Sunday, January 27, 2013

Soft Flattery

Soft Flattery
January 20, 2013
8" x 10"
Oil on Canvas Board
For Sale (Contact Daphne [email protected])
   In November I was on a roll with a balanced painting schedule. I was afraid that in the New Year I might lose the routine and momentum I had going. Me and my silly fears. I decided to shut that voice off in my head that was questioning my ability of being a successful artist. I am quite sure everyone comes into contact with that ridiculous voice that can be so persistent and if not confronted promptly, can often make us doubt our selves for no rational reason. We are amazing creatures. If we put our heart and souls into positive things that we are naturally drawn to we can do things that even amaze ourselves.
   What I find amazing with the portrait above is that it only took me a couple of hours to do. I did this painting as an exercise. I went looking through reference material from adverts and found this one. I was interested to see if I could create the emotional sense that it conveyed. The woman isn't quite blushing but it is like she was just told she had done something extraordinary. Everyone needs to be told how amazing they are every once in a while. Even if it is just for the small things they do. It is often those small things you don't think twice about that are the most important.
   I appreciate the simplicity of truly genuine smiles that I encounter that can change my whole day around. For instance: I am disturbed by the amount of time I spend, on a regular basis, in the grocery store. I am definitely a cave woman gatherer at heart that loves to cook for my loved ones, but sometimes it can make me want to scream. When I have no food in the house, a time limit, during a busy grocery shopping traffic hour, with kids that would rather be playing on a playground and no amount of bribes of bakery cookies could change their energy level as they scale and hide in the toilet paper isle in the hopes of building forts out of it's contents, while wheeling a cart so loaded and heavy which constantly reminds me of all the work I still have to do with packing it all up and carrying it just to go home and unpack it all again. Then when I am close to throwing in the towel and one upping the kids by throwing myself on the floor kicking and screaming "I don't WANNA!" I pass a complete stranger that smiles a true genuine from the heart smile. They are not annoyed but amused and enjoying the catastrophe that's rolling by. They see the precious beauty in the life I'm leading no matter how messy with my paint clothes and kids smothered in some unrecognizable goop. Their smile is contagious which makes me stop and smile and see how fleetingly wonderful this haphazard moment is an how fortunate I am to be able to experience it. It makes me want to take a moment and close my eyes and just feel all the warmth and loving energy that is surrounding me no matter how loud, fast, and calamitous it all is, I am fortunate. It took that honest smile to make me see the beauty in it all.
   So now how do I translate feelings like those visually? Well this is a small exercise to test and push my skills to see if I can do it. Sometimes the exercises are larger, longer, and mapped out; and some are quick little tests. All are valid, significant, and needed to succeed. That is why I do what I do. I can always get better and there is always something new to learn.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

First painting of the year, Magic Carpet

Magic Carpet
January 13, 2013
3' x 4'
Oil on Canvas

   This Magic Carpet painting has been coming into bloom for what seems to be an unreasonable amount of time. It's birth was relaxed and it appeared to flourish on it's own schedule, not mine. I started this painting in September during the Alberta Arts and Culture Days. Due to the layering techniques I used to create Magic Carpet with it require extensive drying time. Therefore, I have been working on three fair sized paintings simultaneously. Working this way helps distract me while one painting is drying I can work on another. Without this distraction I might have tried to sneak in a few brushstrokes ruining the entire thing into a muddied mess of polluted colors caused by my impatience.
  I date all my paintings. The date that I include is the date that the painting is finished, when the last brushstroke  is placed. I finished this painting this past Sunday. Though as a whole it's creation was lengthy but it's end was finished quite unexpectedly. I thought that I had several more hours to put into it but it seemed to just all come together to it's final state. The things I thought needed more work actually just needed a slight tweak and some areas needed to be left as is. I was making mental notes the last time I laid my brush to rest and called it a night coming closer to the paintings completion, when I came back to it they all seemed to be superfluous. I knew I needed to build the knee up and work on the face, and after I had accomplish that it didn't seem to need much more. I had started this painting months ago. For those that follow my blog, you may recognize it's early beginning in previous posts including a picture of a detail portion of it's texture in my last post and in a different posting about my studio. I have also done a small, what I would now call, study of this same pose at a minuscule size in comparison with this larger painting.
   I have resorted to titling it Magic Carpet because in it's early state I worked quite a bit on just the cloth the figure is laying on and I had for the longest time left the two triangles on the bottom corners blank giving it the effect of being a floating carpet. My Significant Other started to refer to it as the Magic Carpet Painting and he was constantly pointing out this one area I had yet to work on, so it is hard for me to think of it as anything but the name he gave it of Magic Carpet.
   I feel like I am repeating myself a bit when I say, the painting looks and feels nothing like what this photo captures. It was terribly difficult to photograph. Standing in front of it it seems to take up much more space than it measures. It has a significant presence.
   I am quite excited about this painting because I have pushed myself and explored the juxtaposition between thin scuffy layering where I used thin washes and often used rags to wipe away layers into thin veils of color. Then I took different tools to slap on and vigorously push thick dragging layers where the different colors and shades of paint don't just sit on top of each other but intertwine, play, and blend creating a completely new surface plain for light to reflect off of. This creates a major problem to photograph and to capture the feel of this image through a lens because when you move and interact in front of this painting you can see it differently in new light, rediscovering the painting over and over again.  That is why I love original paintings.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Upcoming Classes and Workshops 2013

Happy New Year!
I stayed out of the studio for much of the month of December after painting my heart out in November. Honestly, I tried hard to stay out of the studio but I did end up sneaking a few hours in here and there. I just couldn't help myself. Why would I force myself to take some time out of the studio? Well, I wanted to come back to my paintings with a fresh set of eyes. Sometimes paintings are like puzzles where you need to take a break and come back and then you start to notice things or solutions that you may have missed before. You can often lose your grasp of the big picture or tiny things that effect the whole because you were looking or working on them for such a long time. A month is too long for me, but it was a good exercise, and taught me a lot. By the time I came ,back to paint I couldn't get in there fast enough. I couldn't squeeze my paint tubes and pour my mediums fast enough. I am so fortunate to be able to do what I love! What a great way to start the new year.

I am not only painting, but getting my submissions ready for upcoming art competitions and shows, and finished putting together the classes I am going to be teaching for the next 6 months.
If you are interested in my work you can either subscribe to my blog by entering your email address into the box on the right side of your screen (remember to click the link in the email that is sent to you in order to confirm your subscription, you will not get anything but my new blog posts -no spam). You can also email me and ask to be added to my emailing list where I send out email invites to to both public and private upcoming shows, demos, and classes/workshops. [email protected]

Upcoming Art Classes and Workshops
(Side Note: These classes are listed for Adults, but I will accept teens 14+ in the weekly oil painting class and feel comfortable working next to adults.)

Drawing the Human Figure
In a positive and encouraging atmosphere learn different ways to draw the human figure and learn tricks and tips to create interesting compositions out of the human form. We will also cover proportion, shading and capturing drapery of fabric. Supply list available at the gallery.
Instructor: Daphne Cote
Saturday, January 26
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost $40

Painting the Human Figure
In a positive and encouraging atmosphere learn proportion, lighting, skin tones, composition, while using your choice of either oil or acrylic paint. We will also be touching on how to handle clothing and backgrounds. Supply list available at the gallery
Instructor: Daphne Cote
Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost $80

Exploring Oil Painting
In this six week session , through the use of still life and other reference material (i.e. photos), explore oil painting in a supportive, positive and creative atmosphere with one on one instruction focusing on what makes up a painting. Completing one painting per class. All skill levels welcome. No toxic solvents. Supply list available at the gallery.
Instructor: Daphne Cote
6 Thursday Evenings:
1st session:  April 4 – May 9
2nd session: May 16 – June 20
7 – 10 p.m.
Cost $115 per session

You can register for classes by contacting:
The Allied Arts Council in Spruce Grove
We are located in the heart of Spruce Grove within the Melcor Cultural Centre which also houses the Spruce Grove Public Library (East Side of King Street Plaza).
35 – 5th Ave, Spruce Grove, Alberta
(in the Melcor Cultural Centre)
Phone: (780) 962-0664
Email: [email protected]
NEW Gallery Hours!
Monday to Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed Sundays and all Statutory Holidays.

Thank you for reading! And I hope you have a wonderful day.