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

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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 – The One-Year Painting Challenge, Official Blog #1

dasl   room   floor

Denver Art Student’s League – the building, a classroom, the floor – March 17th, 2014    

In review – My esteemed instructor for Advanced Contemporary Painting, Homare Ikeda, has offered me a challenge – to work on a painting for a solid year. Certainly not at the exclusion of other work but parallel with all my other works. The canvas, we have decided, need not be larger than 30×40″ and could in fact be a bit smaller. The task, which of course I accepted, is more about the 365-day journey than the destination – more about having patience and resilience than the amount of time required – more about trusting yourself with the addition of each and every gesture than in asking for constant direction from the instructor. For a person like me who usually works quite fast, it is an exercise in pacing and meditation over the work being done.

**For the first two (unofficial) posts introducing this project, see my archives titled “Art Imitates Life, as they say…” published 3/13/2014 and “Back To The Classroom, Seeing Things Again for the First Time” published 3/11/2014

March 18th, 2014

Today I have begun. I have finally made my decision about the canvas size based upon Homare’s recommendation not to choose an odd-ball size (I was considering a tall narrow size of 20×60″) that would only add unnecessary frustration to this challenge. So the chosen size is 24×30″

It’s almost a blizzard now, where I am, in my second floor home studio south of the Denver metro area, but it won’t last long. It’s SPRING! Great day to paint. The north light in this room is wonderful, especially with lots of snow flying around outside.

I begin by painting the entire canvas with my favorite base color – unbleached titanium. It’s warm, it’s neutral, and it’s friendly with the color palette I usually hang with. I slap it on with a large palette knife because that also adds subtle texture, and I am all about texture, color and pattern.

palletteknife   closeup

blog1   texture

Now it has to dry before I can do anything else to it. That doesn’t take long, especially in Colorado’s altitude and low humidity, but you can also use a hair dryer if you are impatient, which I am supposed to NOT BE in this challenge. I am already getting excited to do more. Calm down. I need to watch it a lot, getting to know it. Calm down. Looking for inspiration. I might be hit with a flash of brilliance….something I want to do right away! Color! But I might not touch it again for several days…calm down.

Stay tuned……

The Creative Epiphany – Back to the Classroom; Seeing Things Again for the First Time

dasl   room  Art Students League of Denver

This afternoon at 1pm sharp I found myself in a bare-bones art classroom again, awaiting the arrival of my instructor for Advanced Contemporary Painting at the Denver Art Student’s League. I was excited to such a degree that I could not help remember all of my “first days” of school, from kindergarten through college at CU in Boulder, and the many art instructors I have enjoyed (one or two not so much) over a long and winding career in fine art. That I still have such a passion for painting speaks to how powerful the pull of creativity and the artistic process can be, should you choose to surrender yourself completely to it. I am an art slave, owned by and under the spell of art. The smell of the room, the years of dripped paint dried all over the floor, the organic nature of the spattered shirted people struggling through the door carrying all the magical paraphernalia required to nurture each artistic soul – that is what turns me on. It was like being in the legendary Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory only with paint. I was giddy with anticipation and nervous, hoping I was not assuming too much by choosing that class….

One particular relative of mine, although near and dear to my heart, keeps urging, almost demanding me to paint as I did 25 years ago when my subject matter was Colorado landscapes and they were selling like fine art hot cakes. But all of you who pick up brushes to express yourselves know that one must grow and evolve as an artist and that any self-respecting painter who does the same kind of theme all the live-long day through all the live-long years of his life is a boring person indeed. It is like reading and re-reading the same books, watching the same old movies you saw 25 years ago to the exclusion of all the new award-winning films, and it is certainly like living constantly in the past, resting on one’s past accomplishments until they get so raggedy that one is called an arrogant has-been in ridiculous denial of the NOW. Creative people, if nothing at all, must live in the NOW.

I have done that – I have kept current, tried much of the new wiz-bang stuff, produced a huge body of work, taught my skills to other people, showed in gallery situations and private shows and sold a good percentage of what I produced. But still, I need guidance from someone wiser than me – someone who sees my art in a different light. I want to do the best art of my life in this very decade of my life and be remembered for it. If there is ever a retrospective show in my honor, please let there be clearly visible, stunning evolution evident in that body of work.

I am again the student, and it feels so good. My first challenge, from Homare Ikeda my instructor, is to begin a painting and allow a full year to finish it. Obviously this is an exercise in patience, steady progress, resilience, determination and the evolution of working on a project with no pressure. Sounds easier than it will be, I am sure, but I cannot wait to get started. This painting would be done at home, using most class time for other paintings, so it will be picked up and continued at my own pace, then put down again for a rest until I am in the mood to pick it up again and add to it. Periodically I will take it into class for critiques and classroom work. What’s the purpose? To show change – to indicate progress – to evolve – to grow as an artist. To surprise myself! Exactly what I was hoping for.

I am going to keep track of this progress, take photos, and from time to time I will report here in this blog with a photo of my current incarnation of THE YEAR LONG PAINTING, so if you care enough to see what’s going on, please stay tuned. I will be as surprised as you are, I am sure.