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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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

 

November Version of the YEAR LONG CANVAS

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YLC November, copyright 2014 Jo Ann Brown-Scott

What nine months of attention does for an embryo, forty early mornings will do for your gradually growing wholeness….Your intelligence is marvelously intimate. It’s not in front of you or behind, or to the left or the right. – Rumi

Hello everybody! Here we are well into November and as I woke this morning I was in a great frame of mind due to absolutely nothing in particular. I had not even slept well, but something lit a little fire in me. After a long, crisp walk in the morning air the time was right; I was ready to apply the latest shock therapy to the canvas. The additional changes just happened, in less than fifteen minutes, to the Year Long Canvas that Homare Ikeda offered to me as a challenge and an assignment way back in March of this year. I would say we are in the home stretch now, but who ever knows when it will be done, or mostly done, or perhaps even continue? For those of you arriving late to this project, the objective is to continue to paint for a solid year on one particular canvas, adding layers and layers of new work on top of the old. It is an exercise in patience, confidence, acceptance of change, and testing one’s ability to focus over a long period of time on one constantly changing image. Of course I am painting other canvases as well, and finishing them, because I have a tendency to be quite task oriented. I like a feeling of accomplishment.

If you compare this version to the others in my blog archives about the YLC you will see that I am letting myself go more with each passing month, slinging the paint around with more abandon, opening my heart to more drastic change and actually having more fun with it than I did in the beginning. My loose and free-spirited attitude is picking up speed as I work through the months. I barely even try anymore – I just work mindlessly. It is my arm but something else is guiding me. I feel it arriving from over my shoulder, it comes through me and lands on the canvas. It is as if I am not even here. I am just an instrument. I do believe I am in the flow.

Obviously I use layers of paint both thick and thin, building texture and depth, a characteristic color palette that I enjoy, a linear emphasis, a roundness in some area, darks against lights and lights against darks. I am working vertically right now, but it started out being horizontal; I work all around it, turning it in all orientations as I paint, because in abstract art you have to do that. You might choose to see the suggestion of a landscape, or not. Purely abstract is fine too.

This painting could quite easily go in the direction of enormous simplicity and minimalism, by covering up almost 90% of the composition with washes of gray, black or even white, allowing just slivers and shafts of colors to reveal themselves as if you are looking through an opening to something underneath. That seems to me a rather easy, chicken way to end the whole thing.

I actually prefer the challenge of complexity, depth and mystery. But you probably already knew that by now.

 

 

 

 

 

Back Again With the Year Long Canvas, 10/22/2014

  

photos courtesy of travelmag.com and pinterest.com

Pearl Street Mall, Boulder – Scroll down to see YLC

Yes I have been out of the loop for a while, preoccupied and otherwise engaged. Just involved in life itself, nothing major. Enjoying fall and weekends in the mountains. Was up in Boulder on Saturday night to attend a concert, and so we wandered the legendary Pearl Street Mall. (Had some fun with a faux bronze statue guy who came to life right before my eyes. If you are familiar with that crazy scene in Boulder you are laughing right now).

The multicolored confetti of leaves was flying around, families were out in the balmy night air having fun together and watching the street buskers perform. Had a great dinner at the Boulderado Hotel. Went to a rousing Patti Griffin concert where no one in the audience was timid about speaking up and interacting with Patti and her band. Someone then commented sarcastically on that by also yelling,  “Well welcome to Boulder, Patti….” and she agreed, but she was fine with it. Boulder is just different – people there are not easily defined but if I had to try I would begin by saying that they are quite proud of themselves to be living there, considering it a lifetime achievement or something. Bucket list item #3 – live in Boulder. Become an authentic  Boulderite. You see people in Boulder don’t see themselves as subordinate to anyone. Well why should they? I have loved Boulder since I was a student of fine art there in the 60’s at a time when the campus scene was PARTY and the art professors were deliciously weird and cutting edge. The Young People’s Socialist League was active and the Viet Nam war protesting was just getting started. I was there to paint; I did my share of partying too.

Being back there again, and still painting, in the company of a person with whom I shared many of those Boulder years is always rather surreal to me. This Saturday evening was especially magical. We actually talked a lot about my YLC – the year long canvas. I have been neglecting her. In the wise words of my friend, “The Year Long Canvas is a zen lesson in sustained patience and restraint,” or something to that affect. Delayed gratification should also be mentioned; I am a person who enjoys actually finishing a painting. We decided that the assignment of one year (March, 2015) needs to be loosened a bit, to allow my tolerance and focus a little wiggle room. Maybe more than a year, maybe less. My esteemed instructor, Homare Ikeda of the Denver Art Students League, who offered me this assignment, most certainly would have many additional comments and opinions about this process I am experiencing since I last saw him. Once in a while I run into him and we talk, which is enlightening and meaningful to me. As I explained in one of my earlier posts, he believes that every painting you will ever do as an artist is already inside of you, waiting for the right time and place in your life to be set free from its “cage” – and cage is my own word, not his. You just need to uncover it by stripping away all the unnecessary layers. That is a fascinating concept. A lot of thought is required to get your mind around it. Please visit  http://www.homareikeda.com

Today when I worked on the YLC I went a bit crazy. I gathered all of my confidence in order to believe that I was always going to be able to make a great painting out of it and I was fearless. I am sure many of you will be disappointed with this step, but I am NOT FINISHED. That is the entire point. It needs to get weird before it can get better again. It needs to evolve, and after seeing it sitting around here the way it was for so long I began to yearn for a new language and a fresh message. These new strokes are either the beginning of the end, or even the end of its beginning, whichever way you prefer to interpret it. Have a look, and zoom in for details:

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Year Long Canvas, mid-October 2014, not yet titled, copyright Jo Ann Brown-Scott

This We Have Now – New Work by Homare Ikeda

photo 1   photo 5   photo 3

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?

Let the beauty we have be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. – Rumi

photo 1 (2)   photo 2 (2)

Yeah yeah yeah – the Year Long Canvas is  still sitting there staring at me. I am stalled out with her. I am becalmed like a sailboat at sea, but enjoying where I am. I am living in the NOW.

I am currently painting other stuff that allows me to arrive at completion, because I am a task driven person and I like a feeling of accomplishment. I have not abandoned the YLC Project, but I seem to be on summer vaca from her. I’m spending time with people I enjoy, painting just for the fun of it, tending to my sunburn, going to concerts and hiking in the woods, in the rain, wearing my sparkling tiara that I was urged to make mine at a mountain garage sale on Sunday. Of course that’s silly. Would you deny me the pleasure of being silly? You better not….because I am hangin’ exclusively with people who make me happy these days  – the ones who contribute positive vibes to my life – the ones who prop me up and make me laugh and leave me with a warm glow. You all know who you are.

The Year Long Canvas needs my attention, I guess, but she is a great looking painting just the way she is. I don’t have it in me right now to alter her. I am SURE I have learned whatever lessons she was supposed to teach me already….pretty sure.

So if you are one of the ones who keeps ragging on me about making some more changes to her, just for the sake of change, you need a really strong argument to convince me that I need to do something. Especially now. Maybe later in the summer when my back is against the wall and I know I am going to have to come up with some answers to questions from my esteemed instructor Homare Ikeda – maybe then I will panic and make some kind of change to her. But right now I am following the advice of that same esteemed instructor who commanded all of us students to HAVE FUN and ENJOY THE SUMMER and PLAY!. That’s what I want to do – that’s what I’m talkin’ about. I am going to do THAT.

photo 3 (3) Relax – YLC is just fine. Alive and well and living here, with other canvases…..the ones who are finished. She is in good company.

Jo Ann Brown-Scott – to see additional art, visit the links below:

http://www.epiphanysfriends.com

http://joannbrownscottart.artspan.com/large-multi-view/single/2357019-0-/.html%5B/embed%5D