As I mentioned in my last post, Deb has been away visiting her beloved Grand Gals... Ava and Ella in Yorkton Saskatchewan for a week. I have been "keeping shop"... as promised... here at the Gallery and have managed to get in some good painting time... and of course... to the beat and rhythms of my own play list! HAHA!!
Before departing Deb announced that upon her return... "We"... would be doing a much needed "house cleaning". I knew fully what that mouthful of words would mean! Things that hadn't seen action in the past two years... would be on the way to Goodwill... or the dumpster! I will admit without any hesitation... "I" am a collector - a "keeper" of things sentimentally attached to any person, event or experience spanning my entire sixty-seven years on the planet. I even collect and keep stored things that I find ... and envision in future paintings. The list is endless... and I know... that Deb is pragmatic... and... realistically ruthless in her desire to keep order in her own life... and in mine!
We are celebrating our 6th anniversary today... so I thought that I would offer an unusual... but none the less... highly meaningful "gift" - a personal cleanup... before "She" arrived home. In so doing... I would at least have the benefit of ridding my Self of the things that had no meaning to "Her"... or to "Me"... perhaps!
The process began in earnest... with an inward promise to be ruthless and earnest in the process. As I made my way through the boxes stored in the basement... two bedroom closets... and the studio.... I began to share her feeling that perhaps this "collection" of memorabilia... was more an avalanche of dated "art-i-facts" which swallowed up precious space in our living and working environments.
I made two trips the the Goodwill Shop... with items of clothing that ranged from never worn... to worn out... to out of style and other items that had been replaced in our living area. There are a lot of empty hangers now... when the weekly wash day comes along! I ran our shredder none-stop for two consecutive days... filling ten clear plastic bags with expired income tax return materials well beyond the seven year period required... and "personal" keepsakes from high school proms and pictures... of faces that I hadn't looked upon since the 50's and 60's- teen aged girlfriends... who most likely look like their mothers at present! Zip!...Zip!! Gone!... but never from my heart! I remember... and cherish the time spent with each and every one!
I have all of my "treasures" remaining in two plastic boxes... filed according to subject so that I can quickly retrieve what I am looking for... without searching closets... the basement "cubbies".. or my piles. I actually know that I have them... but mostly I feel highly relieved and uplifted by the fact that the avalanche has melted away and that there will be no precarious negotiations necessary between Deb and "I"... when "She" assumes the helm next week! Whew!... What a relief that is!
This epiphany was not limited to just the physical "things". The process also crept inward and I began to cull out... or at least question "old" ideas... old rituals and goals. It was during this period of thinking that I landed upon the notion to work in a new medium... acrylics... just to see where that might lead. I also added some figurative pieces to the mix... and came away from the experience encouraged by my success... and the response of people who work regularly in that very specific and demanding genre.
I have gone back to my sketchbooks... and have assembled some great "possibilities" to be considered for projects in the near future. I also cleansed my computer files... deleting older images that now didn't seem to excite me... or that had multiple files. I rearranged my file which house copies of all of my paintings completed... again reworking colour using my Image Zone program... and eliminating multiple copies or ones with poor picture quality.
During my computer house keeping duties... I came across one experimental project...which then became two... and will now become three in the near future. These projects clearly illustrate what I describe as "imagineering"... thinking creatively... outside of the box we all put our Selves into at various times. These projects are "risky"... because they are so "unlike" us and clearly stand out in a roomful of one's work ... as orphans. A strange word to describe them perhaps.... but as in real life "orphans" are children needed love and attention - a chance to have a regular life... to be loved and cherished. These children are CHOSEN... not born! That... makes them SPECIAL!
I offer as an example of this thinking and working process..." Nine Days This Spring" a 24x24 inch canvas, created in the spring of 2008. The painting began in a purely experimental and random "splashing around" of acrylic greens on a pinkish toned canvas. I then divided the canvas into nine 8 inch squares with black ink marker. The I went out into the field and sat down to drawing with an ink brush...just one wildflower... as they appeared... and as I found them. I took several digital images for each at the end of each plein air session.
I began the painting process... only after all of the nine images were in place. I had actually worked out which flowers and where I wanted them on the canvas beforehand in thumbnails in my trusty sketchbook. The paintings of each flower were completed one at a time... and when all were (more or less) completed... I fine tuned values and details until I felt satisfied that they "read" harmoniously.
The "Idea"... then a painting left the gallery quickly and gave way to the second piece... same format... "Summer In Transition' completed in the summer of 2008." In both projects which began similarly...advanced. The final product ... and the imagined version were immensely different... and pleasantly so to "Me." And now ... several years later my house cleaning has offered another slant... and chance for "me"... to play! Stay tuned....
I'll post a cross section of jpeg images from the sketchbook concept and planning... to the final work to give you a visual impression of the process... and leave you to judge for yourself its merit! I'll close with an excerpt from a book I read and reread constantly edited by Ian Jackman. It's entitled: "The Artist's Mentor" (published by Random House Publishing)... a motivational compilation of wonderful quotes and insights from the lives of major artists... from across the breadth of art history:
"Rather than wait[ing] for [a] creative urge to come, the artist is better served by cultivating it."
Good Painting... and Creating to All !