Learning to Paint


???????????????????????????????Learning to paint*

I’m learning to paint. I’ve been painting for decades. I know how to do this. I need to know more.

When the last piece for my recent exhibition Beholder (Art Gallery of Regina, 2014) came off the easel, I was pretty pleased. The show had been in production for about two and a half years, so of course there was some variation in the subject and the way it lived in its frame. But the process felt fine. All I expected to do was keep going.

But then came a summer of change and an autumn of fragility. And something wanted me to pay attention.

At first, it looked like an image I’ve held for awhile. A white rose, a white picture plane, white shadows. I began on that first small painting. But there was something else there, something more than whiteness. It was just outside what I could see. So I went to what others have seen.

Now, one of the stands in my studio is covered with reference images. It isn’t that I’m painting from them or that they’re what I’m aiming for. None of them looks like me. But there’s an idea there about relationships among colours and meaning in brushstrokes. I want to find out what it is.

A second painting is now in progress. I can’t tell if it’s exciting or if it’s just fluff. But this new practice, if that’s what’s happening, is challenging, engaging and totally fun.

May it be forever.

For you, too.

*Images clockwise from left to right: Alla Prima by Al Gury, cover painting by Arthur DeCosta. Padraig McCaul. John Singer Sargent. Karen Mathison Schmidt.

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