Iris’s In A Pond – Acrylic Painting

I must admit, it has been a while since I picked up a paintbrush; squeezed some paint onto a palette, and poked away at a canvas.

It seems three and a half weeks doing training kind of curtailed this creative side of life.

I did, however, managed to finish this acrylic painting called “Iris’s In A Pond.” It’s a bit of a semi-abstract approach, that has literally multiple layers of paint to create the effect.

Overall, I like the finished product. Although I really like how the top 1/3 portion turned out, as compared to the bottom 2/3rds of the canvas. Nevertheless, it was a learning process of how to create the illusion of depth overall and to make reflections on water appear realistic(as they can in a semi-abstract environment).

Maybe if we get another snowy day and the schools are closed, I might take another crack at this scene again, but with some slight alterations.

In the meantime, I’m working on something similar(with much more colour and punch) looking at lilies in a pond.

Well, I’ve at least gotten started on it.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Sold – ‘Colourful Wildflowers On A High Cliff”

Over the years in my blogging career, I have mentioned from time to time that the “art/creative gene” so to speak could be found in our daughter. She was the one who excelled in graphic design in her college program. She was the one who garnered awards at the prestigious “Blue Mountain Foundation For The Arts” competition when she was in school.

I had originally posted about this painting back in November, “Colourful Wildflowers On A High Cliff.”

So, when it invariably comes to getting informed advice on the old creative and painting journey – she is my go-to person. I do suspect that often she simply says “wow – that’s a great job Dad!” in order not to deflate my fragile ego and have me curled up in the fetal position in a dank corner of the basement crawlspace due to a rather “honest critique.”

Nevertheless, I did send her a picture of this painting and another one suggesting that if she wanted one or both of them, they were hers to have.

Her reply back was, “wow – that’s a great job Dad!(see above)”… and I’ll take the seascape one to put up in the restaurant. Oh, and as well, other people here in the restaurant working with me today are interested in both pictures.

So, I sold it to her.

Although she hasn’t e-transferred me the coin yet. Kids – what ya going to do? Oh well.

I think the operational plan at this point to is head to Halifax on Saturday to do a couple of errands and then deliver the painting to her. This is all very exciting and at the same time scary. It’s one thing to give a finished piece to a family member; any family member, who is almost obligated to “at least appear to like the painting.”

It is altogether something different to have it displayed in a restaurant in the middle of the downtown restaurant/bar district – so that half the brewpub/restaurant crowd in the greater Halifax regional area see it.

I’ll try to survive through it, though.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Art Thoughts..

This “art journey” that I find myself undertaking, has been more of a road trip fraught with frustration, mediocrity, and then every so often…… a “this is good piece.” That finished work erases all that frustration and mediocre paint splashes that keep residing in your mind’s eye and short-term memory.

Maybe we could liken this whole art thing to driving down some paved country road, that has more than its fair share of potholes and divots you diligently work at avoiding sinking a tire into.

Nevertheless, art in my mind is an expedition – much like life is an adventure. There will be ebbs and flows to it; highs and lows along the way and periods where things just seem to click along famously.

And in many ways, art and painting specifically have become this soul-searching and often painful voyage of self-discovery. A quest if you will, to uncover how I view and interpret the world around me. And then express that interpretation using paint and canvas.

Writing the words quest or adventure, expedition in a way has a “ring of the unknown” attached to them.

You go on a quest or adventure to perhaps discover or search for something. Think “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of The Lost Ark”(it’s the only movie I could think of).

Funny though, but these adventures or journey’s can end up being a search for and discovery of “who we are.” Ask anyone who has gone on a backcountry canoe or hiking trip. You often find out more of what you’re really made of; who you are; and hidden potential you thought you never had.

My art and creative journey is in many ways told in those graphics and quotes above. It’s turmoil; creativity; emotion; being comfortable and uncomfortable; it’s seeing and not seeing; it’s language; and it’s courage.

It’s courage to undertake a voyage to discover who you truly are.

Discovery isn’t always a good thing.

However the voyage and expedition to arrive there; coupled with the growth throughout the adventure and then after……… always a good thing. It’s the right thing.

–as always with love–

— get otudoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Acrylic Art – Happy Update!!

Over the past couple of days, I did a couple of short posts on these acrylic landscapes that I recently finished.

Good news…. I sold them both!!

All of this came about rather quickly and unexpectedly.

I posted back a couple of weeks ago, on our 2022 version(s) of watercolour Christmas gift tags.

Having sold a few, I had Lynn post what we had left on her FB page, thinking I might be able to sell a few more before the option of mailing out them prior to Christmas didn’t work anymore.

Along the same vein, she also threw out on FB, pics of these two paintings – more to extoll the virtues and the artistic ability of her fine husband(my words – not hers).

Well, to my surprise and Lynn’s – someone contacted me wanting to buy both of them for Christmas.

Long story short, they’ll be heading to Ontario to be loved and viewed in a new home later today or Wednesday.

Still kinda in shock – a good type of shock…..but shocked nonetheless.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

The Language of Art

Over the past while, I’ve taken a bit of a passing interest in how art(creating as well as consuming it) and we as humans have this unique/simple, yet at the same time complex relationship.

This post from a few days ago, “How Going To An Art Gallery Improves Your Health” provided a brief glimpse into the marriage between art and health.

I came across this graphic today.

It is one of those statements that if nothing else, should cause us to think – even if it is just for a minute or so. Art and regardless of the form it is presented in, truly does have the ability to have a great and wonderful positive impact on our lives.

Now, I get that many feel that art(viewing it and creating it) is pure and unadulterated bunk. That view is encapsulated by, “what a waste of time.” I suspect that there would be other phrases just as applicable, but we’ll stick with that one as being representative of that view.

But, let’s not give any more breath to the “waste of timers” here.

Hanging our hat on the positive side of the coin about the value of art and its importance is a far better use of time and effort.

I admit this post is thin in terms of content. Why?

Because I’m not sure a whole lot of long-winded words, descriptions, and text will add to what the artist Richard Kamler states.

In fact, it would greatly detract from it.

This is what I’m asking – from you.

Read the quote once or twice and then throughout your day or the next few days see how those words speak to you.

What does it make you think and feel?

Could it make you view art differently? Maybe or maybe not?

I’d be interested in what you discover and art and more importantly – yourself.

Be sure to drop a comment.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Acrylic – Fall Landscape

In the art world that permeates around the new “old homestead”, much of the last week or so was focused on and taken up by creating hand-painted original watercolour Christmas gift tags.

All of which went along swimmingly, and managed to even sell a few. Not enough sales yet to finance the winter on the beaches of a hot and sunny spot in the South Pacific. Just enough coin for a drink at a local coffee shop………..for one person.

However, since the gift tags process went relatively well(and hoping to the rest), I wanted to get re-energized with painting acrylics with more colour and punch.

When I started experimenting with acrylics after we arrived in Nova Scotia, I had less than no idea what I was doing. And really – what do you need to know? – simply watch a couple of videos on YouTube; look at some artwork…..and you’re good to go……right?

And since we are now living in this beautifully stunning province, it all makes perfect sense to create paintings inspired by or from spots around the province – right?

Well, of course, it does.

As I’m just really getting started traveling this road of acrylics, a couple of things became readily apparent. Part of this process or journey(at least I feel it is part of it) is to discover or develop my own style. How do I interpret the scene in front of me?

In step with that is learning and practicing the skills necessary to move that interpretation in my mind out on the canvas. The few paintings I had done to this point, tended to lack a sense of depth and texture to them. Secondly, there was not much punch to them; nor much colour. There were a “big old bunch” of other things like creating shadows, the direction of sunlight,, and building layers within the painting.

So…….. given all this, I’ve been studying and using techniques for the last few days through a number of video sessions via a gal called “The Art Sherpa” on YouTube.

This fall landscape is the result.

For a first go using what she taught, it turned out pretty darn good. Are there things that need improvement? – Of course,, there is.

But, that’s part of the process – the journey.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Art Is An Experience

In looking back over my working career, it becomes pretty obvious(at least to me) that much of it was spent in engineering, teaching, and also getting folks from Point A over to Point B or C.

The engineering and moving folks around bits, at a basic level were pretty functional in the way they operated. You design something in one case and in the other, you’re getting passengers from here to there.

Both were what we might call utilitarian in scope and not so much of an “experience.” And take it from me, there are not many “life-altering experiences” when you’re designing traffic signals.

Over the past several months since moving to the east coast of Canada, we’ve needed to buy a fair amount of new furniture. Certainly, when purchasing furniture there is or should be an aesthetic component to it like – how will it fit design-wise with the other elements in the living room – given desired colour schemes; themes, and such.”

But a couch does serve a very distinct function – you sit on it.

However, on the other hand, if you head off to get yourself a piece of art(say a painting); lug it home – it doesn’t really do anything for you functionally or from a practical perspective. It simply hangs on the wall or sits propped up on an end table.

However, if the artwork is the perfect match for you, it can become one of the most revolutionary life-changing things to happen in your life.

When that happens, art moves from being a “thing hanging on the wall” that needs to be dusted every so often, and into something that has to potential to change our lives.

It gives us an experience.

When creating a piece, when the artist finds what might be described as an excruciating balance between their emotions and thoughts all of which get pulled out of themselves and form part of what hits the canvas – this can in many instances translate into a meaningful and transformational experience for the viewer.

This is why when we look at and experience art, that experience can have the potential to transform the viewer as well.

Art is an experience, not an object.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover youself —

Sea Of Self-Doubt

For those who don’t know or if you live outside of Canada, you may not have even heard of Tom Thomson.

Tom Thomson is likely one of, if not the most well-known painter that Canada has ever produced.

Art critics, historians, and authors on the subject suggest that Thomson’s art and portrayal of the northern Ontario landscape went a significant way in defining how Canadians view themselves and how the world views us. Thomson believed(along with others from that time period) that a distinct Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature. Thomson formed part of a group of artists that initiated the first major Canadian national art movement. 

In the summer of 1917 when Thomson was in his early forties, he drowned(under questionable circumstances) in Canoe Lake located in Algonquin Provincial Park. His art made him famous; the events around his death since that have taken on mythical proportions and are almost an industry within itself.

I won’t detail the evolution of how the tweet came into existence, but more the substance of the tweet.

Self-doubt when it comes to art and specifically painting in this case is a feeling that I experience and then wrestle with every time I pick up a paintbrush and start that first brush stroke on a blank canvas.

Every time an artist starts the progress of creation, part of them; their inner self; their mental and emotional psyche; their soul gets painted onto the canvas as well. Thus starts the – “is the painting good enough; what will others think of both the final artwork and of me.”

Having only gotten started painting and such within the past couple of years and not even on a consistent basis, this sea of self-doubt rushes in and out like the tides on the Bay of Fundy where we live.

I remind myself as much as possible that art is oh so much more than simply the piece of art itself. And what I’m doing and creating(whether I think the piece is art worthy or not”) is way bigger than me and my canvas.

Professor Mary Lockwood Lane(University of Florida) sums this up perfectly – “the making of art is not what the final piece looks like or sounds like, not what it’s worth or not worth, but the newness that is added to the universe in the process of the piece becoming itself”

Given the importance of art within our existence, Professor Lockwood also states, “it’s really important that we release our inner critic, ……it’s giving yourself permission.”

And in a way, this “sea of self-doubt” is one means to pushing, striving, and working towards improving. Improving the way we express ourselves through our art can’t be a bad thing.

It’s a good thing……..a great thing.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Wilderness Art – Christmas Gift Tags 2022 Version

First of all, I do apologize for the poor quality of the photo.

When I took it with my phone, it was WAY TOO EARLY in the morning – although that isn’t much of an excuse. It is slightly our-of -focus and the effect of incorrect white balance and an overhead dining room light give it a somewhat off-white background.

Nevertheless, I think you get the idea here.

Last year on a bit of a whim, I painted a few Christmas gift tags that we could use for presents to our daughter and her partner, plus some we could put on gifts to Lynn’s parents. “Gift Tag Update….” from last year gives a glimpse into what was happening last year.

So, fast forwarding to this year.

With way more time available to paint and devote to creating them, I thought I might make enough that I could sell them locally or mail them out to folks who couldn’t get them locally.

I’ve done about 40 tags or so to this point, which accounts for two pieces of watercolour paper. Last year, I had a work colleague who was very interested in buying a few. Given time and work stuff, we could never really connect to get her some.

Seeing as I kinda had someone interested(even if it was from 12 months ago), I spoke with her yesterday and she WAS VERY interested. To the point of “threatening me” if I didn’t give her the first choice to pick out of all of them.

One thing my friend did suggest or remind me – I was underpricing them too much. She said, “this is your art – don’t undervalue it.” Good point; good reminder.

Every tag is original and handpinted.

For example, the gnome figure in the top middle may appear to be the same on different tags, but because each one is hand sketched and hand painted, there will always be slight variations. So…each one becomes “an original.”

After much discussion(so much discussion I missed breakfast) and checking prices of Christmas gift tags on “Etsy”, Lynn and I arrived at a price point of $2.00 each, or 4 for $7.00. If they need to be mailed out, the cost using Canada Post is about $1.25 or so.

Today will be devoted to Lynn taking quality shots of the tags so we can get the ball rolling. I might also paint up a few newer ones, but we’ll see.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Wilderness Art …….Now More East Coast Art

I can state most emphatically that the arts(specifically painting) and I have a somewhat precarious love-hate relationship. It takes a special type of person who can love and hate something……… something like the creation of a painting all at the same time.

Perhaps the word “hate” is a tad too harsh. Let’s just say, maybe the use of the words “fear and frustration” work better in this situation.

The backstory behind this falls out of a desire to start pencil sketching scenes from canoe and camping adventures that Lynn and I would head off out on. “A New Avenue of Creativity” from July 2020 sheds a bit more light on this so-called creativity avenue. The journey along this creative arts avenue took yet another turn here – again from July 2020 – “Wilderness Art – The Beginning.”

So far, the journey down the road of painting scenes has been exclusively watercolours.

This was due exclusively to the fact, watercolour paints and brushes were the media our daughter left behind at the old “old homestead” after graduating from Graphic Design at college and moving to Halifax.

So, we’re now at this point.

Since I started getting more into art and specifically painting(watercolour), I really wanted to give the world of acrylic painting a whirl. Painting with acrylics just seemed like the perfect direction to head off in and explore my creative view of things.

Acrylics clean up easily with water, they dry fast(relatively fast) and one can get into the acrylic painting world of things relatively inexpensively.

At this stage, I’ve only done about six or seven acrylic paintings. All of them except one have been done on stretched canvas(canvas on a wooden frame), while one was done on a canvas panel that Lynn had.

Here are the two most recent ones.

Both are seaside scenes that really could be found anywhere in Nova Scotia. They are inspired by other paintings of Nova Scotia landscapes.

Of the many things I learned from a recent online university art course I took, there were two that pop to mind right now.

First, “there are no mistakes in art.”

Secondly and perhaps more important is this, “the making of art is not what the final piece looks like or sounds like, not what it’s worth or not worth, but the newness that is added to the universe in the process of the piece becoming itself.

Anyhow, hope you enjoy these pieces.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —