So about three weeks ago I was knee deep in a painting project that turned out to be a real adventure. The painting was actually intended for a program called Timeraiser, which if you are an emerging Canadian artist should definitely check out. Timeraiser asks artists to submit original works of art that then go through a jurying process. If the work is selected they purchase it from the artist directly, and then they host a community auction. Instead of being auctioned for money, the paintings are auction for volunteer hours to various organizations. It’s a really awesome initiative and you can learn more HERE if you are interested. There are calls across the country throughout the year. There are open calls right now for Edmonton and Ottawa!
So back to my submission. I wasn’t selected to be part of the auction, and rejection always stings just a little, but it’s all part of doing what I do. There’s really no loss in challenging yourself to meet a deadline and create something new. I like to think of everything as a learning experience, and that is exactly what this project turned out to be.
Here are some images of the very early stages of the painting. I hadn’t painted something this large scale in a long while (the canvas is 3’x3′) but it felt really nice to have so much space to fill. It’s quite a contrast from how I normally work, which is typically very small scale using watercolour and pen.
My intention starting out was to paint in layers, starting with bright neon colours as a base to what would lay on top. I’ve noticed that when I get the change to paint now, I tend to paint in the same way a I would make a screen print, in layers of colour. I’m fascinated by the process of layering colours, letting the ones behind show through and creating dimension within that process. This painting took on a huge transformation half way through when I decided to paint over the everything and change it completely. Not only did the subject matter end up being changed, but the way I was painting shifted from flat blocks to really chunky swirls with a lot of physical texture.
I spent a lot of time meditating on the colours, and getting lost in the waves. It felt so good to be painting at night listening to some good tunes. I’m excited about the result even though my painting wasn’t accepted. It took me a lot of time to learn patience with myself when it comes to my work, and pushing through this painting was a testament to that. I gave myself two weeks, but I still ended up painting right up against the deadline. I kept going even though there were times when things were looking pretty grim. I think the key is to trust in yourself and your abilities. If something is a little rough at first, or sometimes just plain terrible, certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be polished up in time.