When I think of bridging and art, different things come to me.
First, my dream is to bridge community to art.
I do this by running an approachable gallery with a diverse art collection. Also, I have been playing host to many people to paint nights in the gallery. This awakens their inner artists and enhancing their visions of the world. My work with the local school’s “Design Thinking in Mathematics” class has connected me to young adults which is remarkably entertaining.
Second, I think about my ability “not” to bridge one art piece to the next.
I love to experiment (play) with different media and styles. I have a hard time sticking to one medium or style for too long. I have come to terms with this. I want to do what I love and I love to be “all over the place” as an artist. I apologize right now (but not really) for my erratic, undisciplined and self-taught art.
See you at our art show April 12, 13 and 14 at Grace Westminster United Church.
It took me a while to see where the idea of bridging fit with my art. And then it came to me as I was working on a new painting, of a subject completely new to me. This subject presented itself to me because of new directions my life has been taking over the past year. A major life change presented an opportunity to realize something I’d often thought of, the chance to live back on the west coast. So I rented an apartment for a year to start with and have been going back and forth over the winter.
I grew up out there but have been away almost 50 years, so it has been a rediscovery of the old and the new. Seeing it from the viewpoint of art making is also new, and I have been inspired by the new/old landscape of the coast. Exploring new subjects which have caught my attention has renewed my imagination and exploration.
As part of these new changes, you will notice that I have also gone back to my original name of McGrath. So my way of seeing as a painter, a moving those visions to painting has been the bridge between my past life and the life I am now making for myself. The amazing support and love of my dear friends and family has made this transition possible and I am so grateful for them. So onward!
As a post script, the new subject I was working on is the painting here of the heron. I’ve not done any kind of animal or bird before, particularly in a landscape, and I have been quite pleased with my first attempt.
Bridging – Do you see what I see?
Hmmmm, probably not! I see the world in a unique Sharron way. Some see a sky that isn’t blue, and a sun that doesn’t shine as a gray and gloomy scene. I see a mauve, blue-violet and silver sky, backlit trees and buildings edged in bright highlights. Some see the shoreline as water, trees and rocks and more water, trees and rocks. I see soft, lazy ripples of water, golden backlit trees and sunbathed dappled rocks as my canoe meanders and passes by. The next dip of my oar will change the scene again into something new and unexpected.
My paintings are a reaction to what I see and feel about nature, places and people. I have a desire to connect and recreate these things through my art.
One way that I have bridged my art is by studying and using some of the work of Gustav Klimt to inform my own. I had seen some of his original work and found his use of paint and shapes to be very interesting and realized that our work had a lot in common. We both use metallics in our work and a lot of his imagery such as flowers, line and shapes were similar to ones that I was already using. I love to use colour and really enjoyed the bold, exciting colour that is often found in Klimt’s work.
Last spring I embarked on a series of paintings for a show that I was having at the University Club on the U of S Campus. I don’t usually paint large canvases and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to work big and explore this subject matter. I chose six of my favourite of Klimt’s pieces and did my interpretation of them. One way that my work differs is that Klimt did a lot of portrait work while I prefer to use other imagery to get my message across.
I spent some thinking about what might be in my toolkit that I rely on the most. Brushes, paints, panels? Then it occurred to me that what I use the most, and is the basis for creating any work are my eyes. When I began to learn about painting and drawing, I realized I needed to look at the world differently, not just gazing around, but looking carefully, studying light and shape and colour and how it all came together in something that would be interesting to paint.
Now, it has become second nature to be looking for that special combination of light, shape and colour that I want to paint and share with others. And it can be anything, from the jars of marmalade I had just made, sitting on the counter when the January sun came through the window to light them up, to the beautiful giant lotus blossom I came across at Boffin’s gardens on a walk there. I just never know what I’ll see next.
My favourite things in my artist toolkit are my irons. Watercolour batik is all about the wax, and to be useful the wax needs to be melted. First I have a small encaustic iron that folds down to make a small skillet for melting the wax. I then use sponges, brushes or stamps to put the melted was onto my paper. This keeps the colour and allows me to build up layers of wax and watercolour until I finish the piece. Then, I need to get the wax off. To do this I put the piece between layers of newsprint and iron so that the wax comes off onto the newsprint. This is the most exciting part of my process!
I will have an iron at our Open Studio Show & Sale on Monday, November 26th at Grace Westminster Church 505 – 10th Street East. Come see it in action between 11 am and 9 pm!
What I listen to while I work is as important as any of my painting tools; it sets the tone for the work at hand. I remember how easily a set of landscape paintings came together while listening to Ian Tyson songs about the northern plains. Hearing author Stephen Jenkinson’s musings on heritage makes me think about a scene I’m painting and what it might have looked like generations ago. Creating art alongside an audiobook or podcast, learning while painting, killing two birds with one stone as they say, makes for productive days.