Year Long Canvas #13 – The Knowing That Comes With Darkness

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YLC #13 copyright Jo Ann Brown-Scott, not yet titled

Another quote from Rumi, 13th century poet and scholar – Everyone does this in different ways. Knowing that conscious decisions and personal memory are much too small a place to live, every human being streams in at night into the loving nowhere, or during the day, in some absorbing work.

For those of you who have been following this saga – thank you. I wish I could provide you with startling changes on a weekly basis but that seems too ambitious. It is a gradual, relatively slow, often not-so-eventful journey that YLC and I share. She is far more patient than I. She has everything to gain and nothing to lose.  I, however, agonize over each and every change and although I often say that the canvas tells me what to do, sometimes she is maddeningly silent.

But today, no question about it, she screamed at me for drama.

The purple sun that many people took an instant “shine” to (pardon the humor) and that I was so in love with 2 weeks ago, now leaves me cold – a shocking thing for a sun to have to admit. So I have made changes to that upper left corner of the composition….and the sun is obliterated. No more sun flares, no more daily rising in the east and no more celebratory, spectacular western sun setting to garner applause and clinking of wine glasses in that corner of the composition. Maybe I over-reacted – but maybe not. I just cannot mourn every single thing that disappears. I believe that even the art Buddha would agree.

We still have the other sun however – sitting all fried-eggish behind the horizontal slats – that one I still like….but probably not for long.

So purple sun has been replaced with approaching night, if that is how you choose to interpret it. It amuses me sometimes to see a landscape behind the slatted lines, sun above, colorful hillside village below, suggestive of Mexico perhaps – Puerto Vallarta – and now night on its way, but I am not so hung up on that image that I am going to preserve it forever. If I had to make a prediction, I would say the final result of this painting will be totally non-objective and wildly abstract….because I am heading in that direction already. I am yearning for less whimsy and more drama. I will end this year with some serious art.

See the little black parts I added in a few places along the lower far right side? Very small but important. See the magenta coming over on top of the new black area? Also very important – because you cannot just add a huge black area and not integrate it into the composition. It has to work well and mesh with the other colors. See the scratch marks in the new black? I wanted a texture – not just solid dead black.

It is not even mid-summer yet, and still a long way to travel. If you have the time to go back into my archives and re-visit the first couple gestures made on the naked YLC, then you do realize we have come a long way, speaking as an evolutionary reference. This journey won’t be over until March 10th, 2015 when I can let the YLC retire so she can just hang out on some wall in peace. When that day comes I guarantee some glasses will be raised at some type of crazy-art  celebration.

As of today, I am really looking forward to that. It cannot come too fast for me.

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My Passion For Art – Forever Green

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THE WARMING                                            FALL’S DEBRIS

copyright 2014, Jo Ann Brown-Scott – 2 paintings in the Evergreen Center for the Arts Show, opening Friday, May 2, 2014

Here I am, YEARS later, and I have come, out of breath and energized, full circle  – but I am not as dizzy as I thought I would be.

Decades ago (1976) I was living with my family in Evergreen, Colorado, with a Fine Arts degree under my belt and nothing to do with it.  The word in the fine arts dept. of U. of Colorado, Boulder campus was, up to that time, and quite obviously, that historically women were not making  much progress in the art world. Slim to none, as a matter of fact. It was a realm ruled and managed by men and only sparsely sprinkled with women who painted primarily as a hobby and had somehow managed, against all odds (roughly the same as being hit by lightening) to make a name for themselves, purely by accident of course, in a man’s world. I knew that, and I still chose the school because of its art department. I wanted to attend a school where I could learn my passion. I was told to get my teaching degree because I would never be able to sell my art or to gain any kind of recognition as a female artist. I went against that grain of society, including my mother’s strong advice, got my art degree, did not get a degree in teaching, and proceeded to paint just because I loved it. Feeling as if I needed some refresher courses ( two lovely children, living in Evergreen) by 1976, I took some classes from an accomplished local artist named Jane McFadden. Her husband was a foreman on the legendary Mt. Evans Ranch.  (He looked exactly like the Marlboro Man…hard to concentrate – but I digress). Not intending to brag here, just to report what actually happened, I found myself in her class, on the first day, painting away and glad to be there, when Jane walked over and looked at me and said quite seriously for all to hear, “What are you doing in this class?”

Gripped with the fear of being thrown out for lack of talent, I answered sheepishly that I was there to learn….I wanted to paint well…..maybe I am not ready for this class….?

She said, “Jo, you could be teaching this class. I could learn from you. What are your goals with your art?”

II said that my goals were just to paint well.

She said, “If you want to paint well, you are already doing that. Wouldn’t you like to sell your work? If you would, I can  help you market your work…”

Within several weeks I had sold my first painting (except for one I sold in high school) in an Evergreen Summer Art Fair and was on my way to  having a fulfilling, marketable art career. Intermittent but fulfilling. I put my passion for art on hold at several junctures in my life which in retrospect now seems downright stupid. But we live and we learn. At the time I thought I was placing my emphasis on the right things. But overall, in the larger picture, I have had a long-lived art career and have always been able to sell my art. Many thanks to Jane McFadden for igniting the passion and the desire to SELL MY ART. The flame has never gone out. She is my hero – the first of several who took me aside through the years and demanded that I take my art seriously.

This Friday night at the Center for the Arts Evergreen Show  http://www.evergreenarts.org  I am honored to have 2 paintings juried into the show. It is a significant event for me because I moved away from Evergreen in 1986 or so (?) and since that year I have moved about 10 times, all over the damn country, mostly following men I loved who had the “bigger career”. The most recent move being to northern California, where I lived for 3 years before returning to the Denver area last July, 2013. I do believe that I am close enough to Evergreen to call it full circle. Wow – it is so good to be home.

As of today I am changing the focus of this blog site to more specifically reflect what I am personally doing with my art – the first and most long-lasting love of my life. The everlasting passion that has been there for me through thick and thin, through tragedy and joy, around and above all other activities that I love to do. It has outlasted several men, major geographic moves, health issues, deaths, feast, famine, mother nature and temporary flights of fancy. It is the rock solid foundation of who I really am.

I will take you along with me and tell you what I am achieving with my art.

It’s time for me to go insane with it – to throw myself at it and give it my all.

If not now, when?

 

For inquiries about this art, the YEAR LONG CANVAS, and others, contact me through this blog.

My art can also be seen at http://www.artspan.com – go to the category of Mixed Media, click on my name in ARTISTS and it will show you 3 of my images – click on any one of them and it will open my entire website.

You can also visit my art/literary website at http://www.epiphanyfriends.com

 

 

Year Long Canvas Project #7 – Time for a Bold Move

721class  before   orange  after

Yesterday afternoon was gorgeous outside – spring in all of its SPRINGY glory. I wanted to take a walk and go play in the out of doors. But I attended my usual Monday art class. When I arrived I can’t say that I was really into a painting mood, but I know from experience that when your mind is NOT fully engaged and you are thinking about other things, it can actually work to your advantage. You don’t over-think – you don’t question yourself – you have kind of a WTF attitude. That can bring a looser approach and a less contrived work session. But in spite of that mood, class was stimulating, energy sapping and intense – but in a good way. Some students were painting for upcoming shows. Some were painting the same kinds of things they have been painting for months now with little variation. Others were doing fascinating work that I greatly admire. A few were barely painting at all…

In some future post I will talk about the situation in an art class, any art class, which predictably involves some students who aspire to paint as precisely like the instructor as they can – they want to be clones. They do not or cannot bring an original idea or concept to the table. (On second thought I will just leave it at that, because I don’t ever want to make a habit of bashing other people’s work…)

I set up camp. I am working on 3 canvases now at the same time, but the Year Long canvas has gained a reputation and people now know it by name, and they stop by to visit HER each week, checking on progress. I am assigning it a gender now, don’t ask me why. I just don’t like calling the canvas an “IT”. The first photo at the top of this post is how the canvas looked at the mid-point of yesterday’s class, with new work done in several areas. The changes made include the subtle definition of oval shapes in the upper right with a wash of pale peach tones and in the center area I defined 3 oval shapes in the Naples yellow, then another larger oval to the left of that. Why? Because it was time to begin some definition…some type of direction defined by shapes. No, I do not know where I am going with it just yet. Then I whitened up the slash of white that runs from the lower left across the center toward the upper right. I also added more purple tones to the upper left area, overlapped some areas with additional turquoise. I am improvising – abstract expressionism is all about improvisation. The paint does speak to you – it tells you what to do next. You learn to read what the paint has said, either in its texture, tone, shade, shape, color, or line.

At that point my instructor stopped by to offer his input. I told him I felt that the painting needed some type of bold move – a big jolt – for these reasons:

1) the art needs something unpredictable and incongruent to shake things up within the whole

2) I need to give myself something brand new to deal with, because of course adding a thing like that immediately effects everything else, and it keeps me from getting bored by offering me a self-imposed problem to work through

3) a bold change would contribute greater sophistication, an element of surprise, eccentricity and complexity if it is used effectively

4) ultimately the goal would be to take the composition from mediocrity and predictability toward  excellence and individuality

He totally agreed. He said it was time. I suggested a large area of flat, unapologetic strong color. Orange in fact, because there is already a bit of orange splashed around the composition. He liked that choice. I also said I wanted the area of orange to be placed in the lower right quadrant of the composition – he agreed. He and I talked….he threw out some additional ideas and I did too. He and I discussed the challenge of the 365 days  ahead of me – and the probability that nearing year’s end the paint will have gotten so thick that it inhibits the artist’s options. For instance perhaps you want to make a line, for direction and emphasis, which I actually love to do, and yet you cannot do that because the surface has gotten too bumpy with paint buildup that you cannot create a convincing straight line. So you have to adjust to that, as well as a lot of other things. I am only into month 2 as of this writing. Can I do this? Do I really WANT to do this? What is it going to get me, in the  long run? I have had so damn many “character building” experiences in my life – do I need this too? I hope it doesn’t sour me on painting as it builds up my character. I don’t want the art to become a chore.

You see the “before” and the  “after” – remember it is just a start of orange.

I really like it, but it is not a big enough change for my taste, so I may decide to enlarge the orange a bit more or honor and enhance a second area with it’s presence.