What are you doing in the studio these days? People who don’t paint expect a list of works to roll of your tongue. My answer tends to throw them a little. I say simply, “I’m practicing”. If I were playing a musical instrument, even someone who’s tone deaf would nod knowingly and mumble “Oh yeah, huh”.
Musicians and visual artists even have similar vocabulary. When I took piano lessons growing up, theory was a separate class and there I learned about changing the key, composition and ear training. This augmented the physical practice of scales and chords, which trained my hands to find the right notes. If I made a mistake in practice, I only offended those within earshot and so my work evaporated into the atmosphere.
Learning to paint has eye training to assist in the production of the right visual notes. Colour chords and keys depend on the hand eye coordination too. The record of the work is often incomplete but records the struggle nonetheless and so is worth keeping but not showing to anyone else necessarily! Often, it disappears into the waste basket.
Lately, I’ve decided to change my palette; the group of pigments that produce key and colour chords and to work on composition. As is traditional, I practice the compositions of artists I admire and have done so many times over the years. ( This one is inspired by Ian Roberts).
That’s what I’m posting today, one record of the changes that will eventually take their place in new work.
So, I’m still putting ‘miles on the paintbrush’ and cabin fever took me out on a rare sunny day recently to look for signs of spring. The wind was strong and bitter so I grabbed this quick photo and retreated back to the warmth of the studio to interpret and paint.
The title could be ‘The March of the Saugeen’. I don’t think ‘flow’ when I see this river but rather a relentless presence that has at times carried me, dumped me, flooded me out, fed me and always reminded me to ‘march on’.
So, I’m told a ‘change is as good as a rest’, and this is definitely a change from painting small. The canvas is 24in x 36in (don’t know what that is in metric offhand) but it makes a great space filler in my kitchen. I painted it quickly and altho’ the photo has intensified the blues (my camera seems to do this a lot), I like it.
I will make the small adjustments before I put it up for sale at the studio tour this summer but in the meantime, it is a great ‘decorator’ piece and I am going to enjoy it. I have a true affinity for pears; eating them and painting them. The colours on this little specimen were so luscious that I had to paint it quickly before I devoured it. Mmmmm…mmmm..tasted as good as it looked.
Another study.I watched a pair of these birds almost every day this past summer.They flew between two trees above the Saugeen River and announced their arrival twice a day with a loud, rattling call. Always successful at fishing, they seemed very businesslike, more like organized shoppers than hunters. I took pictures but never caught the detail necessary–needing a better lens than what I have I suppose. So, bird books out and perusing terrific birding sites has me trying to understand the feather patterns, colours and just plain attitude of these feisty little dudes. Seems only fitting to dust off the watercolour media for these water ‘kings’.
(watermedia on toned paper)