Friday, October 30, 2009

"Western Brook Pond"

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
~Frank Lloyd Wright

"Western Brook Pond", oil on panel, 8"x 6" is the smallest painting for my upcoming Newfoundland Portraits exhibition. Details about the show can be found at the end of this posting.

I love small paintings. I think I have mentioned before that there is a certain irony found within them, well, in my own experience at least. I find that I have the most freedom within the smaller dimensions of a little canvas...when I am standing in front of a large surface to cover with paint, I tend to freeze up a little, to struggle more, to feel a bit intimidated. It is a happy paradox, this expansive freedom of working within small spaces. I am actually contemplating my next exhibition being something like 40 or 50 small paintings...I see a gallery of small but enthusiastically-painted figures, faces, mountains and mountain faces, anything that moves me. This show will certainly come after the Christopher McCandless exhibition but there's nothing like placing a seed within your mind that will slowly awaken at a later time.

This little painting is the result of a challenge I placed on myself. Challenges are fun, especially if you succeed at them! I decided to do three small paintings close to the exhibition see if I could execute them well and quickly. I like to have a variety of sizes of paintings for people to see and enjoy. Besides, not everyone has the budget for a large piece, and the smaller paintings are within the realm of potential for many people. Plus, I had three ideas that had been fermenting in my mind since last September when I traveled to Newfoundland. This piece is the first one that I will post. The other two will come within the next few days so stay tuned!

"Western Brook Pond" is one of the most exquisite sites I have ever seen in my life. It can stand toe to toe with any snow-capped peak in Denali National Park as far as I am concerned. Both are regal and magical, both unique, and "Western Brook Pond" was certainly one of the highlights of this journey in search of future paintings. You can read more about this leg of my Newfoundland odyssey here, on my other blog, Paintings and Musings.

The impetus behind this little painting was to try to capture a small essence of the scale of this landscape on a tiny canvas. The cliffs are so high, so grand, and we human beings so small, it was one of those humbling moments where you stand agape and your mind balks to comprehend the enormity of what is all around you. Due to the small size of this piece, it really encouraged me to stick with careful brushstrokes and not get too fussy with details. As with most of my paintings the work should more or less coalesce as you stand back a bit from it. Up close you can see the brushstrokes pretty well is deliberately executed. Yet this technique of brushwork has become unconscious. I don't think about it anymore. I just do it. Again, it is all about economy of brushstrokes, as well as a general philosophy about life too: less is more.

I enjoyed the large forms fading backward into the distance, to corners of the fjord that we had rounded in our small ferry, and well, painting atmospheric perspective is just plain fun. And it should be fun, as much that we do in our day to day life should be fun. If it isn't, we can always work to make it fun, or change what we do! It is a simple equation that we often complicate unnecessarily. Do what you love...and if you don't do what you love, there will always be a way to make it happen. Always.

Here is some information on the exhibition, the opening of which is one week tonight! I sincerely hope to see you there! Be well and have a beautiful weekend finding and enjoying your own happy paradoxes.

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web." ~Pablo Picasso

Newfoundland Portraits
November 5-22nd, 2009
Opening Reception November 6th, 7-10pm
179 Lakeshore Road East, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Come out, see some artwork and listen to special musical guests
The Killin' Time Band who will be playing
some East Coast-inspired songs for your enjoyment!
Informal Artist Talk: November 14th, 2-4pm, Abbozzo Gallery

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