Friday, April 25, 2008

Beginnings and endings

Lately, this is how a painting begins for me. This canvas is
4' x 24". I love the excitement of a new canvas. Here we go!
I squeeze the colours on right out of the tube at first, then spread
them around with a big brush, spraying the canvas with water to
make the paint move. I may have been dreaming of the painting for weeks, but no matter how much thought I've put into it, the work itself starts to take over. The painting does what it wants. Does that sound crazy? I'm not an abstract artist -- but I start out that way. Then I'm lured deeper and deeper into form, colour, the play of line and light, and I go where my hands and eyes take me.

Painters paint because they have to. I remember when I was
a young freelance writer that I used to corner writers to ask
how they did it. They'd always say, 'if you don't have to, don't
do it.' The same is true of painting. If you have to, it will be
a force in your life, one of your greatest pleasures. You will
be working on something separate from what others think
of you, or where you're meant to go. Even separate from
your own ideas. It all starts here with the first marks on a
big gessoed canvas.

If you've been feeling like doing
something creative lately -- it doesn't have to be painting --
writing, singing, taking guitar lessons, do this first: go out and
buy the most beautiful journal you can find. Then start writing
down your ideas day by day. Date each entry. In the space of a
page or two you'll start to give yourself permission to more than
just want to do a creative act, you'll begin to plan the act. Next
you'll start scheduling, time, people, classes, and moving towards
your idea -- then watch out. Start with buying the journal and a
wonderful pen. See how it goes. Please write to me in the comment
section of this blog when it works. If you want to read about
writing check out Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mind
, or Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way

What else is happening? This was the last Friday night with
Christopher in Fionn MacCools at Yonge and St. Clair here
in Toronto. I watched my handsome son in his black shirt,
black tie, black pants, and black apron, serving us the last dinner
he will ever serve us at Fionn's. We've been going to the
restaurant for years -- ever since he began working there
in the summer. It's been so great seeing him there regularly,
especially since he moved out on his own with his girlfriend,
Megan. But they are going to Korea for at least a year, and
all of his acting and artist friends who work there are moving
on too.

I thought about my parents, and the jobs I did after
university. They would never have visited me when
I was a short order cook, or been sad that the job was
over. We really do parent differently now, and I think
that's good. I've been lucky to have both of my sons working
so close to us, on St. Clair. Now one of them is moving
half way around the world. So I didn't cry about it tonight,
but I know I'll cry when the big day comes, and we kiss them
goodbye at the airport.

Now it's back to work.

Have a happy beginnings evening.

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Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!