Sunday, June 22, 2014

Geese, Art and my Reticular Activating System

The Reticular Activation System is part of a human brain that takes care of many important jobs but the one that pertains to this post is it job as an information filter, sorting through the mass of data and information that comes at us through our senses. 

When you have a new interest it is due to this RAS system that you suddenly seem to see more of that new subject around you. If you purchase a red car...all of a sudden you see red cars makes sense that they were there before but you were not activated to see them. 

Well long story new interest is geese....Canadian geese. I am working on a project that features Canadian geese and this spring I find I am surrounded by them. If I turn on the TV there is a documentary on them. If I go for a walk they are there in the pond and or flying over head. If I grab a wildlife book it pops open to the page that features them. I love this. And it was all wonderfully topped off by 4 Canadian geese moving in to live on our property for a month this spring. First time in 30 years that any geese have lived here with us.

Every morning we were awoken by the hooking of geese....( that may have been carrying this RAS thing way too far) and our morning barn visits were overseen by 2 or more geese either on top of the shed or waddling ahead of us to the corral. In the last week or so the mornings have been quiet and I imagine that is was time for the geese to move onto larger water than available here. But what a great thing to have my inspiration right here for even a short time. Here are a few photos of our feathered visitors. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Damaged brushes make the best textures.

It is true, your oldest ugliest and most abused brushes make the best textures in a painting.  But those wonderful old brushes are on their last legs and then suddenly just done. So sometimes you just have to help a few less than desirable brushes along to that wonderful state. So by twisting, cutting, pruning and plucking...I will try to recreate that wonderful old random texture that will help me to form rocks, bark, and soil textures on my painting. This photo shows two brushes that I have helped along to a ragged state with my favourite sponge.

Today as an experiment I took a new foam roller and had a fun time plucking out some the foam to see if I could replicate a sandy beach did not really work, some of my ideas just don't pan out. The wild patterns of a natural sponge are much better.

 So still working with my old or newly damaged brushes, sometimes a crumpled rag to lift off some of the newly laid paint and most often my finger tips to smudge and blur the paint. (Just learning to protect fingers from too much paint with either a full glove or just a finger cut off a glove.) For me the answer to creating good natural texture is first to study it for form, color and pattern....and then find the tool that will best recreate it....most often for me it is the combination of one of my tortured brushes and natural sponge.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Raccoon Painting

The animals that manage to live right next door to us, right on the edge of our yards and the edges of our towns are the some of the most clever and most adaptable animals. These are the coyotes, rabbits, marmots, raccoons, mice and squirrels: not generally admired, they really do deserve recognition for cohabiting with us.

These animals have found their ways to live with us in spite of the dangers that we as humans present. I have to say I admire their adaptability and this painting celebrates a particular favourite of mine.

Here is an acrylic painting on board of a young raccoon delicately washing up in the creek.

 This is a painting that explores visual textures... Rocks, fur and water.......hard, soft and liquid. 
I took this as my demo painting to Opus Art Store and shared part of my process in creating textures with the artists that attended.