Saturday, September 27, 2008

Largest canvas to date...part II

Finally had a small window on Friday (in-between varnishing and wiring paintings) to put a second layer "à la va comme je te pousse" on my largest canvas to date (36 x 48)...I feel comfortable with the general mood provided by the subdued pastel-like colors. The challenge is not to part too much from the look of this abbreviated version with the final painting.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Making the plunge with epoxy hell of a sticky mixture!

I have been toying, for some time, with the idea of trying epoxy varnish on some of my paintings, particularly the marine scenes. There is a also a possibility of "spot varnishing" certain paintings to create unusual textural effects as seen in contemporary art. I dug up one of my first acrylics from 2007 and gave it a shot. Some happy accidents occurred in the upper part of the painting (bubbles and uncovered spots) which point to using more mixture in the future for optimal results. However, it is worth mentioning that a forensic analysis on the piece would reveal genetic material from the 2 cats in the house...sort of a hairy subject I won't dwell on...Needless to say, this piece will remain "collection of the artist" for sentimental reasons! I intend to exhibit it at my upcoming show ..."just for laughs".

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Publicizing my upcoming exhibition - Local journal ad...

Effectively inviting the public at large is a most important step towards ensuring a successful event. Needless to say, I am most grateful for the support of the West Island community and, in particular, I would like to thank the person behind this initiative (she will recognize herself, as she reads these lines):

The local journal is the Cités Nouvelles...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Count down...

Barely 2 weeks before my solo exhibition! Not much time for real painting since I've got to "prep" 30 frames in a hurry. Needless to say, my small studio looks like a mess! Somehow, it feels good to make concrete steps towards the event.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Publicizing my upcoming exhibition - Leveraging Internet tools

In my saga to publicize my upcoming show, I came across a number of free Internet tools which can be most useful in accomplishing just that. Here is my first ads in the and web sites which cover events in the Montreal area (clicking on the image leads to the page where my ad is currently situated):

You can get a guy out of marketing but you can't get marketing out of a guy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Recent major art exhibitions that fueled my inspiration...

Late August, I had a chance to attend Attila Richard Lukacs' exhibition entitled 'Inside Darkness' at the museum of contemporary art in St-Jerôme. Here is an artist of international repute with a cause, but also an artist with unparalleled technical skills working in super large formats and using dramatic blacks and golds, a color scheme that agrees with me owing to my experience with Chinese black ink painting. His work on paper and his creative use of textures in oil were most inspirational.

I also had the privilege to attend a most interesting art exhibition on Chinese painting at the Montreal Chinese community centre last weekend. It is always a humbling experience to observe the power of the brush stroke in the works of accomplished Chinese artists...Needless to say, I am starting back my Chinese landscape painting classes in the fall.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Some thoughts on art....

As I am getting ready for my upcoming exhibition, the necessity to provide some information on my artistic approach forced me to take stock and gather my thoughts on what being an artist represents for me. Although I have an appreciation for all kinds of art and artistic processes from traditional to contemporary, I seem to be zeroing in on this somewhat narrow (distorted?) view of the artist and his art (I used masculine just for the sake of simplification):
  • The artist roams the world excited and, at times, tormented by what comes across; at loss with words, paint, by default, seems to be the only thing that allows him to communicate effectively about his own (schizophrenic at times!) experience of the world
  • The artist approaches the white canvas nervously as if getting ready for combat; the first brush strokes are used to demonstrate who is in charge in the face of emptiness (confronting the white sheet syndrome can be scary!)
  • The artist paints in his mind more than on canvas; when he commits to the canvas, it is an outpour, as if relieving the creative tension that has accumulated thus far; in the end, he forgot which colors or tools he used as they became almost secondary to the creative process; moreover, fairly frequently, he feels as if he – himself – were a mere instrument of creation as opposed to the one who created (scary stuff!)
  • The artist initiates each stroke with the power to displace a mountain (love those Zen painters!); this rule applies even when painting delicate flower petals (up to a point!)
  • It the artist works in separate layers, every layer is a complete painting; in due time, he will stop at the first layer…when he is ready to “release to a higher order” (or by pure laziness!)
  • The artist, at times, curses at the demons when confronted with the challenges of representation…after all he is only human (John Singer Sargent used to do that anyway!)
  • The artist does not go to his studio every day, as he considers it as a sanctuary to be visited only when the mind is ready; if he did, it would be a job (he paints in his mind more than in the studio anyway!)
  • The artist paints the way he sees as opposed to what he sees: lines persist while colors drag into one another (Raoul Dufy!) and scenes are experienced to the tune of one different vanishing point every nanosecond (David Hockney!); when painting something, he paints it wrong so that the viewer sees it right (pure Velasquez!)
  • The artist does not copy what he sees but rather interprets his subject using the natural laws that govern its very essence; at the apex of his art, he creates parallel worlds that seem more believable, more real than the real world (somewhat presumptuous, I grant you that!)
  • If the artist, at times, seems to be riding too much on the coat tail of virtuosity and bravura, there is always that healthy dose of self-doubt and uncertainty about his own art that pushes him to the next painting in constant search for some unreachable truth
  • As the artist matures, economy of motion and economy of means are more and more reflected in his work; the viewer is left to complete the painting thus becoming an artist as well; when his paintings don’t look the same from one viewing to the other, it is time for the artist to charge more for his art (it depends, it can still be one brick short of a full load!)
  • The artist's work is best appreciated from a distance as a close up may reveal organized chaos (and too much emotions!); some viewers suggest backing off to Cleveland to better appreciate his work (well, you can’t win them all!)
  • The artist’s last painting is a one stroke painting that yields as much satisfaction as a full blown painting; he appears to have mastered the brush stroke at last (wasn’t it the only purpose of the exercise after all!)

This is far from the way I paint or approach painting right now so, needless to say, it is with a certain degree of apprehension that I consider the above as a blueprint for my future art! In the end though, one thing is for sure, I can't take myself too seriously! The whole thing does not need to evolve beyond the sheer joy I derive from painting and creating on a daily basis.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Getting ready for my first solo exhibition...

I've just put the last finishing touch to my invitation getting ready to paste it on the billboards of the various local community centers. I look forward to this event, not so much to sell my art but to have the opportunity to share my work with friends and the public at large.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Back from vacation....

Cape May was more than my partner and I bargained for. Great Victorian houses, great food and superb ocean side scenery.

Although I did not have much time to paint, I manage to do a 20 X 24 painting of the local lighthouse in a hurry using fluid acrylics on raw canvas...

...and also did a number of rather rough sketches some of which may become the subjects of future paintings...

Must admit though that my abbreviated Japanese pen brush sketches were "one brick short of a full load" when it came to depicting the glorious Victorian homes...