Thursday, December 29, 2016

Looking backwards-

Nearing the end of the year, it is interesting to look back on the year's programs and production. Plein air painting worked well with the weather cooperating on most days. Our "substitute" studio Tuesdays for the winter has seen other work completed and lots of useful comments shared. Every other Friday for a "long pose" has been a great supplement to Wednesday night regular Life Drawing. This pastel was done one Friday and I will have more to post as my photography is not up to date. I'm not sure if I will continue my "mixed media" approach for long pose as we may be in a smaller room for the next session. I've appreciated the greater space with out smaller group as I've needed table space for the painting, blow-drying and pastel ground application as well as the "donkey" to sit on while working with pastels. I may have to work with something that can be contained to a smaller space... but then that can be good too as it is challenging to work in different ways. The drawing above was done in three colours of Conte' on brown paper for a change of pace. I did quite a bit of painting in my home studio  this year- and not all of them are photographed either. I've also noted that quite a few need wiring as well - not my favourite job but the cats aren't volunteering to do it. I'm in the process of shifting my display around since I brought home the paintings from the View Gallery. Keeping a record by photographing paintings and mounting them in a display portfolio is another task that takes time. I don't record all the Life Drawings and they don't all get kept either, but I have been posting most of the Long Poses on my Pinterest folio - to give them a life beyond being piled up in a cupboard. We already have all the dates booked for Long Poses and the studio booked until we go outside in the good (we hope!) weather. It looks like 2017 will be a busy year.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Artist's Brain

      I just read an interesting article on the artist's brain. Rebecca Chamberlain, KU Leuven, Belgium was reporting on a study to see if artists brains are structurally different.  Using a scanning method- vaxel-based morphometry, it was found that there was more grey matter in the region of the brain used in visual imagery. It was also found that hose better at drawing had more grey and white matter in the cerebellum and in the related supplementary motor area involved in fine muscle control. Studies also showed that more work at drawing resulted in better work - so there is certainly something to the "10,000 hours" idea. However, the "right brain,left brain" idea didn't seem to hold true as improvement showed on both sides of the brain.
     I still think, however, that there is value to be had in going through the exercises in "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" - maybe especially if a person has been away from it for awhile and needs to power-up the creative workings. Most artists feel that Life Drawing is like playing scales - it keeps the skills up even if a lot of what is produced ends up in the recycling bin.... well, we don't want to be buried in overwhelming piles of paper! For our Long Poses every other Friday, I have been taking a mixed-media approach - drawing first in charcoal on watercolour paper, giving that a wash of acrylic,  drying that, and then applying acrylic medium for pastels (to give the paper "tooth"), drying it again and then completing the work in pastel. It is an interesting approach and I'm still exploring the possibilities.
    I'm  interested in light effects and I hope to do more city night scenes . "Five-fifteen". above. is the first one- based on a black and white newspaper photo - but I now have more references and will get at this idea after Christmas. I'm certainly well-past my 10,000 hours but there is always something new to try, some different ideas and approaches to play with, and some skills to keep up. There is lots to keep an artist's brain busy.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Men in Hats show up at Gateway

Above - Marvin Skelton with painting "A window on the past" - the Steves' house as it was in 1920. , then Jennifer Heine is on the ladder with her painting of Harold Steves on the wall and John Beatty's farmyard to the left of it with Gordon Borgfjord. Bottom- Jennifer leans precariously with Larry Tillyer's painting of the farmhouse and David McHolm's "Buttercup" waiting to be hung. I'll post my painting later. The show runs at Gateway through December - great performances on all month but you can also go to see the paintings when the box office is open and get admission during the day.