No matter how long one pushes pigment... we all come up against walls.... interior barriers that discourage us. I believe that this probably occurs because the act of painting is mostly a solitary process... a process where critical input an insight are rarely present... or sought out, for that matter. Painting is a highly personal act... akin, I think to raising children. We don't wish to be told we are not doing it right... but at the same time we also realize that we in fact aren't doing "something" right.
In today's world, there are many ways to find knowledge to encourage one past these hurdles and plateaux. Self-help books abound... guru workshops can be sought out... painting groups can be formed and joined... local evening classes can be attended. All of these resources can... and do greatly enhance and encourage one's artisic journey.
Blogging has presented a new avenue to share ideas and processes. If used properly... it can be a wonderful artistic "connector"... across the entire world... instantly. It is (usually) a safe place to share... to reach out... to gain encouragement.. to grow in spirit and in confidence. I truly look forward to interfacing with kindred spirits who genuinely are serious about sharing... and growing... together!
I do not surf looking for sites... or seek out Followers. I choose to connect and share with people who by their interests... comments and their sincerity display goals and a work ethic similar to my own. While certain aspects of our work and our processes will continue to be divergent... we seem to run in parallel at least, in our motivation and passion for what we enjoy doing - creating Art!
Recently, I was honoured to be asked to present a demo for a group of artists I have known for many years. I have not been as active in the group over the past decade... having been located in the Maritimes and places distant from the group. I continue to enjoy my connection to the group... both old friends and newer members.
"Sharing the light" does not however... come without its pitfalls and discouragements these days. For the first time in my many years of attending and giving workshops and demos... I face situations where people cringe at the mention... never mind the use of solvents and toxic materials. Often their complaints lead away from the direction intended and can be distracting to the painting process. One should always pay attention to... and be aware of the dangers of prolonged exposure to these hazards... especially in closed quarters. That is a valid concern to be paid attention to! If highly sensitive... avoid situations entirely in favour of water-based materials... and demos!
I demonstrate using no solvents... employing titanium alkyd white and a walnut alkyd medium... both non-toxic quick driers and only shop towels to remove pigments while I paint. In the studio, I clean my bristle brushes with Sunlight Dishwashing Detergent and warm water. Outdoors, I use turps to thin pigments... kerosene to clean my brushes and to add to my white to slow down thickening due to cold temperatures. I keep rags and brushes away from my mouth and wear thin cotton gloves to protect my hands from the cold... and the solvents. At a cost of less than a dollar per pair... they are disposable if soiled. I buy them in packages of ten and always have extras in my box and in my van. All soiled rags are taken immediately to the outside garbage container... not only because of fumes... but more because of the very real possibility of spontaneous combustion causing fire to occur. Linseed oil is well known and feared for this hazard.
Each of us has a unique voice... no matter our experience... or our level of painting expertise. I learn so very much from talking with and watching students work. Having to look at my own process and adapt it to a different viewpoint causes me to think outside of my usual box. Doing the demo at Bark Lake did... I feel encourage most everyone attending. But "letting go" of the demo piece sooner that I would have liked to... sent me home with an "Idea" that encouraged a me to work in an entirely new direction arisng out of that experience. Therefore, I owe the creation of this new piece entirely to the discussion and process that came out of the demo. In this case... "Sharing the Light" resulted in a growth in my own process.
This piece "Minuet d'Hiver"... completed on a larger format 36x 30 inch canvas is certainly derivative in nature to the demo. However , it is plainly evident that it goes beyond the goals and final appearance of the initial piece in terms of form, composition and handling of paint.
I'll leave it to each of "You" to decide and to mull over my ideas and to add your own thoughts and comments if you so wish to. They are always appreciated!
Always being open to new ideas and learning is essential to artistic growth and development at any point in one's journey. Every day and every painting offers an opportunity to grow. Those with an elevated sense of themselves and their abilities cease to grow. Change is necessary ... and good for everyone. Sharing your Light changes the light of others... without diminishing your own.
"None is blinder... than those who will not see! "
Eyes open! Brushes dancing! Sharing!... Good painting to All!