As a West Indian, the link between peacock feathers and Carnival is an obvious one to me. In fact, the 2015 St. Lucia Carnival parade was just a few days ago, and some people joke that the costumes these days are just feathers held together with string!
For both natives and visitors, Carnival is a big celebration, and some revelers see it as an opportunity to show off their hot bodies, especially if they have worked all year to achieve the look.
Others think of it as a time to put on fancy dress and go shake their tail feathers, to dance and sweat off the worries of the world. For a few rum-filled days they get to escape reality and get on bad with any and everyone. And regardless of what body type they are, those feathers are their passport to this fantasy.
This triptych is about that bacchanal, it is reminiscent of all the glitz & glamour of feathers, beads, rhinestones, body paint and just general decoration. And of course the movement, the rhythmic swaying, gyrating and grinding, that is integral to Carnival.
Choosing what to paint next is starting to get difficult, but not because I don’t have lots of ideas I’d like to try out. There are sooo many things I could paint – from life or photos, or even just a concept, but it can take a while to find a subject I can connect to at that very moment. The other ideas that come up may eventually get painted, but for now they just don’t have that spark that excites/motivates me, even though they could well make a great painting. I guess I’m more concerned right now with personal development, than painting something I think people might want to buy (shh, don’t tell my husband)! I’m enjoying journalling here even though I don’t have a clue if anyone’s actually reading this.
With this painting I retreated back to my comfort zone … plant life/landscape, but it’s still new territory. I’ve never painted this type of plant before, I’m ashamed to say I don’t even know what it’s called. That surprises some people, they think somehow I should be an encyclopedia on the plants I paint, but really I’m just in it for the eye candy. The shapes & colours & patterns that light creates when it falls on or through the leaves and petals. That, and the connection to Nature, that feeling you get when you’re alone in a wooded area or garden and you can breathe deeper, think clearer.
If you can just be in the moment, push aside thoughts of to do lists and listen … you’ll hear the sound of your own inner voice. And in my life, that’s reason enough to choose to paint Nature, to have to go outside to seek inspiration, to gather reference material. I have to admit, I do wish I wasn’t doing this challenge in the middle of winter, because it would be fun to paint outside. I think I will carry on after the 30 days, and maybe I will devote one day a week to painting something small.
I would never give up my large paintings though, there is something cathartic about throwing your whole body into it, and many of my fans/collectors say it’s the big works they love. However, as an artist it can be useful to try out ideas on a much smaller scale. I’ve never been a doodler, my sketchbooks turn into journals, and I am more of an alla prima painter, thinking through the paint, so the ritual of daily paintings has always appealed to me. Taking it the next step and putting it out there on the internet – instead of just a censored collection of my best work – takes some courage.
BLUE ROOTS ART STUDIO – acrylic paintings of Caribbean & Canadian landscape, flowers & foliage. Burlington, ON, Canada. 905-639-3419