Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ping that thing...

Over the past few weeks I have been noticing Graham Matthews in more of the cyber-spaces that I frequent. He runs a high-end Art Blog called ArtProMotivate I noticed in one of their recent posts an offer to be interviewed via an online questionaire. Theoretically, this 'interview' could then lead to an "Artist Spotlight" on the well-trod (read: madly successful) website. 

 Well, whaddya know, I submitted reasonably articulate responses to the dozen or so questions there which prompted the administrator to slot it in on a moment's notice. 

Amazingly, the thing is already live. I guess the reason I think it's cool is that ArtProMotivate has a healthy following and there is always the hope that some of those people will click through to dig in. 

I would 'like' that. 

Curious? That 'like' link zings you to the G-G's Gallery & Gifts FB fan page. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting it Backwards: Painting on Glass

Painting on glass means painting 'in reverse' because the end result is intended to be seen from the outside while it is painted on the inside. So it is a bit of trick to plan the method...what goes on the surface first will be seen as the outer layer from the outside as opposed to the usual approach of painting from the bottom layer up on a typical surface. 

Here is what the window looked like after the first treatment, with white laid on first from the inside. 

The highlights of the scene had to be painted el freso on the clear glass with the understanding that it would be the front, top color in the end result.  Painting 'in reverse'. 
With the white established as a 'scaffold', the remaining colors were systematically applied to bring the design to life. 

Seen from the inside, the panel began to take on a life of its own. The original intent was for the artwork to be viewed from the outside looking in.  I only discovered well into the process that there was equally rich potential for imagery on both sides of the glass.

I also found that the painting looks very different depending on the time of day (ie: light conditions) and was even influenced by the objects outside such as parked cars. (The picture above is from the inside looking out.)

The play of light through the clear glass panel dramatically affects the visual effect as much as the random items that can be seen through the glass interacting with the surface tension.
If you look carefully you can see through certain parts of the painting to reveal shapes that influence what the thing looks like. (Another picture of the finished painting from the inside.)

Outside the building  looking into the darkness of the interior.
This photograph of the window painting from the outside shows the colors laid down first with a fair amount of 'unpainted' glass acting as a dark tone (in the daytime) to accentuate the shapes. At night those dark shapes would appear 'light', because the interior lights would then shine through the 'negative space'.

Detail of 'Zen Window' shows the simplified, graphic style of rendering that is reminiscent of Mattisse.

I  asked the owners of "The Little Olive" Health Food Store -on Main Street in Watrous, SK- to take a snapshot of me posing in front of the finished painting from the inside to show the scale.

 This was a fun and interesting project. I enjoyed the experimental nature of the thing and was pleasantly surprised at how striking it looks in its new home overlooking Main Street in beautiful downtown Watrous!

Fine Art America: An Experiment

About a month ago I signed up as a member of Fine Arts America.
It is touted as "The World's Most Powerful Artists' Website"
I have started two separate galleries on my site called 'Characters from a Life' . This collection features figurative works from the past several years. 

Probably my all-time favorite painting , 'Montreal Jazz Festival'  is a painting  based on site sketches, photographs and memory.

 'Plein Air Paintings', a gallery consisting of very recent work that was created 'out of doors' in fully natural light. 'Plein Air' is quite different from studio painting in that there is a visceral response of the palette to the natural colors and forms of nature.

'High Flowers' pictures some kinda strange-looking, almost alien flowers I stumbled across on one of my daily hikes up and around the hills overlooking Little Manitou Lake. I thought the brilliant fuschia red contrasted so nicely with the surrounding greens that it would make a good painting.  The weird shapes of these things also piqued my interest.

And then there's this nifty feature that I discovered in the back room at FAA...a slide show that links straight to my ArtistWebsite.
Which is kinda cool in a nerdin'  way.

Art Prints Art Prints

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Over the Hill

A total re-paint of an old painting brings it up-to-date.
I was rummaging through some old paintings the other day and came across this one of a group of horses that I had stumbled across in a ramble through the Ryan Hills southeast of Kamsack, SK. At that time, I was on a day trip hiking around the hills of a friend's large, sprawling ranch. 
I was making my way through some bush on the top of a prominent knoll when I first laid eyes on this grouping of equine pasture-mates.
They were all oblivious to me, save the one on the far right who makes eye contact. 
Luckily I had my trusty 35 mm camera with me so I was able to capture a few shots before the 'observant one' alerted his friends of my presence. A few seconds later they were off galloping away from the scene.
This painting, for some reason, never quite got finished those many years ago. 
I was inspired to pick it up where I left off and must say I am quite pleased with the finished result. My style and technique have come a long way since this was started. I virtually re-painted the entire surface, increasing the color values, pumping up the contrast and infusing the distant background with a purple haze to create more depth and atmosphere.

'Over the Hill' detail
A detail of 'Over the Hill' gives you a better idea of how it looks with more resolution in the extreme foreground to set off the soft-focus horse(s). It was fun and interesting to introduce elements of green in the lower shadows on the bellies of the animals. This is my imagined reflection of the sweet summer greens in their environment. I also included some blue on their backs to indicate reflections of the sky above.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Imaginary Landscape

Painting the 'imaginary landscape' presented a different challenge than something based on a reference such as a still life, etc. Making everything up as it was painted ended up being very interesting, to stretch the boundaries of 'realistic' so as to fool the unwary viewer into thinking s/he is looking at a 'normal' landscape while upon closer inspection one sees a writhing, unrealistic (totally abstract even) settlement of shapes and colors.

It was only after adding a deep flush of violet throughout the imaginary landscape did it take on a combination of that twilight lilac hue and the burning orange of the golden hour. Birds flying into the sky seem to make the colorful sky that much farther away in space.
This painting is an experiment. One of my New Year's Resolution is to get out of my comfort zone. 'Imaginary Landscape' retreats from a realistic with more of a tendency to the 'surreal' . The only way to go to that place is to surrender to the urge-ings of the muse. 

The division of the large panel into three sections make a 'triptych'. 
This piece was planned originally as a 'triptych'. The appearance of a bay window adds an extra illusory depth to the view. 

In contrast to the usual approach of convincing realism this style of imaginary painting may invite a more participatory view, as there is a creative openness that invites interpretation. A second look.

Artistic Freedom: the Pros and Cons

"Imaginary Landscape" is just that. I decided to have fun and simply create a landscape out of thin see what would happen. It was actually quite challenging, and flexed a few mental muscles for a great work-out.

Living at The Resort Village of Manitou Beach has provided a sanctuary away from all the bustle and over-stimulation of the city. It is peaceful here, but not boring. Really, it is the perfect environment in which to live a creative, alternative life-style. I am always a bit amazed at all of the freedom we have here on a daily basis to create the space needed to dive deep into art and the artistic process.

I recall a quote from Bob Dylan who said, "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."

Sure, there are certain responsibilities that go along with that kind of freedom...not everyone is a multi-millionaire cultural icon.

In a world filled to over-flowing with mass-produced, assembly-line products that are designed to be used for only a short time until they either break or become obsolete in the headlong rush towards 'better, faster, cheaper' there is something refreshing about a one-of-a -kind, hand-crafted original. There is a hunger for authenticity that can only be fulfilled by the solitary artist toiling away at what s/he loves best.

It really is possible to build a powerful connection or bridge between Artist and Art Lover, as we have seen first-hand as our experience at our gallery continues to enrich and expand our lives. The gallery IS the bridge that we have built that spans the gulf between us and the is a tangible interface that connects us and our work in many ways to a very wide and diverse community.

With this conduit established we have the freedom now to experiment with more daring ideas.

In a way, we consider G-G's Gallery & Gifts to be a living, growing laboratory where we can try different ideas for immediate and powerful feedback from all of our visitors.


Friday, January 13, 2012

And in this corner...

Life is never easy working as a professional artist, but it is certainly very rewarding when everything 'clicks'. There is nothing that compares with the thrill of selling an original work of art produced with your own hands and ingenuity. It means that someone is so touched, moved even, by your own internal vision made manifest by paint on canvas that they are willing - eager in fact- to trade their hard-earned cash in exchange for the tangible commodity of artwork.

Last summer at G-G's I was very happy to sell thirteen paintings and also to receive several commissions to custom-design special paintings for people who approached me at the gallery. 

Here is a slide show that shows the majority of new paintings that I created (and in many cases sold) last summer:

It's high time I got started (on my own Art Blog!)

After all the blogging I have done over the years, somehow I have never gotten around to digging into my own artwork as a source of inspiration to blog about. Imagine that! So, after contemplating it for a while, I have finally decided to 'get off the pot' and start. I will just take this trip one step at a time. There is a lot of ground to cover and honestly, I hardly know where to start...

Well, that was a very short-lived moment of hesitation. 

I know exactly where to start.

It's kind of obvious.

There are a few things that have happened in my art career over the past couple of years that I am especially proud of.
First and foremost was the establishment - along with my partner, lover and soul-mate Sharon Gibson- of Gibson-Gaudet's Gallery and Gifts. Or, G-G's Gallery & Gifts for short.

We started the company three years ago. Have had two very successful seasons thus far.

I never in my wildest dreams imagined that it would be such a pleasure to own and operate a little art gallery/gift shop. Sharon is tickled pink at the idea of growing our very own enterprise.
It is just absolutely amazing to see so many wonderful, friendly and supportive people arrive at our little slice of paradise!

This is the first 'sign' of G-G's Gallery & Gifts that you will see when entering The Resort Village of Manitou Beach going north from Watrous on the #365.

Taking a closer look...

We always extend a warm welcome to our visitors from all around the world. Can't you tell by the brilliant yellow door?