The Colossal Canvas

“Confessions of a Serial Painter,” is a better title for this blog. I’ve tried to break the habit numerous times. I wonder what will happen to all this great (in my mind) art when I am gone. Most of my work over the past 25 years is in storage. Some of it is good, others are subject to interpretation. I’ve come to the realization that the business of art is highly competitive. I know if I worked as hard at a realistic business as I’ve done at marketing myself as an artist I’d be a millionaire. I’ve yet to figure out why I keep pursuing the illusive dream. Perhaps it is the joy I feel when I work with paint. Without judgment the color merges with the paper and I am in bliss. 


There are times when I’ve taken a break from the easel. Something like a voice calls me, or I get a nudge, come here Im waiting for you to return, to create, bring joy to your life using vivid bright colors, unusual shapes and texture. 


Artwork created from muted neutral shades is a fascination to me. I’ve tried to paint with a limited palette but somehow colors jump out at me. I admire and try to emulate artists that create beautiful paintings with fifty shades of gray. Give me red, yellow, purple, orange, the more vibrancy the better.


When I won the Creative Pinellas emerging artist award, my mentor suggested I paint a large canvas like 36x 48. I squealed, Denis, the largest painting I’ve done is 30×40. Most of my work is on paper 22×30, or smaller. My new canvases, two, 36×48, one 30×40, the smallest 24×24. I accepted the challenge and am moving forward slowly. For me it’s scary to try something new especially in a limited time frame for an upcoming show. 


I’ve been invited to participate in many art shows, solo, two person and group exhibits. I’ve always had enough artwork to create a meaningful exhibit, like “Fifty Shades of Red,“ or “A Bridge to Other Realities.” Now I’m faced with making finished pieces for a specific venue, I froze. My inner critic said you can’t do it. Nothing will be good enough.I made all kinds of excuses to delay starting my new adventure. I looked at the plain white canvas. When all else fails make marks. I used charcoal, crayons, ink, markers, and pencil and let loose (pictured.) I freed myself and liked what happened. Now after many layers of paint I cannot see the original marks except when there is light behind the canvas. It was a start. 


Being an intuitive painter has its difficulties. I usually have no preconceived idea of what my painting will look like  or what mood it will follow until I start painting. I did what I’ve  taught my students to do. Set up a design, I chose a simple landscape to start and to date it’s stayed that way. The painting tells me what to do. As strange as that may sound it’s like an inner feeling of knowing what comes next. 


Painting number one has taken on a life of its own. Its name is “Trapped.” I attended, Temple Beth El art show where I saw a clay sculpture which reminded me of an idea I had for “Trapped” but decided not to go in that direction. I looked at the sculpture and realized that I nixed the meaning that this artwork is meant to convey. It was like it was screaming at me, Go with your original idea. The final piece will be in the Emerging Artist Exhibit,  May 4. at Creative Pinellas.  I’ll probably be working on the details until the day before I have to deliver it. In the meantime I’ve been working on numbers two and three. I feel more confident about these pieces. 


Next: Squeezing in time. 


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