Overload

 

Stories2 - Copy

This painting was inspired by the Chatuchak Market visited in Bangkok, Thailand 2014, by Jo Ann Brown-Scott 24×36

I was on intense sensory overload for about 10 hours straight as we took in the sights, sounds, smells and color stimulation during this crash course in the cultural abundance of Bangkok, Thailand at the world famous Chatuchak Market. I will never forget it. It left an indelible imprint on my artistic soul, of action, energy, variety of music and people  and clothing and food , not to mention the merchandise in row upon row of cubicles. When I showed this painting to my instructor at the Denver Art Students League he smiled and approved. He had only two minor tweeks that he recommended and then he considered it finished.

You see Homare Ikeda loves paintings that tell a story, and he saw many abstract  stories here. If you divide this painting into squares, you will find a half dozen or more individual paintings that each work alone as complete compositions. The lower portion of the painting has a glow that comes from deep behind and is more blurred that the upper portions – an impressionistic painting or two unto itself.

This is also, in addition to the color and paint application, a mixed media collage – meaning that I have used various printed papers glued and layered and painted over to achieve a deep, almost sculptural texture in certain areas.

For me, it is just about as complicated a piece as I have ever done and that I am happy with. And since I am on overload today, with creative energy and ideas, it seemed the right time to post it.

Jo Ann Brown-Scott, author and artist

New 5 star Novel – A Canary Flies the Canyon, available on Kindle and Amazon

http://www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

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“OLD SOUL” Makes Her Debut for the DYAO

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copyright 2015, Jo Ann Brown-Scott, OLD SOUL

Every year the Denver Young Artists Orchestra hosts a fundraising event called the Painted Violin Event. Artists are selected, retired violins are sent out to them and we are all asked to paint the violins with a theme of our choosing, three-dimensionally,  then the violins go on tour for several months at many of the Denver area art galleries with the hope of attracting buyers to fund talented young kids who love music. It is an exciting time, receiving a violin, knowing your mission is to give it an inspired treatment by anointing it with a theme that is both appealing and marketable; one that speaks to people and sends them a message. Please visit  http://www.paintedviolin.com  or  http://www.DYAO.org  to see all the new violins for the 2015-2016 symphony season and those from all past seasons as well.

I have chosen to honor the authentic character of my particular old violin by embellishing her weathered patina with exotic stones and treasures including rare leopard jaspar from Madagascar (which is one of the oldest known gemstones containing healing powers), turquoise, African bone beads, Mexican silver, coins and other treasures from around the world. After all, she is a musical traveler, having provided the music of the world to audiences from all ethnicities and walks of life during her long career. The story of her origin and how she finally came into my hands is fascinating and involves the San Francisco Bay area and Yosemite Park to name just a few of the clues to her long life. Coincidentally or not, both of those locations are especially meaningful to my own family. Most of the items with which I have chosen to adorn her are from my own personal collection of magical found objects….saved through the years for some special purpose. This is an extraordinary purpose.

“Old Soul” is my second violin selected by the DYAO, (Denver Young Artists Orchestra) following my first violin included in the 8th season titled Scheherazade, which I have also written about on this blog. I have enjoyed a life-long career in fine art after obtaining my degree from the U. of Colorado. Most recently (2009) I  published a book titled The Creative Epiphany – Gifted Minds, Grand Realizations and taught mixed media painting in northern California. After returning to the Denver area in 2013, a place I consider my home, I enrolled in a class at Denver Art Students League taught by Homare Ikeda which further deepened my work as a contemporary abstract artist. My most recent work places an emphasis upon color, pattern and texture in compositions inspired by travels to Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Hawaii and the landscapes of the western USA. I am currently writing this blog based upon my art and my travels, which fuel my experiences with art, and I will soon publish my third book, a novel titled A Canary Flies the Canyon, within days…

This violin, as did my first, carries a deeper meaning than people will see on the surface – it truly found me. That is another story, but a story worthy of telling. Please stay tuned for continuing information and revelations about this violin and the larger story of one contemporary woman’s artistic life in my new novel A Canary Flies the Canyon.

YEAR LONG CANVAS, mid-January, 2015

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YLC, untitled, copyright 2015, Jo Ann Brown-Scott

Holy cow we are nearing the end of January. Did you notice that?

Just this morning in a fit of panic I did some stuff to the YLC. Some stark white, the enhancement of a couple areas, the extension of the vertical cadmium orange line up behind and beyond the swath of black, couple turquoise dots – but the white has been the thing with the biggest zing.

If you zoom into this image you will find nuance and texture, shades upon shades, and lots of emphasis upon line. That’s what I like.

If you divide the canvas into 4 equal rectangles, with a vertical line down the center and a horizontal line from left to right, each quadrant tells a story and is a painting unto itself. But they all work together as well, geling into one large rhythmic piece. In my opinion, that is a good thing. The painting has movement, focal areas, lights and darks, brights and dims, strong color and a powerful composition. It is a joyful painting; nothing grim or menacing about it. The YLC is a happy canvas. You can see how she began in this blog’s Archives, and there are still a few hints of her left in the painting from when she was much younger. (Kind of true of us all.) My son wants me to title her “Rio” – one of his favorite places. He sees a distant skyline in it, a hot sun and a carnival atmosphere. But then if you knew him you’d already know that he sees a potential party in every situation…smile. Wonder where he gets that.

But isn’t that what art is all about? Seeing images through your own distinctive perspective? Depends on the day and the time and what you are going through in the moment. You are more than entitled to your own vibe. I welcome your vibes as well as mine. Just try not to get all gloomy on me because I never paint gloomy. I have to express the joyful colors of life! I must! Don’t try to stifle me! I’m recently back to myself after a rotten decade and life is just so damn good again.

Thanks to Homare Ikeda of the Denver Art Student’s League for this remarkable assignment – and I am not officially finished yet, but I must say that he opened me up and allowed me to pour it all out. I needed a strong nudge, a weird idea, a new awakening and a place to go that had a purpose. Hope you are still listening, Homare. I will see you again soon…

http://www.homareikeda.com

 

This We Have Now – New Work by Homare Ikeda

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original art courtesy and copyright of Homare Ikeda 2014

This we have now is not imagination. This is not grief or joy. Not a judging state, or an elation, or sadness. Those come and go. This is the presence that doesn’t.  – RUMI, 12th century poet

You have heard me refer to Homare Ikeda in my blog many times (See my Archives) – my esteemed instructor for Advanced Contemporary Painting at Art Students League, Denver. Friday night was his most recent opening titled REVISIT at Wm. Havu Gallery, www.williamhavugallery.com in downtown Denver. The stories told in his paintings are more than magical – they are transcendent. It is not unusual for him to work on a painting for years – sometimes as long as 18 years – revisiting it from time to time, enhancing, subtracting, building layer upon layer in order to evolve the image through the years of its life. These incarnations of art reveal stories of each particular time and place the painting is revisited. That is why and how his art lives, breathes and grows, revealing a language of intricate symbols expressed in whimsical playfulness that provide the artist with a means of conversation, and the art becomes a dialogue between the artist and the paint. How fortunate we are to be offered a glimpse of this personal communication.

http://www.homareikeda.com

 

 

The Surprise of the Familiar with the YLC

 

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Before – Almost the very beginning of the YLC, and the NOW version

My esteemed art instructor, Homare Ikeda of the Denver Art Students League, said a startling thing one afternoon as we all gathered around to hear his thoughts. He said something so obvious that it took my breath away. Without quoting his exact words, but close, he said that every painting that you will ever do is already inside of you. You just need to find it, to get to it, and reveal it to the world. Sort of the same idea as when Michelangelo said that when he sculpted he was just chipping away the outside marble to find the angel inside. If you believe all that, as I most assuredly do, then creating is a search, digging deep to find the essence.

One of the most effective exercises you can perform, as an artist or writer or general creator of things is to walk away from your current work in progress and leave it alone for a while. Forget about it. Take a vaca. Dwell on other things. Stop the momentum and rest. Whether this is done in frustration from being “stuck” or just because you are getting weary and your miserable self needs refreshing, it is almost always a beneficial thing to do. Don’t do it when you are “in flow” and hot on the trail of something big, of course. Do it when things get a little rough around the edges and you are feeling battle fatigue, and your search for the essence is difficult.

Of course this is the basic principle behind the Year Long Canvas project which I am only 6 months into at his point. It is a forced exercise in walking away and calming things down so that you can walk back into it and “see it again for the first time.” That “seeing” is supposed to reveal what should be done next. Sometimes an instantaneous action comes to me – other times it takes a bit of study to discover what action would be an enhancement – because of course enhancing the painting is what I am supposed to do. I don’t want to do something to it that bombs it right back into the artistic stone ages. This painting that has become such a weird part of my life. This painting that I sort of love at times, like right now, but that I may hate on some other day. This painting that haunts my thoughts. This part of me, slowly being uncovered from deep inside.

The final version of the YLC is absolutely inside me waiting to be revealed. My challenge is to coincide the finding of it with the end of its year. That seems a bit forced to me – what if I find its final version long before that day comes? Maybe the one year birthday of this painting will happen sooner, as much a contradiction as that is. Will I have the courage to refuse to go on, taking control of its destiny and making the decision to stop? Is that Good Karma or Bad? What would the art Buddha say?

Getting the Ball Rolling on Summer

Botgardens

Denver Botanic Gardens Chihuly Glass Exhibit, last week – http://www.chihuly.com  and  www.botanicgardens.org

It is almost the 4th of July and for me that sort of means that the summer is half over. For others it means that the summer is officially rolling along, at its very height of enjoyment. No, I have nothing new to report about the YLC – the Year Long Canvas – but I have a terrific quote from a gifted and successful artist friend of mine named Jane Jones, sent to me as a comment about my previous blog. Jane teaches at the Denver Art Students League –  http://www.asld.org – and she paints like an Old Master, so she knows whereof she speaks. Plus she is wise, funny as hell and inspiring with her witticisms about life  – she doesn’t allow much to slow her down.

Visit her beautiful, floral still-life art at http://www.janejonesartist.com

Jane says:

“I have some paintings that took a year….one month to paint, and 11 months in time out! And then about 10 minutes to finish them. Just because you aren’t painting on it, doesn’t mean you aren’t “working” on it! I’m working on about 5 paintings and haven’t picked up a brush yet! But the process will show when I get them started…and a couple might not ever get started…but they got worked on to their completion before I ever spent anything but time on them….now is that efficient or what!”

Yes I have done that too, but hearing it from another person who understands the process carries much more clout. She is  person to whom I really listen.

A painting is first and foremost, at its very conception, an ambiguous, indistinct creative vision that ebbs and flows, blurs and clears, adds and subtracts, changes color, alters composition, thrills and disappoints, darting in and out of your consciousness as it slowly wakes you up with its possibility ( but sometimes its vision comes in a lightening-fast flash – as in a CREATIVE EPIPHANY – explained further in my book).

This vision incubates in your mind. It cooks. It simmers. It brews. The amount of time that this pre-painting process takes is purely individual. On a good day, I can do all that in an afternoon if I am in the flow. Or it might take months before you or I dare to pick up a brush or a palette knife and attempt to capture on canvas or paper whatever it is that we have been birthing. I KNOW – I am mixing my metaphors here – but it is a both a birthing process and a cooking of sorts, to me anyway. Creativity is like that – all things to all people is what it is. Every single person who is creative has his/her own unique foreplay – their own ritual of preparation before or after conception. It is a “dance by the light of the moon” kind of thing – mysterious, magical and sensual. That is what defines the concept for me.

If the painting is a good one, it matters not how long you spent on the incubation or the birthing of the painting. The fast and furious work is often better and more free-spirited than the one you labored over for weeks or months – that is why I am having such a “thing” about the YLC – I am accustomed to working fast, filling the room with the inspired energy I feel and flying by the seat of my pants without over-thinking and over-analyzing and yes, even over-agonizing about each stroke. This YLC is counter-intuitive for me – but then perhaps that is one of the lessons to be learned from it.

Now I must go and watch the USA play Belgium in the World Cup while the back of my mind mulls over the next new painting I am going to start later today. I can do both, you see, and then find even more answers and ideas in a dream when I go to sleep tonight – because it is always there, this creativity thing, 24/7 every single minute all the time. It is the gift that keeps on giving, right Jane?

http://www.epiphanyfriends.com

https://joannbrownscottart.artspan.com/

BOOK – The Creative Epiphany – Gifted Minds, Grand Realizations by Jo Ann Brown-Scott

 

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.