Monday, May 14, 2012


When I focus, I can do so at the expense of everything else.  I am able to ignore the creative part of my right brain -- Something I would not recommend by the way. 

Painting (pictures, not walls...) hasn't been a part of my life for years.  The last one I did was 14 years ago (see below).  It is sort of a copy (I took the liberty of changing a few things) of a painting I like by Arthur Lismer, a member of the Group of Seven. 

The Royal Conservatory of Music Piano program back in the day featured Group of Seven paintings on its grade level books and one of my students had one with Lismer's "Sunlight in a Wood" detail on the cover and I was immediately moved by it. 

I couldn't find a store that could get me a print so I borrowed his book after he passed the grade and decided to paint myself a copy.  As you can see, I changed a few things, primary the tone, emphasized some lines, de-emphasized the green, chose which lines I wanted to see as the strong or defining elements.

Imitation of a style of work can be very educational.  The frustration with not being able to reproduce a texture or colour allows one to appreciate and learn techniques on the fly versus mentally being told the concepts.  Try and create some of the colours found in this Monet oil painting and you'll know what I mean.  It isn't easy to make oil paint look transparent. 

If I were to paint it again, I wouldn't de-emphasize the green or make all the lines so uniform.  Art, like playing music, is profoundly affected by experience.  When I look at my copy, I see how I wanted things even, balanced and controlled.  It was a mirror of where I was (and still am at times) in my emotional development. 

Whereas now, I can appreciate the randomness of a true forest.  I don't need to make it all neat looking and so matchy matchy (just look at the unnatural airbrush makeup some women sport...).  Similarly with my piano playing, I can express with a depth of emotion I was not capable of when I was 18 even though I thought I did an OK job recreating how a piece ought to sound for exam purposes.  I realize now I wasn't fooling anybody because I can hear it in others.

It was years later before I got to see the original Arthur Lismer painting at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  The tone was different again as my guide had been a glossy printed cover.  The real one is actually quite small in size.  Maybe 1 1/2 ft squared.

My attempt is closer to 2 1/2 ft squared and hangs at the cottage.  Doesn't it look like a pastel? (both were painted in oil)  There is no varnish on it because the effect is supposed to be chalky.  The original was even more so as well as more delicate.  The website photo doesn't do it justice.

Missed a call for submissions at the end of April.  I was looking for something to help jump start my painting as I have been getting glimpses of my right brain emerging since my sketch last fall in Nice -- First with music and now with art.

I thought about it a lot when I was in Hawaii -- What I wanted to paint, how I wanted the message to come across, which medium to use.  The subject was to be an interpretation of a feeling.  I may do it anyway as an exercise, just for fun.

I'm thinking I just need to go to an art store again.  For 8 years I would go into one every week either before or after my Saturday art class and just revel in all the beautiful supplies and books.  Even had my own drafting table.

I will eventually have to go anyway because I gave or threw away everything so I could funnel all my energy into making money, saving money, paying off debt, yeah -- all that fun stuff. 

What I wasn't able to understand then, was that I would have been stronger "Whole" than fragmented.  That energy used for creative purposes doesn't take away but adds.

My best advice to all you creative types out there...Don't let debt repayment or any other extreme plans make you go all crazy like me and forget who you are or what your soul needs.


  1. Thank you for this MW! I used to do the same as you - paint, draw, write - ALL the time. What's happened? I don't really know, but I bought myself a tabletop easel from an art supply store in the hopes it would inspire me. To this point, one year later, it hasn't, but you're so right when you say your soul knows what it needs. I've certainly forgotten!

    Thanks, too, for sharing your painting with us. It's lovely!

  2. @ Northern;

    I hope you find your way soon because it is tough to live with just a "part" of yourself.

    What started waking me up again was going to art exhibits often, especially ones that do not normally appeal to me.

    After all, we are visual was a nice relief from staring at my spreadsheets...

    I remember thinking "That is just a piece of metal hanging from the can there be a 3 paragraph narrative about it..."

    Then I went on to think, "Someone Did Something To Express and someone else believed in it enough to include it here...wait a minute, I think I have something to express too..."

    Whereas when I would go to art shows of a style I really liked, my internal narrative became "Wow, that is really beautiful...I want to buy it..."

    Which is good for the artist but instead of being inspired to create, I made a decision to buy because it was the easy way out...not the outcome I was really after.

    There are worse things to be surrounded by than Art. A bit of buy and create would be ideal.