On Saturday, I had a little open studio since a few people were interested in stopping by and seeing the seven paintings I had just finished. It was pretty low key, but one fun part was that Marta Robertson-Smyth, who teaches classes to kids in my building, asked if she could drop by with two of her classes. She was teaching a class on abstraction and composition, so she thought that my work would compliment that lesson. I love a chance to turn the studio into a gallery.
The teens were shyly appreciative and the younger kids were enthusiastic and wanted to explore every corner of the studio. The number one question kids ask me is: How much do your paintings sell for? And when I tell them, the response is always a big gasp. I'm not sure whether this is because the number is so large in comparison to the average allowance or that they can't believe anyone would pay that price. Marta was kind enough to point out that my prices are very reasonable. Yet I do wonder why the finances of art are so fascinating to kids. Is it because they love to make art but have been told that there's no money in the profession? As a former fast-tracking MBA, I know that there is no accounting system in the world that could make my art practice look like a big success, yet I know I make more money than many artists and enough to continue my work without undue worry. But getting the chance to do work that is creative, absorbing and soul-satisfying is priceless.
So here's the new work that the kids loved. How to put a value on art? If you fall in love with a painting, it will give you pleasure for ever. Seems like a good investment.
Sometimes, I complete a painting and I fall completely in love with it. This painting is currently hanging in my hall, where I can see it when I walk into the house. When I tore back the layers, they miraculously created a perfect palette with the painting on top, a lovely palette of vibrating pastels which reminded me of the wallpaper of an old cottage, torn back to reveal each owner's redecoration.
I use tissue paper in my paintings and some of it is tissue I recycle from purchases, since it has an interesting pattern on it. I was very excited to get this striped paper from Club Monaco, since stripes add a certain stability to my random composition. But once I resined this work, the stripes seem almost to vibrate and the painting is now full of movement. I love the high contrast of the black and colour here.
This painting has evolved a lot in the resining process, I added red, yellow and orange resin which created warmth and energy. And the leopard print pattern definitely adds an animal element that contrasts to the line and circle composition.
Another painting which is making me smile. I found the expensive spiral handmade paper in Toronto and now I want to go back and get more. The spiral is the perfect pattern to add contrast to the open spaces in the artwork. Love it, this the kind of painting I'd like to redecorate my house around. Oh wait, was that the sound of my husband panicking? Really darling, who wouldn't want to live in a neon pink and lime green paradise?
My art practice is dividing into two parts these days: the Excavation series where I paint multi-layered works, like the first three in this blog post; and the Transparency series where I use the complicated remnants from the Excavation series to create open, transparent works like these ones. The use of coloured resins lets me achieve some lovely intense yet see-through colour.
Sometimes I agonize over titles. Other times I shamelessly plunder my art history knowledge to dredge up something appropriate. Marta, who was extremely interested in brushstrokes, complimented the loose strokes and compositional movement in this work. I was highly flattered to hear my work discussed as if it were in a museum.
I like asking people which painting is their favourite and why. My husband always gets a panicked look on his face, the same look that accompanies the question, "Do you notice anything new about me?" But this time, he pointed out this painting and said, "I just like it."
Really what more needs to be said?