I have been working on some new pieces and notice some evolution in style and tone. Nothing feels too drastic but some odd things are showing up here and there.
When I started on this current direction a couple of years ago I wanted my process to be simple. I do realize that the images I make appear to be anything but simple, however, I am referring to the thought process involved and not the visual form they take. My goal was (and still is) to keep the pieces free of artifice and pretense. I just wanted to paint and not think too much. Actually, I didn’t want to think at all. I wanted the act of creating to be fun. I wanted to play and not to worry about stuff. After all, I had struggled for years with being critical of my work and over thinking to the point of paralysis.
Some of my pieces are becoming more whimsical. Maybe they’re just getting weirder, like everything else in the world. – L/C
I really need to put the newest stuff on the site but I need to get some decent photography done first. My photo lights are at the place Quebec and I’m too Scottish to rush into buying more. Unfortunately, I may not be back there for a while because of travel complications related to COVID. I would do it outside but it’s still cold and snowy here.
You see, I have a lot of excuses and if you don’t like them, I have more.
I can tell you without hesitation that my spell check doesn’t know what to think of them. It feels like they both need to be hyphenated, so let’s go with that.
Self-isolation is a pretty natural state for me. When I work (doing terrible things for money) I usually do it from the comfort of home. The same goes for when I am making art. It allows me to wear comfortable (albeit paint-splattered) clothing and talk to myself without attracting any undue attention. However, I do get that a lot of people need to be around other people. I may have been like that myself at one time but these days I prefer to work in solitude. Come to think of it, others often prefer that I work alone as well.
Getting rid of the whole shaking hands thing seems less problematic. It’s kind of a strange and unsanitary custom at the best of times. I’ve always felt a lot of pressure to it to the acceptable standard. You know, suitably firm and with the requisite simultaneous eye contact. Good riddance! The next time I feel the urge to shake someone’s hand, I’ll just grab a toilet seat and shake vigorously. But I digress.
Social-Distancing feels a little weirder to me, for sure. After all, we can all use a hug now and then. It also makes for a lousy party. How do you have an art show opening or even an exhibit? Also, weddings and funerals will be way weirder than they already are.
Social media has already rendered us isolated and disconnected. Is this going to be the new normal?
On that note, I leave you with one of my newest pieces. It’s called ‘A Celebration of Nature’ and it was done, I can assure you, in complete isolation.
Smart phones are great for documenting the progress of a painting. It’s fun to be able to record how the sausage gets made. I find myself doing it more and more. It’s also good to be able to show people the process in stages.
I’m currently working on a commission that is based on a famous photo of the Beastie Boys. Yes, I have previously ranted about how much I dislike taking commissions but even I make the odd exception. I have always respected the fact that they didn’t spell Boys with a Z and for that reason alone am happy to pay homage. Also, money.
I’m also starting a painting of a hippo emerging from the water. I love the shape of hippos. To my mind, they are the reigning body-positive champions of the wild kingdom. They look so funny and harmless but are apparently surprisingly effective killing machines. Also, the ears are too funny.
Also doing a painting of a camel cigarette package. I guess it bridges the gap between animals (which I most often paint) and my recent foray/return to pop culture images. I recently did and painting based on a famous photo of Marilyn Monroe at the beach. Maybe the camel cigarette painting is my attempt to reconcile the two apparently opposite directions.
For 10 days in July, I participated in a studio tour that happens in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The tour covers the general region including the town of Knowlton, where my wife and I have a place. It was the first time that my current painting style/incarnation had been seen by anyone outside of a few friends and family. Overall my paintings and silkscreen prints got more of a positive reaction than my ability to speak French. Admittedly, this is a very low bar.
This blog post isn’t really about the Tour Des Arts so much as it is about the responses that my previously (mostly unseen) work got from those that visited.
It’s fair to say that the majority of people who had seen photos of my work on TourDesArts.com or in the printed brochure were surprised to see that my medium was painting rather than wood-cut printing. I suppose that they were expecting the images to be smaller and on paper. Of course, this was true of the 5 silkscreen editions that I had on hand but most of the pieces were acrylic paintings on wood (acrylique sur bois). The sizes ranged from 2′ x 1′ to 4′ x 2′ and tended toward the latter.
It’s also fair to see why they were confused. The linework does have a similar graphic quality to wood-cut printing or engraving. I have many more layers than one would tend to have in block printing but those tend to be more visible up close and at full size. However, when seen in reproduction or at any kind of distance it has that same kind of binary quality that comes with printing one colour at a time.
I actually do paint with a single colour at a time across the whole surface of the painting. This has become my technique, or even formula, for painting. This formula, in large part, dictates what one could describe as my style. I am guessing that both ‘formula’ and ‘technique’ are both dirty words in the realm of art but it only makes me love them more. My nom de plume is LooseCanine after all.
The majority of visitors also said that they saw a strong Native American influence in much of my work. Many also mentioned Australian Aboriginal influence. I can certainly see both, which is funny to me. I would never have thought of either as being something that I have looked at a lot or would ever try to emulate. Nonetheless, these things do present themselves, along with others, during the process of painting.
I am often working on something and well along when I see influences emerge. It could be anything from a stain-glass window to a Dr. Seuss illustration. I can tell you that is never intentional, at least not consciously. More often than not though, once I see an influence emerge I tend to just go with it.
In summary, I would say that having a few hundred people drop by for a quick look was very informative and provided some interesting insights into my work that I hadn’t necessarily thought much about. I’m planning on participating in the Tour Des Arts again next year but have a feeling that work done between now and then will open up some new worm cans.