Now that I’m painting again (and writing about it) I’ve started noticing that I’m finding inspiration for all kinds of things in the oddest of places. It’s like a little lightbulb flicks on and I have an ‘aha’ moment where I just know I’m going to do this or I’m going to paint that or I need to write about x. Even the inspiration for writing this blog just sort of popped out of nowhere. It’s not like I have never HEARD of blogging or don’t have friends that blog. My friends Char and Lyndsey are fantastic bloggers (Apocalypse Mama and Mommytalketc both here at WordPress if you’d like to check them out) so I always had that nagging thought in the back of my mind that I should blog…but about what? I’ve always enjoyed writing and my long-windedness is legendary (well in my own head it is, I’m sure my past students would be somewhat reluctant to use the term LEGENDARY…) but I’ve always been more of an artist than a writer. That is until one evening some friends of ours, Jameson and Amanda, were over for dinner. Food was eaten, dessert was had and their 2 boys were playing with our 3 boys in the basement while us adults (I use the term ‘adult’ loosely because we’d been planning numerous pranks on my sister throughout the evening…) while we enjoyed a few glasses of homemade coconut wine. Anyway, I also happened to be in the middle of drawing a portrait of their 2 sons and Amanda asked to see it. Now it wasn’t just that she wanted to look at my in progress work but it was what she said that would later come back to me in the form of inspiration for this blog. She said, ‘Can I see the portrait? I’ve never seen your process before’. So I’ve done work for them before, they were actually my first real paying commissioners and I’ve since completed a painting and 2 portraits for them in the 8 or 9 year span of time we’ve been friends for, but I’ve always just handed them a finished project.
(this one is a 16″x20″ oil painting inspired by another painting they’d found a photo of on the Fontaine Art site, artist unknown)
(These are both 8″x10″ drawings of their boys)
Anyway, that’s how I usually do things, show a finished work to it’s new owner or take a picture for my Facebook page or website once it’s dry and/or framed. Sometimes if said commissioner happens to be at my house they might see their piece hanging in a corner somewhere but that’s about it. So I showed it to her in the zombie phase (what I like to call my portraits when the rough sketches are done but no details have been added because, quite frankly, it makes my subjects look a little bit zombie…) and thought nothing of it. A few weeks or so later I was hauling the canvas that would later be repainted with my big tall sunflowers out of the basement (see my first post ‘Old is New Again’) and I remembered what Amanda had said about seeing me in progress. I’d been reading friends’ blogs earlier that day and then all of a sudden I realized that I did have something I could write about. My art: finished, in progress, failed attempts, all of it…because sometimes how a person gets to the finished project is just as interesting as the piece itself. Plus it gives me an excuse to shamelessly self promote and to gather different ideas or encouragement from others. I was also noticing that with 3 kids sometimes things come up and my various works will sit for months unfinished while life takes over and my site and Facebook pages stay sadly inactive, waiting for the next finished piece to pop up. Here I can also get the chance to revisit some of my past paintings and drawings that I have only pictures of since they’ve gone to new homes in the form of sales and commissions…and I kind of miss them, I get pretty attached to my art so getting a chance to ponder what inspired me at the time to create them is actually kind of nostalgic for me.
So there you have it, inspiration comes in all kinds of places, including the rearview mirror of my
loser cruiser mini van family friendly sports car, which brings me to my actual purpose for this particular piece of writing (see, not long winded at all…) my newest finished landscape. I was getting my mail one day (we live on an acreage and get our mail from one of the big community mailboxes) and as I was pulling out to continue driving home I made sure to check in my rearview mirror to be sure that no one was turning in off the busy range road behind me. I had to stop and put my van into park so I could grab my camera as what I saw in my mirror was what I wanted to paint. Across the street from the mail boxes is a pond in a farmers field. It just happened to be right in the middle of autumn so the leaves for still on the trees but had turned all kinds of AMAZING colours (have I mentioned my thing for fall?) and it was a gorgeous sunny day so the light was perfect. I got out of the van and took the pictures just as I had seen them in my mirror. This happened about 2 years ago (during that time I’ve written about when I was taking pictures of EVERYTHING in the hopes of getting back into my art, see ‘Something for Halloween’). Since taking the pictures I have thought about this piece EVERY time I’ve looked into my rearview at that same spot (and I pass it A LOT, you know, since it’s right by my house and all). Hence why I am so excited to post the finished (FINALLY) project (I’ll post some framed pictures as soon as it’s dry and all out together)
12″x16″ oil on canvas