I love the mysterious, magical quality of this painting. It started out as a follow-up to “Fernscape 2”, and was supposed to only have ferns in it, but it just wasn’t quite working. So I put it aside for a week while I worked on something else, and when I returned to it, peacock feathers started appearing.
You are not imagining it, my art has become darker over the last couple years. For so long my attitude was that I just wanted to paint upbeat, joyful images to increase the beauty in this world, and not dwell on negativity, which would just be feeding it.
At the time, that meant bright, vibrant, “sunny” colours … sometimes I literally painted on yellow canvases.
But the times we live in have a dark undertone, and I am not immune to it. As artists, it is not just our nature, but our job to FEEL, and to be a channel – through our art – to make others FEEL.
And a big part of that is in being honest, and open. To be sensitive to our surroundings. To be vulnerable. That is how we make art that people can truly connect with … because they recognize the truth in it.
Yes, there are people – artists and non-artists – who will manipulate. And there are times when the price of being honest is high, but I think for an artist especially, the price of remaining “on brand” is even higher.
I am thinking of Robin Williams… or rather the idea of him, someone who brought joy and laughter to so many people, people who had no clue of the darkness he was going through.
And what does this have to do with the painting?
Well, I’ve often thought of the Caribbean landscape as being a metaphor for life … the bright sunlight creates long dark shadows.
On one hand there are the vibrant, happy hibiscus flowers that I have painted so often before – reminiscent or maybe even symbolic of lazy days by the pool of some tropical resort. Some days I just need to paint hibiscuses.
But life has more nuance to it.
The thing that grips me, that I discovered when I painted my Jungle Rhythms series years ago, where I played with the organic shapes and visual rhythm of tropical foliage, was an abstract sense of “growth”, the cycle of life, being swept up in something that is bigger than oneself.
It is that spiritual connection you feel when you are mindful in a natural setting.
And there is so much life in the shadows.
So much beauty.
Not the kind of bold, in your face beauty of a close-up of a detailed realistic painting of a flower, but the overarching flow and harmony of an impressionistic landscape, semi-abstract, or abstract painting.
The interesting thing about blogging, is that there is a flow to it too. Some weeks or months I only get on to post about upcoming events, and it is all about the facts.
And other times, when I get into a daily posting habit, my reserve wears away, the words slip by faster and faster, from a trickle to a flood. And all sorts of flotsam and jetsam is dragged along with it.
There isn’t time to edit and polish. I upload an image of a painting, and I begin typing this “stream of consciousness”.
I hope that you find it entertaining if not insightful, but if you have read thus far, you are certainly in the minority as most people these days seem to just skim through to look at the images.
So, thank you for joining me today, for this walk amoung the ferns in my head.
Two more days till Art in the Park Oakville! I’m getting excited now.