She was the crucible in which my own creative pursuits were shaped and molded. Without her constant encouragement... this post and my paintings would not likely have become reality. I thank you Mom for your many gifts and sacrifices. My work is dedicated to your own artistic excellence.
"I"... love "You"... forever!
The title for today's post came to mind as I sat on the dock watching morning arrive earlier in the week. The sight of the islands clustered before me... Yeo... Cleopatra... Pine... Mary... Wellesley... Zavicon and Club conjured up sweet memories that stretched back to the youth of my life. From those memories flowed virtual images seen and captured... memories from many years ago that continue to linger in detail as freshly and vividly as the days that they were first recorded.
It struck me that these personal zen moments resembled the spiritual practice of using a medium to guide awareness of something or someone beyond actual reality. The events and places themselves surely are reality-based, but in the present time they have morphed beyond the realm of reality. I would say that they have transformed their "being" into a paradoxical... and almost metaphysical plane of "not being".
Confusing as it is to contemplate... these landscapes of the mind are both tangible to one's psyche and faculty of memory... yet at the same time are intangible to other physically driven senses such as touch and sight. Strange...
"Channelling"... a second meaning
Further thinking led me to a second meaning for the term channelling. The eighteen hundred plus granite islands that make up the Thousand Islands archipelago are separated by a maze of channels of swiftly running water. Though most are not navigable by the large tour boats which carry the hundreds of thousands of annual visitors... all can be travelled by smaller craft... such as my canoe.
My son Andrew and I traversed as many of these as we possibly could in the six annual canoe trips we shared together. Whenever I return to these... magical memories of those moments flood back to me. And now... they continue to bring forward those endless summer days of August.
"Head Games... "
The term "head games" (as it is used in normal conversation) does not carry with it an admirable image. It conjures up an image of deceit... lack of clarity... or worse... sincerity and manipulation. My take on "head games" is to rely totally upon my memory recall totally as a device to recreate a "mindscape". I used no reference whatsoever... but selected two very strong river elements/subjects to see if I could establish something close to the original physical landscape.
In the process ... I quickly discovered a very pleasing painting rhythm... one which allowed a fuller sense of freedom and brushwork. I totally got into "the Flow" and finished lay in rapidly. I jumped eagerly into the finishing part buoyed up by the success in establishing what I felt was a reasonable facsimile of the physical scene... as I remembered it anyway.
I really pulled things together with the inclusion of the ever-present foamy trail that wind and water movement leave in each of the water channels. Its serpentine reality... which I always take pleasure in watching... and adding a compositional flourish really provided the exclamation point to draw the paintings to a pleasurable conclusion.
I'll leave you to be the judge of the final result. But I'd like to add in closing out the post... that both were created in the studio.... BUT... that they drew on an inner spirit and memory that has its origin... en plein air. In true fact, they are a fusion of reality... memory and my imagination... one dependent upon the other to create.
A valuable exercise to refuel my interest and drive to paint. Might be a useful tool for others... or perhaps you already play the "head game" yourself. Just a thought...
"Islesview" - oil on canvas 8x10 inches
Here is the actual setting... in another season and weather condition. Note the lower water... revealing the shoal between the two isles... and the rich fall colour... despite greyness of the day. Note too... the more distant shore in my mindscape. Nothing wrong with that interpretation... accentuates a deeper sense of space. The title "Islesview"?... The name of our Rockport home.
"Inside Island 99 and Bodine's Place" - oil on canvas 8x10 inches
Here is the only digital reference that I could find in older files. One would have to swing further out into the water to get the actual view up the channel, but you can easily see the compositional markers... minus the boats.
Oh yes... and the double entendre can be continued one step further. "Channelling and Head" games need not at all be limited to water only. It can apply to activities and events on land as well... especially at this particular time of year.
How very appropriate in this grain harvest painting. The channels of straw left by the harvester and the patterns of fields... willy-nilly on the landscape certainly create this effect. The "idea" for this one came from a casual glance at an August calendar page while in at Neil Brothers Garage in Lansdowne. At the easel, I made no attempt to replicate the page... just memory passages recording its essence as it seemed to apply to this post.
Ideas are limited... only by one's own imagination... vision and willingness to search.
"A Pause in the Harvest" - oil on canvas 8x10 inches SOLD
This mental gymnastics exercise served as a good limbering up exercise for my next... BIG... project... just gotten under way... en plein air across the street at Andress Boat works. It involves application of some of the thinking brought forward in this project. But is a different challenge - using acrylics. I use acrylics occasionally... mostly for under painting. I hardly ever use them for a complete painting project. Oils continue to be my medium of choice.
The creative strength and energy for me lies in my passion for the subject matter. Though it is a panoramic landscape, its essence revolves around the iconic Zavicon Island... or Woolrich Island as it was earlier known when it was owned by the Woolrich Woolen Mill. I will leave further details until later... as I proceed through the mural project.
Good Painting... and a happy ending to Summer... to ALL!!!