At precisely 1301 PDT on September 22nd the sun indicated the beginning of the fall solstice. I have been thinking about that moment for some time. The itch is returning and I have been asking myself the question why do I always lose it in the summer….? My mother provided me with the answer years ago when she described me as a hedonist. A hedonist is obsessed with pleasure and self gratification and as it turns out she was absolutely correct as I have learned that as soon as the weather turns my studio creativity morphs into garden creativity. The rest of the summer is spent on the “do-nuttin deck” simply absorbing the great outdoor vibe. Here we are at the change of season and the inevitable itch has returned. I am in the process of shifting my pleasure and self gratification from enjoying the outdoor space that I have created and returning my energy to the studio.
I have two pieces on the go that have sat idle since April and the evolution of my website to include the new galleries plus “The Colorist Book” are all priorities. It is pouring rain outside as I write this…..the perfect scenario for returning to the cozy comfort of the studio. I relish the return of artistic creativity to pen and pencil. The outdoor creativity that flourishes in my flower garden is fulfilling and satisfies my hedonistic tendencies but lacks a tangible productivity. Productivity re-emerges as October begins tomorrow. I have a wide and foolish grin on my face as I glance at the two works in progress.
My apologies if you are looking at my website. March has been a month of excitement, angst and frustration. I am in the process of revamping the website to reflect the images in chronological order. It makes sense to me that my work is represented in a fashion that allows you to see an evolution of more than forty years work. I have almost completed the Fine Art Gallery but have much more work to do. I am also adding two additional galleries to further categorize my work, one specifically for the colorist book and one solely to showcase my Christmas cards. It has been frustrating as I had to throw into the mix swapping out my desk top. My 2003 PC was making some alarming noises so in fear of loosing everything I decided it was best to make the upgrade. Now I’m frustrated with the adaption from Windows XP to Windows 10. Navigation and reinstalling my hardware has been a challenge for someone as “tech inept” as myself. I managed to survive no email for two weeks amongst other issues such as scanning an image that translated to 22 MB. I’m learning but painfully slowly……. I hope to have it all in place for the first of May.
Please bear with me as I get closure (Freudian slip) to completing the transition. This exercise has been beneficial as I see an evolution of my style (yet remaining remarkably consistent) and I am recognizing the importance of allowing the viewer a more comprehensive view of my work by inviting them into the process rather than simply showcasing the completed work.
Aside from lamenting my technical ineptitude my work in the studio has continued to dominate my time and consciousness. In the middle of color studies for Alderberry 3 I have begun work on a new piece simply entitled Spring. After six months of absolutely decrepit weather I am beginning to actually experience some emotions that generally relate to spring. The weather is turning and life is beginning to emerge from the underground. As nature is my primary inspiration I find myself drooling over the prospect of sun induced life!
February turned out to be a very interesting month for me. After 20 days I completed the work on Alderberry 2. This piece has provided me with several revelations. What I wanted to introduce this time was to use the leaf pattern as a color void. I was able to accomplish that but was dissatisfied with the overall result. It strikes me as calculated yet chaotic at the same time. The eye doesn’t have any flow to follow. Alderberry 3 addresses that issue. There is a sneak peak at the piece I am working on now in the Graphic Design and Pen and Ink Galleries.
Once again I discovered that a detailed segment of the completed work was much more interesting to my eye than the whole image. I have put three such segments in the Fine Art Gallery. I don’t consider that to be an issue as these segments often lead to new ideas. The whole Alder series was born from a segment of Alderberry 1.
The other news (or lack thereof) that presented itself in February has allowed the old self doubt bug to creep back into my consciousness. I submitted a sample of my portfolio to a Gallery early in the month and have had no response. It is a blow to ones ego and self confidence and makes you ask yourself questions. The one that was most prevelant in my mind was “Am I an artist or a craftsman?” It’s curious for me because I consider a craftsman to be someone who has honed their skills at a particular craft. My style and choice of medium lends itself to that definition. Pen and ink with colored pencil has been my preference for almost 20 years. Is the definition of an artist one who is willing to step outside their comfort zone and try something different or does it really matter? I have reached the conclusion that as long as there is intellectual growth and evolution I consider that to be artistic. The creative gene needs to be stimulated to the point where as you are producing an image you are already anticipating the next one.
Long story short I consider myself to be an artist.
I mentioned last month that I was demonstrating my concept of the adult coloring book but it is slightly premature. The presentation of the exact same pen and ink drawing with six coloring options is appearing this month in the Graphic Design and Fine Art Galleries. I have begun my research into what is out there in terms of adult coloring opportunities and was quite surprised at the volume of options. The pen and ink drawings are often very elaborate but the subject matter options are somewhat limited in my opinion. When trying to understand the market created by an adult coloring book I would assume it provides a form of stress release, relaxation and a creative outlet whether one is convalescing from an illness or simply a distraction from the pressures of everyday life.
I have not yet come across a book that offers an opportunity to color abstract subject matter. During this exploration phase I have found the process to be very stimulating for my creativity as one study leads to another and another and another. The abstract option provides an avenue for any participant to explore the idea of color combinations and complimentary schemes that will alter the pen and ink starting point significantly without presenting a perceived sense of what the outcome should look like. I am excited about the prospect of carving a small niche in the market.
The observation of the Alderberry leaf pattern blowing in the wind one day while I was working grabbed my attention and has resulted in a series of images that continues to evolve from piece to piece. It has been very stimulating and exciting to witness how this evolution evokes an emotional response. I’m a little confused though as I was approaching my abstract studies as a means to record an emotional response rather than a visual reality. I am finding that the experimentation that this series is pushing me to is actually creating the emotional response. Sort of like the age old chicken/egg discussion.
My BIO page has been updated for the first time since the inception of my website. The content of the last paragraph is of such significance to me that I felt it belonged in my biography. It is a clear and deliberate message that defines the emotional and creative spirit that has driven me to produce art for the last forty years.
A new year!! ……. always bursting with optimism and dreams. I wish you all an opportunity for those dreams to be realized. 2017 will be a very important year for me. It is time to emerge from the shadows and comfort of my studio and make a concerted effort to expose my work to the world. A Gallery exhibition and social media are the avenues that will be a priority for me. Aside from the marketing and exposure side of things I am excited about what stimulation my brain is finding from prolonged activity in the studio. As a work progresses I keep asking myself what if this and what if that. It’s frustrating and exalting at the same time.
The appeal of an adult coloring book continues to grow. You will see an example of this with the Alderberry images presented this month. I took the exact same pen and ink drawing and examined multiple possibilities of applying a color strategy. Interesting results and I would be very curious to see how others interpret the possibilities. The image alters dramatically with the simple deletion or change of a color. The pen and ink drawing offers multitudes of spaces to be either colored or not. I have also found that when I stop a piece and look at a portion of the perceived end result it also opens the possibility of something completely different. The appeal of abstract and its unlimited possibilities continues to bubble enthusiasm for me.
The holiday season is rapidly approaching and I wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful time with those that are close to you. The featured showcase artwork this month is my 2016 Christmas card. This is the thirtieth edition of my Christmas card works. We have some huge oak trees in our backyard and some of their litter was the inspiration for this piece. Although the oaks provide much appreciated shade in the summer months they also provide many a nuisance. The first is a steady mist of sticky sap that covers the entire yard in the month of May. Next comes the continuous bombardment of acorns as fall approaches with some of them being large enough to give you a concussion should the top of your head become an unwelcome target. Lastly comes the leaves………when I look at the card my back aches as I reminisce over the six weeks of raking and bagging.
My home page speaks of inviting you into my artistic world. I like the idea of showing you glimpses of each work in progress. It provides a greater insight into the progression of the work and allows me to analyze that progress and make any adjustments to the finished product that I deem necessary.
I trust that everyone will have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. For myself I know that taking advantage of the next few months of crap weather will allow me to devote a much greater percentage of my time to the studio.
November has proven to be a very exciting month for me. As the weather turns to crap (and it has) I find myself with much more studio time as my outdoor living space energizer has completely vanished. The much anticipated Brittania #2 is completed and my brain is already formulating #3. I consider it a success, a stepping stone in the evolution of my artistic pursuit.
I’ve taken a brief hiatus (2 weeks) from this exploration in order to deliver my annual Christmas card. The concept was conceived in 2014 and I am pleased with the result. Christmas obligations and an ever growing mailing list has made expediency a necessity. The style is traditional as would befit the Christmas spirit but my brain is burning in pursuit of my abstract obsession.
My sense of Brittania #3 is to explore a more minimalist approach. The elements remain a concrete objective but I already understand this stage is fleeting. Upon studying the works of Miro and Kandinsky I have become fascinated with the idea of creating my own personal symbolic artistic vocabulary. I was recently introduced to the works of Native artist Lawrence Paul. His work is wonderful as I have a deep appreciation for West Coast indigenous art and he certainly exhibits that wisdom. His work reminds me of a collision of two trucks filled with paintings – one full of west coast art and the other full of Salvador Dali. It is a beautiful and natural combination of style. My take of Mr. Paul’s work is that he is contemporizing a traditional art form and that he has an important political message to deliver. I find it interesting to discover that my naivety has deprived me of a cause or statement to express what is often a driving artistic force.
Hooray! Time to show you something new. A bit of a teaser however as the finished product is still in progress. I have spoken at length about the intellectual stimulation I’ve been feeling and I can now provide some visual details to better explain what I’m going through. The first piece in the Fine Art Gallery this month is Brittania #1, the green marble retaining wall I talked about in April. Brittania #2 is completed through the pen and ink stage. (see the Pen and Ink Gallery) The concept behind Brittania #2 is to integrate a simple geometric shape into the general form, flow and pattern of the retaining wall and study the relationship between the stone and the geometric shape. I am excited about the unfolding outcome and will have completed the work in mid November.
This is the first time I have published images of the process rather than just the finished piece. I find it interesting to see the development process and perhaps by documenting the visual evolution it will stimulate a further more sophisticated approach.
Stay tuned for November!
As is the norm the summer has flown by without any sustained studio time. However, despite the lack of activity at my drawing table, there has been significant intellectual probing and debate regarding the path I wish to pursue. I have found myself drawn to the works of Wassily Kandinsky and Joan Miro in particular as I envision a calculated disconnect between reality and emotion as a key to my progression artistically. My desire to depict my emotional state as opposed to the visual reality presented to my eye is becoming an increasingly powerful driving force. My Fuchsia series earlier this year reflects the progression of this intellectual process and the unfolding “Brittania” series should exemplify my evolution.
September 23, 2016 – a dreary, rain soaked grey has unexpectedly cancelled the drudgery of having to earn a living. An opportunity to release the hounds straining on their leashes in my brain has presented itself. Brittania #2 lays open and inviting on my table. It is perplexing but invigorating to the point where I feel a vibration swelling in me. Time to replace the keyboard with a pencil…..
The title for this entry says it all. My bold ultimatum to myself in April has whimpered quietly into the nether world. I have been nibbling at my drawing table in fits and spurts but find myself dominated by life outside the studio. The majority of my creativity is expended in the garden as I do enjoy the sensation of simply sitting in the midst of it. The garden has become much more than a green space with the addition of a pergola, gate and patio block walkway. My construction ability though noble with intent is adequate to put it in a positive spin. I have also added several decorative elements including a gnarly four foot chunk of rebar. A nasty piece of business story for another time but its mere presence reminds me daily that I am still alive. I’ll stop this entry at this time as I feel a strong magnetic pull to Brittania #2 which has been nagging at my creativity as it perches invitingly on my table.