Tag Archives: semi-abstract

Coubaril – 30 paintings in 30 days, #5

Coubaril, 11"x14", acrylic on canvas, ©2014 Donna Grandin. $200.
Coubaril, 11″x14″, acrylic on canvas, ©2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

It has been a busy “back-to-school” week, every day the kids brought home more homework for ME – an endless stream of forms to fill out, checks to write, shopping to do and appointments to make. So, I am no longer “ahead” when it comes to the challenge.

Today I attended a meeting at Burlington City Hall, to discuss the Culture Days event that I will be participating in on Sept 26, 12-9pm. They are providing me with a canopy, table & chairs, and I will be painting my heart out in public, in front of City Hall! Of course I have painted with people around many times before, but this is the first time I’m going to attempt to start and finish an actual painting with people coming and going (and filming and photographing). And, it’s outside!

It will be a very full and fun day, “featuring activites and performances from musicans, dancers, filmmakers, poets, fine artists, photographers and more!” The Burlington Fine Artists Association plein air group will also be setting up wherever they find interesting spots, to paint the goings on. If you’re in the area, add this date to your calender, I look forward to seeing you there!

Today’s painting is from a photograph I took of the view from my Godmother’s house a few years ago. Coubaril is an interesting neighbourhood in St. Lucia, as a child I always felt as if we were going somewhere special and magical when we entered the area. The trees form a canopy overhead and the road is narrow, so it is like you are going through a tunnel.

Anyway, many of the houses are on sloped properties, and there are also a lot of these black rocks in the gardens. I’m glad I don’t have to cut their lawns, it must be quite the workout. On the other hand, as a kid, it is great for playing hide and seek!


Fernscape & artistic voice – new painting

Fernscape, 16"x20", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. $800.
Fernscape, 16″x20″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin.

It seems that whenever I let my heart take the lead, instead of my head, I do my best work. I have said for years that what I love to paint the most is foliage, and my artist statement always mentions organic shapes & patterns, and mood created with dramatic lighting and vivid colour, but not all of my paintings hit the nail on the head the way this one does.

Painting technique can be learned, but finding one’s own unique artistic voice/style has no predictable timeline, no guarantee. Some artists are lucky to discover it right away, but I personally think that that is the case when they already have strong opinions, and a clear idea of who they are – OR, they have someone nurturing  and mentoring their progress.

Some artists, especially those working on commission, may never discover their own voice, because they are essentially allowing themselves to be a channel for their client’s voice. I am not saying that there is a right & a wrong, or even a finality about this decision. Making a living as an artist takes as much creativity as the artwork itself.

It is possible however to do good paintings, that do nothing to move you down your own artistic path. I suppose I am talking here not of art as a commodity, but as a spiritual practice or art therapy. A creative process like painting can be a vehicle for personal growth, if the artist is mindful. Like writing “morning pages” (google Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way if you don’t know what I’m talking about), the painter can sometimes gain clarity & insight by being in the moment.

Painting pushes everyday worries out of my head because it is like slipping into a stream of constant decision making. When I stop, it is a struggle to keep my head above water, which is why I try to have a couple paintings on the go at any one time.

Canvases as mental life-rafts, I might be pushing the metaphor a little. Then again, I have heard authors say that writing a certain book saved their life, either due to the toxicity they were able to release, or to the positive energy it brought into their lives.

The arts are how we connect to the rest of humanity, even our most desperate times. And it isn’t just a benefit for those of us creating. The general public may not be able to relate to my story of being moved to tears as I stood in front of a gigantic Sorolla painting in the D’Orsay Museum in Paris, but we have all laughed and cried because of a movie, we have all felt the grip on our hearts as music dragged us up and down through an emotional roller coaster.

In fact, the chances of a viewer being deeply moved by a painting is partly dependent on personal taste, partly due to the sum of their life experience – the more experiences the more points of reference they have to connect with the work – and above all it has to do with how truly open they are to being in the moment, to contemplate, to feel, to trust in their honest reaction to the work. Appreciation for the arts is a gift we give ourselves, and others. It is a portal to receiving and sharing joy, peace, truth and a sense of belonging.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...