Monday, August 31, 2009
The Visions of Van Gogh - Madness, Starvation, or both
" a must read article for artists"
C. Bertelsen sets forth a fascinating theory, that Vincent Van Gogh's visions were the result of being a 'starving artist'. This theory runs counter to such ideas that the artistic community at Arles, in the South of France, indulged in over abuse of Absinthe, and even drugs.
This is an intriquing website and the article is a great read for any serious student of art.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Emily Carr: The Art of Picture Construction
Hundred and Thousands: pg 95
Douglas & McIntyre
Vancouver, Toronto, Berkley. 2006
I am painting a flat landscape, low lying hills with an expanding sky. What am I after, crush and exaltation? It is not a landscape and not a sky but something outside and beyond the enclosed forms. I grasp for a place and a thing one cannot see with these eyes, only very, very faintly, with one's higher eyes.
I begin to see that everything is perfectly balanced so that what one borrows, one must pay back in some form or another that everything has its own place, and is interdependent on the rest, that a picture, like life, must also have perfect balance. Every part of it is also dependent on the whole and the whole is dependent on every part. It is a swinging rhythmn of thought, swaying back and forth, leading up to, suggesting, waiting, urging, the unworded statement to come forth and proclaim itself, voicing the notes from its very soul to be caught up and echoed by other souls, filling space and at the other time, leaving space, shouting but silent. Oh, to be still enough to hear and see and know the glory of the sky and earth and sea.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Emily and Lee Nan: Oriental Painting
In her September 16th, 1933 diary, Emily writes of receiving an invitation from Lee Nan to attend a personal exhibition of his works. He sent out a scant seven invitations. Emily recognized that unless she intervened, his show would be a public failure. So, with that she telephoned friends within the arts to tell them about it and encourage them to come. Few came.
Lee Nan met each guest and said a few words. His English is very difficult but his face beamed with nervous smiles. I love his work. It is simple and serene and very Oriental. He bookkeeps in a Chinese store, and has not a great deal of time to paint. His subjects are mostly birds and flowers with a few landscapes. They are mostly watercolours. The birds live and are put into their space just right. There is a dainty tenderness about them and one is not conscious of paint but of spirit. As I stood by little Lee Nan something in me went out to him, sort of the mother part of me. I wanted to sheild him from the brutal buffets of the "whites" and their patronizing (Quite good for a Chinaman, aren't they? they say.)
"Did you send out many invitations?" I ask.
"Oh yes, " he said and stopped to count. "Seven."
I could imagine the labour those seven neat little half sheets had cost. I have telephoned a lot of people including two newspaper women. I hoped they would give him some write ups. It would please him greatly. I, and my work feel brutally material beside Lee Nan and his. I ask for the price of a sketch. "Oh, I don't know. Who would want it?" He replied.
I went again to Lee Nan's exhibition. Not one of the old sticks I told about it who thanked me so smugly, and said they would surely go, had been. A great old fuss there would have been if it had been someone in society. Lee Nan was smiling cheerfully. He expects so little. He has sold three sketches and thinks people will come by and by. He would like me to teach him. I feel more that I would like him to teach me. He has what I lack, an airy, living daintyness, more of the "exquisite" of life. There is a purity and sweetness about his things, much life and little paint. How different the Oriental viewpoint is! I should think we hurt them mightily with our clumsy heaviness.
interwoven with nature and other people.
Much of our life weave has come from our
environment and our choices: we socialize
with friends we have known for years, we go to the same places for vacations, and we
delight in refamiliarizing ourselves with foods and repeated experiences.
When we feel this way about our life, we are in harmony with our inner and outer worlds. And we feel comfortable and a sense of peace within ourselves.
The North American natives saw this in spiritual terms. It is known for instance that the Inuit would pray for the spirit of the seal they would kill -for they shared this earth with the living spirit of all of nature. And the seal they depended upon for food and clothing was part of this shared spiritual experience. And even though they would take the seal's life it was important that it be done with reverence and respect.
The tangled tapestry of these rushes seem to be a metaphor for life. It's the source for a future painting.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Emily Carr: British Columbia Artist
On her show in Seattle Wa., USA.
I have talked to artists who seem to be indifferent to their works, after they have completed them. Alex Colville reported once that once a work left his hands, he never thought twice about it. One artist, I know said that, after she completes a work, she loses all emotional response to it. Whether someone likes it or not is indifferent to her. A famous French artist, (Gaugin, I beleive), once said that if he had his way, he would call back most of the paintings he had painted and sold and walk all over them.
I have to fight, to keep to myself, my negative responses to many of my own paintings. If not, I find myself having to explain why I dislike them. And, this doesn't make sense, for what others see in my art, I seldom see. They bring to their viewing their own set of life responses and experiences. What's more, what right do I have to point out a perceived flaw in a painting that someone else may love?
As for Emily her candid remarks in her journals, give me hope, for I often find myself walking down the same hyper analytical, pathway.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The Art of Living: Richard Hayman, artist and teacher
The Struggle - With Green
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Passing of Jack Reid
Jack had that marvellous ability to simplify what he saw and strengthen these elements with the power of colour and composition.
But, even moreso, Jack gave thousands of watercolour artists their first start with his instructional books for beginners. This is how I first became acquainted with Jack.
Thanks to the Wet Canvas, and to Maria on the I Draw and Paint Website, for sharing this information with the art community.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Ancient Stone Artwork Discovered
From the Nothing is New Under the Sun, category.
Prehistoric artwork has been discovered by an amateur archaeologist at a Perthshire mountain range. The ancient carvings were discovered by rock art enthusiast George Currie at Ben Lawers, near Loch Tay. Mr Currie discovered a piece of rock which has more than 90 cup marks, which are circular depressions in the stone.
Some of the cups have rings around them and a number of linear grooves can also be seen, with some still showing the individual blows of craftsmens' tools. Similar discoveries have been made in the area, but it is unusual to find so many markings on the one stone.
The purpose of the artworks are still unknown.
Derek Alexander, archaeologist for the National Trust for Scotland, said: "This is an exciting find as it shows that there remains undiscovered prehistoric rock art to be found in the Scottish hills.
"More surprising are the quantity and variety of the symbols displayed on this boulder.
"Through both targeted research by professional archaeologists and the work of dedicated amateurs like George Currie we now know that Ben Lawers forms one of the major concentrations of cup and ring marks in the Highlands, which suggests it was a very significant landscape in prehistory."
BBC News online
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Paint me Warts and All
While this quotation, may not be entirely accurate, there is something to be said for it in art. At least according to Robert Genn, who writes in a recent edition of Painters Keys, his popular art eletter that people crave novelty or bumps on the road of art.
But yet, Mamma Bear keeps telling me that women buy most of the pictures that hang on the walls of homes and she maintains that women like 'pretty pictures', with bright colours and lovely scenes - and definitely not warty works. They like their paintings like pretty Easter bonnets. (I wonder if this isn't Mamma Bear's preference?)
But, I like painting wildlife scenes with rocks and knobs and bumps (and trees and water too).
So the struggle goes on. Do I paint pretty pictures to sell or do I paint the warts to answer some inner need. And, can there be any compromise?
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Quote from Robert Genn
Every once in a while a quote from Bob, jumps out of the page. Check out his August 14th, 2009 newsletter: http://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&zx=68l5ke42m313&shva=1#inbox/123170dea87c43fd
.... "the human brain and eye love novelty. Something new around the corner--a surprise, a jolt out of the normal--arrests our flow and gives a sudden flush of wonder and joy. In the evenness that describes so much of life, humanity craves the bump of novelty".
Sunday, August 16, 2009
As Old As Time
Saturday, August 15, 2009
A visitor to my house, spied one of my half finished works which had fallen short of the mark.
She asked if she could see it, and when she looked it over, she politely asked, "What's wrong with this one?" I said..."It didn't pass my test for acceptable work." She looked at me as if I had an empty space between my ears and she responded. "You must be kidding."
The trail of broken dreams isn't a negative journey. On the contrary, each failed work, reinforces for me some basic technique of watercolour painting that I have ignored. For example, when I look at the ruined works above, I see that I have been so product orientated that I see pictures that were finished ahead of their time. When you look carefully at them, you will see piecemeal montages or completed mini pictures within pictures. I had neglected to establish overall, wholistic colour applications before integrating these into completed works.
The bottom line is, failure, is our greatest teacher. The sting of failure, seems to outweigh the joy of success. Thats why my ruined works are so meaningful to me in my progress. The important thing is, a ruined work is only valuable if you understand where you have taken the wrong path.
And...acknowledgement of failure, sharpens our personal critiquing skills and at the end of the day, helps us grow as artists.
Following in the Steps
I have met artists who have dead eyed me and announced that they want to develop an uncontaminated style of their own, They avoid art classes and they dance to their own violin.
All well and fair, but that hasn't been the route that I have taken. I don't want to paint like a new found Mondigliani. Do I care? All I aspire to be is a good painter. Nothing more, nothing less. What others think of my style is their concern.
I delight in talking to artists whose work I admire. And, even moreso I troll their words for insights into how to become a good painter.
I posted this old truck because it brings to mind the many conversations I have had with Ron Morrison, a west coast, Canadian watercolourist.
You can find his blog along the right hand side of this page.
Ron specializes in painting, discarded trucks, car, sheds, and boats. Although the subject may not be everyone's baileywick, Ron brings to his painting his advanced mastery of colour. He's one of the best. His mastery of colour and his ability to use colour to create atmosphere and mood puts him in the upper league of watercolour artists.
The point of this blog, is not just to acknowledge the willingness I have found among artists to share the tools of the craft but to encourage beginners as well.
My suggestion to a newcomer is to draw from the rich resources of those who have gone before you. And hopefully the day will come when you will be able to hand back to those who come behind you the same gifts.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Rocks on the Trail
Monday, August 10, 2009
Seen Better Days
The days of the old family farm are rapidly disappearing
This picture was painted from sketches and photographs of the Quakenbush farm, east of Havelock, Ontario.
Any resemblance to the orginal farm is strictly coincidental.
Friday, August 7, 2009
At The End of the Day
I intentionally painted the old warrior in gold and sepia tones. He has lived a glorious life and has earned his colours to celebrate his life.
When the day comes that it tumbles into the lake, it will become a protective haven for fish to swim among its submerged branches and new life will begin where the old left off.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
North of Town
This is where the North River, flows out of C.Wright's Bay and begins its journey from Round Lake to Belmont Lake.
This picture draws your eyes into the distance to a time and place in our past where dreams, ecstacy and beauty help us transcend from the ordinary chores of daily life.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The Great Divide
Monday, August 3, 2009
This is one of several works I have done as I have been studying the fall of water along a forest stream.
This is an extrovertive work. All splash and no depth. But it was fun to play with colours and give light, life and bounce to dancing waters.
Fredericks-Artworks Blog, copying policy
The Canadian Copyright act, section 29 reports on fairdealing, that it is not an infringement to reproduce someone else's work for research, study, criticism, review or to report. Which pretty much sums up what this site is about. All content sources, be they artists, printed references, and website url's are respectfully identified on this site. http://http//www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-c-42/latest/rsc-1985-c-c-42.html