Friday, February 29, 2008

House renovation, music and collagraph printmaking!

The past few weeks have been very busy for me. I just spent ten days up in Toronto. It's a great city but it isn't the best time of year to visit. The snow is mounded up everywhere and the place looks dirty. Once spring comes it will clean up and regain it's charm. What really upsets me is the way smokers stand outside the front door of buildings while they have a smoke and then drop their butts on the ground and go inside. There are butts lying everywhere. Why can't smokers clean up their act.

Now that I have voiced my anger at the disrespect of the environment I will move on to something about creativity. While in Toronto I was helping my son, who has just bought a house, to decide on some basic renovations. It's an old house right downtown in an area called Little Italy. We decided on the style for a kitchen, some modular wardrobes and paint colour for the main living area. It's pretty exciting, but challenging, trying to create some oomph and visual excitement for the house on a fairly small budget. However it's all coming together and we have enjoyed doing it. My son is a full time musician and parallel to all this renovation activity he is busy writing material for his next CD. In a future posting I want to write about his creative process and how similar it is to a visual artists.

My big thing this week has been the purchase of a printing press so that I can get back into printmaking. More on this next time. Just for fun I have added a very wacky print I did a year or so ago.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Conductor's Hands

So I thought I would post the painting that was supposed to be done in soft greys so that you can see how it got totally out of control and ended up full of colour. I had been wanting to do some works with hands in them and the idea of a conductor's hands in front of instruments came to mind. I think I can take this idea and make more of it in future paintings. If you have any comments I would love to hear them.

I saw a great movie last night and I keep thinking about it. I thought the story was very creative and it totally transported me into it's world. Creativity is an amazing human attribute and we see wonderful examples of it all around us every day. I watched a man walking down the street a day or so ago and he looked as if he was talking to himself but of course he had one of those headsets and was talking on his cellphone. I started thinking of just how amazing all the technology we take for granted actually is. Years ago when people travelled by horse and stagecoach, if you had told them that in the future the coaches would be horseless, that they would be heated or cooled depending on the weather, that you would be able listen to music, talk to people who weren't there and even watch pictures on a little box, they would have laughed and yet through human creativity we do all of these things.

To get back to the movie I was impressed with, it was called 'The Lives of Others'. You can read a review of it on Rotten Tomatoes.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I started a new painting a couple of days ago. I had this idea that I wanted a very muted, high key painting with a lot of different greys in it. I had been admiring some wonderful work with a palette like this and I thought I would like to try and do something similar in coloring. Well I don't quite know what happened but what I ended up with was a painting that is far removed from that initial idea.

I always start a painting by flowing lots of color onto the canvas in a very watery manner to make the underpainting. I build the image up with successive layers of paint calming down the colors and defining the imagery as I go. The problem is that the colors look so wonderful, glowing and delicious that I can't bear to lose them and cover them over with more opaque layers of muted color, so my work always seems to end up being very colorful. I don't think I have ever been a very muted person anyway. I tend to love dramatic art with a lot of style.

I will try again with my next painting and perhaps bit by bit I will be able to incorporate some of these beautiful shades into my work. Art is so reflective of who we are personally and in trying to change the way we paint we are actually changing part of ourselves. No wonder it is so difficult.

Just a few words now on spelling. I have lived in NZ and Canada, where they spell the same way as the British, and several times in the US where things are spelt differently. I am trying to decide which way I should be spelling here in my blog and on my web site.

Most English words have an internationally-accepted spelling, but there are a few that, spelt one way are correct to some readers, and spelled another way look right to others. Embracing the universality of the Internet, I have adopted a blend of UK and US English. This also makes it easier for me so that I don't have to choose each time I write. Hopefully, you'll be only mildly irritated when the other correct version appears.
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