Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Drought #2

 I worked most of the day on my second abstract - trying to make it look like rain while still being abstract. Futile and frustrating..

So I tried a new approach - wiping pretty much all the original out using the same colours - blue, red and yellow. Only the moon/sun remains.

It kind of looks like a forest fire . It might also represent the Liberal win over the Conservatives and NDP - though who the yellow represents I don't know - maybe the people who didn't vote.  I think it might be finished. I'm calling it Drought #2.

For comparison here is Drought #1.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Second lesson with Dennis Brown


Here are the two paintings I did at the class today. They were inspired by the beautiful yellow maples and dark firs in Cathedral Grove - I just used yellow and blue. They are both a bit messy for my taste - experiments really. For the first one I used a couple of borrowed tools - a small spatula and a toothed scraping tool - to get the effects. For the second one I sloshed on the paint then stopped most of the dripping by doing some neat brush strokes. Can you see the orange dot? I won't do anything to them for a while - there is something fresh about them that can never be recaptured once it is painted over.  I might try to do something similar on a larger canvas once I get my own tools - a bit of light purple might be nice.

Here's a close up of the first one with more yellow showing. I like it better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New Abstracts

 I decided to make a change to the abstract painting I started with Dennis Brown - which I wrote about in an earlier post. I had wanted this painting to be about the drought in the gulf islands this summer and hope that still works.. I thought the blue panel on the right side of the first version was odd - really unsettling - and I didn't like the 'waterfall" that had appeared to the right of the red jelly fish -  so I made both bits yellow-orange and put in a swirly dark bit which balances the left side. The painting looks pretty organized now - still abstract of course - but not blurred and free like Dennis' paintings. It sort of makes me think of the ferry terminal or Luke's planet in the first Star Wars movie. I made some interesting scratches on parts of it but you can't see them in this photo. On Thursday I have my next class with Dennis and will take it along for new ideas.

This is the picture I "mined" from my first painting. I wanted it to be about dreams of rain. It was very fun to paint because I  was painting on top on one of my gessoed-out painting and when I scraped what now seems to be the sky I got some really interesting marks. They don't really show in this photo. I also left the drips this time and rubbed some of the wet red paint off so that the yellow shows through. Elspeth says she likes it so I'm leaving it for now and taking it to my class on Thursday.

The strange thing about these two paintings is that when I set up the camp beds in my studio for the our weekend visitors - the colours of the duvets totally coordinated with these two paintings. It was quite splendid.  I think my next abstract is going to feature dark green with bright golden yellow - like the maples and firs in Cathedral Grove on the way to Tofino. . I might try it tonight. I might mine something out of "Young Pines Long Gone."

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

New website

Mike convinced me that I need to have a website that is solely devoted to paintings. I think this is a great idea and have spent many days revising my original www.chucklingchimes.ca website and creating my new www.pennygrantpaintings website.

 Here is photo of me that appears on both website. It was taken a couple years ago - but I like it alot and hope I still look that way. Maybe I will try to do a self-portrait from it.

Hmmm.... portraits and abstracts might be my future. sounds pretty wonderful to me.  Especially with all this glum news about the election.

On to abstracts - a whole new world

I have decided to try to paint abstract acrylic paintings. I had got really hung up on three fairly big paintings that were underway for months. One was my painting of the gorgeous view from Mount Washington as the moon rose and the sun set. I loved that painting - so when I submitted to a NAC show and it was not accepted I was annoyed. However, when I went to the show I could see it was really not in the running. It was super pretty but not at all edgy like the other paintings there..

Another painting was of Cottle Lake with a huge  yellow sky and water. I wanted it to tell a story about climate change, drought and forest fires - but it was not working. I could not figure out what to do next.

The third was a tobogganing picture with lots of evergreens and snow. I could not get going on it - maybe because I didn't take the photo.  I no longer liked it and was daunted at the thought of painting all those huge trees.

One of the the artists at the NAC show was Dennis Brown. He is a fantastic abstract artist and paints the most enormous paintings. (Sorry I don't have link  but just look him up under "Dennis Brown artist Ladysmith.") I talked to him and found he is teaching a 3 part course in Ladysmith this fall. I took the first class. It was so hard - I had to start seeing and thinking in a new way - but I was pretty happy with the painting I started.  I later worked on it at home and this is how it looks now:


Pretty fantastic don't you think? It is about drought in the gulf islands - which we experienced this summer.It was so hot and dry in the islands and here in Nanaimo. The parts of the painting are quite ambiguous and I'm not sure what they are. Maybe the moon, the sun, boat masts, a line of gulf islands in the distance, a dry hay field, a lily, a red lion jellyfish, and a waterfall? I also think it looks like traffic - maybe boat traffic going through Dodd Narrows.The yellow came from my Cottle Lake painting and the red outline from Awesome. My next class is next week and we are going to learn about texture.

Well - my three problem paintings are now completely gone forever. I gessoed them out so i could start afresh. I have started one which is "mined" from the first one. As Tim says, the sky's the limit so we'll see what happens. (PS -  Dennis is the guy who unleashed Jim and his wonderful semi-abstracts and portraits.)

The kid with the nail and awesome - done

Here is the finished painting of Charlie. I tried to make it impressionistic by having the light definitely coming from the left and lighting up his hair, etc. I am calling it "The Kid with the Nail" - even though it would be more obvious to call The Kid with the Hammer. I am pretty happy with the grassy background and the fence. When Charlie saw it asked. " Why is there a hole in the fence?"  Well - it's to show that he is not trapped in his backyard - there are other worlds out there for him to explore.

And here is what I am sure is the final version of "Awesome." I painted this picture day after day to try to get it to look the way Henry looked at the end of Kindergarten. My problem had been that the initial drawing was inaccurate and it took many many tries to finally get things correct.  I had made the background red. Then decided red was not a happy colour so changed to golden yellow but left I the red as an outline to make the figure pop. His eyes may still be a bit too big - but I am finally happy with it. they are done and on my website.