Monday, December 1, 2008

A little personal essay about WHY and HOW I PAINT ...

First and foremost, I am SELF-TAUGHT, so, the ‘journey’ in and thru my ‘art world’ is very much driven by what resonates with me. I’ve gone at the whole thing in my own way, sometimes back asswards, sometimes charging full ahead. It works for me. As an example, I started to paint using oil paints when I was 14. I could not draw in the 'Beaux Art' style, but I WANTED to paint, so I did. Those early forays are pretty crude in retrospect, but they do remain ‘true’ to my evolving thoughts and feelings of that time. Oils are a robust and luxurious medium. Water-based acrylic paints are ‘weak’ in comparison.

The two ‘artistic’ components that have most influenced my development as a painter are a) the delineation of ‘form’, [see above post], and b) the use of colour.[see below post]. In ‘form’, Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky hooked me first with his superb abstract constructions, and then by his thought-provoking writings about the spiritual in art. His sense of balance, proportion and ‘object resonance’ continue to beguile to this day. I softened some of his ‘sparse’ angularity by studying the works of Americans Georgia O’Keeffe & Milton Avery and Canadians Lawren Harris & Mendelson Joe. Those four artists exhibit a generosity of spirit that is often missing from the exquisite heady tartness of Kandinsky’s paintings. In the colour department, I was profoundly moved early on by the works of the Fauves, the French Impressionists and Austrian-born Friedensreich Hundertwasser. There is such JOY in their paintings. Later, the German-American Wolf Kahn amplified my colour sense. Cumulatively, ALL these artists have influenced my own painterly evolution.

I did finally learn how to draw in the ‘realist’ manner, (...see my Pencil Portaits on this site...), because I had to when I was designing and producing Canadian Fine Furniture for 14 years during the 1980’s and early 90’s. A quarter inch miscalculation in fine furniture design can devastate a piece of furniture. Precision and accuracy are paramount in that discipline. To enhance my ‘copying’ capabilities, I self-studied the techniques outlined by Dr. Betty Edwards, in her enlightening book, ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.’ The results were astounding. I continue to work at gaining a greater Mastery of the fluid connection between my Eye, Hand and Mind when I draw with a pencil. HOWEVER, I have never found that this form of ‘realism’ adequately captures the ESSENCE of what it is that I am after when I paint. So, I stay away from photographic-like ‘realism’ in that arena and focus instead on what moves me internally. My MIND fusing with my HEART is the Power behind my oil works.

Today, I paint in my own unique style, often termed, 'naive-surreal-folk-abstract' . I believe this ‘style’ (buffered by the above noted influences) is a NATURAL FRUITION of my very rooted sensibility to this spot on the planet at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.

I have been very lucky to have grown up in the Golden Horseshoe Region of Southern Ontario, Canada. I have been equally as lucky to have had early exposure to the majesty and mystery of the northern lake district known as Georgian Bay on the north shore of Lake Huron, (one of The Great Lakes situated in the heart of the North American continent.) Both those very real, very tangible natural environments, have had a HUGE impact on my evolution. They exist deep within my psyche (regardless that I lived in Toronto for 20 odd years and have quixotically travelled the world in fits and starts…). NATURE, as a result, has always been my guide, teacher and inspiration. The Natural World, here, at my doorstep, is really my ‘religion’ if you will.

The planet is a mysterious & beautiful place. And yes, I am proudly 'canajun' ...

The representative works on this site have been painted over the course of 35 years. Most of these works, and others in my inventory, are available for purchase, either as originals, or in reproduction. Please do contact me if interested. Prices range from $800 (for ‘sketches’) to $15,000 (for LARGE completed works). The median price is currently nudging $6-8,000 CDN, for framed mid-sized pieces. (Kindly note: If you buy from me, you will not be paying the 40% dealer/gallery mark-up that is customary in the ‘commercial art world’. ) I go solo. It works best for me. For now.

I hope you will enjoy my paintings. Your thoughts are always welcome.

p.s. Throughout 2009, I will be posting, alongside my pinhole and digital fine art photo works, examples of my soft & oil pastels, plus additional pencil landscape sketches. ... Might be BEST to bookmark or 'google alert' this site …I will be starting out the New Year with a selection of wacky 'loony lindsay' 'FRACTALS'...

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