I brought in the new year working on several paintings, and taking the children on a very long walk in the wind to the playground. Trudging up steep hills pushing both of them in the Phil & Ted’s was enough to just about do me in. But this won’t be a post full of fitness resolutions or new year’s reflection; I haven’t made it that far yet.
While I was thinking about art, my four-year-old was at work writing her first book. She is starting to remind me so much of myself at that age, when I used to do the same thing while visiting my Grandma next door, sitting at the desk in front of the window.
After my last post, I came to another grinding halt on this painting. As Anne of Green Gables would put it, I was in the depths of despair. Nothing about the piece was working. But yesterday I spent a lot of time cleaning the sections up and moving forward on several other paintings. I was feeling pretty pleased with it until I realized that the puddle at the top left currently looks like a fried egg! There are also other parts that need reworking, such as the field at the bottom left and the middle right area (my grandparents’ yard, etc.).
I’ve been wondering how I would portray our woods, which is situated at the top left of the piece. The painting is kind of an aerial view, but I didn’t want to limit it to being a realistic green bushy lump that you might see on a satellite view. After looking through magazines and other materials, I found this post card from 1907 of a woods from my Great Grandmother’s collection, which seemed to fit right in. The sheet music reflects the postcard’s colour and time period.
This is another detail I added to speak more to the use of the land over time. I believe that is my Great Grandfather and his brother with a mound of straw at threshing time. You can see there are a lot of other artifacts collaged in. Overall, there is more to be gotten out of the details of this painting than the whole. My process of becoming a painter seems to involve a lot of pieces that are trying to say everything. I hope I will see a transition this year in my work of simplifying and getting a stronger focus to my paintings. At the end of the day, this is just how my paintings seem to end up, no matter where I start. I can’t shake the need for texture and adding elements of the farm, the landscape that grounded me as a child.