Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pick sunny heroes

A conversation I had last night at art class with a truly
gifted artist, made me realize how important it is to
surround yourself with supportive people. Julia Cameron
of The Artist's Way about wet blankets who reel out the facts to dissuade you whenever you come up with an imaginative idea for a piece of art, or a new project -- writing, singing -- you name it. Bob Burridge, who is one of my current heroes encourages artists to have fun. I can't
think of a better reason to begin a creative act than for
the incredible enjoyment waiting in the realm of

When I was younger I took classes with some artists
who laid down absolute rules, and told the people
studying how to paint to follow them. There was nothing
innately wrong with that. All artists know a whole
language of rules they pick up and incorporate from
different teachers and images they see in their
environment as they grow and change. But some of the
friends I've made over the years in art have taken so
many classes and heard so many rules, that they can't
just pick up a brush and paint. I pointed out to the
friend I was talking to last night that little children
produce fantastic art, before the adults in their lives pass
judgement on their creations, making them too self
conscious to paint for the sheer joy of it, and risk ending up with an
image that doesn't look like something recognizable. In the real art
world some of the most successful painters are abstract and
non-objective artists.

The images I'm including tonight are the next stages
in one of the paintings I was working on for the DVAC
spring show. Normally I paint the background and the
figure at the same time, but this time I was using
photo reference for the background, and the first time
I went down to the river I made a mistake with my
camera, and my shots didn't work.

So I had to be practical. The model was in my studio, and
I worked on her. As you can see already the painting is growing
and changing. After this session I noticed that the dress really
needed some darker colour to highlight the lighter parts of the dress.
You may think my whole discussion of rules is humorous as
I am the farthest thing from an abstract painter. I know
for sure now that I take my own inner voice as my guide,
and I supplement it with a whole chorus of voices who
together form a choir of encouragement. To everyone reading
this who has ever praised my work, or helped me continue
in any way -- I give my heartfelt thanks.

It's late, the taxes are in, and we celebrated with an amazing dinner,
toasting to a new year. April was a busy month, but not the cruellest
month, and so far it did not breed "lilacs out of the dead land,"
as T.S. Eliot would have it.

We are almost officially into the merry month of May.

Have a merry day.

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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!