Monday, September 26, 2011

Only as much as I Dream can I be

"Only as high as I reach can I grow,
Only as far as I seek can I go,
Only as deep as I look can I see,
Only as much as I dream can I be."
Karen Rayn

I would love to know what this child is dreaming about. Maybe she represents each and every one of us. We all have dreams but how many of us just stand on the safe side of the fence and do not venture into the unknown and follow our dreams.

I just loved this child's expression. It was this far away moment that was the inspiration for this painting.

Its good to dream. Don't be afraid of failure. Catch those dreams and follow them. Yes, sometimes its a risky journey into the unknown but its also an exciting one. I am enjoying following my dream. Are you following yours?


Thursday, September 22, 2011

CWA award presentation and another sale!

It was the California Watercolor Association's award presentation last Sunday. Unfortunatley I wasn't able to go but a very good friend of mine Mary Lou was able to accept the award for me. Thank you so much Mary Lou.

I was also contacted by Eileen Libby the show chair this week to ask if I could be persuaded to sell the painting as someone was very interested in buying it. WOW! So it will now have a new home when the exhibition finishes next month. Amazingly the lady that has bought it has family in Canada and even friends in the GTA... what a small world it is at times. So although the actual painting will stay down in California it will still have links to Canada. I guess Chitty really is a magic car! Magic for me anyhow!


Monday, September 19, 2011

CSPWC Open Water acceptance and a sale... all on one day!

It's been a GREAT day!!! I've just got notification to say my painting of Grandpa 'Finishing Touches' has been accepted in the Canadian society of painters in Watercolor CSPWC 'Open Water' International exhibition. I really didnt think i'd get in this year as they only accept 36 paintings for the exhibition and I got in last year. Yay!! Can you tell I'm happy? The exhibition will be in Toronto from October 25th to November 18th at the John B Aird Gallery, 900 Bay Street, Toronto.

I also sold the gallery wrapped painting of the baby duck  in a local exhibition that actually doesn't open until tomorrow!!!

The president of the society fell in love with it and bought it right away... WOW!!!

I know many who follow this blog are from all over the world but I hope that those of you in the Greater Toronto area will take the time to visit the exhibition. It opens tomorrow and runs through until Sunday afternoon. See Details below.There are some beautiful paintings in the exhibition.

 Hope to see some of you there.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Dreaming WIP 2

I've had a lot of fun playing with the effect of light on the fence as a way to draw more attention to the dreamcatcher. I still have some work to do grounding the fence and adding in the shadows on the floor and darkening the far portion of the fence a little more to recede it into the background but its nearly done.

I played around a lot with the composition of the fence during my initial planning stage. I had originally thought of having a fence snaking off into the distance but after doing some initial sketches this felt either too distracting or too enclosing depending on the direction the fence took. I didn't want the fence to lead our eyes out of the painting but equally I didnt want the message to be one of imprisonment if I curved it behind the child. Fences are often used to symbolize a barrier so it felt appropriate to have the fence ending. This way it provides an opportunity to lean on it momentarily and dream  but also to allows the freedom to walk around at some time in the future should the child want to. After all it is up to each one of us to choose whether to have the courage to go forwards and follow our dreams or not.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New painting WIP 1

I thought it was about time I let you see the progress of, and read the thoughts behind my next painting. I get so caught up in the early stages sometimes. My reference photo was one I snapped a couple weeks ago. We were at the air show again while my son was volunteering. While everyone was looking up at the sky I was having such fun quietly observing their emotions and facial expressions. I took a lot of photo’s.

One child in particular caught my attention. While everyone else was staring upwards this child was staring out at the lake totally oblivious to the people around and all the noise above. This is a close up of the child's face in my painting as it is so far. I love the close up effect of this crop but in my actual painting I wanted to convey more space of the big wide world around.

 Children often lose themselves in their dreams. They have a lot to process as they take in all the new sights, smells and sounds around them. Dreaming whether they are day dreams like this child or dreams while sleeping are an important way to process all the information which, in turn creates their ambitions and desires as well as many other emotions sometimes unfortunately even negative ones.

This idea was just too good an opportunity to miss for a painting. 

We try to protect our children but however hard we try there will be some things that have a negative impact on them. It is for this reason that I decided to include a dream catcher in my painting. I wanted this child’s dreams, like all young children’s day dreams to be good ones.

 According to Native American folklore a hoop of willow, decorated with bits and pieces of everyday life, (feathers, arrow heads, beads, etc) will help to protect a young child from negative dreams. The dream catcher, if allowed to swing freely in the air, is believed to have the power to catch all of a person's dreams night or day, trapping the bad ones, and letting only the good dreams remain.

The photo above is of the whole painting as I can see it while painting. I tend to paint slightly more than I actually want to make matting and framing easier. It also gives me a little more freedom to play with final cropping. The final crop will definitely be less than this. I'm in two minds about whether to crop in a little more than I originally intended though. I will wait and see as the painting takes shape. Painting is such a dynamic process isn't it!

So far I have kept to a pretty limited palette. Maybe it is the end of the day or maybe it is the beginning of a new one. I will leave that up to the viewers imagination. Normally I would complete the background first but although I have painted in the background washes I just felt the need to paint the child’s face before completing background and the fence to help me feel more of the atmosphere and emotion in the painting.

I haven't decided on a title for this painting yet. I quite like 'The Dream Keeper' as this is the title of a poem I found which seems to sum up at least part of the idea behind the painting

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamers,
Bring me all of your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue-cloud cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.
~~Langston Hughes~~

I'm still open to other ideas though. Anyone have any other ideas?


Monday, September 5, 2011

'Chitty' wins Jade Fon Memorial Award at 2011 CWA exhibition!

Excitement and good news continues.  My painting ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, We Love You’ has been awarded the Jade Fon Memorial Award in the California Watercolor Association 42nd National Exhibition. 

The exhibition opens this Thursday and runs until October 9th at the Marin Society of Artists Gallery,  30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross CA 94957. Gallery Hours are Monday - Friday 11 am - 4 pm, weekends noon - 4 pm.

My good friend Mary Lou will be accepting the award on my behalf at the presentation on the 18th so hopefully she will get lots of photos I can share with you.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Smile and the World Smiles Back

 ‘Smile and the world smiles back’, ‘laugh and the world laughs with you’ both everyday sayings but they are so true. You see two people laughing together and even if you cannot hear them or don’t know why they are laughing it still makes you smile.

The other week Rebecca and I were walking around Mill Pond and saw a group of baby ducks with their mother. They looked so cute it made us smile. Most of the babies were asleep but one was wide awake. He looked at us and opened his beak. He looked just as if he was happily smiling back at us.

I thought this would be a fun thing to capture in a painting. Hopefully it will make one of you smile too.