Thursday, May 27, 2010

Honorable mention at the 2010 Montreal art contest!

I got lucky again this year and won an honorable mention in the creation/professional category with this painting of my grand children...

As usual, members of the jury had impressive credentials (past or present affiliations with le Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, le conseil des arts de Montréal and l'association des galeries d'art contemporain de Montréal). It's nice to have this kind of validation to say the least... but it was nothing short of a miracle considering the number of entries and the quality of the works submitted! Visiting the exhibition after the distribution of awards was a rather humbling experience... to say the least!

Funny thing, I convinced a Taichi classmate (Claude) to submit some of his works (gouache is his preferred medium) to the art contest... and he won first place in one of the amateur categories!

A big thank you to Pierrefonds, its cultural center management team and all those involved in the organizational aspects of this major art event. Especially, I'd like to express my gratitude to Lyne, coordinator at the centre, for her continuous support over the last 3 years.

Note: Who won? The grand kids, the painter... or the proud grand parents? The answer of course is all of the above!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yoga pose XX - step III... I may not have any fight left in me for this series!

I tried different solutions for the background, which proved unsatisfactory...

... and I'm starting to believe that I'm running out of creative spurts for this series. I need to engage in something else.

I'll try a last layer and call it quit!

Note to self: "I should quit while I'm ahead or barely ahead!"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's a jungle out there... and I'm the constant gardener!

Everything is growing like crazy and the jungle is threatening to take over. It took me a few days to take control...

... realizing now that I have to wage a war against insects and fungi to keep some resemblance of a garden throughout the summer!

I tried to squeeze in some painting time...

... blocking everything rapidly and haphazardly... hoping that some of it would speak to me. Things are looking up: I've seen worst beginnings!

Note to self: "The Liquitex modeling paste is quite a whitener when mixed with colors... I used some titanium white but didn't need to... I ended up producing pastel tones. This could be a happy accident as I overlay semi transparent colors."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yoga pose XX - step I... Trying for another abstract background!

These types of composition are not comfortable for me...

... but it will be interesting to see if I can instill more movement in the background area. Incidentally, since I've started these full body compositions, I see the figures and any accompanying dark marks as some sort of calligraphy, particularly when viewed from a distance...

Note to self: "My mind is already elsewhere with future series. Maybe I can leverage my relative nonchalance with this one... and surprise myself!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A short haitus from daily painting... revealing the clutz in me!

We've decided to revamp the washing machine area in our basement, so I'm building a box to hide any protruding ducts from the ceiling...

Anybody who uses a Tiger saw for such work shouldn't be considered as a serious carpenter! Yet, I know that what does not destroy me makes me stronger (Nietzsche)!

Update: I did manage to install it... so looks like this project is off to a good start! I want to bring this room from the 50's to the 21st century with a few cosmetic changes...

Now it's time to get back to some artistic painting!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thinking about a "Macha" series...

I'd like to start a series depicting facial attitudes and expressions in powerful and beautiful women facing unusual situations: fight, flight, fright, you name it (but never in a position of weakness)!. I've located a first image but need to deconstruct/reconstruct it. In order to do this, I tried to figure out patterns of light on a face... using a bust of Caesar which I had to hold by the neck while I had the camera in my free hand!

I want to work in large formats and in a semi abstract fashion...

Meanwhile, I've got another Yoga pose in mind. Lately, I've been concentrating on full body poses in smaller formats as there is a demand for these. Personally, I prefer unusually cropped poses for greater drama. At any rate, I need to practice abstract backgrounds...

Note to self: "I saw each previous series mainly as a step in the exploration of new painting materials and methods. Every painting was an experiment. I see the next series as the integration of everything that I've learned so far. I'd like to settle for a while in the techniques that I've developed and improve my craftsmanship at all levels. There's apprehension and excitement at the same time!"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yoga pose XIX final... Not shying away from arts and crafts!

With this one I decided to go "decorative", experimenting with a different brand for gels and pastes (Liquitex)...

Better color retention/saturation seems to be the advantage here. Products that I used before favoured greater transparency and the creation of sharper textural marks. There's a place for different effects. I've just increased my arsenal of tools for the creation of textures!

Meanwhile, I've decided to change my selection for the upcoming art contest in Montreal. Feedback from the muse and friends of ours tipped the scale in favour of these two:

When in doubt, I give more credence to potential customers! At any rate, the painting on the left is more representative of my creative process in 2010... and as such, is an honest choice for the amateur category. I'm submitting the one on the right in the creation/professional category, which is opened to all. I hope, it won't stick out like a sore thumb! I've decided for a title: "Regards vers l'avenir".

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Yoga pose XIX - step II... pushing paint around with the palette knife.... with no regrets!

I applied this 2nd coat rather liberally despite the small canvas size...

Looks like the idea behind the next pass will be to preserve as much of that mess (that character?) as possible!

Note to self: "I realized I was getting bored stiff painting with the brush and moving thin paint around. Now, I want to work with matter again... like a sculptor. Actually, I want both!"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Yoga pose XIX - step I ...grinding another one!

I'm getting closer to my objective of 20 paintings for the Yoga series. This is my next 20 X 20 canvas...

I zipped through the preliminary drawing, anxious to build textures with the palette knife, after a short hiatus from impasto painting...

I'm still stunned by the summer-like weather we experienced over the weekend, merely days after the last snow fall!

Reading the last issue of my favourite magazine on contemporary art led me to question what I had in mind in terms of my next moves in art. Many contemporary artist thrive by depicting the peculiar, the provocative, the ambiguous and the ugly using bold expressionistic techniques. I'm attracted by some of that... but I'm not attracted by the ugly! There is nothing within me that would make me want to project angst or anger on canvas. In terms of my future direction, I think the answers are in my questions!

Note to self: "I should go after a brand of figuration that communicates my passion for the subject to the viewer in a most powerful way... but not necessarily with the blatant distortion of reality usually associated with pure expressionism."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cogitating between two series... and seeking inspiration from music artists!

Towards the end of a series always comes the question: "What will I do next?"

Recently, I came across statements made by rock artist Bruce Springsteen ("The Boss") and highly acclaimed jazz musician Miles Davis, which really struck a cord with me. The former was featured in a recent TV interview and the latter is currently being honored by a retrospective exhibition at the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal.

Paraphrasing "The Boss" talking about is very unique brand of heartland rock and poetic lyrics:
  • "Being a painter is more than just applying paint on a canvas. To create real truthful and distinctive art, one has to reach deep within... and the few who can will typically rise above the rest."
Paraphrasing Miles Davis talking about Jazz:
  • " Don't play what's there. Play what's not there."
  • "My ego just needs a good partition with rhythm."
  • "Why play so many notes when only the most beautiful ones will do?"
  • "I will play and after, I will tell you what it's about".
In a nutshell, something to mull over before starting my next series!

Note: In the previous painting, I used fire patterns in the foreground in an attempt to make it more interesting. I realized after that fire is one of the fifth elements in Yoga and that it is mainly associated with standing postures which tend to generate more heat... weird! A similar iconography is also associated with Taichi, which I'm more familiar with.