Monday, July 27, 2015

Still Painting, still posting... just not as much on this blog.

I want to invite all my readers to join me on my more active platforms. I just updated and expanded my online presence with a website (including a blog) so I can keep my images in one place with my written posts, 

Please join me at my new blog:

Also, I am a happy instagrammer and tweeter, so if you are so inclined, please feel free to give me a follow at these handles: 

I like to post a little of my personal world, more of my work in progress and lots of new pieces!

Thanks for your time reading on this blogger blog - your comments and feedback have meant so much to me. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking back, looking ahead from my 2014 perspective

Quintet of Pups
6" x 6" each
Acrylic on Canvas

These paintings (which I wished I had taken better photos of) were a Christmas commission for a dear friend of mine who has a special love for rescued dogs. These guys were a lot of fun to paint. 

I had been planning all week to write the usual "looking back" post on all my creative pursuits and share some of the exciting things that are coming up. Then unrelated things came up that required my time. 

A year ago, that would have made me feel guilty or stressed to lose time unexpectedly... these past 12 months my perspective has shifted. All these paintings and adventures are an amazing thing I get to be a part of but I've learnt that time for relationships trump this. 

2014 won't go down in my books as a best or worst year... It will be remembered as a pivotal moment. One where I started to pray for boldness, look for new opportunities and embrace spending quality time with people who are special to me. 

I think this coming year will be better than 2014 and I can say that 2014 was a vast improvement over the previous year. However, this New Years Eve I know quite a few people who are hurting a LOT and it doesn't feel right to forget them. 

So, I'm keeping this post low key and saving the time it would take to write something elaborate so I can spend time with them. All the best to all of you. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

New Work - Cloud 4

Cloud 4
6" x 6"
Acrylic on Board

I'm dreaming of wild skies today. I think I've been cooped up in the house too long. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thursday Confessional #13 - Sharing vs. Hiding

Acrylic on Canvas

Today's confession has been a long time coming in regards to where my art is moving. For those who don't know me personally, the above painting has taken me quite a while to finish because it is a self portrait. I painted the portrait part and left it, but was not settled about it. I decided a few weeks ago to return and add the linear elements and the meanings that come with those. That was a risk and it was painful to paint over a technically decent painting with the possibility of wrecking it, but that risk paid off in my mind. 

That leads to the confessional part of today's post: sharing verses hiding.

I've been growing in this area recently (a good sign that I'm in a good place mentally, spiritually and physically I think). The fact that I was comfortable exposing myself through a self portrait, is huge. That exposure is two fold - one, to myself while painting it, the other is to the viewer, many of whom can see the physical likeness or recognise some of the symbolic subtext that is going on in the image. It is easy to get things wrong in a self portrait and have the whole world see it. Self portraits are very risky in that sense.

A few months ago the idea of sharing more about myself or sharing my time would have left me feeling very vulnerable, I suspect many of us have had periods of our lives where the sheer act of putting ourselves out there would be too exhausting or terrifying to actually follow through with it. 

Then at some point, things changed (that is another long share, for another day - probably over  a coffee would be best)

I think I'm ready to share more of who I am. I know I talk a lot about symbols, but then don't really say much about them as to how they pertain to a particular piece. That is partly because I don't believe I control all of that - what the viewer brings to a painting is something totally out of my hands.

What I can say is generally, I am operating between two symbolic languages. The first one is from our Western canon of art, I particularly enjoy medieval interpretations, imagery and marginalia. The second language is one that I am now really starting to grasp and appreciate - it is my own symbolic language. It is formed out of moments where an object comes to represent a key moment in my history.

The more that I look at reoccurring things in my art, the more I realize this subtext has been there all along. Things I paint about may only be a nice looking picture to a viewer, but to me there is usually a reference to something that I don't want to or cannot articulate with words. My paintings are their own confessionals at times.

I also struggle with meshing different artistic practices with my painting. I love illustrative stuff, but to draw all over that canvas up there was really hard. But it wasn't. I realized halfway through the second painting of this piece that I've done this before. I used to draw on my paintings 20 years ago. Then I stopped. I got Serious with my Artwork. Professional even.

I've also noticed circles coming into my work (and photos of stuff) recently. Two symbolic languages at work there. Traditional western circular symbolism.... personal symbolism. In the personal language, it is hard for me to articulate the meaning, but I look back to the plate paintings I did a number of years ago and it comes clear, there is a history of objects and somehow circles are a return to my childhood. Reference to moving parts and pieces, cycles of time. Formless in the sense of having a concrete one size fits all meaning. Formless but very, very important.

Some symbols are easier. Gladiolus. Purple. Traditional meaning, yes. Sweet personal reference that is more important, even an inside joke/pop culture reference that only very few who have known my interests years ago would clue into.

The easiest for me are those little doodlings of shapes that flex and bend and get smaller inside each other (you can see them in the circular bits). Those are always, always a reference to my childhood. They are there to honor that time where I drew for the love of drawing. My mom taught me how to do them (I think to keep me from wasting tons of paper) and they just became a continual thing.

You can see them in this #TBT old sketchbook drawing from 1994... this is a personal symbolic language I've been speaking forever it seems.

This page I was talking about my school trip to Salzburg, Austria. That green thing is a 
bus ticket that I used about 10 times (illegally) once my friends showed me how to 
put glue on the part where the machines stamp it so you could wash the stamp off later. 
Man, I've changed!

So, after all that rambling, my confession is that I want to share more, hide less. It isn't easy, but I'm trying to be more bold these days! 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Wycliffe Calendar is Hot Off the Presses!

This was easily over a year in the making, 12 paintings of mine of very neat subject matter put together by the awesome team at Wycliffe

I have some free copies to give away, so if you'd like one, message me with your address and I'd be happy to send you one, free of charge!

Monday, October 06, 2014

5 Paintings I'd Forgotten About - Dogs (and a bonus dog I'll never forget!)

Ah, sweet Esther!

Recently, I discovered a cache of treasures on my Google+ account.... all the photos I ever loaded on the blog, were there waiting for me. Many pieces I had forgotten about and more than a few files that I thought I had lost the image forever due to a computer meltdown I had had a number of years ago (I learned a lot about backing up images from that instance)

Having these images has been a pleasant surprise as I look over the past few years of work to see how I've grown as an artist and to see where my instincts were bang on.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Thursday Confessional #12 - Five Things I'm Afraid Of As An Artist

Cloud #3 
Acrylic on Board 
6" x 6"

I painted this yesterday and today the weather and clouds very much feel like this. Bright, brisk and windy. I went for a long walk and if I closed my eyes I could picture waves crashing on the beach it is so windy. Fall has arrived in full splendour. 

Again I'm playing with the paint marker. Hit it with water in the cloud areas before it could dry just to see what would happen. Having fun with it. 

Onto the confessional....

Fear is something I grapple with mostly in my head. I'm not super scared of the world around me (except heights). It isn't terror so much as extreme discomfort, maybe of failure, maybe of lack of acceptance... even though intellectually I know those things don't matter. I guess it is a heart thing. 

Here are some big fears I struggle with in my art:

1) Breaking the rules - I love knowing my boundaries. Limitations are almost creative boosts for me because I enjoy the challenge of doing things where I need to make good even though there are finite limits. Mostly this a good skill that has many practical uses (especially when working with limited time, money and resources) but lately I butt up against a boundary because I want to travel from A to B and I'm not always equipped to scale that wall. Most of it is just because the rules are so deeply embedded I forgot they were there. Creature of habit I guess. 

2) Compartmentalisation - Speaking of boundaries, I love shoving genres, mediums, styles into their own little boxes. Think of a giant waffle... that is my art brain. I have a lot of respect for mixed media artists but I struggle to go there. (Again, it my head... my hands know how to mix it up... my head goes "nuh uh!") I'm not sure why I'm afraid of playing in that regard, I just am.

3) Commitment - Right now as I look at my options, I find I'm afraid of committing too much to one thing. Be it a body of work, a possible selling partnership, working with arts organisations... All of those scare me a little in the sense of "is this how I'm to spend my creativity?". I'm actively seeking guidance here because I know that when I make a commitment, creativity explodes. It's just the committing to the right thing that trips me up. 

4) Wasting Time - Oh this has put a halt to so many creative rabbit trails. I have a fear of noodling and experimenting (see also "breaking the rules") because wasting time feels risky. Although I know it isn't a waste of time, rather more of an investment for future creativity. Part of that fear comes from the working with limits mindset, often time has been short during certain seasons so trying to produce the best work I could came at the price of innovating. I need to face this fear now that time is way more abundant. 

5) Wasting Money - Again, limitations forced a model for me to work from. (Although years ago I prayed that God would always provide me with supplies to create - which He has) My head equates time with money and wasting one, wastes the other... I'm really trying to shake this one off and trust. I helps that I have some small streams coming in to cover supplies, hopefully this allows me to let go further. 

So, my hope is by laying these out it allows me to recognise and reflect even more. Knowing what I'm afraid of sure helps me to see it when I let negative self talk get in the way of creating even more creatively.