We certainly have been rewarded with decent sales in all areas of our combined creative efforts. My painting sales have been steady and gratifying. All but two of my February "Painting a Day" 8x10 inch panels are gone out the door... as have several larger major paintings. Our new box sets of tourist-directed Souvenirs of Rockport and Cruising The Thousand Islands greeting cards have sold well in the Gallery and have greatly exceeded our expectations at the General Store Gift Shop operated by The Rockport Cruise Lines. The new series of 5x7 and 8x10 inch plaque mounts featuring my larger river subjects (Deb's pet project) have yielded good returns as well. Our combined energies and commitment have been well rewarded!
On Deb's end of things, her gift cards have fled the shop en masse throughout the entire summer. Her unique designs displaying a blend of her whimsy and artistic flair have combined to attract much attention... a lot of laughter... and phenomenal sales revenue! Her stylish jewellery and small stained glass sun catcher "souvies"enjoyed the same retail success... adding another "black plus" to the ol' ledger each day. Her stained glass church window commission... now placed and dedicated at The Church of the Redeemer continues to bring her well-deserved attention and praise from clients who have seen it in situe. All in all.... Summer 2013 in The Paint Box Gallery has been gratifying
In an economy, where so many artists and larger commercial galleries are floundering... some even failing, we are more encouraged and determined more than ever to continue follow our current path and five year business plan. We do so in Faith, and in the knowledge that our ideas and commitment will simply grow and mature further - if we continue to continually re-evaluate our products and directions continually.
We feel deeply rewarded... and blessed with these gifts.
On another area of personal reflection, I am thinking of my Mom and Dad, whose birthdays we annually celebrated together as a family in the month of August. Both have passed on... as has the intense sense of grief and loss that I first felt in those initial years following their deaths. But I still have those "missing you moments" nearly every day. Deb and I placed flowers on their grave yesterday, a small gesture of my continuing love and gratitude for their contributions to me and my children.
I have tried to replace the understandable grief which one feels at such a loss with a more palpable and positive substitute. I choose to reflect upon special the times we shared and those smaller daily blessings... which at the time seemed ordinary. However... through the passage of time, they loom far more important and remain... despite their physical absence as fresh in my memory now, as the fine china settings...wildflowers... peaches... corn... melon that we enjoyed and shared together each and every August in my memory. I celebrate those embedded precious memories when I savour those tastes of yesterday.
So, I have chosen to remember them this August with a still life - a frozen visual moment in the space between both birthdays... using these summer harvest delights we enjoyed for so many happy Augusts as subjects. However, it has been difficult to carve out enough free time to completely wrap my head and my heart around its completion. Perhaps... it was grief intervening still... in this month of ripening and transition. I seemed somehow blocked and avoiding it on the easel.
On last Thursday evening after supper, I decided to use my usual strategy of throwing caution and the comfort of my usual painting process to the wind and to "seize the day." I went to the nearly laid in canvas and attacked with a medium sized painting knife... choosing to more randomly block in texture... lights and darks all around the still life composition to find freedom and inject life where it seemed too "still." By the end of that one hour session... I had regained the Flow and the excitement so necessary for creative success. Later the next morning, I used a stencil technique using a paper lace doily to recreate the fussy lace work. I think it works successfully. It gives an impression of that textural quality and detail without the usual pains-taking and hours of fussing I get into. It simple... "is"... but a small part of an entire whole.
I am a plein air painter by nature... motivated more by the complete freedom offered by spontaneity and flexible decision-making. Risk is always a part of my process. In fact, it is the engine and catalyst I depend upon to fuel my exploration and sense of accomplishment. Other genres like still life, or figure work require an added spiritual or inner "calling" to inspire, or connect me to them. In these genres, my brushwork seems less "painterly"... too quiet and calculated. In short, these subjects seem to restrict and impede my inner spirit... in the same fashion that denominational worship does... and I usually avoid them.
My mantra however..."Don't give up the ship" always prevails. So here is a "play-by-play"... or the building process for your interest and perusal. Enjoy!
Rough lay in stage... imperfectly recording first observations... covering the toned grey canvas
Working up light... adding new highlights and detail.... building around the composition
Time for a rest... and just looking
"August... On My Mind" - oil on toned canvas 24x18 inches
Finished... more or less... just some tweaking... "push n' pull
Happy Birthday Folks! I love you BOTH... Forever!
Good Painting... to ALL!