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

??????????

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.

Year Long Canvas #11, and a thread of artistic wisdom.

 

?????????? Slight purple changes to the YLC #11 copyright 2014, Jo Ann Brown-Scott

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.  Sydney J. Harris

Today’s last class was bittersweet, since many of us are not attending any classes for the summer, and although 3 months is a freeing and enticing stretch of time it is also a deep void to fill. And filling the shoes of Homare Ikeda ( http://www.homareikeda.com ) is an impossibly tall order – he is a gifted instructor; wise yet playful, firm in his experience yet always open to new ideas, serious about his art yet secure enough to be whimsical at times, free spirited yet always grounded in the process. Having access to the mind of the master on a weekly basis will be greatly missed.

He spoke to us at the beginning of class about artistic dedication and what a  luxury and privilege it is to be able to afford the time and have the talent to paint well. Not just to paint but to paint well. He said we are truly fortunate and should never take it lightly. He said, in so many words, that we should not squander that privilege. We should not deny it or disrespect it or take it for granted. It must be honored and given expression. But he was careful to add, after several minutes on that subject, that  with summer at our doorstep, he had one final assignment for us….

We were instructed to PLAY.  We were told that our summer must be spent in a sort of artistic abandon – we should give ourselves the freedom and the fun of being loose, experimental, random and playful. We should absolutely have fun this summer. We have been given permission and instructed to do so.

Well alrighty then. I am all for that. Hope I have not forgotten how….to relax, to play and be silly. To be young again in spirit. To make stupid mistakes. To learn from them. To make other mistakes. Then to occasionally create something brilliant, born of enjoyment and fun.

When the class began I had not been inside a classroom, as a student, for several decades. I had just come from 3 years of teaching mixed media to adults  in northern California, moving back to Denver after 6 years away, and I felt very strongly that it was time to get my own mojo working again. To paint with serious intention and dedication. To find a class and an instructor that were a good fit for me. To see if I was on the right track as I began the next chapter – the remainder –  of my painting career. It was either luck or intuition or both that drew me to Homare’s class. His assignment to me of the YEAR LONG CANVAS project was, in retrospect, perfection. It demanded that I slow down, take my painting to the level of a meditation, think more, sometimes think less, TRUST myself more and promise that I would follow the process through until it was time for it to be over. I still have a long way to go, and I don’t enjoy painting in really hot weather, not even in air conditioning. I would love to take the summer off, not from painting entirely, but from painting any more on the YLC. But I will not do that.

In spite of the assignment to PLAY for the summer, I have the YLC here staying with me 24/7  in a corner of my studio. I am her vacation retreat.  September will come soon enough and I will have to take her to class with me and reveal what has happened to her over the summer break. Think how it might feel to have to read a great book over the time of an entire year – when you are dying to race ahead to the end but you have to pace yourself and allow only a bit to be revealed at a time. What if babies took 12 months instead of 9? How about a year’s worth of working on the same recipe; refining and tweaking and altering until you lose your bleeping mind. A year is enough time to fall completely in and out of the creative mood at least a dozen times – alternating love/hate feelings  – and each time you have to find a way to get yourself geared up and hyped up and ready to move forward again…..only to lose that momentum and speed and focus again and again and again.

Of course there is a much larger life lesson here about CHANGE. We hesitate to make changes in our lives based upon fear – fear that the newer will not be as comfortable or as satisfying as was the previous status quo. Fear that we have moved into the unknown at the total expense and obliteration of the known – fear that the life changes we are about to make will not work out and we cannot go backwards and get back again to where we were.  It is my personal experience, however, that  carefully considered change usually does bring improvement and enhancement with its evolution, and the result is better than expected. This is based upon knowing myself and trusting myself.

So this week I have done just a little work on the canvas and maybe you will notice it and maybe you will not. A slight bit more of purple was added in strategic areas  – in about the 10 o’clock area, if  you use the clock guideline. Also just a little more of it at about 4 o’clock, drifting over the orange. The purple was added for balance.  Next time I work on her I will be gutsy-er, and if you are bordering on boredom, have faith, big change will come. That will be painful but no guts no glory. And I am supposed to trust that the glory will be reincarnated as a new idea every bit as successful and appealing as it was before. I love  the  quote I have included in this post about CHANGEand another quote I heard once that says that to request no change at all requires great change in itself!

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sydneyjha152638.html#qII4Xms6U0cdJlkp.99

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sydneyjha152638.html#qII4Xms6U0cdJlkp.99

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sydneyjha152638.html#qII4Xms6U0cdJlkp.99

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sydneyjha152638.html#qII4Xms6U0cdJlkp.99

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

Sydney J. Harris

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/sydneyjha152638.html#qII4Xms6U0cdJlkp.99

As a bonus for being so patient with the YLC and me, here at the bottom is another offering, all done and determined to remain that way.

jabsfrag1 The Fragments – Mixed Media Collage – copyright 2014, Jo Ann Brown-Scott

 

 

 

My Passion For Art – Forever Green

??????????    ??????????

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

 

 

The Year Long Canvas Project #5 – Taking Off

year5

Canvas in progress, not yet titled, copyright 2014, Jo Ann Brown-Scott

Things are finally beginning to take shape – the composition has gained complexity, additional depth, and more color without losing its rhythm and movement. It is still recognizable from last week, but at some point it will give up its former identity and be in the witness protection program….my way of saying that it will have a whole different look, probably. That is very likely to happen with a year to go.

I am pleased with the progress this week, but already wondering about how I will add another warm color to all these cools….what intensity, what shades, what COLOR? I really don’t want the Naples yellow to be the only sunny color. Although it could. But the artist says she wants more color.

Last week the painting that resulted AFTER I stopped working on this year long canvas was pretty cool – it can be seen in the #4 post – and the same is true this week. I am working on another 24×30 canvas at the same time I work on this one and it is going to be a fine painting, I think. I am not quite ready to go public with it, and this post is supposed to give center stage to the year long canvas, so….we shall see.

Abstract art is supposed to work from any orientation – whether  you turn it upside down or rotate it sideways. As you can see, there is very little happening in the upper portion of this canvas, and that issue must be addressed soon. It’s never a good idea to get too far along and still have such a void in one large area – it makes you desperate to fill it up at some point, and then whatever you do to it looks like an afterthought rather than an integral part of the composition. Right now it is screaming for my attention…and I am not answering yet, living on the edge of a decision about what to do to it.

This entire canvas screams at me sometimes. I hear it calling for attention and yet I can’t run ahead too fast. A year is a VERY long time. You would think that the larger the canvas the easier the challenge, since you would have such a vast area in which to screw up and figure out how to fix it, time and time again as the months go by. But if you remember, my instructor told me not to add the challenge of SIZE to an already difficult assignment. So here we are at 24×30 and every single minute stroke shows up. You cannot sneak anything in there without it being noticeable. Idiotic moves will show….and the idiot has to correct them. I realize that there is no failure with this project, only learning experiences, but even so there will be days when I am not at all happy with what has happened to the canvas by my hand, on my watch.

I am going on a walk now and I am going to see if I can find the art Buddha to come along, because this abstract world is enough for now.

The Creative Epiphany – Be Careful What You Wish For

recentfolder 013  Time Weavings, mixed media by Jo Ann Brown-Scott

They – whoever they are – say that our lives are shaped more by the prayers that are not answered than the ones that are. When I say “prayer” I use that term loosely – because I think of the word “prayer” as a visualization, a power of positive thinking, a goal strongly sought after, a long-term dream you have chased. But indeed it is a focused request to yourself, or to your higher power, and/or the universe or your soul for something you greatly desire. Well that is kind of a scary thought. Makes you start going back over all of your unanswered prayers, trying to remember what happened or did not happen after you realized that one particular prayer and probably others were never answered. I would guess that in some cases what came instead was a far better thing, and perhaps in other cases it was just a void. Nothing much seemed to take place. But at the time you had no perspective. You were so far under the mountain that you could not see the view.

But let’s just say that, lucky you, your dream sort of comes true. Maybe it isn’t the total 100% super duperest extra special perfect version of your spectacular technicolor  dream, but it is this —- close —- to the dream you always had. What are you inclined to do with that? Did you believe you deserved the absolute perfect answer to your prayers? Are you that entitled and that lazy in your requests to the universe? You must have the best, the very best, or nothing at all? You don’t return a gorgeous and rare rose because it has one split petal. Or maybe you do. Are you going to snub your nose at this gift and curse the imperfection? Or are you going to feel blessed that it came, even in a less than ideal form, inviting you to expend a bit of elbow grease and effort to mold it into the almost impossible version you wanted? Maybe it’s a test – because life does send us tests – to see how badly you really wanted what said you wanted.

By the time you are in the second half of your life, that life that has blessed you with many gifts and unexpected delights, you really ought to be able to look back and see the larger picture. It should be  obvious that if all of your wild-eyed, crazy-ass, howling at the moon prayers had been answered the results would not have been as blissful as you imagined. You thought you wanted this and then that. You wanted what you wanted and you wanted it now. The clock was ticking – you got impatient. When Where and How were your dreams going to come true? You asked for a person or a thing or a time or a place or a cure or a circumstance or a winning ticket. And you didn’t get it. What happened instead? If you made wise decisions based upon what you knew you could realistically have, rather than what you perceived as all the ways the universe had slighted you, I would be willing to bet the results were spectacular and satisfying. The weavings of time may seem enigmatic, but in time you see the threads are carefully woven for the quality of the entire tapestry.

The Creatve Epiphany – Making Waves

So many waves, so little time. Waves of joy, waves of happiness, waves of nostalgia – we can hear the surf pounding as we lay in bed at night. Reports of high waves and strong surf over on the Hilo side. Here along the Kona coast the sand at Magic Sands resort beach just down the road was eroded away with big wave action a couple weeks ago leaving the magic to stand on its own but now the sand is already coming back. It has to come back – for eons of time it has weathered enormous surf and it is still there. It figures out how to come back.

Humpback whales migrating parallel to the waves with their babies on their way to some far off destination where plentiful food and safety for their young can be found. Traveling close to the coast to avoid ships and sharks, stopping in this cove or that to allow play time in warm waters. The whale watching boats are busy – I have a thing about chasing whales. Not a yearning to do it but a yearning to just leave them alone. We see whales from this lanai, not up close and personal but we do see them. You hear stories about crowds of people squealing with glee at seeing a whale up so close you can look him in the eye, and yet I prefer not to participate in that group grope. It offends my sensibilites, and I identify more with the whales than the people.

The waves, as I sit here on the lanai writing as the artist I am, are a shade of Prussian blue with streaks of cerulean that lasts most of the morning, then becoming different depending on the afternoon weather of course. When they roll into shore you see that coke bottle green under the white froth of the curl. It is constantly entertaining; a whole day can slip away watching the waves as the day unfolds.

All the water that has ever been is still here and there will be no more. The water that flowed when earth’s time first began is here, the water that enabled life. We drink it now. The tears of Ceasar, the water that bathed Michelangelo, the liquid that quenched the thirst of many a tired traveler across mountain and prairie, the water that sailed ships and cleansed uncountable wounds. The story of mankind is in the water.wavesmuirbeachsurfsurf

In the mindless afternoon of ocean gazing such thoughts come to mind.
In a wave’s length.

The Creative Epiphany – Nature’s Holiday Offering

path lichen sunone treemoss water suntwo fernsIt has been a week since I last posted and I am here to tell you that there is good reason. I have an excellent explanation wrapped around a thoroughly entrancing story, all true, which will remain undocumented in this Blog. It is a story well worth telling, but in another space and time. It is the kind of a story that marks a pivotal change; a “sea change” in my life – a story that will forever hold a bookmark as one of my favorite chapters.

I believe a theme runs through everything, and if there is a theme revealed in this untold tale it is that for everything there is a season, and a reason, and that timing is everything. However, SOMEDAY is not a day of the week. Don’t be putting stuff off for that future some day. Be alert and don’t be skittish – when opportunities brush quietly against you, notice that. Sometimes a softer touch delivers a more monumental impression that a wallop. Live in the now and sieze the magical moments that life offers you.

These photos were taken in Muir Woods – a northern California treasure near the Pacific coast just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The rains had come down in sheets for two solid days – walls of water – with serrated, biting teeth – leaving open wounds on trees, shrubbery – maiming things – tearing the last of the fall colors limb from limb. But then when it stopped, it stopped.

I found myself in Muir Woods, a glistening cathedral of giant redwood trees dripping irridescent liquid from every branch as if in holiday regalia. The filtered sun added golden sparkle to the silver, and the tumultuous creek became the hallelujah chorus. Mounds of newly washed moss appeared deeper green on tree trunks, rocks and entrances to the same hollowed logs you see in the pictures of fairy tales books. Rocks displayed new colors wet with rain, ferns uncurled their feathery fronds to lap up drippings.

The respect paid by fellow visitors to nature’s display was apparent and  walking the woods became a prayer.