Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Self-Portrait, Renewed


"We know what we are, yet know not what we may be." 
~William Shakespeare

I have been seeking a balance between small and large paintings recently. I enjoy painting small, intimate pieces from time to time. I am more comfortable within the confines of a smaller area to cover with paint. "Self-Portrait, Renewed", oil on board, 12"x9", falls into the latter category.  So while there are larger canvases on my easel as of late in preparation for my solo exhibition in November 2009 at Abbozzo Gallery in Oakville, Ontario, I periodically revisit the self-portrait. Small, like a whispered story passed between good friends, I find solace in these studies. 

We know ourselves better than anyone else. Through our perception we experience the world. Though our judgement may cloud from time to time, ultimately we must examine the depths of our being and figure out a way to relate in this world that is so often filled with doubt, mayhem and difficult choices. If we employ a tack of regular, periodic self-reflection we can truly cherish the beautiful nuances of our daily interactions; appreciate them acutely, genuinely. 

As the calendar year changes over imminently I have great feelings about what will transpire in 2009. I have at least two exciting projects that have begun in earnest and making them a reality is my prime directive for this coming year. It is with joy that I come to the easel most days, it is with a sense of accomplishment that I put down the brush when fatigue sets in. Do you approach your daily tasks with joy or with doubt? If you are dragging your feet metaphorically or literally, what can you to do change that pattern? I see now more than ever that fear within us of the unknown, the fear of failure or inadequacy...it can paralyze us and stifle us into continued self-imprisonment. Fear can prevent you from living your life as fully as possible. It will, but only if you let it. Do not compartmentalize your mind but think outside of it, see what you are capable of. You might surprise yourself. 

From a technical standpoint this painting was a joy to work on. I love wood panel..in particular I enjoy the texture and the grain of the wood. I use about three coats of gesso with minimal sanding between coats. Perhaps it is impatience but I love getting to the piece as soon as possible. Reds are difficult to paint. I have talked about this challenge in other blogs but I shall reiterate here how fickle reds are. They cannot be tamed like other colours can. The addition of white ruins any hope of achieving the desired hue. Leave it alone unless you want toothache pink. No, I have to be patient with mixing reds. I use Alizaron Crimson and Cadmium Red Medium. But these pigments are merely the start. All other colours can come into play to achieve what specific tone you are after. It is a bit of a metaphor for life isn't it? Be patient, approach your tasks with joy, and enjoy the results of your labor. 

On one side note, if you are on the social networking juggernaut also known as Facebook, I have a fan page set up. Simply search for Heather Horton Artwork and you will see the page. Then click "become a fan" and you are done. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

"Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced."

1 comment:

Peggi Habets said...

Heather,
Wonderful self portrait. I have admired your portraits for a while now and enjoy dropping by your blog. I have added your blog to my list of favorites on my blog. Hope you don't mind.