April 25, 2013

Innovate, produce, consolidate

After the Bath by Paul Beel (1890)

Ten days ago I completed my second course with the Ottawa School of Art. First, the exhilarating Anatomy of the Human Figure with Aida Alves, and second, a first-time journey into Acrylic Landscape Painting with Blair Paul. My technique improved a lot. Composition, colour, the whole thing. If you've been visiting this space you've been seeing it happen. But I haven't been making pictures about what I want to make pictures about.

I haven't made the pictures I want to make in years. During my first maternity leave, just at the tail end, I did some work I wanted to do while my daughter went to daycare part-time. I tackled a classical painting of Ada's face, a couple of other things. Three months later I got back to work and started drawing people on the bus. I drew anyone with whatever materials I had from fall 2010 to spring 2012.

On my second mat leave, I drew a number of pictures of my son while he slept. I loved doing these pictures, but I really wished I had more time and different poses.

Next, I chose the Anatomy course because I was weak on anatomy. (Great at heads, feet not so much.) And I chose the landscape course because the courses I really want to take weren't offered when I could take them. Contemporary painting, Expressive figure painting, etc.

I guess I've been making art out of whatever's in front of me for three years. It's exciting that I can do that now. Make things workable. I'm a much better technician than I was.

So, the next step.

Ada will be starting school in a new place across town this fall. We're buying another car so I can drive her there every day on my way to and from work.

In other words, the bus part of Bus Blog is over.

I'm pretty freaked about this. If I don't have Pictures from the Bus, what do I have?

The ideas I do have are pretty unformed. Ever since I first saw Canadian artist Paul Beel's After the Bath I have wanted to do nudes of children. I've made a few basic sketches. I'm nervous about taking photos, which would help for reference. It seems like a violation of my kids' privacy somehow. I'm not sure what poses I would do. How could I avoid them seeming sexualised? Serious art featuring kids doesn't have a good smell to it these days. How would I present these paintings? Would they be appropriate online? What audience would they have, if any?  

I guess I'm thinking too much again, aren't I.

I'm not ready to do the children paintings that I want to do. And I don't want to do more of what I have been doing. If I'm not actively producing or growing as an artist or technician, then what am I doing? I'm consolidating.

Time to redo Best of Bus Blog and update my art site.

April 24, 2013


April 2013

I brought this painting home Sunday before last and, as though she'd been drawn to it, my daughter planted her finger right on a scratch I'd thought I'd aptly disguised. Harrumph.

The painting asks what the relationship might be between the boats. I hope the tension comes across.

I received some compliments from classmates on this one. A stranger in the parking garage asked where I'd bought it. One person thought the different styles of brushstrokes didn't work together. Another thought they did. My husband disliked the bottom boat. Someone else really liked the sky. And so on.

I guess there's no consensus when it comes to art. No truth everyone has figured out except me. Tastes are pretty whimsical. What someone appreciates in my work maybe says more about them than it says about my work. I don't particularly like this painting. I didn't like the one before it, and someone bought that one.

My teacher told me I do good work. Compliments feel amazing, especially from someone like Blair Paul, but no one can tell me what to do next because they don't know either. The only thing is to keep going.

I couldn't find any open studio space for the spring and there weren't any courses that appealed to me. So I'm on my own again. No bus, no class and only vague ideas as to what to do. This is the kind of uncomfortable-at-the-time moment you look back on and think -- awesome.  What's next?

April 18, 2013

Eastern Townships again & write-up

Eastern Townships III

I got included in a write-up in Apt613! I'm quite happy about this as I had written them a couple of years ago hoping for some exposure. They'd responded that they liked the blog and they'd happily review a gallery show should I ever do one. That's not an avenue I felt suited Bus Blog, sadly, so I was chuffed when I showed up in Alejandro Bustos' Tour de Blogosphere. He also has a very interesting side project, the Ottawa Blogging Library. Very ambitious!

This little piece marks the last of the Eastern Townships paintings I completed over the winter. I did this one at home and brought it in to show my teacher. That thing up there is a pipe. I'm telling you this because neither he nor my husband could tell what it's supposed to be. The man-made element mars the natural beauty of the scene, and my teacher suggested I paint it out. I did a good job with the colours and I quite like this painting.

I did a large canvas over two days of art classes last weekend. Five hours of painting in such a short period really lets me get into it. I'll show you the results after I get a chance to set up the tripod and shoot the painting.

April 9, 2013

Saturday's another day

April 7, 2013

I was feeling pretty out of sorts on Sunday. Yet another cold/flu. I'd only been well for a week since the last one and here came another one. I didn't have any thing to work from in art class, so I just picked a picture from a photo reference for artists. Can't really get into things when I've got no connection to it. So that's where this picture came from. Nothing special. Just pushing the paint around.

This weekend we have art class both days, though, so I'm super keen about that. If I can manage to get away, I should be able to do a big one. Hope I think up something good to paint!

April 7, 2013

Rent something

The last few months I've devoted many evening hours to clicking through the artwork available for rent through the Ottawa Art Gallery. I finally looked at the last piece tonight, and I'm sad to be done. Tonight I discovered or rediscovered Shannon Whittle, Amy Thomson, Patrice Stanley, and Anthony Tremmaglia. Quite a lineup for a single evening.

If you've got 40 or 50 bucks, you can rent you some Art. Perhaps a piece by my teacher, Blair T. Paul. Just a friendly suggestion.