Back to the Battles: Gorilla House Art Battle: January 2, 2013

I haven’t painted at the Gorilla House since the End of the World Battle, but went down last night and had fun hooking up with my artist-buddies and responding to recent life experience through paint.  I’ve enjoyed the season, as you’ve already read; with good food, drink, reads, friends and family…and now, the painting begins!

I arrived at the house with a bit of an agenda last night and was feeling more than a little manic.  Grief and sadness are expressed through a spectrum of behaviours. For me, this evening would be about RELEASE.  Another young man passed away on New Year’s Day and I had to deal with that and the impact so many deaths have caused on my family these last years.  Not that this can happen in a single painting…but art has always been a part of my healing over the years.

The concepts during the SPIN of the Wheel of Doom were 1) History 2) Appropriation and an image of graffiti and 3) Standing in the street yelling at passers by.

I had purchased my panel at the WIN store, as is usual, and after deconstructing the attached image, was left with bits of Monet’s painting, Woman in the Garden, Sainte-Adresse.  I left the figure to represent myself, looking upon the loss…of mothers…wives…children.  I find myself in the painting through this figure and therefore, the artist separates herself from the sadness.

Claude_Monet_ 0012

Leaving Monet’s figure took care of the subject of Appropriation in art, the second concept.  Appropriation is something that I have to be mindful of because I am a collage artist and it is important to look at history as a reference continually. For those readers who do not refer to the link, this, from Wikipedia,

“Appropriation can be understood as “the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work.”[2] In the visual arts, to appropriate means to properly adopt, borrow, recycle or sample aspects (or the entire form) of man-made visual culture. Most notable in this respect are the Readymades of Marcel Duchamp. Other strategies include “re-vision, re-evaluation, variation, version, interpretation, imitation, proximation, supplement, increment, improvisation, prequel… pastiche, paraphrase, parody, homage, mimicry, shan-zhai, echo, allusion, intertextuality and karaoke.”[3] The term appropriation refers to the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work[2] (as in ‘the artist uses appropriation’) or refers to the new work itself (as in ‘this is a piece of appropriation art’).”

This would be an interesting blog post…I will tuck it away for future writing.


I used collage to include a buck and doe onto the surface, representing those that James and I saw on New Year’s night.  I included one verse of Tennyson’s poem and specifically this one because my dear friend, Val, attended Gorilla House last evening. She inspired the inclusion of this verse. I remembered going on a walk with her with my old dog, Laurie-dog…it was a beautiful summer day and she and I were visiting about life and about death.  She mentioned a bee….and so,


“But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.”

Scriptural text incorporated, before arriving to the battle, while painting my ground (panel prep) were the words of Psalm 23.

The foreground element…the deer skull.  The deer is heavily weighted with mythology and symbol in many/all cultures.  For me, in the night, the deer was a physical reminder of the spirit and of resurrection and of the renewal of the body.

Thank you to Brian for his purchase of my piece at auction…to my dear friend, Belinda Fireman for her photograph of us.  Thanks for the visits of Val and Darlene…for the battles shared with Deb and Kells…love you guys.  Good to see you, Vincent Varga and Andy!  Happy birthday, Karen.  Aaron of Red Dot Photography took an amazing photograph of this piece because I explained to him that I wasn’t particularly ready to let go of this one and that it meant something special…and so he took a great photo that I will publish later.  The painting is titled, A Farewell.

Photo Credit: Belinda Fireman

Photo Credit: Belinda Fireman


4 thoughts on “Back to the Battles: Gorilla House Art Battle: January 2, 2013

  1. No wonder you weren’t ready to let it go; this is a moving and brilliant painting. Now I think of it the Gorilla House process means that you always (because you always sell there) need to let go of the work made that evening immediately. This is a unique situation. How do you deal with it within yourself?

    • Most Wednesdays it is alright…a few of the pieces have ended up precious to me…but artists, generally speaking, are a process-focused lot, aren’t we? I think if we get so that we can’t part with our work…it means that we are a bit precious about it and it runs the risk of being overworked. Letting go, keeps the art fresh. Well…this is me just spewing words before I tuck in with my Wally Lamb book.

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