One evening while we were working on the mural, there was a talk/discussion on public art in the room above us. We went to it, and I made a few quick drawings of people while listening.
Doing quick portrait drawings always makes me feel calm and good. It's a way of turning down the brain, meditative and focussed.
Another evening, I was feeling physically low-energy so did not work much on the mural. Instead, I went home early and made a few small abstract sketches. The sketches brought back into focus my current studio work, quite different from the mural's aesthetic.
It was a energy nice re-set, and then I could continue with the mural in a good frame of mind. Yesterday we added more bits & pieces, and taped off part of the wall which will be painted a dark grey colour, so the painters would know what to do with that wall.
We are in the very final stages of the mural now. I look forward to its completion within a few days... if all goes according to plan. (x) Once it is complete, I will probably miss working on it! *laughs* So it goes.
I have been commissioned to create a wall mural/installation at cSPACE King Edward. There was a catch: they wanted an urban-themed work...
I have made very few urban paintings over the last few years, essentially because I got bored with "producing" them. I wanted to explore more process-based approaches to making art, and that's what I've been doing. So one of my conditions for accepting the commission was that I would do only very basic planning, allowing the process to inform the final aesthetic.
And to their credit they are fine with "subject to change" being the prevailing catchphrase. What luck! Of all the places in this city to create a permanent artwork, cSPACE may be tops.
playing around with materials in the yard
Even better: I get to work with my husband on this one. He's mostly a landscape painter now, but he has quite a lot of building experience and he loves historical buildings. Since we will be creatively incorporating some materials salvaged from the original building, he is an ideal partner for this project. (and for many, many reasons an ideal partner in life)
"subject to change"
After a few weeks of exploring ideas and materials - and waiting for the wall to be built - the underpainting has begun.
Day 1: 5pm
Day 1: 11pm
It sure felt good to finally get that wall covered in a first layer of paint! I think it actually looks rather ugly at this point, but that may be because I haven't done urban stuff in awhile and I have more memory of "product" than "process" when it comes to the urban paintings.
I'm excited about the evolution of this thing, especially once we begin to involve some of the built elements.
I have a type of very focussed multiple attention span in the studio. Lately I've been engaged with three different but connected streams of work: Large oil paintings, small acrylic paintings, and poured-paint paintings. All exploring circles, ellipses, arced lines and shapes.
I've begun making some paintings based on the small stitched pieces of my recent Fragile Planetsinstallation. Fragile Planets received a very enthusiastic response from gallery-goers, and then it sort of went underground for a bit. Now it is resurfacing in a further incarnation.
Above: stitched canvas 16x16"
Below: detail bits of three finished acrylic paintings
The leftover acrylic paint is not wasted! No, it is more fun and productive to pour leftover paint onto pieces of canvas. Sometimes the canvas is cut fresh from the roll, other times I pour the leftover paint on top of old paintings that had never made it to being stretched.
It is summer and warm, so I do this outdoors.
Then I play with my shadow.
It has been mentioned to me that the details of these poured grounds/paintings could make paintings in and of themselves. Perhaps I will go there in future, and perhaps not.
Once in awhile, with just a few tweaks a finished painting emerges from the layers of pours. When that happens I get excited. Then I have to restrain myself from trying to make more of my pours into finished paintings, because this type of painting has to feel particularly effortless in order to be true.
It can be the most difficult thing in the world to do something effortlessly and well. It is a type of freedom that requires great and concentrated focus, often flying in the face of an innate human urge to define, classify, produce calibrated results.
And there you have the fundamental discipline of being an artist.
Yesterday Jen Cloutier came to visit my studio and interview me for a project she has been working on, documenting the lives and studio practices of artists in Cuba and Canada. It's called "The Process"; you can read about it here.
Near the end of our visit, she graciously sat for not one but two quick portraits, lucky me!
Sharpie marker and gouache in the green portrait book
China marker and gouache in the green portrait book
As I was photographing those portraits this morning, I noticed a bee sitting very still on the deck. Aren't the shadows of its wings just beautiful? The flower shadows too.
Sometimes I write in my sketchbooks
Sometimes I paint in my studio
And sometimes I am in the right place at the right time to notice something beautiful.