Choreographed Canadian Landscape Paintings


(posted on 27 Aug 2021)


In the spring, I took an intensive 12 week schedule of video and live zoom calls that make up the Creative Visionary Program.

There was not that much that was new to me in the first 5 weeks.   I truly felt as if I was abandoning a best friend- the unique signature body of work that I have spent the last 6 or 7 years developing. It had become clear that I could not go with the flow of the programme basing the exercises on my current way of working. Happily though, I eventually I saw a window opening on some beneficial ideas that might further nuance my own work and perhaps develop a new body of work.  Some of these new ideas have had to do with my art practice.

My usual modus operandi is to transform my inspiration for a painting into a small black, white and grey pencil sketch. I spend a good deal of time on this as it organizes the image before I start, ensuring a good abstracted and simplified composition.  In the CVP programme however, the recommended working format is to develop  multiple paintings at the same time.  This not a new idea. What was new, to me anyway, is the idea that increased spontaneity may result as a limited amount of time is spent on each piece before moving on to the next.

I began a series of 6 panels. The series might be related by colour, subject, or not at all but moving often between the panels prevents them from becoming too precious. 

Each ‘pass’ on a panel begins with a "play" period  -- not something that I have done before, unless we agree to call 'throwaway marks' play. I haven’t used throw away marks in a big way. Play is followed with a ‘call and response’ session. This is usual and means the painting is telling you what it wants. When one of the panels reaches a higher level of development or when works slows, it is set aside and waits until the other 5 panels catch up. 

Wiping the extra paint from a previous palette  creates an underpainting. On one of the boards, I saw suggestions in the paint that I was able to work on without an advance plan. I wiped the palette off on more boards, providing me with several more  interesting random starts.



First shown is a play panel.  Next started as the hill at the back of our property.  I did some dripping for fun.  Third is about summer evenings suggested by the random marks from the palette paper. Right away it made me think of Firefly Season and I went with it.

Maple Hill (below) was another result. It sold before it was completed. I had turned an abandoned panel upside down, then pressed a palette paper on. The palette swipe provided the fall colours. After I had painted the dark foreground, I took the sandpaper to this dark area. Sanding the dark paint revealed the rich marks (shown enlarged here) from the previous work (a hill actually) providing for me an intriguing effect in the dark shape. I really liked this and it has been the main impetus to further pursue this line of work.  Only painting more will tell whether this goes somewhere for me or whether I incorporate something from this into my current work.



Your comments are always welcome! Stay safe and well.



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