What I really enjoyed about painting this Peacock series is that while all the artworks are tied to a central motif (peacock feathers), each one – as someone remarked on Facebook today – is so “different and unique”.
It’s like jumping off a rock into a river … you can keep returning to the same rock, but the water keeps flowing so the conditions are never exactly the same twice.
Each painting is a result of similar, but slightly different circumstances … I might stand at the same easel, with the same paints and brushes, but now I have the experience of another painting behind me, and whatever happens to me before I come to the easel – or even while I am at it – affects my thoughts and moods, so that I am never exactly the same twice.
I also like to remain flexible so that I can try out new ideas – they don’t always work out, and in fact the painting often goes through ugly stages, but as Anne, of 337 Sketch Gallery once said to me “You, will keep working at it, until it does work out”.
As a younger painter, I always felt I was doing something wrong … theoretically I knew of a faster, simpler way to get an image down on the canvas, but I just could not bring myself to go that way, no matter how many times I tried … I always ended up taking the long way around.
Finally, after years of painting, and having a certain amount of success, I realized that I’d been slowing myself down, fighting against my natural process.
Even up to a few years ago, when the Burlington Fine Arts Association had John Leonard (established artist & teacher, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON ) visit to do a critique of member paintings, and he was very complimentary about my work (tropical florals), I still couldn’t resist bringing up the issue with him. His response was “Just keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s working!”
When I accepted my own way of working, instead of trying to fix it, I realized that the very things that I saw as my challenges, were what made my art interesting, because of the specific solutions I had developed to accommodate those challenges.
Our personal style, lies in our imperfections! I mean no-one goes around saying “Van Gogh could have been such a great artist, if he’d just have learned to draw more accurately!”
Eyecatcher is my painting for today. I think it is the kind of image that is fun to sit and contemplate … there are all sorts of possible interpretations. What’s yours?
Art in the Park, Oakville – Monday August 3, 10-5pm.