Lost time…

Claire de Lune for Painter's Progress 6-18-18
‘Claire de Lune’ Peony Watercolor pencil on paper

I just took a year off from painting, at a point in my life when I really don’t have that much time left!! I didn’t mean to stop the work, but a series of difficult geographical moves left me without a studio in an unexplored part of America.

It is always detrimental to an artist to find the physical environment in which she works compromised. This is especially true for someone like me who, as an ADD personality, has only the most tenuous hold on discipline and forward momentum! When I had to close up my studio in the Belgo Building in Montreal and then chose to move to my daughter’s apartment in Dallas, Texas, I had thought to continue my floral and portrait work in Texas. Unfortunately,  I found the loss of the Botanical Garden and my Montreal tango community very disorienting. It was as though, with the loss of my muse and my audience, I also lost my train of thought!

Without the distraction of a whole new planet to explore (and Dallas was like another planet!), I hope to get back on track with my painting during the next five months in Montreal. Happily I am back in time for peony season. This will be the third June that I will be sketching in the Botanical gardens. This time I will be using the watercolor sketches as the basis for paintings. The big challenge with this is how to maintain the spontaneity of the sketch in the oil painting. And my struggle continues to discover my unique ‘voice’ within a traditional subject matter.

The one useful thing that came out of the yearlong pause, was that, upon my return, when I unpacked my studio, I realized that many of the drawings and paintings I had done in the past four years were not worth keeping! So ruthlessly I threw tore them up or painted them over! (The noise you hear in the background is my friend André screaming “noooo!”). But here is the thing, after a year away from the work, it is very clear which pieces work; and which don’t, which have the germ of future directions, and which are simply going over the same tired ground. The laws of minimalism and sustainability apply here as well as everywhere else in my life!

I am looking forward to continuing this blog, The Painter’s Progress. I expect that doing my work in public, in front of you,  my readers, will keep me honest. As always, your feedback is my inspiration!

Magnolias!

'pinkie' magnolia web
Magnolia ‘Pinkie” Water colour pencil and gouache on paper 11″ x 15″

Spent the past week at the Botanical Gardens. The magnolias were in spectacular bloom until Thursday when it went up to the high 80’s. I actually got to see blossoms open, bloom, and then drop their petals even as I was drawing!!

saucer magnolias web
Saucer Magnolia Water colour crayon on paper 11″ x 15″

The Garden also had some yellow saucer magnolias that were lovely but I will need to catch them next year.  Magnolias bloom before their leaves are out so the flowers and branches make for striking designs.

'Butterflies' magnolia web
Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ Water colour pencil on paper 11″ x 15″

One special point of information for early birds: the Botanical Garden is offering, if you are a Montreal resident, a card that would allow you access to the outside gardens between 6 am and 9 am every morning! It costs 8$ for the year. This will be particularly nice in the hotter part of the summer!

Un point spécial d’information pour les premiers oiseaux: le Jardin botanique offre, si vous êtes résident de Montréal, une carte qui vous permettra d’accéder aux jardins extérieurs entre 6 h et 9 h tous les matins! Cela coûte 8 $ pour l’année. Cela sera particulièrement agréable dans la partie la plus chaude de l’été!