Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yoga pose XV final... back to the art of painting without painting!

I can say that the last three paintings, including this one, allowed me to take a rest from the high physical and psychological demands associated with working in large formats, pushing thick paint around, and constantly experimenting!

Starting the end of this week, I'm counting on my stay in Cuba to pursue this "recharging the batteries" exercise. Doodling and watercolor sketching will be the order of the day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yoga pose XV - step II... scumbling my way to Tipperary... it could be a long way!

Not exactly knowing what I wanted in terms of background, I'm slowly getting a feel for a plausible solution...

These days, in terms of color schemes, I seem to be getting my inspiration from bad photo printouts coming from a printer loaded with ink cartridges that should have been replaced 6 months ago! One could argue that I should replace these cartridges...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yoga pose XV - step I ... I would like to use blue, pink and yellow for this one... my mind is already in Cuba!

After the previous painting (had to get the sensual part of Yoga out of my system!) I want to go back to more of a "depersonalized" look with the next few in the line up...

... introducing a totally "non-natural" color scheme for a change (the previous to last painting was already hinting at that). Having a few "passable" paintings under my belt... I have nothing to lose at this stage... the series has been pretty tamed so far!

Also, to finish this Yoga series, I'm thinking about a mini series of small square paintings featuring full body postures rendered in a rather calligraphic manner.

I look forward to our spring break in the Che's turf. We're leaving before the end of this week... my watercolors are already packed in anticipation of capturing the beach scene and colonial settings in the area!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yoga pose XIV - final - Trying to make a mark... and live with it!

With this one, I used vertical marks to suggest irradiating energy, or perhaps to introduce some mystique...

Owing to my recent experience with the use of palette knifes, at times the size of mini trowels, I'm starting to be less concerned about the appearance of individual brush marks, a necessary step in the path to unrestrained expression...

Note to self: "I think my painting approach is crystallizing around multiple layers of semi transparent colors applied thinly or thickly as quickly as possible, each layer showing through, its specific emotional content virtually intact. Process becomes obvious to the viewer along with the series of emotions that the artist experienced along the way over a time continuum. The important aspect is to apply paint with no regrets or second guessing... something I have yet to master!"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yoga pose XIV - step II... still doodling, doodah, doodah!

This second layer is still non committal... but I seem to be fixed with regard to abstract patterns...

The third layer should be "surgical" to retain as much canvas as possible...

Note: In a moment of sheer euphoria, at 14 degrees Celsius... I gushed out of my living quarters and started to "summerize" the house, taking off protective winter shrub covers and cleaning up debris, doodah, doodah! I'm not a fan of winter... and the early spring we are experiencing in Montreal is welcome!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yoga pose XIV - step I... Taking my chances!

I hesitated with this one trying to find an acceptable solution between my photographic reference and a last minute live sketch of the "muse" (my partner in crime!)...

... which I felt I needed to circumvent the problem of extreme foreshortening, a photographic artifact. My solution was truncation! I see a glimpse of hope, as I may have avoided starting this painting with a "oops"!

I decided to go with a dark background to emphasize the cross pattern of the arms...

The next layer will be decisive... as I'm still doodling with the brush at this stage... trying to trick my mind into thinking that I'm not painting... although I am! After a 2 year painting spree, I've been running out of gas sort of, but my mandate is to pursue... and mind games are what the doctor ordered!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yoga pose XIII final... trying to do more with less!

In the interest of communicating softness and an ethereal atmosphere (and due to my lack of skill with the palette knife!), I have worked exclusively with the brush...

... forcing a minimalist approach on this one. A few minor refinements after the third step brought it to a satisfactory level of completion... for me!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yoga pose XIII -step II... taking a break from painting... to doodle!

Because of my primary focus on textures over the last 6 months or so, sometimes to the detriment of what I wanted to convey with my imagery, I've decided to reverse the machines...

... and go back to transparency keeping textures for last... and merely as accents. I'm experiencing some freedom again. I dug up my old subdued palette, realizing quickly that my recent preference for high color saturation will have an influence. I would like to produce a series of appeasing Yoga paintings to complement to first ones and add variety.

Note: In light of this new development for me, I want to get back to the Japanese speed skater and do another version where the skater becomes one with the ice!

Note to self: "Trying to develop a style or over-preoccupation with technique can go against truthful expression... I now realize!"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yoga pose XIII - step I... still experimenting with unusual cropping... for better or for worst!

For this series, I realized that I quickly zeroed in on Yoga poses that resemble dancing moves. It's leaving me with a few challenging ones in terms of cropping aspects...

... simply because I want to avoid as much as possible full body poses that look like mere illustrations in a book. It's a balancing act to say the least... and some will be more successful than others! I'd like to impart more softness to the next few paintings... exploiting the ethereal...

Note: I still have a few "more normal" poses in store, which I will keep for last...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Yoga pose XII final... trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, sort of!

In retrospect, this primarily vertical design seemed to fit better in a vertical format (20 X 24) although this one falls in the "peculiar" category like the preceding one (Yoga pose X)... sending people to look for missing body parts!

The Liquitex super heavy gel was so smooth that I mistook it for regular gel at first... thus realizing too late that I was no Van Gogh! After this "happy" accident, I have no problems leaving brush marks it seems, proving once again that the quality of materials used can make a difference!

While I'm at it, I think I'm going to try an archival removable oil base varnish for this one ( I've been using permanent varnishes, which are a challenge to use on highly textured surfaces).

I took the opportunity over the weekend to store my remaining paintings (from 2007 to 2010) in the revamped studio closet...

This exercise made me think of the techniques that I used over the last 3 years and how they evolved (a manner of speaking!). In a matter of 2 1/2 years, my painted surfaces went from transparent and smooth to opaque and textured. In a way, I went from barely using any paint to almost sculpting with paint. Despite the fact that I willed this progression, my heart is still on the side of transparency! From now on, I would like to think about expressing my feelings about a subject the best I can (while remaining true to my natural inclination) and not solely think about technique. If I opt for a specific approach, it should be by choice and not by limitation...

Note to self: "Damn, I'd like to paint like Marlene Dumas with touches of Jenny Saville... thinking about their superlative techniques of course... as their highly charged subject matters are not for the faint at heart!"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Yoga pose XII - step II... Learning from failures!

This is an interesting experience for me as I used heavy gel inadvertently throughout (I changed brand for my acrylic gels and got confused)...

It was a bit like walking in molasses, but I did see what I could do with the new approach! I'll complete the hair and other refinements to respect my principles... and call it quit.

Lately, I've been experiencing some real difficulties... after two and a half years of relatively uneventful heavy duty painting with acrylics. I was fairly prudent in the past with my approach to painting. Recently, I've been much more experimental, hence my increased rate of blatant failures (as opposed to half failures, which are acceptable!). Part of it is realizing too late that a composition is not good. For the painting above, cropping would probably help... I'll give it a last kick at the can!

Like they say in French: ce n'est que partie remise!

Note to self: My failure rate was much higher with watercolors... so I've been lucky to say the least!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yoga pose XII - step I... Still trying stuff, I guess!

For this one, I slapped a couple of layers "loose style"...

... and it's leaving me wondering about my next move, not an unusual situation for me! Among other things, I want to get some subtle blue in the upper left sky and increase the size of the arm in the front.

Note: This composition is highly experimental and as such may not be included in the collection... I just need to see how it's going to come out...