The Unfinished Iguana

I was pretty new into art. A trip to the Toronto zoo had resulted in a small pile of reference photographs. I had been working hard on a watercolour painting of an iguana. Green scales, beady eyes, muscular biceps – but for some illusive reason I just could not get it to be a painting that I liked. I changed shapes, and colours, and lines but still I was frustrated. I put it aside for a day, came back and pondered my painting technique – still no inspiration. Then the light went on! I simply don’t like iguanas. Lesson learned? Don’t be lazy about choosing your reference. Make sure you really like that photo if you are going to paint from it. 

van Gogh – Up Close!

Here’s a link to one of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings – “Field with Cypress”…  . Check out the “+” button to zoom in on the painting, and then move the box in the lower right corner to see different sections of the paintings enlarged. You can see the brush strokes! Marvelous. (Find the link on my website blog if you are reading this on Facebook or elsewhere.) 

An Iceberg By The Sidewalk

Last week I was blessed with a brief retreat to Brentwood on the Beach. It’s a lovely inn on Lake Huron. I spent most of my hours there walking the quiet beach. This time of year the beach is a surreal landscape of sand mixed with ice heaped up into mini frozen mountains. I took some photos and I’m thinking, so, if I paint a polar bear beside one of these ice formations, who’s to say it’s not a large iceberg? The blue shadows are there. The angles and shapes are there. It brought to mind large paintings I have seen that look like a cliff wall. Then later I would read that the artist held a pebble in their hands for inspiration. So here’s the creative challenge to painters experiencing our Canadian winter. Get out the camera and find out, is there an iceberg by the sidewalk? 

Brush Tips

Here’s a tip for painters that can help keep your brushes in great shape for months longer. At the end of your painting time, after you have thoroughly washed out the brushes, take a moment to shape each one into the shape that it wants to be. That’s a nice point for a round, a sharp chisel tip for a square – and then lay them flat to dry. Because a brush having a bad hair day is no fun at all. 

Sometimes Truth Has Furry Toes

Truth is always all around us. As we take it in – see, hear, smell, taste, touch – the reality of this world can be both unrelentingly harsh and overwhelmingly beautiful in the same moment. Then there is the imagination. Did you know that sometimes the imagination is the very best vehicle for truth? Or more accurately, the imagination can sometimes be the best way to really grasp a truth. One that will stick with you, maybe even change your outlook to life – because when your imagination is engaged, the gray matter is ever so much more likely to hold onto whatever concepts are going in. Take for example Frodo Baggins. A mythical furry toed figment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination, he embodied love of life, loyalty, perseverance under huge trials, and other character traits that are so good to fill the mind and heart with. To emulate even. When you read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, you get a vision of just how valuable these ways of being are. That even if being good carries a huge price, it is worth it. Because here’s the truth- there are people out there living in really difficult situations. Huge trials. And they cling to life, and they persevere. Perhaps they are encouraged in the battle by a furry toed figment that embodied goodness? – I confess I have been. So writers, and singers, and painters, and actors – please share your vision, and may it be of the stuff that encourages each of us to a better way of being. 

Shawnacy Kiker

I am pleased to introduce to you a wonderful author I became aware of through Twitter. The link included here will take you to one of Shawnacy Kiker’s writings that I was simply mesmerized by. It’s rather surreal, or magical, definitely outside the box, and there is an art connection. You will have to read it to see how. Note: It’s a short story, so will take a few minutes to read. Look it up when you have some relax time, and enjoy! I found it inspirational, and I’d be interested to hear what you think. Here’s the link (on my homepage blog if you are reading this in Facebook or elsewhere)… “That Time Edgar Okhovat Free Solo Climbed the North Face of Time”