Monday, June 11, 2012

Rock, Paper, Paint

Oil stained canvas - 25cm X 25cm
(Inspiration rock wrapped with wire hangs in upper section.)
From hundreds of rocks just a few will inspire. The search for that perfect inspiration, that scenery, that image in the surface of a small stone, that search has no end and no boundaries. I find myself acutely studying rocks wherever I come upon them. The most embarrasing place in in stores where bags of tumbled rocks can be bought for 1$. I will look at every rock before I buy the bag because there must be at least one that I visualize as a painting.
Oil on stretched canvas - 30cm x 30cm
(Stone inspiration attached -lower lefthand corner)
It's not a monetary issue. It's an accumulation issue.

I have rocks by the buckets; my studio is peppered with them. There are the tumbled ones, those found by the river bed where I picked fiddlehead ferns, those spotted on the road as I walked along, those found in a shovel full of dirt as I did some landscaping...There truly is an endless supply.

And I am developing such a connection to each one, even those which have no artistic potential. I feel that ultimately they all have the greatest of roles for they are of the earth, without which we would not be standing on firm ground. Perhaps that explains why when I hold a rock in my hands and I feel the ridges, the protrusions and the uniqueness of each one I feel so grounded.
Oil and modeling paste on stretched canvas - 10cm x 13cm
(Stone embebbed - midway left. Supported on small brass easel.)

I hope my most recent paintings are testament to the beauty within each stone that I choose to incorporate in my work.
Oil and oil stick on stretched canvas - 28cm x 70cm
(The art for the stone face you see is below. The actual inspiration for this painting is on the back of the stone. I wanted to tie these two together because both sides of the stone had so much to offer.)
Not quite finished with this one-Oil and oil stick on stretched canvas
60cm x 90cm
 There is a Japanese saying that states: "The pebble in the brook secretly believes itself to be a precious stone." ...I believe that as well!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Speaking Natural Abstract

I started drawing and painting some thirty years ago yet in 2006 I called my first real solo exhibit "In search of a voice". Although I had been painting just as a hobby you'd think I would have found my personal style in all those years. I even completed a four year degree in visual arts...Yet only now do I feel I can speak.

I'll admit, I mumbled a few words in this language every now and again but I always fell short in the vocabulary. The syntax and grammar left a lot to be desired as well. And now, today, I feel like a babbling brook. My language of choice-Natural Abstract.
I have often created inspired by what I saw as the abstract in nature but it was always just a piece or two. In no time at all, my inspirations seemed mundane. Then a few weeks ago I held a small river rock in my hand and I really looked at it, I read ever line and crevice, I really felt it's story.
Then I held another, and another, and another...and it became evident that each stone has it's own story.
Suddenly, I have a studio full of rocks and stones, full of ideas and inspirations...And I am the story teller.
As you might tell, I treat each stone as a unique artifact. The only common denominator is that they are all oil paintings. As for the composition, I let each stone tell me how it wants to be expressed. Some want to be part of the painting, some just want to accompany it, while others just want to inspire and return to the earth from whence they came. Others I feel so connected to that they will become my personal treasures, my personal rock collection.

Recently I heard a quote on the radio that seems to fit how I've been feeling "I love ideas because ideas are always pregnant". Are they ever! I had the idea to paint what I observed in one stone and twelve paintings later, I see no end in sight.

(All images and text in this blog are protected by copyright by virtue of their publication.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Creative Spring Springing

Here we are...the first day of spring. Almost three months gone by and this is just my second post of the year. In my defense, I have been busy creating and painting. I've also been quite involved with a local cultural society and the opening of a new cultural centre. And now the time has come to return to the studio and focus on a new series of paintings I've been trying to work on for the last few months. Everything is slowly coming together and I'm hoping to have an exhibition this summer. Although I may eventually apply to different venues, I am choosing to open my studio for this exhibit. This will allow me to include a tour of my gardens where a lot of my sculptural work is displayed in situ.
That being said, this year is also as much about learning as it is about doing. I read very little fiction, preferring to read about what people are thinking, what they're creating and how they are getting results. Inspiration is always what motivates my book choices.

So here is a list of some of the books I will finish reading and refer to on an ongoing basis this year and for years to come. If you have books that have sparked your creativity and that I can add to my library of inspiration, don't hesitate to leave me the title and author in the comment section.
The Artist Unique - Carmen Torbus

Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed-Media Artists - Ann Baldwin
Urgent 2nd Class - Nick Bantock
The Artist's Muse - Betsy Dillard Stroud
New books in my reading library:

Secrets of Rusty Things - Michael de Meng
Kaleidoscope - Suzanne Simanaitis

 Metal Craft Discovery Workshop - Linda & Opie O'Brien

The Pulse of Mixed Media - Seth Apter
And the highlight this year will be The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed (Seth Apter)...not only because one of my paintings was selected to be featured in this book but also artwork and thoughts of many blogging friends I've gotten to know via their blogs in the last few years. I'm looking forward to the book being available in Canada later this month. Having seen many of Seth's projects, I know this will be an inspiring and beautiful addition to my library. (And I'll admit, a feather in my cap!)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gnôthi Seauton

Gnôthi seauton, latin for " know thyself "...This seems an appropriate way to start my blogging in 2012, a year for which I have chosen ' transformation ' as my theme. One of the many aspects I would like to transform is my blogging habit...Let me reword that, I'd like to make blogging a habit! So this is my plan - I will blog once a week for a grand total of 52 new posts by December 31 2012. Hmmmm, okay I think I ' know myself ' well enough to state that if I post a mere 26 times I'll consider that a resounding success and transformation.
Gnôthi Seauton
Mixed media 3ft x 3ft
The mixed media painting "Gnôthi Seauton" is a bit of a reflection of who I am. My fingerprint, the shadows, the darkness, the light passages - all held together with wire; my life story written between each ridge of my print, sometimes a little smudged but mostly pretty evident.

My fingerprints can often be found in my work, even as a signature when I sign as Curio. As an adoptee from many years ago, there isn't much I know about my genetics. All I have is my DNA and my fingerprints. As a matter of fact, the only two people I know I am connected to by blood in this world are my two children. This is why identity often surfaces as a theme in my work and fingerprints have naturally become evidence of my identity.

As for holding it all together, so often it is only with a thread. The problem with thread is that with time it often becomes weak and is easily broken which is why wire is the binder I chose. It's not fail proof because it can rust and break down, but if you have enough layers it should see you through to the end.

A couple of examples of past works using my fingerprints.

(You can read more about this painting in the post for July 16, 2009)

Entre la vie et la mort
(Between birth and death)
Monotype Chine Collé
All blogging aside, I think it worth mentionning, the time not posting will be devoted to ' knowing myself ' a little better and knowing my blogging friends better as well. I'm grateful for each and everyone of you and the inspiration you bring into my life.
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