Thursday, December 30, 2010

Old Debts

This has been a very different year, for me, compared to the many previous. Being the owner of a new (old) home has meant that I’ve spent more of my time…

…doing repairs and…

…building lots of new gardens for flowers and veggies. These activities have kept my paintbrushes out of my hands, but I still found a bit of time to be creative.

I began the New Year by starting a huge mural in my living room.

It wasn’t finished until nine months later.

Then the new job came along and I found I had no time to paint. My lifestyle had changed very dramatically and for the next few months I focussed on my training courses and adjusting to my new work schedules. I was keeping my eye on the future, knowing that soon enough I would gain a new kind of balance that would allow me to be creative once again.

The christmas holidays were approaching and I knew that my work shifts were going to be cut back a bit as fewer people would be needing the Para-transit service. Finally – a few days to get down and dirty with my paints had arrived!!!

This painting has been almost two years in the waiting. In 2008-09 I was teaching my ‘Art For Earth’ environmental workshops in four of London’s elementary schools. The Ontario Arts Council had provided much of the needed financing for this program, but not as much as I needed. I had requested a small amount of funding to pay for my guest speakers’ time and preparation for these classes. Since I didn’t receive enough funding I had to find a solution.

One of my guest speakers was Denise – seen here on the left side. This photo was taken during my 2004 Art For Earth workshops where Denise and I both volunteered our time to teach London’s youth about the importance of protecting our environment for future generations.

Since then, Denise and I have worked together on a number of other related projects and our friendship has grown.

I couldn’t imagine not working with Denise during the 2008-09 classes. Denise is a great speaker, full of lots of knowledge on many subjects. The students learned a lot about grasslands and wetlands and the animals, birds and insects that inhabit these regions. Denise would teach them important lessons about these unique environments and then I would take over and teach them important lessons about how to be a great painter!

We made a deal. I told Denise that I would create a unique and original painting, just for her, in lieu of a cash payment for her involvement in my classes. She quickly agreed. So, this painting, my final art creation for 2010, is for Denise!

I decided to create an image using mosaic rendering techniques- using a grid. This would create a final image that would be interesting and slightly abstract – my favourite kinds of paintings to create! Instead of simply filling each small square with it’s corresponding colour, I used another technique that I teach quite often in my classes.

When I teach art classes, my greatest focus is on teaching ways to create interesting textures. I often share how textures are created by painting individual lines – be them straight or wiggly – while leaving spaces in between. Once these lines have dried, the spaces in between can then be filled in. It’s that simple!

By painting one line, letting it dry and then painting another line right beside the first one, small hills and valleys are created by the paints. These hills and valleys create the texture.

My furry friends always like to inspect my work. Whenever I’m in my art room doing something it doesn’t take long before Koly’s lying on the floor sleeping, Guido’s curled up in a nearby chair with Elly sitting on or near the work that I’m doing. I love the company!

So… this is what I mean my texture. You can see hills and valleys along the edges of each painted line. You may also notice that each colour is actually about three or four different colours, although created using just one colour. In some areas the paint is very thick and the colour is very dark. In other areas there is not as much paint and the white of the canvass shows through slightly, creating another tone of the same colour. In my eyes, this makes for a more interesting image!

From a distance all of these different tones blend together creating a unified colour. By creating textures you make the viewer curious as to how the image was created and they have to get very close to see all of the flavours that the artist added.

And now the painting is finished!!!

It was very easy for me to choose a subject for Denise’s painting. During my art classes, she would tell the students that her favourite insect is the Dragonfly and that her nick-name at work is also Dragonfly.

I’ll be getting together with Denise, sometime soon in the New Year of 2011 to present her with this painting. I’m sure that she will love it!

I really enjoyed working on this creation, knowing that it will be appreciated and knowing that – although it has taken me longer than I originally thought – an old debt to a good friend has finally been paid.

Wishing everyone a most creative and enlightening 2011!!! And let's always remember that 'Everyday is Earthday'.


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