January is Studio Month
January is the month of play, the month of research, the month when I leave doubt at the door, fling caution aside and run.
The January pieces are my compass works as they set the tone for the year and ensure that I am pushing myself to explore as a painter and they keep me on track. The year can be extremely busy with shows and commissions and it is the January pieces which save me, especially when my integrity is threatened.
The January pieces are raw and honest. Their goal is never to produce something suitable for presentation and the intention is not to produce something which can leave the studio but the aim is to do the exploring that will lead to new solid works during the year. The January pieces may or may not make their way into the Artists Reserve Collection, in fact it is unlikely that they will as they will probably not have the required balance in tone, brushwork and composition. Their intention is to push me a little further down the road, to keep me exploring and playing and to keep me true.
Looking for a string which ties together the inevitable death of the Vancouver Viaducts and painting by exploring the idea of complexity as a positive characteristic. This link will take you to the 2016 January workbook which is in progress and which will hopefully lead to a painting if not more than one.
2015 continued with the 2014 idea of adding a video layer and a story telling layer to the painting. I did not redefine the parameters as is usually my goal in January as video production and communicating a story through a website take time to understand and use effectively. I still need to hone these skills and understand their use and 2015 was focused on improving these layers within the context of creating an exhibition and exhibition website.
The Société de Francophone de Maillardville offered me the opportunity to be their visual artist for their annual Francophone music festival – the Festival du Bois. Preparations for the solo exhibition began in 2014 but my intention was always to use my January studio month to bring to fruition the successful layering of the tale which underlies the large paintings which form the centre piece of the exhibition. The large paintings from the now titled “Théâtre de la vie Publique” were only possible as a result of the confidence which was developed during the 2014 January Studio month.
2014 – I started exploring the idea of adding more layers of story telling to the painting. This was the year when, for the first time, I undertook a large painting and completed “Life at the bottom of Main street” 66″ x 84″. The painting was completed in conjuction with the first video which I filmed and produced as well as an attempt at keeping a studio album and blog. The latter were not successful but the painting was strong and the videos were effective, providing a solid spring board for the large paintings and videos which followed.
– 2013 –
10am. Oil on canvas. 24″ x 48″
2013 was focused on using white as a dominant colour. Throughout my education I was always instructed to use only a pin prick of white as it has the tendency to chalk out colours and to dull a painting. This advice seemed appropriate as a painter in South Africa but in an area such as Vancouver, white becomes more enticing as the lighting here is subtle, elegant and on many mornings the landscape is bathed in soft shades which are accented with the snow on the mountains and the white window coverings which so many strata’s seem to have included in their bylaws. 2013 resulted in ’10am’ which focused on tinting whites and supporting them with appropriately tinted colours which lay adjacent to them. Once this painting was completed, I took a moment and then applied more white which removed much of the detail in the work but added mood and complexity.
– 2012 –
MoMo guarding time. Oil on canvas. 40″ x 30″
2012 was dedicated to understanding monochromatic paintings which were composed completely of colour but dealt with in such away that the effects of each colour were immediately removed but subtly played with each other to create a painting which retained a vibrance not often felt in monochromatic works. “MoMo guarding time” was based on a moment in Marrakesh wandering though the Souks.
– 2011 –
A New Year. Oil on canvas. 40″ x 30″
2011 was my first foray into handling colour so tightly that the effect was a vibrant monochromatic work. I chose a subject which I had worked with on numerous occasions and one which I was intimately familiar with as we were living in Kitsilano at the time. 2011 handled delicate colour mixing and was the year when I focused on developing my brushwork which has lead to me being an ardent believer in the idea that the soul of a painting lies in it’s marks which has developed my reputation for strong, loose brushwork.
– 2010 –
Nothing – the painting which I had been working on did not work.
2010 – no painting resulted. This year I was attempting to improve my brushwork and trying to see my subject with new eyes but the final painting was a messed up canvas which did not survive the month.
– 2009 –
2009 – no painting resulted. I was just a little confused as to which direction I should take and did not produce a painting which was worth holding onto.