Friday, June 14, 2013

"Village Antiques" Naive Quirky Figures in Folk Art

In the mood for some antique-hunting, but without spare mad money, I won't be doing it this weekend.

So here is my tribute to the perfect venue. I can almost smell the mustiness inside...

"Village Antiques"
20 x 16 acrylic on stretched canvas

Ah, well, it's not as if I really need anything, after all. I just want something...

Monday, June 3, 2013

"The Gathering" Figurative Painting 16 x 12 Acylic on Canvas Panel

I've been distracted lately, so I haven't done much painting. Sales are definitely off, too, and although I don't paint just to sell, it certainly makes my work more meaningful. My daydream is that one day I will own a small gallery, and invite other struggling artists to exhibit with me. It would be a co-op, of course, and everyone would benefit. No one will get rich, but our lives would be.

I came across a blog comment that made me uncomfortable. Although I am a self-taught artist, I paint to the very highest standard I'm capable of and I am learning all the time, even at my considerable age. But this blogger pointed out that it seems buyers, on the whole, are looking for purely decorative paintings, and hardly interested in detail, or finesse. They want impact, not work that demands close scrutiny or analyses.

The paintings that most dominate the market do seem more targeted to decor, rather than for the discriminating eye, but I'm never going to paint rapidly and casually to produce great canvases of flowers and abstract shapes. So I scrunch over my work, peering with strained eyes, trying to get the light just so, the shadows credible, the tiny faces of my figures filled with some sort of character and expression. I think the results are decorative, of course - who wants ugly on the wall? - but the pictures are more than that. They represent my love of the work, my need to convey a story. And that's all I can do.

Anyway, this is my latest offering.

"The Gathering"

Unless I suddenly decide to go back to my writing - and it's calling me - I'll talk to you soon.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

To All My Lovely Artists - I'm sorry.

For some strange reason, probably because I was messing about with Google+, I lost ALL the images from ALL of my blogs posted since 2008. This is a very serious thing. An art blog without art is no blog at all.

I am painstakingly rescuing each image, but so far only got to the end of 2012. Prior to that, the site was more or less dedicated to other artists, because I was deeply involved in my writing. And those are the guys whose work is now missing from my posts.

Bear with me folks. The links to the artists still work, but the images will be slow to return. I can only manage a few a day. And I'm not getting any painting done.

Along with Hotmail going to Outlook, and Google adding that scary plus sign, I've had my hands full for a while, trying to recover or understand things.

Perhaps you know what I'm talking about. I hardly do.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mother's Day Tribute - Latest Acrylic Naive Folk Painting

Something a little different today, after weeks of painting busy crowds, Colonial people and ships. I was thinking of all the mums out there...and how their skills are so taken for granted.

Now that my kids are grown, I only experience scenes like this when I visit grandchildren. It always amazes me how much a mum can accomplish in a short amount of time. And this from a woman who had twin boys and a daughter! I had to work fulltime, and now only vaguely recall how frenzied it got at times. It's all - thankfully - a blurry memory.

But we manage it all. We are superbly capable, yet it's the one area of expertise that we do without formal instruction (other than suggestions from our own mothers, or mothers-in-law, who were, let's face it, also self-taught).

"After Breakfast"
16 x 12

So Bravo mums! You are a wonder. I am a wonder. We are all wonders.

Until next time. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

"The Clipper" 19th Century Sailing Ship - Naive Seascape Folk Art

I know - who really cares about 19th Century painting reproductions? I do. I would paint them all the time, but it's a tiny market. In fact, I willed this one not to sell because I take that as a sign that I should keep it. I know just where I'll hang it.

24 x 18
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

If any of you have ever tried to paint a tall ship, you know how difficult it was getting the rigging right (or as 'right' as I could manage). There must have been miles of rope on those vessels. I was almost cross-eyed by the end.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"The Simple Life" Figurative Seascape Window and Woman Acrylic Folk Art Painting

Here is the latest one. I can picture myself living here, probably without the cellphone, or a TV, or the laptop. I don't know how long I could last, but I'd be willing to give it a try.

Have a lovely, relaxing Easter.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Cafe" - New Figurative City Interior Painting

I enjoyed doing the larger figures in this painting, with the extra detail involved. I haven't been out for a lunch for a while, and the subject matter appealed to me. You will note that no one is eating. Hmm... Wonder what that says about me.

16 x 12 inches

See you next time.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"The Commander" Faux-Colonial Naval Officer Portrait

I had a need to paint something Colonial-looking. Since I cannot afford to buy originals from that Early-America itinerate-artist School, I always make my own. Sometimes I keep them to decorate my own walls, and sometimes I offer them for sale. It's a very specific taste, so I don't expect a rush of interest, but I absolutely love doing them.

My "Commander" goes well with "M'Lady", painted a few months ago, so I've included her here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"Market Day" - Latest Figurative Naive City Folk Art

Acrylic on 16 x 12 Stretched Canvas

There is no market day in my area, as far as I know. Of course, it could be so well-hidden that I've yet to discover it, but I think someone would have mentioned it. In Britain - in fact all of Europe - whole town squares become markets with dozens of stalls, and I've bought some incredible collectibles from such places. Canada has its share, and I'm guessing the States does, too. Being in the Antipodes, which entails doing a lot of things which are opposite to the rest of the world, Sydney has permanent markets, in dim, vaguely stale, buildings, where you can buy just about anything, but which lack the spontaneity of the outdoor versions, and certainly the fresh air. Paddington has an outdoor one, but it's too far for me to travel. No doubt, out of town, there are some great country markets, but I haven't found one yet.

This painting represents my memory of good city markets. I miss them.

Don't even ask how long this one took me to paint. I couldn't stop.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Two New Naive Escapist Folk Art Paintings

I don't know why I have this need for pleasurable things outside my immediate experience right now. I keep picturing beaches, and secret city places, and good food and wine. Perhaps I have a real need for a holiday.

In any case, these are my two latest paintings. Both have some relationship to food, and definitely gave me a warm glow as I painted them.

No explanation for the missing diners in the park. I leave that entirely to your imagination. But it's certain the pigeon is in for a nice little snack.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Perfect Plaza" New Urban Primitive Folk Painting

We all have our favorite places to unwind.  For me, it's always been al fresco meals, soaking up some sun and feeling part of nature as I eat my Bruschetta. Even coffee doesn't taste as good as it does when you're outside in the fresh air.

We were very excited when our local city planners  began construction of a walking plaza here.  They blocked off each end of the main thoroughfare - a small street of shops that had little attraction because we have a hugely popular indoor mall a block over - and new signs appeared diverting traffic to a linking road. We patiently lived through the constant sound of road-building -- the whole area was being resurfaced -- because we were going to have a little oasis at the end, a perfect pedestrian mall, outside.

The construction guys finished and moved out and we curiously wandered into the area. There were now lots of benches along the sides (although we were puzzled by the new sidewalks). There were some trees, planters filled with flowers, but then we saw that there were traffic lights at each end of the block, and that a very small amount of cars still used the road.

The Powers-That-Be had decided to allow vehicles through our pedestrian mall. Store owners and others with business in the area had made a fuss and were permitted access by car. The whole thing had been a huge mirage. We had been duped. The only things that changed were the addition of more plant life, and a reduction in the amount of traffic.

So my painting this week is my idea of a perfect plaza, one where you can sit in quiet contemplation, or have a snack, do a little shopping, and not be overpowered by noise and bad air quality.

These places are common in Britain. Almost every small town has turned its high street into a car-free zone. We don't seem able to get it right. Of course, I still have hope that Council will reconsider our re-vamped street. Obviously reducing traffic has some benefit, but we deserve more. We are not all genetically attached to the car.

See you next time.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

"The Neighbourhood" Primitive Urban Folk Art

While I'm in busy little people mode, following my antique store painting last week, I've produced another one. This is really familiar territory for me. Toronto (and most cities) have  little enclaves like this one, and I was comfortable walking around at all hours, and I didn't have to don proper clothes or fuss with my hair before I stepped out.

I used to live in a neighborhood just like this. It was just one corner, but it had everything you could want, all within a few steps of home. It’s much quieter where I am now. I miss that old hustle and bustle. Guess I could always go to the local mall, but it isn’t the same…

Don't forget to support local art, wherever you find it. And never be afraid to buy something you love. If the artist is unknown, all the better. You could be the first on the bandwagon. Art shouldn't intimidate, or make you feel you don't know enough about technique or style. It should jump out at you the moment you see it - grab your attention. That way you know it will always give you pleasure, right there on your own wall. And you'll never regret that cash outlay as the years pass. (I spent my electricity bill money on a lovely landscape once. I don't have any memory of finding the cash to pay the bill, but I managed to keep the lights on. And I still have the wonderful painting.)

See you next time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Country Antique Store" - Latest Original Primitive Figurative Folk Art Painting

I had so much fun painting this. I love antiques, have far too many pieces, small and large,  to make my regular overseas travels practical (I take everything with me, each trip) but can't help myself.

The prospect of discovering a little country shop full of history and atmosphere is almost mouth-watering. When we spot one, my pulses quicken as we park the car, even faster as we reach the door. I know I'm doomed as soon as I cross the threshold. At least one more thing to add to my chattels... But what a way to go.

So this painting is my idea of the delights of the antique hunt. It's better than the garden center in spring (by a tad), better than a quilters' sale, a used book store, or discovering a courtyard cafe that few know about.

I just wish I was a better photographer. I rarely get all my pictures unfuzzed. Out of four or five shots, only one or two will be truly crisp. On my original, that little sign in front of the dog is totally readable! At least buyers aren't disappointed when they receive my work. It seems they look so much better in the flesh, so to speak. Any tips?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Winter and Summer Folk Art Paintings

"Storm Home"
From a story by Garrison Keillor
Acrylic on 10 x 8 Stretched Canvas
 Until this week, I can't recall hearing the name Garrison Keillor, when someone commissioned a small painting based on one of his stories from his radio program "A Prairie Home Companion". The picture is my interpretation of "Storm Home", one of his delightfully-recounted memories of life in Minnesota when he was a kid. I had no trouble with the winter scene, of course, having lived through enough of them in Canada.

I haven't listened to radio in decades, so it figures I couldn't have heard his show, but I'm surprised I haven't heard of him, the man. He's a prolific writer, often controversial, but listening to his "down comforter" voice is better than any meditational practice I can think of.

"Provencal Morning"
Acrylic on 8 x 10 Stretched Canvas

I was feeling particularly clear-headed and positive when I painted "Provencal Morning". Minimalism, Spartanism -  neither is appealing to me most days (I am always surrounded by my own and others' art along with irresistable bric-a-brac) - but living in an abbey with a view like this, just for a little while, I could easily tolerate those bare, stone walls. (Hard to get a nail into them anyway, right?)

So this is my imaginary "Provencal Morning". I've been to Paris, but not to this beautiful area, and all my fantasies about it are based on Peter Mayle's book, "A Year in Provence", and his follow-up work. But I lived and breathed it for a while, researching the property market, looking for the perfect restorable gite, boring my friends with the subject, until life caught up with me and I bought yet another house locally.

I have a thing about houses...did I say?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

More Than a Little Craziness in Most Artists

Most artists are a bit strange. I mean, why are we compelled to create when there is just a slim chance of selling our work, and almost no chance of being paid for the hours we spend on each project? This applies to painting, and to writing...and acting, dancing, singing, stand-up, and all the other wonderful things that the creative world offers.

So this week's production is definitely a bit odd. Gran rushed into my head for a few days, and then I needed my favorite view of the sea. When Gran comes a-calling, you know I'm in the nuts zone.

Hope you like them.

"Shabby Shutters III"
Acrylic on 10 x 8 Stretched Canvas

(Yes, it's the third one I've done of this approximate image. I just love shutters.)

"Gran's Dude Ranch"
Acrylic on 10 x 8 Flat Panel

"Gran on a Wire"
Acrylic on 8 x 10 Flat Panel

"Gran and the Van"
Acrylic on 10 x 8 Stretched Canvas

As my beloved Seal once sang, "And we're never gonna' survive...unless...we get a little Crazy
Open the  link. It says it all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Valentine's Day Offering - Urban Folk Art

I finished "Courtyard Cafe" last night.

Looking at my work, you might conclude I'm a romantic. I don't think of myself this way; I'm pragmatic and analytical about love. Yet these images still come to me.

I guess there's just no hiding the inner self when you paint...

Acrylic on 10 x 8 Stretched Canvas (unframed)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Painting during a heat wave. Water, water, everywhere...

"Nearly Home"
Acrylic on 8 x 10 Stretched Canvas

Here are my latest offerings. As usual, subject matter is all over the place, although I did feel the need to include water in four of them. I wonder why? Maybe because of a couple of days when it was over 46 Celsius here in Sydney? (115 Fahrenheit!)

Let me know what you think.

"Beach Picnic"
Acrylic on 8 x 10 Stretched Canvas

"Sydney Harbour Sunset"
Acrylic on 10 x 8 Stretched Box Canvas
"Let It Rain"
Acrylic on 8 x 10 Stretched Canvas

"Old Red Boat II"
Acrylic on 10 x 8 Stretched Canvas

 Just finishing a courtyard cafe scene. That means the weather is just right again.