Break of dawn,
near Whiskey Jack
36"x48" oil on canvas
I've heard it like all artists have hear it...never paint with solid black or white. So, of course, I do. Not trying to pick a fight with the art establishment or anything but just saying, rather, asking: have you ever noticed the multitude of colours that appear in black? Especially when black is applied with a rough bristle brush and leaves rows or texture lines behind each stroke! Wow, it really is a rainbow in a dark void.
So I have been painting a few dark paintings lately. I used to hear artists say that it was a refection of how they felt at the time. I know one artist who used that line purely for humour (thanks Jack for that). For me it is not so. I enjoy black like I enjoy red, or yellow or any colour for that matter. I like to spread it all over a surface and see where it takes me. In the case of the picture shown here, I started like that. Just a thick black layer of plain unmixed black. It was pretty overwhelming on a 36"x48" surface! Then I just stood back and looked "into it" and saw this familiar place. This place I had been this past summer. It was Canoe lake but it could have been any lake at night for that matter. It was a passage between two tree lined shores, with layers of receding horizon lines behind it. It was for certain the entrance to Whiskey Jack Bay on Canoe Lake.
At night the water settles down. Call it the moon effect or whatever, I don;t really know the science behind it but it is very still. The tree's seem to stand taller, more formidable, and as if on guard of their inhabitants. That's it! That's the mover in all of this. It's the fact that the forest comes to life with the night creatures. It is not really still. It is much busier at night.
That is what I see in the dark of black. That is the motivation behind my latest series of paintings.
Hope you enjoy them. Love to have your feed back.
There was a time when this artist, much younger and more snow ambitious would think nothing of pulling on all the layers and boots to go out for hours of sliding on a hill or playing hockey. As time went by that ambition calmed down a bit as I was satisfied to watch my kids play in it and maybe slide a few times with them. Now, as I venture into my 50th year I find myself quite happy to admire it's beauty from behind a window or from in the car. Not sure what happened, I know for certain that if I lived in a snowless place with hot temps all year around I would most certainly miss the white stuff. Probably even be one of those guys who takes trips to snowy places just to enjoy it for a moment.
These days I watch with some anxiety as the snow begins to fall and the temperatures threaten my ability to plunk my stool down on a rock and spend hours painting or sketching the forest or the lake. Almost like a door that slowly closes and restricts me from doing what I love to do so much.
Thank God for the kids in my house who love to play in snow so much, who always need reminders to bundle up and "get that scarf around your neck" as they rush to play outside in sub zero temps. Those reminders of the fact that it is not all doom and gloom but rather a joyous time of fun and memories.
But for now I long for the sun to return, for the clouds to part and the tree's to green up, I will be out there. You may see me or you may not. My routes are often off the beaten path where foot paths have not been made. You will see me though, in the colours I paint. In the vibrance that I put into my paintings because they are where I can make it happen all year round.
In painting as in life, and painting is so much like life, one sometimes has no choice but to wait. There are times when you can fly though things and be done with it asap. Most of the time the result is a painting which is good.
Now for the patient part. When you think a painting is done, finished, complete you are going to hang it, shoot it, post it, etc, etc. But later it hit's you, it's not done! You have a wave of what I call Post inspiration. This is where you see your painting from totally objective eyes. You notice things you didn't notice the first time around. Such was the case for "Changing Colours". The second wave of inspiration didn't come for three years! Without a doubt I truly feel satisfied now with this painting and the work is done. Finished, complete.
Recently I was in a serious funk over the way my paintings were turning out. I was hungry for punch, and something to grab me. It was a friend, Sara who was able to point me in the right direction with a simple suggestion; " you just need to use more powerful colour. Don't be afraid", she said. So I set out to do just that. The result was the latest series of paintings where I believe the difference is obvious. Sometimes revisiting older paintings not yet sold invited a splash of colour. It has changed this artists life and by the results and feed back from many of you it has brought a new perspective to my work.
The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.