Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sticks n' Stones... and Other Day Dreamings

This post will bring to a conclusion my "off the wall" wanderings... notions and ramblings - at least on line. I cannot promise at all, that the practice itself will ever end for me. My search for freedom of expression will continue unabated within the framework of each of my "voices".

Today's projects will address unusual places and surfaces to paint on... and most to be paintings found in places other than where they are least expected to be found... or executed. Within each new format lies a new challenge to think outside of the box and to create variety... and to infuse new life into a tired vision. It works for me anyway. Call it... "recess". Remember how much they were looked forward  by you and your childhood school chums? A time to play for the pure sense of enjoyment... setting aside all of the rules ... and making up your own!!!!

Sticks n' Stones

The Stones

You might recall this twiggy diversion... where I whittled/ roughly fashioned a couple of drawing tools with varied points to intentionally lay down an imperfect and intuitive line drawing with india ink. At no time did I attempt to allow "old" habits to conform to engrained pencil, pen, or brush methods. I simply pushed ahead... and accepted every unruly line and unplanned run until I had a structure that pleased "the child".

I then applied burnt sienna... not as the perfunctory tonal ground... but rather as between the lines - a "filler".... somewhat akin to the route that a child learns to travel.. "to stay within the lines" laid down in a colouring book experience. And I intended that it looked rather "unmannered"... to indicate my adult-guided struggle to not seek perfection.

Then, with this point reached, I shifted gears back into my usual painting mode with the challenge now being to make sense... and retrieve a landscape that responded to the earlier play. Could I attain better finish? At the time that seemed impossible. Look at the third jpg and you be the final judge.

The Stones
Back in the late seventies and early eighties, I found a necessary diversion from my watercolour ways in playing with india ink and black and white imagery. Having arrived via the lead pencil and sketchbook portable express... the ink with its visually appealing sharp contrast on white paper seemed an easy fit. I purchased a handful of Rapidograph mechanical pens... complete with easy-to load cartridges and headed into the field and up to my drawing table,

I was totally in a thrall for months... creating sketch and drawing after drawing... even sets of highly rendered historical prints and cards. It was a heady time for me and suited the limited times in my too crowded teaching and family responsibilities. It also vastly improved my draughtsmanship!

 A perfect fit - for a time! Then colour once again came-a-calling... as it always does for me. I merely put the two mediums together and launched my public sales career... alone on a local farmer's market. There amongst the cabbages... carrots and berry pushers, I began selling... hold yer hats ... 5x7 inch hand matted historic barns and homes. I demanded a handsome $12.00 a heave and sold out each time each time that I appeared on the market. I was inspired to continue this "lucrative" path for a period of two years.

The rest is history. Step -by-step... my garden grew gradually to where I am today. I was invited to one gallery after another to exhibit, until I finally reached a conclusion I would saddle my own horse and ride... solo. I have learned that history merely repeats itself. The appearance of the 6x6 and 6x8 craze today does not surprise me. It merely follows a path dictated by a crowded market place and a weak economy.

Glad I am... that I am on the other side of the rainbow this morning! And folks... there is no pot of gold... on either end. Just the simple joy I feel from having travelled freely and on my own ticket to here.

At one point I found found an unusual segue for my ink fetish. It arose from a rather humiliating experience I had suffered in high school... at the hands of a teaching tyrant in front of the entire class. He called me out for daring to draw in his geometry class in the back of my own text book... to break the monotony of his dreary presentation. He had admonished me saying that I would never amount to anything (like my older brother)... and that I would likely end up (like him)... "on the rocks". We both became full time artists.

At our 25th high school reunion... in full earshot of his colleagues and students... I "respectfully"presented him with a smooth limestone rock bearing the image of the high school.  I thanked him (honestly) for guiding my life and art career. I told him that I had found success and a reputation for producing ink renderings on smooth Lake Ontario limestone rocks... and that in his honour... I advertised and signed them as "Sherman... on the Rocks!"

I seldom get angry... I creatively try to step up... and get even! HA HA!!!

This is one of those many stone monuments to earlier days that I prepared as a Christmas gift for my folks. It depicts a view from our cottage lawn at The Narrows ... not a "stone's throw" from Rockport! How strange this Universe!

Each stone carried an personal inscription au verso that the customer wanted added for their gift rock. I sat at the Acadia Shop in Kingston during an entire Christmas season cranking these out for customers who went elsewhere shopping and returned later in the afternoon or next day to pick them up! Live out your dreams. Make them come true!

Other Day Dreamings...

I will close out an already too long post with jpegs which project more insight into my Magical Mystery Tour. I will continue to dream... and to post as I please. I do so ... hoping that in some way I inspire someone to reach out for their own star.

Table top for side table I did for Allison's undergraduate  gift

Full artist's palette presented off the wall and on a table easel

Photo collage Xmas gifts under gel coat textured of Andrew's Dogs Tilly and Maggie. They are included in a nightly bedtime ritual for Andrew Melissa and wee Mac. Sweet Dreams!!

"Opening and Closing" from my solo show Summertime Dreams ... a repurposed cardboard suitcase to hold cottage board games. Two canvas cut outs depict cottages opened and closed. My sister Chris has this in her home in Edmonton, Alberta.

Two of the four personalized painting paddles that I Xmas gifted to Andrew... as my bow partner in numerous Thousand Island Annual canoeing trips and campouts.

One of a number of paintings that I painted and configured to fit recycled storm windows. This was a wedding present for a Muskoka Gal. She had seen it... coveted it... couldn't afford it because of an upcoming wedding date. It was a surprise gift presented to her on her wedding day by her Mom and Dad. Paddled right into the right home!

 One of two plaster sculpture projects which I truly enjoyed. HMMM!.... Going back in that direction one day! Think I'll get "plastered"... but I don't drink alcohol!

This is an MDF panel I made of several... to commemorate Canada using a postage stamp format. This one commemorates Muskoka... and my birthday. Can you find the hidden 1944 that I started the painting with????

This is an old cupboard and window combined to make a kitchen spice cabinet. IT houses a painting of McFadden's Sugar House... hence the title.... "Sugar n' Spice!

This is a ladybug decoration for Deb's bedside table

This is a sign given as a wedding gift to this couple ... displaying an old barn on their property

Well... you get the picture. Being off the wall can offer rewards, adventures and unforgettable chapters you could never write... find... or enjoy otherwise... without wandering off the main road. I guess that I could have offered "off road" experiences as a theme title as well.

Hope that your journey and discoveries bring you the same amount of joy that these wanderings have offered me during my own!

Good Painting!... and Happy Summer... to ALL!!!


  1. What an inspirational post! You are very diverse and have traveled a fantastic road. Thanks and happy summer and good painting to you too!

  2. Welcome aboard Rolina!... Thank you for your visit and encouraging words! I visit your site from time to time and am always interested in your new off the wall offerings like your talismen.

    It has indeed been a wonder-filled journey... with many twists and turns... but I wouldn't change a moment of it!

    I am deeply blessed...

    Good creating to you... and Happy Summer!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Well've cinched it. I just wanna be you when I grow up!! LoL Your versatility to cross substrates is just phenomenal to me. I want the suitcase...the window...the rocks...and just a perfect Bruce Sherman painting.

  4. Good morning Sherry!... NEVER... nut never "grow up"! And never want to be so one else!... Just be your Self... Be grateful... and be happy Sherry!

    Though my life is indeed full of blessings... it does at times have its own share of darknesses and challenges. I choose to deal with them... as I am able and without "going public" with them.

    I truly want for nothing ... other than Health ... Happiness... and Hope... for my loved ones. Sometimes... that is not always possible. Need I say more??? I will not!

    Happy Summer.... Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts!

    Warmest regards,

  5. Hi Bruce, you never cease to amaze me with your multiple talents. You must bring constant delight with your personalised gifts.

    I loved the idea of the school reunion presentation. I hope your former teacher appreciated the joke of "Sherman...on the rocks".

    All the best,

  6. Good morning Keith!... Thanks for dropping by with your encouraging words in tow!

    We all bring forward our talents and gift the world with their creation. If your read the inscription on Allison's table... I say this very thing to her upon her graduating into the next phase of her wonderful journey.

    As for the reunion thingy... all in the past Keith. Sometimes it's just better to bury the bone and carry on. Hurtful things along the way tend to be reduced greatly by more positive things... and people who really count. People like you whom we meet along the way later in life who make a positive difference... and contribution.

    Thanks for your presence and encouragement.

    Good Paintin!
    Warmest regards,