It was a blustery night and the temperature was falling quickly. My eyes watered as Max and I hiked around the pond before dusk, the tears forming crystals on my eye lashes. When I walked to the van and loaded up my supplies, a biting wind hit my face. It was difficult to get motivated and head out onto the Deerfoot, but with thoughts of comradery (Try spelling THAT word and get it right the first time…in fact spell check is still telling me it is wrong! Alternative spelling: camaraderie.) and painting under pressure of time and interpretation, tentative thoughts turned quickly to excitement.
The themes for last night’s painting were, as is typical, random! 1. Trust is the daughter of Truth (This concept became my focus and a note here, looking at the internet this morning, much is written about Truth being the daughter of Time…so there you go!) 2. “The stranger was sensed as the greatest menace in ancient communities.” This, from The Only Published Poetry of Jim Morrison: The Lords/The New Creatures, and 3. From Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, “Enjoy captivity”.
I prepared my panel at home, sanding lightly and then pulling a ground of burnt umber, burnt sienna and gloss medium over the surface. I incorporated two pieces of my mother’s sewing patterns…keeping them front and center and creating a nice surface for my evening image.
When I heard the list of concepts, I knew that I wanted to explore the idea of trust being the daughter of truth. I still haven’t wrapped my head around the performance piece that I witnessed this past weekend, where my daughter, at the end, was shorn. Her beautiful copper hair was left on a make shift altar, surrounded by words of poetry. It was a very powerful experience and in some ways, a huge statement about vulnerability and trust.
To begin with, I attached a couple of collage bits…and worked in some ultramarine blue washes, to push the umber into a darker plane. I chose a small passage from the book of James and a vintage illustration from one of my books.
I was a bit distracted by the crowds last night and found that ultimately, I had to turn my panel upside down so that I stopped feeling the pressure to make this about two figures, but just to go searching instead for dark and light shapes. This is an exercise that I had once practiced, creating a depiction of the Pieta in charcoal with my students. It worked for them…it might work for me. I found this idea years ago in the book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Dr. Betty Edwards. Doing this, I could continue to chat with the evening’s participants.
Some folk would step up and say quietly, “If being here bothers you, just let me know.”
This gave me pause…I realized how much this process has changed for me and how painting and creating has become a very public thing for me now…less precious or intimidating. The public experience of LIVE ART has opened up the dialogue and truly removed the art from the walls and put it into the hands of all of us. Interesting.
Thank you to Kevin who purchased this generously at auction and if Kevin or Geoff (Jeff) are reading this, would they please e mail me the photographs…especially the one of Kevin and me with the painting as I didn’t collect one of my own. It was so good to have Andy back…and to see Lauraine and Wendy, along with several new folk. I would like to credit Calgary photographer, Aran Wilkinson Blanc , for the reference I used for this painting. Clearly, the pose of the figures bears some similarity.