In for a Penny…

I find myself in the middle of a very strange project, and at times, wondering why I’m here. I keep wanting to follow my instinct of correcting and balancing the shapes before me, but I soon remind myself of the premise: to take an original child’s drawing, and make it as real as possible without significantly altering the content.

Although I have mixed feelings about this project, and it is nothing like my usual paintings, I have decided to give it my all. The Whole World is going to take at least another month, but as they say, “In for a penny, in for a pound!”

Most of my work is done from my own photo compositions.  This playful experiment is another matter. I looked at some pictures of skies and clouds, but for the most part, I am making it up as I go. It’s a liberating feeling in some ways.

This is also a back to basics proposition for me. How will a particular shadow fall, given the lighting conditions? What, exactly, will be reflected on this metal surface? These are good mental exercises for any kind of artist. My art is based upon deconstructing, and then reconstructing the world around me. This painting can only expand my horizons, and as it stands, there are already four of them in the composition…

On My Easel: The Whole World

EaselWholeWorld2Okay, so I was all set to move into a more cutting look at social media – and I still plan to – but due to a combination of my model’s difficult schedule, and other associated delays, I have started on another project. This will be weird and wonderful (or at the very least, weird). I have decided to take the first documented drawing from my earliest years, and turn it into a painting. This is dated 1959 by my mother, and quite honestly, I have no recollection of doing this. It was a long time ago.

This will be an intensely personal project, I suspect, one that will put me back in touch with the 3 year old child. However, there will be visual compromises to help explain the images within the composition. The drawing is a complex, 360 degree look at the world. As a small child, I wasn’t burdened with perspective, physics…or even a focus point. I was free to joyfully explore my own narrative; how I indeed, saw the world.

Now, some five decades later, I will present anew this vision of life in the 1950s; all the while capturing the wide-eyed purity of the original interpretation. I have one advantage, though. I am still the little boy in many regards…I am only grown up on the outside.

Searching for a Theme

I have been back painting seriously for about 6 years. I realize now that I am committed to this for the rest of my life; this is something that I must do. I am a painter.

Winter's Home
Winter’s Home

Right now I’m having a lot of fun, and it seems that every new canvas takes me in a different direction. About a year ago, I started to look towards something more conservative in the landscape tradition, such as a winter resort in the Blue Mountain area, and a scene from a beautiful lake in the Rocky Mountains.

But soon my sense of humour prevailed, and I came up with the notion of a self portrait; representing myself as a plastic model kit. At first I thought the idea too esoteric, and I wondered how many people would understand it. I was pleasantly surprised; most people laughed, or at least, smiled, when they first saw it. Childhood memories, it seems, are very powerful.

The reaction to my self-portrait spurred me on to a series of tiny

Toy Series #3 Old Metal Cars
Toy Series #3 Old Metal Cars

paintings about vintage toys from the 1960s. Admittedly, there was a lot self indulgence involved, and I quite enjoyed these small (8″x10″) canvases. After painting number three, however, I got the urge to move on, this time into the field of social commentary. I am on a short break while I launch this site, but soon I will be shaking things up again.

The question is, do I keep searching for a specific look, category or style? Will it serve my career as an artist to find, and stick with a recognizable trademark, or do I continue to drift through whatever strikes me as engaging and fulfilling?

Maybe I will establish a stronger identity. Maybe. For now, I think, I will just drift for awhile longer…