Sunday, August 9, 2015

Painting Simply... or Simply Painting

"Inspiration exists... but it has to find you working."

Thank you to Pablo Picasso... and "Linda's Peaceful Place" blog"

Looking Back...

A line I will repeat lifted from my last post... "a fusion of influences" alludes to the truth that I am open to be constantly engaged in the active pursuit of new "Ideas" and directions to improve my Art. One "Idea" often becomes the wellspring... or source for a series of related thoughts, or "possibilities.''

On a level directed towards looking purely at creative pursuit,"River Dance"... the painting whispers quietly an homage to Canadian painters Emily Carr and Lawren Harris. Hopefully... it as well speaks graphically, or infuses my own painting idiom into the final painting. Though the marriage of these dramatically different stylisms can admittedly be confusing to the viewer, the tension created summons up further looking and wondering. I feel this end justifies their inclusion together on one canvas.

Facing today...
On a purely personal level, I am weighing in today to discuss how daily Life issues intervene intermittently in all of our lives... and either distract... impede or stall creative pursuit. Emotion does contravene routine and emotional readiness. Quite frankly... it simply paralyses the creative spirit within.

This has been very much my pathway since Allison was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like every member of her family and large circle of friends and students... I too, have been struggling with a variety of emotions... defining / balancing of duties to be able to be a part of the support team. I have had to set painting aside just to allow my Self space to think clearly and respond productively.

In the course of needing to do so... I found myself restless and directionless ... even unusually sullen and angry. I roamed about doing purpose-less chores... just to keep my mind busy. Deb brought this to my attention (thoughtfully)... and suggested that I should just get "out there" - Go painting!

I decided to move forward with her suggestion. This tactic had long ago helped me recover balance ... ritual and purpose in my troubled state at that time. However.... I had left painting for far too long and the pathway back was not an easy one. I had to try to drag along self-esteem in tandem with refreshing my painting "vocabulary" in order to regain my creative momentum an confidence. I have never let it be interrupted to that degree since.

I called my longtime painting pal Frank Edwards and he was up for an outing as well... so we set sail for an adventure... just like "the good ol' days" that now stretch back nearly forty years. I suggested a trip north away from the river... just for a change of diet... and we landed in the small rural hamlet of Lyndhurst... perched on Upper Beverley Lake.

We stopped at centrally located Furnace Falls Park in the heart of the smallish down town area and immediately found ample painting material... and shade to suit both our differing interests and needs.
I set up right beside the three span stone bridge... itself an intriguing subject... one that we both had tackled before many years earlier. But I was looking for simplicity... and a subject that varied from the usual in structure.

This subject... a grouping of local residences across the creek... seemingly embraced by the wreath of trees appealed to me right away and I dived into the vertical subject without hesitation. It was one of those rare days and a  subject... that sort of "paints itself... while I just hold the brush." The painting is photographed exactly as it came from the field. I merely added the signature to declare it finished.

"Lyndhurst.. Through Summer's Looking Glass" - oil on canvas 12x10 inches

My second canvas was an earlier attempt to regain my footing while attending business in the Gallery at my desk top setup. I worked from a digital image that I had always liked and would have much preferred to have just returned to the site in the village of Morton. But timing, and my mood were not cooperating... so I decided to forge ahead in the studio atmosphere. Too many distractions and interruptions took me away from "the Flow".You all know that feeling as well... I'm sure.

The painting simply hung about and each return to it created new problems. It was going nowhere really and I was becoming very discouraged. Fortunately... my trip with Frank (at Deb's kind urging) has me back in the saddle again. I finished the painting and here it is ... signed! You know what that means. The fat lady has already sung... and left the building! HA HA! 

"Summer... Slow and Easy in Morton" - oil on canvas 10x12 inches

Onward! Stay tuned...

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


  1. Love the word "contravene." And that is what has happened to me with painting. Attempted a crayon piece yesterday just to do something, anything, and it landed squarely in the trash. But these, Bruce? Just magnificent works, both of them. Whatever is torturing your soul (and I know it is your daughter's health) is brilliantly escaping into your work. I think many artists are tortured souls. I think my best outlet for my own similar state (for different reasons, of course), is wordsmithing. Probably my biggest talent...maybe my only talent. Ah well...Please do let us know if your daughter is getting through this. That is what matters in the end. Her family's love and support will help pave the way, but ultimately, I need to know she will be ok.

  2. Good morning Sherry!... Thank you for the thought-provoking response to this post.

    My work is not... in my own mind an escape from my everyday problems it is rather like a positive substitute for unproductive worrying. It helps lessen helplessness because the act is creative and brings joy ... as opposed to sadness. Can you see that perspective?

    Your writing abilities are never in question Sherry. What you seem to be lacking is esteem... if I might be so bold to present to you. "You" are worthy. When you can believe that and demand the respect that you have always deserved... you will find the peace and acceptance that you seek.

    Glad to hear from you. Allie is a fighter. Her support team have her back - always have! Onward... with Hope!

    Good luck... and Crayoning to you Sherry!

    Warmest regards,

  3. Good to hear you took off for a few days of painting away from home. The paintings are lovely and interesting to see that you are painting the homes of other people's lives. I gaze and wonder about the life the families are having within them. It is hard to concentrate on anything when there is great concern for a loved one and most of all for your dear daughter. I read in your response to Sherryl that your daughter is doing OK. Do let us know how she is when you can. My thoughts are with you and I look forward to seeing more of your paintings when you can manage to do them. Have you thought about keeping a daily sketch book with thoughts about each day and more of a sketch than an actual work of art. It can be a good thing to do and to look back at in the future when things are settled again. I started one and strangely enough started to draw bunnies! I have a house bunny so he must have inspired me indirectly! Greetings to you Bruce laddie from Caroline in Scotland!

  4. Good evening Lass... So very comforting to chat with you. I have missed your presence!

    Thank you for your ideas to circumvent my "doldrums"... but I already have a good start on that onerous task and have several projects on the back burner.

    Allie is almost midway in her chemotherapy and seems to be doing well. Fingers are crossed... and I pray very hard each morning at my river meditations for her complete recovery. Hope is a huge word in my mantra... as is Trust.

    Hope that your summer of painting is going smoothly for you. I'll be in touch again soon with further paintings and reports on Allie's progress.

    Happy Summer... and Good Painting Caroline. Thanks for taking the time to respond so supportively!

    Warmest regards,

  5. Hi Bruce. Thank goodness Deb has a wise head on her shoulders. Getting 'out there' was just what you needed, but you perhaps wouldn't have done it without the encouragement. The idea of going to a different area, and with Frank too, was a winner as well; there's nothing like an adventure to revitalise the spirits.

    The resulting paintings show that you are back in the 'groove' OK, and I hope you can carry on now in the same spirit.

    All the best,

  6. Good Morning Keith!... Your wonderfully upbeat and "on the $$$" comments continue to uplift my spirits as much as my own choices and Frank's steadfast friendship and wisdom.

    I thank you for that! "I" ... am greatly blessed...

    Good Painting!... and Happy Summer!
    Warmest regards,

  7. I love the light in the second piece.... it glimmers.

    Halfway through treatment is also the glimmer of light around the bend to the end. My best wishes to Alison, I think of you both often.

  8. Good morning Lisa!... Thank you for your supportive words and encouragement... in both areas of my current lives!

    "Glimmer" is a great word Lisa! A glimmer can become a glow... can become a flame... can become a miracle of en- light-enment. I hope and I pray... every day... and hold on to that glimmer!

    Happy Painting!
    Warmest regards,