Thursday, June 27, 2019

Transition = Process - Part One

"Art is a process." This thought immediately chains itself to this next thought... together to read  "where nothing becomes something." This quote is borrowed from one of author Louise Penny's novels.I feel that her observation closely resonates with colorist-artist Casey Klahn's assertion that "A good painting never stops communicating."

The only difference lies in the fact that words used in the creative writing process are replaced by brushstrokes in the painting process.Both create a similarly full and equally expressive visual language. Both forms involve the use of composition, imagery, movement, color... and most especially... emotions. Each of these creative devices stimulate the viewer's imagination to invite deeper exploration, thought and involvement.

Like many of you, I have been examining my own process in regards to thinking about... and producing art. I find my creative spirit restless and uncertain as to how to proceed. What do I want create in this closing chapter of my own journey? Do I search for some path that is entirely new... or do I use facets of what I have learned and mastered to provide new connections, or extensions which lead to new learning and expression.

I have truthfully spent time seriously considering new mediums. But I have done before and in every case found myself circling back to oils. I have looked at new subject matter and forms of expression to infuse new interest. I cannot embrace a genre, say abstract expressionism purely for the sake of "breaking away." Although I may admire the results of many artists who excel in this genre, I simply don't have a feel for the underlying motivations to grapple with it.

After much thought, I have decided to launch this new direction using an approach that I have always felt comfortable using. The process offers me comfort because it continues to provide a foundation and framework for my thoughts and principles of learning. I think in layers of related ideas. I try to brainstorm ideas that I can connect into webs of measurable similarity. I refer to this process as Thematic Learning. The process that I employ, I call "Imagineering"... constructing using bytes from my imagination files.

I used the same thematic approach successfully for myself and my students in my classroom. To demonstrate this process... and to get myself off to a start, I refer back to an earlier project that
developed from this model. While carrying out my recess duties, I was drawn to how interested students were to a specific game in the yard that required very little space or equipment... and absolutely NO teacher supervisory involvement. Total... free play, quick decision-making, lightning reflexes, quick substitution and interactive cooperative gamesmanship.

From this simple exciting yard game template, I created my own variation... using canvas and paint... to play... instead of four players, a utility ball and asphalt.

"Fall Four Square" emerged from the extrapolation of (seemingly) unrelated situations and ideas. I think that the end result is successful and requires little or no further explanation on my part. The piece invites you... the viewer to "get a glove" visually and to get in the game.

"Come play in the leaves - if you are so inclined."

                                             "Fall Four Square" - oil on 12 x 12 inch canvas

Take Two!!!.... Roll 'em!

Represents a further extension of the "Four Square" theme on a single canvas... with a "twist". One which even I had not expected. That "twist" created a very valuable lesson... and new direction for my thinking. Such is the stuff of taking the time to look - to REALLY look inward. And then to see  and unlock unexpected joy and new potential.

The subject matter is likely one that most of you can relate to in your own current lives... or early growing up years. What started out as a pretty run-of-the-mill... ordinary still life subject soon took on new proportions and potential for me as I stared at it for (too long) on my easel. I simply became ... for the lack of a better term... STUCK!

What do you see in this initial frame of my new project? Can you see a point of transition... a place where this might move in another direction than I had first intended?

I wonder... and would be interested in hearing your ideas before I proceed to discuss the direction I took. And by the way... the piece... is still in a state of transition - a work in progress!!

Stay tuned...

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


  1. It seems that many artists are questioning and trying to find something else in their work - exploration, trying new mediums or styles - just moving onward from our current places = exciting times but difficult times, too, when you are that artist wondering, “Where do I go from here?”. I have found new inspiration in the most recent work (and exploration) of Marc Taro Holmes and his landscapes. It may be a direction I take - exploring on my own for now with no set pigments, paper or sizes. I don’t think I’ll ever be anything other than a watercolorist, though, as that seems to fit with me more than anything else (as oils do with you). Wish I had some wise thoughts to share, but I can say - as Red Green used to say - “Keep your stick on the ice. We’re all in this together!”.

  2. Hi Rhonda!... Thanks for offering your ideas and opinions so openly and honestly. Many of our blogging "friends" have jumped ship it seems in search of new ideas... and sales. I'm afraid... as you're suggesting... it's all about getting a glove and getting into the game. There is no magic formula for creating one's art... or selling it either.

    What we are both searching out are new ideas, mentors and techniques that will contribute further to our own path of learning and discovery.
    Maintaining Joy and Passion for creating our art should always be our ultimate goal. All else derives from that... over time.

    Enjoyed seeing your new explorations. I'll be dropping by

    Warmest regards,

  3. Morning. I would love to scrunch up the leaves with you.

    In just a few words you summed up what I was scratching around for in February. ' play, quick decision-making, lightning reflexes, quick substitution..' I think my greatest inspiration comes from the biggest limitations that I place on myself...forces me to be inventive. STUCK is a good place to be sometimes makes you open your eyes to new possibilities Onwards and upwards ;o) I look forward to the next outing.

  4. Good morning Lisa... Nice to hear your "voice"... and to have my own thoughts and ideas reinforced by someone whose method and art I admire greatly.

    This is the greatest value for participating in blogging. It offers an opportunity to share and compare.

    "Stuck" is often a good starting point for new growth. It inspires risk-taking and outside of the box experimentation..

    I think that you will enjoy his project... start to finish. Stay tuned...

    Warmest regards and good painting,