The Year Long Canvas reaches her one-year mark!

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The Year Long Canvas has had several major changes today, and you can compare them with the previous version below, as well as with the very first start of the original painting from a year ago. I worked the new additions to the composition from all sides today and offered all four orientations of her for your review. You can zzzzzoom in and see her texture – not quite as thick as I had imagined it would be at her first year anniversary.

This project might not be 100% finished at this point. If I look at this painting long enough I will always see something I would like to change…it is a sickness…never being satisfied. But perhaps my fatigue with the entire project will prevent any further work. I cannot say that this newest version is my favorite of all the stages of the past year, but it is certainly among the top three. It has indeed been an exercise in patience, perseverance, dissatisfaction and approval, unease and comfortable-ness with my own work. If the lesson to be learned was that I should trust myself more, that has been accomplished. I was at times discouraged that I would ever be able to make a whole new painting over the top of many other incarnations, but I did it, over and over.

My son says this painting reminds him of RIO – a landscape in other words if it is placed horizontally. It does not remind me of Rio, but it does speak to me of action, energy, optimism and fun. So maybe it is RIO after all! I cannot decide which orientation I prefer…I really do not care at this point. I just like the color, texture and pattern of it, and most definitely color is the thing that grabs people first, then maybe the dramatic composition. The sensuality of color is usually what most people respond to in art and try as I do sometimes I cannot do quiet neutrality. It bores me to tears.

I have had a great year with this project and I hope you have too! Phew…I think we almost made it. Thanks for hangin’ in there!

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Previous version on the left and the very beginning of it last March on the right.

Exciting Artistic Opportunity

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Original mixed media collage titled My Dragonfly by Jo Ann Brown-Scott, copyright 2015, $900
Have you ever seen an original painting and wished you could afford it?
I certainly have.
And I can’t tell you how many times I have done a painting that strikes a cord with dozens of people all wishing they could own it. When that happens it is both exciting and heart-wrenching because you can only sell the original once.
I am happy to announce that I have just recently become affiliated with an online website, Fine Art America that offers the service of selling quality, professional, full-color prints of my original artwork. I have wanted to do this for years and now it is simple and easy and the quality is excellent. Anyone can shop from his/her own personal computer at my Fine Art America gallery or even request that another image of mine that you have seen before be uploaded and made available for printing in less than a day.
Visit me at Fine Art America at this link – http://joann-brown-scott.fineartamerica.com
Have a look around and you will see all of the products they offer using fine art images.
Various print sizes are available, printed on either paper or canvas. You can choose framing if you wish. Greeting cards and posters are also available with any of my images. The prices are quite reasonable and I retain the copyright of course.
Soon I will be placing the YEAR LONG CANVAS, a painting I have been working on, writing about and picturing on this blog since a year ago on this Fine Art America website, for the possibility of ordering prints….see my Archives if you’d like to know what I am talking about when I mention the YLC, a challenge offered to me by my instructor for advanced abstract expressionism. It has proved to be quite a project and I am nearing its end this month of March.
This is a fun and easy way to own fine art; and since many of you have asked me about prints it is time for me to take advantage of this opportunity. This will increase my exposure nation and worldwide and allow me to offer my most popular images to people who could not buy the original, in a quality print for as little as a hundred dollars or less…..
and if you are an artist, heads up! – this is a valuable opportunity!

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

 

Being Creative

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Paintings #1 and #2, not yet titled, copyright 2015 Jo Ann Brown Scott

There is something about a snowy, extra icy day that fires up my creativity. The sidewalks are a sheet of ice, the temps have plummeted from yesterday, there is thick, cotton gauze fog and no one who has a choice would be outside. And so we paint, me and my creativity. The light is perfect – bright with the outdoor whiteness, but no sun glare, no reflections in my north facing window. I always say that my most ideal conditions in which to paint, or write, are simply a good night’s sleep and a day when I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything.

I rolled out of bed about 8 am, a little late for me, went directly to the kitchen and made my famous chicken broccoli soup, eliminating any distractions about what I am going to eat today. It’s on the stove simmering, crusty Asiago bread nearby. This must be heaven.

As any artist is bound to do from time to time, I sometimes wish that I could paint a different way. It happens to the best of us; it is born not of boredom with what we are used to doing but a challenge to ourselves to accomplish a whole new look and make it sing, as if we had been doing it forever, just to prove we can. Every once in a while I give it a try. I usually paint with a confetti riot of color, and so my reaction against that tendency is to paint with a greatly subdued palette and far less action. That does not truly represent my normal joyful state of mind, (happy!) but I do have more subdued reflective moments of silence (yawn…) when I become rather meditative (almost asleep). If I can tap into that while I am standing upright painting, occasionally I get some fine results. If I try to do it twice,  I can, but I don’t necessarily like to, and I fall back into the fun stuff of going bananas with color; it seems to be the authentic me.

The second painting is subdued, for me. My version of restraint. (perhaps you are laughing now, at my version of restraint) but I kept it simple, the colors are there but not so plentiful and/or not so in your face. I wanted to do more, but I decided to eat lunch instead and let it go for a while and see if I can live with it the way it is.

With this blog I have two photos, the first abstract painting is a new one displaying my customary  expressionistic (controlled color pattern texture chaos) type of composition, and the next a much more toned down piece where as I worked I kept a lid on it. Over the holidays when I had some fun relatives over for lunch, my six year old niece, Finley, (with whom I  sometimes paint, and who calls me Great Jo because I am her great aunt) walked into my studio, saw the toned down painting on my work table and said to me, “Great Jo, this one is not finished – can I finish it for you?” Believe me, it was tempting to see what might have happened. I will file that idea away; and another time I will start something and let her finish it. It has to be a cut above elephants who paint, right?

By the way, yes it is a new year and I have not forgotten about the YEAR LONG CANVAS – she is looking longingly in my direction as we speak, jealous of my other work. She needs a fix, another session, and I will get to her soon. She reaches her one year “time up” about March 1st, and here we are in mid-January already. I have plans for the entire month of February, so my time is becoming scarce leading into her birthday. My next post will be for her, as she nears completion.

 

 

Year Long Canvas, 11/24/2014

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Year Long Canvas as of 11/24/2014, copyright Jo Ann Brown-Scott

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” – Rumi

Please check my archives if you have no earthly idea what this Year Long Canvas is – painting this canvas is an ongoing project and carries with it quite a story. As you can see, she is back to being horizontally oriented again but you can like her in whatever direction you prefer. If you see a landscape here you are not alone; with nothing else at all done to her, or with a few small tweaks, the landscape idea could become more obvious right now, but it is still too far away from completion for me to settle on a landscape. Call me crazy but I have recently also seen the possibility for people in this composition – not large people, but groups of small people congregating as if waiting for something…in a horizontal row extending from one side to  the other, just along the upper side of the dark stripe that is the new change for this week. They would not be very tall, they would be colorfully dressed and have no distinctive faces. Just waiting.

I always thought that I wanted this painting to be an entirely abstract expression, with nothing recognizable, but I am even rethinking that now. My mind is an open book.

I am definitely learning to better trust myself after all the months of work; to trust my decisions and my judgment, as was one of the original goals for the project, but the other thing that has resulted from doing this, to tell you that truth, is that I have become quite a bit more open-minded about my own work. I accept my own opinions of my own work, which I suppose is one facet of trusting myself after all.

I love painting although I seldom understand it thoroughly. It might come as a surprise for many of you to know that almost every artist does not necessarily like his own work all the time. Many times I have painted a canvas that is not of my own taste. Even within my own paintings I see areas that are not always to my own liking, but sometimes I leave them there anyway, without my own approval. They bother me, they go against my grain and I know that sounds odd, doesn’t it? Well it’s  a strange exercise in intentional imperfection, which I do believe it a useful experience in art. It wakes you up.

The art Buddha understands why I do that, I do believe. He is still smiling and has a twinkle in his eye about this subject.

 

 

On Writing…

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This is not the Year Long Canvas but it is by Jo Ann Brown-Scott, copyright 2012

Well ok, yes I have been doing some writing elsewhere, being unfaithful to my blog, seeking gratification with a more exciting venue and actually honest enough to admit that I love it and it completes me. I still love you blog, but this other exotic creature has got me by the scruff of my neck and it is choking the life out of me for more. More writing. Because it knows I am addicted.

I am writing a book, my third book, but the first two were just for practice, it seems to me now. This one is a novel and it is so much more fun that it surpasses doing either book and this blog, too, sorry to say. I am a woman possessed and I can’t stay away from the computer, which calls to me, coos to me, hoots and yells at me all hours of the day and night to write more. Ideas come to me in dozens, I have to carry a pocket tablet everywhere lest I lose some valuable tidbit. Because I do lose stuff – really great stuff – it just falls out of my mind sometimes in the time it tales to pour myself a glass of ice water, sometimes walking ten feet into the next room, or out to the car. I have the attention span of a gnat but it is because the ideas I have are coming at me like balls out of a batting machine and I can’t keep up. I guess it’s good problem to have, but it’s exhausting and I am all bruised up.

I have written so many computer pages in the last 3 months that it is pretty ridiculous. No one sits down and writes for 12 hours without batting an eye, 5 days a week. I don’t think it’s normal. I think I might have a problem.

You know how I love to paint – but I have forgotten what painting is, almost, except today I did some work on the year long canvas just because I felt so sorry for it. And it looks really good – I’ll send the latest and greatest changes soon. They only took me 20 minutes and now I can’t wait to write again.

I self-published my first 2 books with Amazon’s self-publishing division called CreateSpace and it was a very pleasant experience – I got listed automatically on Amazon, bought some marketing materials, used some other services from their menu of choices and it got done quite efficiently. I would recommend it to anyone.

This time I would like to approach agents or publishers and give that a chance, so I am hoping that if any of you have a connection, maybe you would let me know, because I do believe in 6 degrees of separation and the magic of networking. I was going to keep this a big secret but then I wondered what the point of that was. What would that accomplish? Certainly not a publishing deal. So please help me out if you can. I would provide a brief summary to anyone who might want to help me providing I can trust that whole thing.

Sorry I had to break this news to you that hard way – on the internet – rather than a personal note to everyone or even better, in person. But I have trouble tracking you down, all over the globe. Doesn’t mean I don’t love you, though. I still really, really love you, and I am going to break it off with the novel once I get her published. She seems a little fickle to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

September Report on the Year Long Canvas

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New September YLC copyright Jo Ann Brown-Scott 2014

An eye is meant to see things. The soul is here for its own joy. I am not contained by this universe. – RUMI

If you remember, the last time I posted a blog about the Year Long Canvas my intention was to enter the piece, as it was then, in a juried show at the cooperative CORE GALLERY on S. Santa Fe Drive in Denver. You can see the type of art they show at http://www.corenewartspace.com

My decision was made on impulse, just because I was curious to see what would happen. The gallery is well respected and they had over 135 entries into the open show. The sole juror of the show, Jt Urband, is a well-credentialed professor with degrees from the U. of Penn who now teaches plein air painting at Denver’s Arapahoe Community College. He did not choose to accept either of my abstract entries into the show, but I was rather impressed with most of the 30 paintings that were accepted, with the exception of a couple pieces.

The lesson here is that there is no lesson – usually not a tangible reason can ever be revealed as to why you were accepted or not accepted into juried art shows. I know of shows where the judge’s personal art experience had nothing whatsoever to do with the type of art that he was asked to judge for the show. Some art experts who admit to having no understanding of abstract art or taste for it might be included on the jury panel for a show heavy leaned toward the abstract. Or conversely, abstractly inclined jurors might be asked to judge a representational show. As an artist I find this rather frustrating and I would go so far as to say that I think it is just wrong, or at the very least, pointless. But that’s just me. Actually it is not just me – other artists feel the same way.

One of the primary requirements of being an artist is to develop a thick skin. You will be faced with a lot of rejection as your work evolves and matures. If you are willing to put it out there, get ready to hear what people really think about it. Listen and learn. But very seldom do you have access to why a juror did not select your work for a show – you are left wondering and wondering.

Since then I have slightly altered the YLC and if you are detail oriented you will notice the changes in the above photo. Just a few subtle additions of turquoise green inside the large black area so that it is not so much flat black, then a row of dots descending out of the yellow, and finally a few small geometric areas of the same color of turquoise green added on the right side of the orange ball and in other tiny areas. That’s it for now. I really do like the YLC painting at this very moment in time. It makes me happy to look at it and I think it is full of positive energy,  movement and drama. I see no negativity in it, and most of its areas work singly as well as enhancing the greater whole, as I see it. You can zoom in for details.

The summer has been a significant and important one for me with many exciting new experiences with friends and family, and the good karma of that has been manifested in this painting and others I have done. My paintings have been strong but joyful, powerful yet inviting, poetic and revealing of my happiness. Those of you who know me well understand exactly why and where this energy came from….and I am proud of the resulting artwork. I believe the art Buddha would be proud to hear about that, whether or not the YLC made it into a show. I am smiling as I say all this and all is well here with me. I wish the same for all of you creative ones.

Namaste.

 

 

 

For the Love of Art….

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Photos from my trip to Singapore, included here as a humble reference honoring my imaginary art Buddha.mantwo   photo 4 (3)

In the slaughterhouse of love they kill only the best, none of the weak or deformed. Don’t run away from this dying. Whoever’s not killed for love is dead meat. – RUMI, 12th century poet

First let me say this – HUH??? I have no idea what caused the spike in my stats yesterday and today but I like it – after 150 posts and a lot of fun, I was still not getting enough traffic. I am clueless – maybe someone else knows why I suddenly jumped the charts, but I don’t. I suspect a glitch in the record keeping of some kind….we all know that WordPress can do crazy stuff sometimes. If it is indeed a real phenomenon that increased my viewership then thanks from the bottom of my heart. I needed that. I am passionate about art – and I write for the love of my art and yours. I am so grateful for your attention.

It is almost the end of August and I am looking forward to a great Labor Day weekend. I have plans. Always flexible and always spontaneous, yes, but I do have some specific plans which can altered and enhanced along the way if need be. I do not plan to paint this weekend. I reworked 3 old paintings last week and made them sing again. I feel like that was a huge accomplishment. I totally ignored the YLC……but not really…..

I made a rogue decision about the YLC – the year long canvas. (See my archives for the whole crazy story with pictures if you have no idea what I am referring to – briefly it is an assignment from my advanced contemporary abstract painting  instructor, whom I admire very much, for me to work on one particular painting on and off for an entire year. Constantly adding new things, covering up some older things, taking it along a path of evolutionary change….and this painting of mine is just 6 months into that challenge.) As I wrote a couple blogs ago I am happy with the painting as it is right now – so happy in fact that I have decided to enter it into a large Denver gallery show. Yes I have decided to do that even though the painting is just halfway through its year and of course it will change again…. It’s a juried show, so my YLC might not be juried in, and I am gritting my teeth, putting my open self right out there with this entry and I will share the results with you – and I am not fond of rejection – so if the painting is not accepted then I will lick my wounds in front of a large audience and just take it home and continue to work on it. If it is accepted then it will be for sale, of course, and I run the risk of someone wanting to buy it. So I have to be willing to sell it and bring the entire project to a splendid, kind of fireworks-like conclusion. The price? I have not decided but it will be based upon my comparable work, in size and complexity, that I have sold before.

Why do this? Because I like to shake things up – I am an art adventurer, a risk taker, a constantly curious live-in-the-moment kind of person and I am anxious to see what happens. You know the art Buddha would be proud of this squirrely move. He would smile and nod and his eyes would twinkle with delight. He loves moves like this, but of course he makes no predictions and he is fine with whatever happens because it is all just another lesson in the life of an artist. There is no failure, there is only enlightenment. There is only the love of the doing. The enormous passion in the act of creating. And only the strong survive.

As we near the opening of the show I will keep you informed, provide some links, tell you where, etc – but I will be delivering my entries next week – yes I will be entering at least 2 pieces, maybe 3.

Wish me love and luck, OK?