Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
So today, while painting in the studio in the backyard, I heard the unmistakable knocking of a woodpecker - could it be, my red headed friend, Harry!?
Why yes! There was Harry - or not - let's just assume it was the same bird. He was so concentrated in his work, he never noticed me sneaking up on him to take his picture. While I'm alone working during the day I chat with the wildlife - the black butterfly that loves the forsythia, the pair of robin lovers that flirt and flutter around the yard, and now, my main man (or lady?), Harry. I love the sounds of the forest. The many bird calls are like a dense symphony. I put words to certain calls today - one bird says "Vick! Vick! Vick! Vick!" like a hyped up fan chanting the name of their favorite rock star. Another exclaims "my tea! my tea! my tea! wait!-wait!-wait!-wait!-wait!... (and as if on second thought) no,,,, no,,,, no" and yet another says "whaaaat?" like it's unsure of itself. At least that's what I hear. This is what's going through my mind working out there... I know, crazy right? Yet somehow this sort of stuff keeps me sane. Go figure.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The other day I got a new batch of canvases from Jerry's Artarama in West Hartford. I absolutely love that store and hope it never ever closes. I wonder how the economy has been treating them... I'm hoping people being inspired to make stuff themselves has kept business steady. I was happy to see a good amount of customers there, so fingers crossed I can rely on that relatively local resource for years to come. The University of Hartford has a fantastic art program and most of the youthful staff are students. I love the energy and camaraderie between us artsy folks. While looking for canvases a sweet older woman with sparkling silver hair was picking out a box canvas and stopped an employee to ask if they had gallery box frames for that size. They didn't but he suggested using heavy duty stretcher bars to create the same effect. She thought he was out of his mind at first saying "but the canvas goes over those" and then he showed her how it would work as a frame and she was so delighted. I had to comment on the great idea as well - I had never thought of that! She and I had a pleasant exchange standing there in the canvas isle.
I also noticed a woman with her husband picking out a frame for a gorgeous original landscape painting, presumably painted by her. I lingered just long enough in that area of the store to gaze in admiration at it. At the counter checking out, I had to hem and haw over my purchases staying within my budget - keep this paint, take out that 16 x 20. I'm over being embarrassed by situations like that. It is what it is. I've got 86 bucks to spend, I'm going to try and get $85.99 worth of supplies. The woman with her frame was waiting on the other corner of the counter watching my transaction with a smile and kind eyes. As I was leaving the store trying to manage two large bags of canvases and three 24 x 36's under my arm, she offered to help hold the door for me. She said something along the lines of "brings me back to my college days" and then said "best of luck to you" as I thanked her for her help. I love that stranger for her spirit, her obvious love of the craft, and most of all, because she thought I was young enough to be a student. ;) Weeks away from my 32nd birthday, it's appreciated!
the same enthusiasm for wet on wet
surprises in the gesture
the mediums we select
open to our interpretation and personal touch
the time flies
we'll try to catch it
(these are my words, the youtube clip is something i just discovered that inspired me)
Saturday, April 25, 2009
This painting had so many lives... I've been working and reworking it since fall 2008. Today most everything in the original got covered over. I'm really happy with this painting. I absolutely need a new camera because my pictures aren't doing this piece justice.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Lasting Impression - Mixed media on 8" x 8" box canvas, 2009
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Thursday, April 23, 2009
April in Ellington - Acrylic on 10" x 10" canvas, 2009
Early Spring Treeline - Work In Progress - Acrylic on 8" x 10" canvas, 2009
What a leap between these two paintings, right!? April in Ellington (my hometown) is the first landscape study I began yesterday - I had the vision of a soft, true to life palette and after working more on it today, I think it's finished. It's a good reference for a larger painting that could take more abstract liberties. I am not going to list this painting for sale right now (please let me know directly if you're interesting in buying it at firstname.lastname@example.org). I'm going to hold onto it for a potential show I'm thinking about of local landscapes in our town.
The second painting, Early Spring Treeline, is in a bolder style, more along the lines of where I'm looking to take my landscape work. It requires me breaking away from the subject at some point and just diving into the painting itself, letting it become something else, feeling free and liberal with color. This painting isn't finished, not quite yet, but it's pretty close.
It's supposed to be in the EIGHTIES tomorrow! Yee haw! I'll be out in my studio working on some biggie abstracts. Time to let the paint fly!
It's about time I took my own advice.
Scratch that. It simply IS time.
In the last few rainy days, along with sketching, thinking, dreaming, photographing and, oh yes how could I forget, all that other life stuff, I've been looking at the works of great artists I admire, reading articles and writings by them, and all in all feeling so inspired and connected to why I love painting so much and what I dream of accomplishing as a PAINTER. Not a business person, an Etsy seller, or any other limiting definition I have been affected by of late. A painter. I feel almost a little ashamed to have become so sucked into the world of Etsy and who's selling what and how and what's their trick and how can I do something like that. Honestly, forget all that. Forget it entirely. Etsy is just a medium like anything else to get my work out there. My focus should have always remained on my work and where it is organically leading me, period.
Lessons learned and all that... good ones for sure, I don't regret a step along my winding (or should I say, mostly spazztastic) journey. Right here and now I just feel like I'm in a new place and I'm thrilled, determined, and a little bit feisty too. :) Today I filled out the bare bones of my new shop www.JessicaTorrant.etsy.com. In my profile I wrote,
"At this point in my life and career, I am ready for a change. I have been churning out loads of artwork, hungry for what the next and the next painting will teach me. I needed to do this and the energy of my twenties demanded it. Now I find myself slowing down, not feeling like I need to go-go-go as fast as I can, multi tasking at all moments. I don't feel that same drive to keep cranking out art, that urge has faded away and in it's place I desire to make exceptional art that takes as much time as it must. Work that is given higher status than just a lesson. I'll never stop learning but I'm ready to move forward from perceiving myself as a student."
I am so committed to this new change in focus within myself, I honestly don't have any desire to do a thing with livefunky at the moment. It is what it is for the time being. I don't know the direction I'll continue with in that shop (it will continue one way or another) and right now isn't the time to worry about it. I've got loads of inventory there, and I can figure out the future for that shop later.
Right now I just need to PAINT. To really paint, and to love what I'm painting. To believe in what I'm painting.
I started three landscapes today based on the two photos I talked about painting in my last post. Already I feel that I am challenging myself in a new way and I can't wait to get painting again tomorrow.
I'll leave you with a YouTube view of one of my favorite painters, Helen Frankenthaler.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Here's a shot of a tree and shrub nursery farm - there are lots of those around here, in fact I grew up with one across the street from my parent's house (now clear cut with houses). The birds that nest in these dense plots of shrubs are so delightful - that's probably what I miss most about walking around my old stomping grounds. As you walked along the trail they'd flutter up and out then swirl back into their spot all the way down the line. As rural land gets chomped up more and more, I value the land that remains even more. I know the deer, turkeys and coyotes and many other animals and birds certainly do as well.
As I'm writing this, I'm watching Oprah's Earth Day special. The images of the massive amount of trash in the Pacific ocean are horrifying and I just saw some footage at a dump that is making me think a lot differently about what we throw away and how we can reduce our amount of waste daily. First things first. Plastic bags are a nightmare. Other countries (and San Fran) have outlawed the use of plastic bags at stores. I will admit that though I do deny a bag for purchases I can hold and/or put in my large handbag, and save to reuse or recycle our bags, I have not gotten to the place where I stop getting new ones all together. That has got to stop. I can bring ones we already have over and over to the grocery store until they fall apart and once we've gone through the ones we have, we switch to tote bags - end of story. It's not like they are terribly expensive and it's a shame that I haven't been doing this for years already.
Another way I can be kind to the earth is to STOP buying coffee or tea in anything but my own reusable mug! If I don't have a mug in the car, I don't need it. I'm guilty of this today and I'm looking at this throw away cup with a plastic lid in front of me much more aware of where it will end up then I was yesterday.
Monday, April 20, 2009
This beautiful hyacinth smells so deliciously sweet! The lime green ground cover is one of my favorite plants and the color combination of the two is just electric. I took this picture yesterday - it was a gorgeous sunny day in the high 70's and I was loving life. I woke up this morning after having a vivid dream of painting. I LOOOOOVE painting dreams! I can't wait to paint again. Weekends are family time and today other things popped up so it's onto tomorrow for a full fledged dive into working in the studio. Rar!
Meanwhile I am drooling over one of my favorite painter's, Wolf Kahn's work. I consider myself a student of his work, from afar, and I'm eager to get going with landscapes again. It's time. The only thing I wonder about is if I'll be tempted to return to oils. That's not a horrible thing it's just not something I've considered since I fell in love with acrylics and left oils all together. That would be interesting... we'll see. I think I'll be able to achieve the effects I'm looking for with acrylics and maybe I'll turn to a longer drying time acrylic rather than oil. Yes, that's a strong possibility. I'm rambling... go enjoy some of Kahn's amazing abstract landscapes. http://www.wolfkahn.com/. (PS - How cool is it that he goes between NYC and Vermont? LOVE IT).
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I've enjoyed painting flowers recently and look forward to do more studies for www.livefunky.etsy.com. I'm also interested in working on some landscapes this summer - I'll continue with abstraction always but it's good practice for me to paint from life in my own style. Hope everyone has a great weekend. :)
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I spent the day testing out different approaches, from ink to watercolor to acrylic. I drew and painted so many different leaves today but it was worth it. I've decided that there's no rush - take your time, work on what you are doing until it's exactly as you want it, nothing short of the best. That's not to say I've been putting out half hearted work, but I do tend to be impatient and I'm going to work on that. I was working at the kitchen table today and I actually had the bad 90's song "Don't Rush Me" going through my head. Not a great tune, but a good reminder nonetheless.
So it's official... I recently signed onto Etsy as www.JessicaTorrant.etsy.com. I'm going to be continuing with livefunky (downloads, printed products, small originals) and my new shop will be focusing on Fine Art originals. Part of the reason why I'm doing this is because I want to continue to experiment with fun, lighthearted projects and keep my serious paintings seperate, grouped together in one place. Let's put it this way - if I were going to a craft show, I'd bring along livefunky prints and originals, if I was applying for a gallery show, I'd be presenting my finest work (soon to be at JessicaTorrant). I have a series idea I've been working on that will be my first paintings to hit JT. Things will continue to evolve through the summer and the divide between the two shops will become ever more apparent.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Now available on eBay.com
It is a beautiful day today - sun shining, warm air - just makes you feel so good inside and out. I've been cleaning house today chipping away at my stock pile of artwork through the years, listing them on eBay. I figure they won't sell themselves sitting in a storage unit. Get it all out there!
Here are some pictures of Spring in my neck of the woods.
A little strawberry plant pops up next to the ground cover I planted last year on the side of the studio. Back in 2000 while living in Dover NH I bought these wild strawberry plants from a farm stand up in the White Mountains region of NH. They came home with me to Dover and flourished in a planter on the porch of our apartment. They came with me to Connecticut when I moved in 2001 and I put them by the bushes in front of the house. The first fall there, my father was helping me rake and he tossed out the contents of the planter out back. He didn't realize they were my strawberry plants in hiding. Anyway, those powerful plants had taken root through the planter and that summer came up strong as ever in front of the house. I transplanted a few to this studio woodsy garden and to be expected, they weathered the winter just fine. I love those plants. Small animals usually get to the tiny red berries, but they remind me of where I've come from and take me back to my days of wandering around beautiful, natural New Hampshire. (Don't get me wrong, this is my home. I love it here, especially right now).
Available at http://www.livefunky.etsy.com/.
bits and pieces come together
woven parts of the past, the now
and what is yet to be all come back to me...
the rehash of the replay
all that's been said
is content instead
what will be will be (she said)
and looking forward,
i'll fine tune the dream
forever in extremes...
you have my words.
This is where I am going with my art. I cannot hide or pretend or be anything other than what I am and I am an intense softy - or sensitivo as we like to call it around here. I'm a bonafide sensitivo of the highest order. You may picture a softy in demure pink and a cardigan, very polite and shy. I am not that kind of softy. I am a tall and boisterous, full color and bold intensity, heart bouncing off her sleeve into your face sensitivo and it's about time I unabashadly admitted it (as if it's been a secret... that's the funny part). This piece is my first step - just adding this poem with it on Etsy is a big step. I've been working on a special series concept behind the scenes and I want to include poetry into the experience of these paintings. My words, my feelings make me feel vulnerable but this is the direction of honesty I am called towards and I know I need to honor it. Courage must be met with confidence at some point in the journey and right now I MUST continue in confidence rather than courage. Courage inspires a movement, be it personal or public, but it shouldn't be relied on to weather the storm in its entirety. Confidence, however, is ready to take a hit or two and still emerge victorious and ready for more.
Artists, readers, how much do you wear your heart on your sleeve? Tell us about it. Inquiring sensitivos would like to know.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Available at http://www.livefunky.etsy.com/
Happy April first, fools! No, no, I kid, hopefully no one got pranked too badly today. It's overcast here, getting ready for some April showers, but the gray colors outside are nowhere to be found on my palette today. Plants and gardening are on my mind and I'm ready for some digging in the dirt. It's been a productive week so far for me and my husband. I've been full blast painting and he is getting into a good groove writing. He discovered a nook in our town library that is the perfect, peaceful environment to work, so that's where he is right now. We are both so much happier and healthier when we are working. We've also had a lot of great conversations about process - the particular settings and state of mind, etc. that we both have are different for painting and for writing and it's helped me more deeply understand our individual paths to really flourish doing what we love. As he sticks to a productive routine, it inspires me to keep going, keep pushing, there's always art to be made.
I cannot express how much of a turn around I'm feeling within knowing the winter is behind us. When those first bulbs poke out of the earth something clicks inside me that says - this is it, no turning back now. HELLO SPRING, I'VE MISSED YOU! love, me.