I’m getting ready for my solo show opening at the SeymourArt Gallery on April 3rd. I’m still preparing some of the work intended for it and having the usual deadline jitters and last-minute juggling of must-do’s.
Things that seemed just fine two weeks ago now don’t look right and have to be redone. A frame broke. A painting went awry. The gallery sent out their press release and I thought it had a typo in it! That worked out because there are two correct ways to spell ‘travelled’ depending upon whether you’re writing Canadian or American English. Whew! Too much .
We know about good stress (a wedding?) and bad stress (job loss). Well, this has to be good stress in an overall sense. But it sure seems like bad stress in the details! Come to think of it, though, stress seems more like a continuum than a category. We do need a certain level of stress in our lives, after all. It’s a natural living condition. It helps keep us alert, promotes focus and efficiency, urges decision-making and keeps us ticking. Finding or operating the optimum stress level, that’s the tricky part. Having life circumstances cooperate with us, that’s even trickier.
Despite all this, I’m looking forward to the show. Called Child Our of Time: Reborn. The exhibit includes a dramatic monochrome series of my digital paintings and a set if colorful acrylic paintings that were spun from them. It’s a study in contrast and a visual testimony to how art begets art.
The story of the monochromes is a captivating one, or so it was for me. I’ll tell it during my invited artist’s talk and demo at the gallery on April 15. In synopsis, after becoming intrigued with an anonymous old photograph laid among objects in a tiny civic museum, an obsession started.
Black and white images started forming in my mind and insistently came at me in dreams and at unexpected times while awake. This kept on for about two years, until I'd finished the final painting in the original series. I thought it was done. That is, the constant company of black and white images and fragment-images that had been constantly forming in my mind and demanding their completion had ceased.
I went to work on other things. I travelled. I saw new sights, met new people. I regained some physical strength and re-learned walking after an accident. I started a blog during that time (which here now continues). And I began painting again. Very different kinds of paintings this time: some playful, some challenging, some new directions, and then some… ooh yes, here it comes. Some that splashed out in full color from the original set of monochromes I thought I had finished. But, as they say about art, a painting is never finished; it just stops in an interesting place.
After a period away from them, the original set of monochromes started initiating a new set of paintings very different from the first set in tone, feeling, and technique. I was enticed to begin a set of colorful, strange, lovely, and joyful works spinning off in various directions -- but all having part of a core image from the monochrome set. So it was that art (my own, in this case) begets art. Some of these inspired acrylic paintings became part of what I call my “Wonder” series , because of the sense of joy and wonderful discovery that was part of making them( see Wonder tag under Paintings in menu for this blog, above).
Art has always been an inspiration for other art. Paintings from whatever era lead to new interpretations, some in the form of deliberate adaptations, others less conscious. The same occurs in literature and music, of course. Riffs on riffs, waves upon wave, ripples in an ever expanding creative sea.
But art is not meant to stop the stream of life. Within a narrow span of duration and space the work of art concentrates a view of the human condition; and sometimes it marks the steps of progression.
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