Year Long Canvas Project #8


her2 Year Long Canvas Challenge, Week 8, copyright 2014, Jo Ann Brown-Scott – untitled

Time flies when you are having fun – here we are at week 8 – about 44 or so to go. (for you new followers thank you so much for coming aboard, and please refer to my archives for an explanation of the Year Long Canvas Challenge).

And as of now, she has totally lost her original identity. The old “year-long” as we remember her is nearly gone. She is in the witness protection program hoping for an entirely new start.

Yesterday was CRAAAzy. She took off out of the blue and left me in the dust….the canvas I mean. I believe the mood in the classroom was partly responsible – people were laughing and talking as they painted, and some were  actually told to dial it down and be quiet. But see what good energy was unleashed as a result? Silence is over-rated.

She has gotten a life of her own. My head was spinning. I was out of breath, trying to keep up with what she was telling me to do….yelling at me! Commanding me.

She is all up in my face about wanting to be FREE.

She told me that last week’s additions were pretty much OK  but she wants more – she wants to have it all.

Color, line, rhythm, movement, sensuality. Mystery! A message! Is she asking me for calligraphy….???

So what is all that going on in the left-center of the composition? All the shapes, and the dots and the compartments of color and black? Even a couple or three triangular flag shapes….HUH?

I believe it has something to do with the week I have had – a week of LIFE issues, the kind everyone has – and all the compartments I place them in. There was a death, the announcement of a pending birth in the family, a bit of drama I will not go into, a health thing, an amazing dream and even more. I watched a cute kid in the park flying a kite – a flag? I see the whirl of the wind in the composition – and chaos. It is all a big Rorschach image – you see what you want to see. And if you are not seeing anything much at all except bold color, that is also just fine.

So I had fun in class yesterday – my esteemed instructor, Homare Ikeda, likes it and he and I both threw out some suggestions – I tried a couple of them in this newest incarnation and covered one up already. Three steps forward, one back.

It is almost May and I am trying my best to be carefree. So far it seems to be working.


The Year Long Canvas Project #6 – Going Postal


Year Long Canvas installment #6, copyright 2014,  Jo Ann Brown-Scott

When a painter is working he is aware of the means which are available to him – these include his materials, the style he inherits, the conventions he must obey, his prescribed or freely chosen subject matter – as constituting both an opportunity and a restraint. (John Berger)

Well today is Monday, class day. As you can plainly see for yourself, something snapped today. I broke out, flipped out, escaped the status quo, threw caution to the wind and decided I would add color with wild abandon. Whether you like it or not, you can be sure it is a temporary transitional composition, and it will not survive a year. Undoubtedly it will lead to something else. But it has successfully  taken things in a more chaotic, but controlled progression, more free-spirited and bold, so perhaps the lesson this week is that I have set a tone and decided I will not allow this image to be boring. I will not allow old age to rob its energy….even after a long long year.

In case you had not noticed, I worked on the painting in the upside down orientation from before – I just turned is on its head and solved the problem of the vast void at the top of the canvas that I mentioned in the last #5 post. So that issue has been solved. It still has its rhythm, but lots more color. Splatters and lines are a favorite of  mine and those have multiplied to help fill the void. I didn’t want to lose the giant swoop, the swish, the motion of the composition – and it is still there in spite of the fact that we flipped it – the swoosh  may be sacrificed and disappear at some point for the betterment of the whole thing but for now it remains.

That’s about it for this week – I have finished 2 other canvases this week  that were way more fun to work on than this one. And as a bonus, my esteemed instructor, Homare Ikeda, likes them. Sorry to say that one of the side effects of this year long project is that it is too academic for me, too restrained. I like my freedom!

I am a bird in a gilded cage, and actually I have no complaints. I feel fortunate to be there and I am singing.



The Creative Epiphany – Evidence of Wildness


Staff Photo by Richard Cowen, Woodland Park, NJ


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Everyone has  a little Wild streak in them. Some people lovingly nurture it land others find it cause for concern. Really? How could anyone find Wildness threatening? I think Wildness is one of your best friends in your entire bag of tricks. She will take you far on a gloomy day – well, any fine day too. She will show up instantly sometimes, triggered by some tiny thing, and then you can ride her until darkness and maybe even beyond. She will teach you things about yourself that you never knew.

When the Wild child rears up in my spirit and my mind, adrenaline flows. I strive to keep it alive and kicking for as long as is practical, because it feeds my artistic soul and also because it keeps me ageless. Anything that you are able to experience in your life-long existence that helps erase age barriers for you is a rare and golden treasure. Hang on to that stuff.

If you were here I would ask what those Wild things are for you – the things that you enjoy doing that make you forget your age and any other raggedy old irrelevant hang-ups you might be carrying around with you like a child with a worn out blankey.  You need a bucket list of resources to go to when you need to value each and every minute of the days of your life and remind yourself why you are glad you are alive. Stayin’ alive. Still alive and a little bit Wild.

I believe that your creativity is largely dependent upon your ability to stay Young and Wild and Free. How many really grumpy old people do you know who have shriveled up and stamped out any smoldering ember of Wild fire in their souls? We all know some of those. And you don’t necessarily have to be old and grumpy for that to happen. Please let’s not allow that to happen to us.

These Wild things work for me:

Certain music can transform me back to eras when I did not even have to try to capture Wildness….it was always there, because every single day was new uncharted territory for me, as if I was a wondrous babe in the green woods and it was all dripping dew of possibility. Come to think of it, the entire 4 years of college was like that for me, music and all…. all of it. A 4 year Wild streak.

Riding a Harley with that special person feels nice and Wild to me.

Watching animals in their natural habitat. Seeing Wildness au natural.

Leaving on a trip or an adventure.

Painting and writing often set off my Wild nature, because there is such complete freedom in those pursuits.

Of course there are others….and I thought I would include an experience that I had just this morning, purely unexpected and thoroughly fascinating, just in case you might be interested. It set the tone for the entire day and now here I am writing about it.

I was out walking around the big mile-long loop of the open space central park area of Palomino Park, south of Denver, the community where I now live, at 7:45 am. I see these two animals tearing around in circles right where the soccer fields are – they look like scraggly dogs from a distance but when I get to within 20 yds of them I see they are coyotes, there in broad daylight. A couple of people and I stopped to watch them because it was an amazing thing to see – obviously young, lanky legged and skinny, but probably old enough to mate – running and playing just like my dog used to do with his friends. They were oblivious to the people watching them, making big wide circles at breakneck speed and then tumbling over each other – playing chase and tackle. Then one of them runs right into the orange net behind the soccer goal and gets all wrapped up in it and starts frantically thrashing around for three  minutes or so, and we all sort of panic, grabbing for our sell phones to call animal control but then he/she gets untangled and the two continue their play. We all watched for 15 or 20 minutes when they finally ran off to the high grassey area around the duck pond and the pool – I think they must have an underground den in there because they totally disappeared. Right into the underground of a very populated area…..where little kids play long into the dusk and people walk teeny little hors d’oeuvre size doggies. Pretty incredible way to begin my day.

It was a little glimpse of Wild, but enough to want more. I think I’ll go paint now.