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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Inspiring Reading

I am also inspired by things I read and often I just enjoy sitting and reading about other artists and how they work and what inspires them.

Last week I received a couple of books I had ordered and I've already finished one of them. The first book is by the artist, Danny Gregory, who started "Everyday Matters" which is the sketch a day that I blogged about a few weeks ago and it is also the title of his illustrated memoir.  I was intrigued by his sketches and journals and wanted to know more about him.

This is written on the back of his book, "the Creative License, Giving yourself permission to be the artist you truly are": Do you dare to be creative? Somewhere deep inside, we all have a longing to make things -- be they drawings, music, hand-knit sweaters, or loaves of bread. Then why do so few of us consider ourselves creative?
For years, author Danny Gregory told himself he wasn't, couldn't be an artist. But when a crisis made him re-examine his priorities, he saw he'd been speeding through life and missing the view. So, in his late thirties, he picked up a ballpoint and taught himself to draw. The result was a whole new perspective on life.

In this book, he goes through all the excuses we give ourselves that keep us from being creative. He believes everyone can be creative and even needs to be creative. He touches on how we are our own worst critics. I can identify with that. I am always second-guessing myself and being overly critical of my work. He gives us permission to draw badly and not worry about it. Really creativity has nothing to do with the result, it has everything to do with the process.

The book is full of wonderful illustrations and has inspired me to do more illustrating  and journaling.
He is the author of several books, all of which are illustrated, and I hope to purchase a few of his other books for some light and inspiring reading.

I am a huge fan of " The Group of Seven Painters" who painted together in the 1920's and 30's here in Ontario. So I love to read anything about them. The second book I bought is the first complete biography ever published about the artist and group spokesman Lawren Harris. It is called "Inward Journey" and it is a little heavier reading than Danny Gregory's book but also very interesting. Lawren Harris also painted in Algonquin Park which is where I'll be canoeing again this summer so the book has double appeal for me.

It turns out Harris also struggled with becoming an artist and his style changed drastically over the years until at the end of his life he was creating totally abstract work. I prefer his earlier work such as this painting on the cover of his book. Years ago I copied one of his paintings as practice. Below is the original and below that is my copy.

As I was preparing this post, I remembered another painting of Harris's that I copied and this one was for a colour theory class project. It is interesting that I chose to copy Lawren Harris of all the Group of Seven Painters because he is my least favourite. I have never been a real fan of abstract art however, perhaps I copied him because he paints totally different from me and maybe I thought I could learn something from his style. Below is Lawren Harris's painting called Abstraction and below that is my copy.

In reading about these two artists, I noticed that they were plagued by the same self-doubt as I am but I have come to the conclusion that all artists are plagued with this and I believe there is good reason. If we didn't doubt ourselves, we wouldn't have the desire to improve. It is the push we need to continue learning and experimenting and in the process we are also very much enjoying the journey.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Update on the Commissions

I thought you'd like to see the result of the portrait commission. It has been finished and delivered.

This was framed very simply with a double mat, outside mat
cream and inside black with a thin black metallic frame.

The cottage property commission is also done and has been delivered. I've posted a couple a details and the finished painting below.

"Peaceful Dwelling Place"

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Building Layers in Fabric

I have always loved photographs of hills that go off into the distance. You can see the atmospheric perspective very well in them. Atmospheric perspective is when the closer objects (hills) are crisp and clear and brighter in colour and as the further hills recede into the background they become less distinct and a little greyer or bluer in colour.

I recreated this effect with watercolour on paper by layering the colours. Starting first with one colour and letting it dry completely before placing another colour overlapping it. Because the watercolour is transparent you can still see the layer of paint underneath the second application.

I then wanted to take my experimentation further and try to reproduce the effect with fabric. Many retailers were handing out their products in organza bags around Christmas time and I had saved them to use in my fabric creations. Organza has a beautiful sheen to it and is transparent and it comes in a large variety of colours. I thought these bags would be perfect for this experiment.

This was my first attempt and I like the effect.
After experimenting some more, I ended up making some
fabric cards out of them. This one has a watery feel to it.
This one could be used for Valentine's Day
I was happy with the result of the experiment and so I will try to use this technique in different ways in the future. Perhaps I'll use it in a larger piece of work sometime.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Painting Donations

Every once in a while I paint something that is donated to a good cause. This week we had a Golf Tournament in support of our local Christian School. The tournament always also has a silent auction during the dinner. So for the last couple of weeks, along with the other stuff I was working on, I was also painting something to place in the silent auction.
I decided it should be a piece that would evoke happy memories of summertime in Northern Ontario. So I painted a scene from photographs I took last year when I was in the Georgian Bay area of the Thirty Thousand Islands. It is an acrylic painting on canvas.

Laying down shapes and basic colours
Putting some detail into the water and rocks
Putting some colour into the trees
I added seagulls to give it some life but removed the bird
that was flying in front of the rocks because it wasn't reading
correctly and was a bit of a distraction
When the painting was almost done I sent a copy of it to my daughter to ask for some feedback. Often when I've been working on something for some length of time, I can't be discerning and I need another pair of eyes to look at it. Luckily she was honest enough to tell me the bird in front of the rock didn't look right. So I removed it. She was right, it looks much better with out it.
 As promised here are a few photos of the progress on my commissioned painting. So far I have just been laying in colour to establish a sense of place and determine where I want my lights and darks.

Due to the busyness of the time of year for me, I haven't been able to keep up my daily sketches but I did do two more this week. I think I'll give the daily sketches a rest for the month of June.
Draw a pitcher or jug
Draw something from a pet's perspective