had at about that time. We all took turns wearing it - when we forgot to bring our own coats. 

I did  this painting because I somehow want to tie the two Emily Carr landscapes I am working on copying - to  Jessica's love of Emily Carr's writing and paintings.. Maybe I should try doing a portrait of the young Emily to balance out this collection? A portrait of each of these remarkable women on each side of the two landscapes - with some wording to explain the connection....

I haven't ever painted a portrait before and my initial under painting was way off - but the final picture isn't too bad. I think it's actually recognizable and impressionistic. A happy thing to do to remember my mother. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012 - Learning from Emily

Here are the two Emily Carr pictures I have been working on copying. 

I think the top one - "Shoreline" is finished. It is not exactly the same as Emily Carr's painting - partly because the board I used was no the right shape and partly because I wasn't trying to make an exact copy - just capture the flavour and try using her style. I think it turned out well. The logs on the right are a bit odd in the photos - I will have to see if they are OK in the real painting.
The second one - "Gravel Pit" is not finished although it looks quite good in the photo. If I do the same as I did with the Shoreline painting, my next step will be to use a small pointy "round" brush to fix the details - such as the trees on the distant side of the gravel pit. I am pretty confident it will turn out well too - as long as I don't go too far fixing it.

An interesting question is what to do with these two pictures. They are not forgeries of Carr - but they are definitely copies. I wonder if I could put them in a larger construction with some kind of visual commentary - sort of like the Ian Wallce's panels that we saw at the Vancouver Art Gallery last week. Perhaps I could call them "Ode to Jessica" and put her photo in somehow - given that she liked Emily Carr's paintings so much. Maybe I could actually paint a photo of Jessica - maybe two photos - Jessica young on the sailboat and Jessica old in her wheel chair. I could even paint some words that would tie everything together. Hmmm... 

I can see that to be worthwhile, paintings have to tell a story. I think this is what my paintings have lacked to date - they  tell a story as a group - but not individually. That's why my idea of sticking plastic bottles floating in a pristine sea is such a good one. Suddenly there is not only a story - but also a political statement. A theme even. Why not?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7

Here is my Nanaimo Port Theatre picture from yesterday. I have been working on it for the last few days.

I didn't do any painting for about 2 weeks because my mother died on October 22. My brother, sister and I had visited her together the day before and we all knew she would not be with us much longer. However, it was a bit of a shock when she died the next day. My mother was a very interesting person and a great lover of art.She had turned 98 in September.

Below is my painting from today. It is a lot more yellow than yesterday - but not as yellow as it looks in this photo.One thing that is greatly improved is the trees on the left hand side. There is actually a small hill behind that part  of the boat basin - with trees growing below and on top. Also the War Museum is located up there. I had really wanted to have the darkness of the trees extend to the top of the picture - but it didn't look right when I tried to finish them up.
I am going to let this painting sit now until it is completely dry and then try to get back more of the whitish look for the boats. I probably also need to equalize the blue at the bottom with the colour of the sky. I'm not quite sure whether to make the sky bluer or the water greyer. also, the fun of putting in the lurid pink of the bumpers also lies ahead. That will help me decide whether or not I have to tone down the pink of the little cherry tree poofs - which were what I most wanted to portray in this painting.