Painting – A Peaceful Nap…Sort of.

A Peaceful Nap…sort of. 40″ x 40″ painting of Mother and Cub Brown Bear in Alaska.

Parenting and those “oh so treasured” daily nap times.

Every parent has had the experience of “nap time” and drifting off into a snooze, only to be aware that the young one(s) are fiddle-faddling around, and nature seems to be chiming in!

This painting is the follow-up on my last post, and the final work. The creative and painting process provided me with valuable insights about life itself, and how I am choosing to live it.

Detail of Alaska Brown Bear Cub Face.

This little cub is gazing at a Silvery Blue Butterfly (Glaucopsyche lygdamus) found in Alaska and the northern hemisphere. Once considered extinct, it has recently resurfaced.

“Love what you are doing.” I have all heard this said many times. And time is what it took for me to get the value of that advise.

I learned that in each moment of anything I am doing, painting, mopping my kitchen floor, or paying bills, if I am focused only on the task in that moment with gratitude and love, it is a joyful experience. My energy is endless.

However, this is also a conscious and disciplined choice, and more than occasionally requires a sense of humor. It’s like meditating. When I paint fur or feathers, I paint each hair, and each feather, and with each stroke it becomes a meditation on how much I love the subject. During the process I wondered why I had ever allowed anything else (doubt, fear, anxiety) to crowd my mind? Maybe this is one of hidden gifts of the pandemic, and the months in isolation, the time to evaluate and implement this valuable understanding.

 

Detail of Mama Bears face.

I have a friend who tells me that sometimes less is more in art, and this is quite true as well. But for this painting I wanted to paint all of the little details. I love to look at illustrations and paintings that are detailed and my eye can travel through the painting and find new details each time I look at it. I love a painting I can walk into and sit down for a time, and just soak up the experience.

I hope this painting becomes that kind of experience for someone.
Nature is a wondrous gift.

Now tomorrow, I will take on the long avoided task of decluttering my storage room, and LOVE it
…….(that is the part that requires a sense of humor).

– Thank you

WIP Painting – There’s No Place Like Home…

Sometimes, we have to travel far and wide to find out

we were already,

where we needed to be.

Small detailed section 8″x 8″ of a 30’x 40′ painting in progress.

Quite a few years ago, and for some reason, I decided I needed to change how and what I painted.
I began to experiment extensively with every medium, genre, and style, deciding to search for what truly felt right. I began each painting very hopeful, but most all experiments felt flat, inauthentic, and frustrating.
About a week ago just around dawn I was half asleep/half awake when I heard three questions arrive in my mind, about my own process of creativity.

1. “What do you love?”

2. “What techniques flow effortlessly for you, like breathing?”

3. “What do you love to paint the most?”

With each question the answers were immediate. They had been there all along. Time rolled back and it felt like coming home. “Home” happened to be where I was when I started this journey. I had to travel far and wide to find out, I was already, where we needed to be.

When I paint what I love, I can work for 12 hours straight and feel as refreshed afterwards, as when I sat down to begin. I think that is an important awareness for all of life. Yes, there are challenges, but the solutions are sitting right there as well.

I have begun a very large painting, 30″ x 40″ and it is full of detail. A few posts back, I was trying to avoid detail (and finding it difficult.) I love detail, and wildlife. Above, is a small section measuring 8″ x 8″ of a bear cub. All outlines eventually will be removed.

Small section in progress, of wild flowers.

Above is another small section of the painting in process. I like to work in a circular pattern over the whole painting. This is a corner of the painting that will soon be filled with wildflowers. It looks chaotic, but there is a method to this madness. Since this is a rather large and very detailed painting it will take some time.
However, as I work, it will also provide me with more observations, lessons, and a greater understanding about life itself.

First lesson;

Focus on what you love,

and find the love in all you do.

– Thank you

Painting – The One That Got Away…

Prints available here.

 I give myself creative challenges, and I never make it easy. Isn’t that what best friends are for?

Challenge; paint something bright, colourful, with very little detail, (ahhh!) and action filled. Okay, I love action. Think “Matrix” moment, when all the action becomes still and it’s a super slow motion sequence. Therefore, we have the colourful Kingfisher exploding out of the water with his catch…..but yikes!
Not quite.

I began with a simple background that reflected only colour and texture. This was already challenging for me, where are the trunks of the trees? The detail on every little leaf?  Walk away…..breathe.

I imagined the foliage along a river or lake, with bright irises, and dabbed these colours in a crosshatched fashion.

Here came the difficult part of the challenge to myself; trying to use very little detail. I am a detail-aholic. It’s been 17 hours since I last painted any detail, and that’s only because I have been transcribing a really interesting manuscript. This painting is my attempt at detoxing and finding a balance. Anyhow, I can’t help myself from getting deep into a painting like its a moment in creation itself. My desire to make it look so real that it could come alive and fly out the door can be very determined. Deep breaths. For this painting I was determined to forgo detail cold-turkey. I focused on loose strokes, and the only detail allowed would be the kingfishers eye and long, strong beak. Only that.

Adding the water was next. By the way, kingfishers have excellent depth perception, and a protective membrane that covers their eyes as they dive into the water to spear their catch. Again and loosely, I sloshed on what I imagined as the exotic background water, and added a big splash as the kingfisher surfaces from its underwater dive. But…..where’s the fun? What is the point of this image? I thought of the kingfisher capturing his prey, all puffed up and confident nailing fish number 35 of the day, and then what should happen? The little fish wriggles out of the kingfishers grasp and sails back into fishy freedom! Now you see, I have been playing a lot of chess by text recently, so that fact… just might have something to do with the “escape desire” in my creative process, (I keep getting completely thrashed)!

After painting a non-detailed fish, yay to our escapee! (think Papillon), I added some glazing to deepen the darks, and tone down the white of the splashes. The brightest whites needed to stay on the kingfisher.

I did it, I painted loosely and only added a small amount of detail. My youngest son said it looked very detailed……I told him to text me his next chess move.

If you have made it this far, thank you for joining me on this journey!

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