Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dream of Flying - Fleeing Mice - WIP for Toronto Art Crawl Liberty Village Sat Jun 13 11-6

Couldn't sleep.  Got up over an hour before my nice, early alarm because my toes were dancing and my mind was already well on its way to today's buzzzz at the Art Crawl in Liberty Village. 

These last few days I've enjoyed filling out my display with small pieces, sketchbook images growing into paintings.  This one just made me grin - and got all kinds of music playing in my mind. (And the first person who tells me the name of the song in my head wins a prize.)

The idea - of being able to just lift into the air and leave problems behind - is an age-old daydream.  Trouble is, your problems might just be able to do the same thing... and then, if you are fat little mice, you look like this:

Come down and say hi if you can.  I'll be the grin behind the table at the corner of Liberty and Pirandello.

Hope you all have a fabulous day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I.F. - Airborne - A Dream of Flying - Work in Progress - Prep for Liberty Village Art Crawl outdoor show June 13

I clearly recall the sensation of lift and wonder that comes with a dream of flying.  The bliss with which it colours the day after waking. The sense of possibilities, endless and unknown which I carry around with me to this day, a gift from that dream.

Night washing away in the dawn is yet part of the dreamer, the flier.

Friday, May 22, 2015

What's this painting about?

I am often perplexed when someone asks me what a painting is about,
what it means, or what I am saying.  Just as the words I choose to express an idea will more or less frame and colour the fluid thought I have in mind, so they will be heard and interpreted differently by every listener, depending on context, history, perceived tone and expression; a myriad different interpretations.

And beyond that, other than direct illustrations in response to a concrete text, paintings which I create may begin with a line or shape and thereafter take on a meaning different every time I work on them and holding each of these references for me while perhaps having none of these for the viewer.

So unless we have a lot of time - and I mean A LOT - to discuss all these various themes, histories and nuances given the lines, colours and shapes that appear, go ahead and tell me what sort of response YOU have to a piece.  Really.  Go ahead.  No response is unacceptable.  And let's go from there. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Home Stretch - Kensington Market Art Fair May 31

On my worktable just now... Countdown is in the final two weeks. This is when it is the MOST fun (until adrenaline takes over on the day of, at least) because in my mind, just at present, everything I dream I will do is still possible.  I have not yet run out of time to get every vision on to canvas and out the door.
All happening at once.  I can just imagine the conversations they are having when I step away for a moment.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Accumulation and Dispersal

My sketchbooks have been developing over the years; layers laid upon layers of thought as pages left unfinished are revisited and the progression of ideas slowly accumulate into an image.

I have long wanted to find a home for these ideas outside of the sketchbook; somewhere they could be seen outside of these pages, perhaps find someone who might want to take one home and live with it.  An art director asked for a few for a magazine a while ago now, but I wanted to see them in a home, breathing among someone's possessions, glimpsed in the busy schedule of other's lives and thoughs.

When a friend mentioned the Kensington Market Art Fair and its upcoming dates over this summer, I began to feel that this corner of the city and intersection of personalities might be a good place to encounter people who would enjoy these sorts of works.

So now I am engaged in making some pieces ready for printing while developing unique works from the ideas laid out in others.  I tend to work in black and white in my sketchbooks, so the question of colour is a big one.  The difference in voice from 17 inches across to 3 feet... An interesting series of options with which to wrestle.

If you happen to be in Toronto Sunday May 31, come down to Kensington and look for the babble, the white tents, see how the wrestling matches turned out. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Conducting a Picture Book

When I pick up a book it is usually because the cover has invited me.  With colour and words, mood and promise the cover has called and I have answered.  Once open in my hands, though, a picture book turns into music. 

I first became aware of this while at the Bologna Book Fair many years ago.  Overwhelmed by the visual noise, the candy-shop quality of books at every turn, I wandered, found quiet corners and book after book after book.  Every one of them had appeal.  Strengths.  Serious quality.  But one after another I put them down.  Over and over again.  I had come to the ultimate book lover's feast and I intended to carry home with me only the irresistible. 

Books from other cultures in other alphabets and scripts, some in more familiar languages, even those in English, as I turned the pages my mind began a melody - a tinkly version of twinkle twinkle little star, as if played on a music box, or the whole shebang, cannons and all, of Beethoven's Eroica - a lilt, a whoosh, a quiet whisper of lullaby - they all sang in my hands.  And yet...

...some books were ALL cymbals.  One or two were missing the whole Bassoon section, all twiddly flutes and basso profundo but like a doughnut without a filling.  And so it went.  I carried my little map everywhere and filled it with symbols for each booth visited: What was the mood, the tone, the feel of each one?  And everywhere I opened the books and heard music.

Now, many years later in my sunny studio I open a folder and pull out a page of thumbnails.  I've read the text many times, made notes and scribbled numbers in the margins.  The thumbnails on my desk now are a map of the music the words are making in my mind.  Do I hear inviting themes echoing playfully in different registers? (Thank you Mozart, Bach and Clementi). Are the voices all represented, supporting one-another - or have I left someone home with laryngitis?  (Handel, you rock!)  Is there room for the reader to chuckle, a sense of play? (Queen, definitely) Does everything come together meaningfully toward the end? (Ah, Stan Rogers and his White Squall!)...and does the ending leave you at a pause, a breath, and ready to open it at the beginning and start the music all over again? (Lhasa da Sela, you are now star music yourself, but your Con Toda Palabra still plays in a sure and steady loop...)

These are greats, and in their context my drawings feel more like a fife and drum duet or a playground chant but still, as long as I hear the melodies made by words and images telling a story, so long I will work erasing and adding lines, experimenting and failing and trying again... until something I have made is exactly the right melody for the words.  Until the closing of the last page invites the book be opened from the first page again.  And again.

These above are opening thumbnails for an exercise I did recently.  I enjoy their musicality, their promise.  At the moment the thumbnails I am researching and developing are a different kind of music altogether - the music of moonlit ripples on a night pond.  The echoes of memory as they weave themselves into a future.  The promise of eggs as yet unhatched.  When the images on my table in front of me looks like the music I hear in my mind, I will know I am done.

Cue the conductor...

Sunday, December 28, 2014

So Much To Do

So much to do this time of year, once the dust settles, hard to tell how many of these come from the heart, how many are duties pressed upon us by custom.  So when one more thing to do appears on the horizon, it might be that, minds already occupied with things grabbing at our attention and for our time, we are less open to possibilities than we might otherwise be.

I believe this character needs to grasp something lovely with every bit of the mind, and, in a more open state of mind see what that is that is catching up and asking for attention.