Friday, February 26, 2010

The Vegan

The final idea for this composition came after ruminating on it for a few weeks. Sometimes paintings come quickly and I rush to the studio to get them down and other times...well.. they may take a while to congeal. I've been disatisfied with the 'usual' and wanted to try something different so the acrylics have been put away for now and the pastels are back in use. This medium is the most comfortable for me and my favorite of all.... there's no hesitation about mixing to get just the right hue or tone when painting because the rich color sticks are ready to pick up and apply to the surface.. Only a handful were used because the terra cotta toned ground pulls the painting together and shows through in many areas. I made the support ground with Colourfix textured primer that was brushed on. Some of the brush strokes show through too adding an interesting texture to the pig's hair and skin.
Influences came from paintings by Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton.....and strangely enough, the beautiful blackboard menus I've seen in local restaurants, cafes and a big chain supermarket that uses painted blackboards to advertise throughout their produce sections. I admire the religious icon paintings of the Renaisance as well.
The pig's eye portrays a different feeling than originally was going to be more of a sneer...but sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
When I showed this to two dear artist friends I got completely opposite reactions about the meaning ...

On a very personal note. One of my favorite Aunts passed away yesterday at the age of 80 surrounded by her loving family. When I was a kid she was the Aunt who always laughed and played with us. She was affectionate, funny and will be sorely missed. God bless and peace to you Aunt Joan.. I do hope we'll meet to play and laugh again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Skyline Sleigh Rally

It's not often that one gets to see horse drawn sleighs up close and in use, but Skyline Farm and Carriage Museum presents that opportunity at least once every year. Today was the day of their annual Sleigh Rally and it was bright and sunny but oh so cold. The temperatures didn't dampen the spirits of the participants or onlookers though. It was a very good turnout of spectators and beautiful sleighs with drivers and passengers cloaked in fluffy fur hats, coats and blankets. All of the horses and ponies had thick wooly coats of their own. Puffs of warm breath from the working horses and the crowd watching the scene filled the freezing air. Luther Gray brought his team of Percherons and his big passenger sleigh so that others could enjoy riding through the snow covered fields behind the farm.

On my way home I stopped again to take shots of a nearby apple orchard. The gnarly tree branches and long blue shadows cast across the snow in late afternoon peaked my interest.

In the grip of a brutal winter like this its hard to believe these crotchety trees will come back to life and produce sweet juicy fruit in 6 months. This orchard will be green and the trees will be loaded with big red apples.

We do what we can up here to keep moving despite the weather conditions outside. Winter can be a season of beauty and enchantment and you can make the most of it..or not...I try but personally.... I can't wait for spring.