Saturday, 12 January 2019

New Year, New Directions

Like many at the start of a new year, I thought about setting some art goals for 2019 and decided to try to (sometimes) work outside of my comfort zone (now that I have it back after 6 months of very limited painting due to arm and shoulder injuries, LOL). For me, that means different subject matter (figures, still life), using more (mixed) media, working smaller, working more abstractly and (of course looser) and once again taking a stab at non-representational painting.

Hot Sauce
8" x 10" - acrylic on canvas - $35
Over the years I have experimented with non-representational painting, defined (in it's simplest form) as art without any recognizable subject matter.   These attempts have usually led to frustration and impatience with myself and even greater respect for the work and talent of many non-representational painters, artists like Krista Harris and Dorothy Ganek (take a look at their work and you will understand what I mean!).  I have often thought how fabulous it would be to watch them work, layering their canvases with lines, shapes and colours and then losing those elements in their quest to create what I think are quite sublime paintings. How do they do it I wondered as I whited out another canvas. Sigh.
Balancing Act
8" x 10" - acrylic on  canvas - $35
One of the things you learn, the more you paint, is that you have to keep painting. Working is the one rule that must be followed. (See the irreverent art critic for New York Magazine Jerry Saltz, and his list of 33 Rules for Being an Artist). Stopping too early and giving up because 'it's' not working is a learned (failing) behaviour in art (and in life). I don't give up on representational painting, so why do that with non-representational art, something that looks easy (hah!). 
Inch by Inch
8" x 10" - acrylic on  canvas - $35
So, I turned off the inner-critic and tried to work 'intuitively' (wondering at the same time what that means exactly) on 3 small 8x10 canvases, sporadically over a couple of weeks. Having no subject felt like floundering in very deep water, until you realize that you really do know how to swim. Once I stopped worrying about what I was doing I began to enjoy the process, taking a break when I felt stuck. Over many days I kept layering, obliterating, adding, and I realized that I liked what I saw developing on the surface! There were definitely 'ah hah' moments as I added and eliminated, played with texture and paint application. And then they were done. Wow.

I am really happy with these little paintings and despite their size I find each quite compelling. I hope you do too. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

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