Wednesday, April 16, 2008

inclement weather

Stormy Relations 12" x 24"

Let me begin by saying that I'm pretty sure the average artist as tortured soul is a myth, and that there are equally as many tortured taxi drivers and accountants. (If I was an accountant I know I would be.) That said, I certainly seem to field more than my fair share of angst. There seem to be major cycles, usually punctuated by minor skirmishes, but for the most part I think my work refects my sunnier moods. Maybe that's a mistake. It's like I'm trying to create an up cycle by sheer force of will and sometimes I just need to ride the down cycles. Maybe, if I accept myself a little more, apply a little more zen, I'll actually learn something.

This painting has been working its way out of me for a couple of weeks now. I have balked every step of the way and it has not been a pleasure. It started life as a pleasant spring thing, painted to exist alongside my other cottage paintings: a couple of cheerful houses in an old neighbourhood, comfortable in their skins and their companionship. Yeah, right. I finally accepted it for what it is and finished it yesterday in the turbulent grey tones of a spring storm on the west coast. Even then, I tried to cheer it up a little, probably because I felt that I needed the cheering up, with tulips and birdies and blossoms and the like. The only thing missing is fluffy kitties peering through the curtains. I haven't varnished it yet, so I'm tempted now to go back and paint out my sad attempts at positive thinking and really pour on the storm clouds and create some wind, so to speak. But then it occurred to me that this innocuous-looking painting is a perfect reflection of what I'm up against right now: a failed attempt at painting a happy face on a grizzly bear. A reflection of that struggle between yin and yang. Since it's not the kind of artwork most people will want for their dining room (too gloomy) or their wood-panelled study (too cheerful) maybe I need to keep it around as a reminder that I can't control everything.

29 Comments:

Blogger nadine said...

I love it.
The mood isn't scary... just complex.
And your grass just kills me.
:-)

16/4/08 1:06 PM  
Blogger Angela Rockett said...

ooooh...I love this! Wonderful contrast, and not depressing at all. Of course, you might have noticed that I like grays.:) I don't see any reason that it wouldn't sell, especially since it reflects the environment that the houses live in.

16/4/08 2:09 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

I love this too. It emanates spring. I think it took so much out of you to create it that you can't see it for all it is. And isn't the best art, the art that is uncontrolled, unrestrained? I think it could be. Obviously there's a certain amount of control, but when the art takes over, I think it can be a great expression. The loss of control made you uncomfortable, but from my point of view, the result is wonderful. And I wouldn't change a thing. Arielle was looking over my shoulder, and said it was her favorite of the house paintings.

16/4/08 6:00 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Unlike your previous commenters I have to say I find this one quite scary! Its the cutsie birds and the blossom that really worry me...

Paint up a storm - go on!

17/4/08 4:40 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

I love this-it reminds me of how much I love to be snuggled up inside when it's dark and stormy. My house would love to be the host of this painting. Let us know if you decide to let it go.

17/4/08 5:27 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I find this am as I groggily stumble to my computer, just to see that one of my favorite bloggers/artists has posted a picture of my old house in Tacoma Wa. Gloomy weather and everything (yes, even the lone bunch of tulips that escaped our mole friend!)
I would proudly hang that in my home.

17/4/08 5:29 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I say let the storm out, Andrea - don't hold back!

Speaking of accounting and torture - I did a high school talk for career day yesterday and I related how I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grow up so when I got into college, I signed up for business classes, specifically accounting. I wanted to be an accountant. After barely passing accounting 1 and taking accounting 2 for 2 semesters with failing grades, I WAS tortured. I ended up dropping out in frustration.

17/4/08 7:53 AM  
Blogger A Kite Rises said...

Is it a maternal thing Andrea? to want to 'make it better' - I wondered as I looked at your stormy cottages, which I myself love, popping in the blossomy tree and the little whimsical birds against the backdrop of an incoming storm? I think that it's lovely and very human to want to do this. To balance the yin and yang, next time you paint a Summer cottage, throw in a bolt of lightning and a tornado racing in ; )

17/4/08 9:00 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Nadine: Who knew grass could be so deadly? :)

Angela: Are you saying it's gloomy and grey up here? (OK, I agree, today anyway.)

Molly: I'm glad it struck a chord.

Caroline: :) Very funny.

Julie: I'd sell my own kids for the right price. :) But seriously: yes, it is available.

Michelle: Ah yes -- moles. Been there. And thanks.

Cynthia: I love that -- great story.

Ms Kite: Excellent suggestion.

17/4/08 11:18 AM  
Blogger girl work studios said...

This is a lovely painting. I like it especially because that struggle to paint a nice picture and not truly feeling it is right there on the canvas. Reminds me of Carl Schaefer and that his farm landscapes ALWAYS had storm clouds (people bought them!).

I think you need a true all out angst interlude. Put on your angstiest (new word) music, mix up the most horrendous colors and Pollock up a cheap canvas, sling on that paint like you're pitching for the world series. I bet it would be incredibly therapeutic and revealing.

17/4/08 4:20 PM  
Blogger Hayden said...

there is something vaguely frightening about the darker one. I want to call it "shelter from the storm" but I'm afraid that there is something bad lurking inside the house, LOL! 'enter at your own risk!'

but hey, depression is no stranger to me, and sometimes storms are refreshing - they clear the air.

17/4/08 8:27 PM  
Blogger Caty said...

It has to be the weather there....:) You really caught this grey that may stay for...15 days? :)

Love it Andrea!

18/4/08 12:55 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

I love them both.......perfect ying and yang. I always think where there's peaks you know there's going to be valleys. And control....the older I get the more I realize it's a total myth.
Love seeing your work!

18/4/08 4:48 AM  
Blogger joyce said...

But then it occurred to me that this innocuous-looking painting is a perfect reflection of what I'm up against right now: a failed attempt at painting a happy face on a grizzly bear.

well said. It feels so suspended to be in that place. I always want to hurry it.

18/4/08 5:52 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

GWS: Thanks, E. I would love to do that, but I have so much other stuff I SHOULD be painting that doing that would just create MORE angst. *sigh*

Hayden: That house: full of bad attitude. I really like to get into my work. :)

Caty: I think you're right and as a former resident of Vancouver -- you KNOW...

Melody: Me, too. I wish I could control that, though... :)

Joyce: I think the Buddhists are on to soemthingf with the whole concept of mindfulness. Denial and suppression is an accident waiting to happen.

18/4/08 8:24 AM  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

I like the way the two images are part of one painting and although the one on the left appears sort of cheery, there's a sense of foreboding and hidden danger in both. Your ability to paint something that is beautiful and appealing and yet full of emotion and interest--that makes the viewer stop and wonder what the story is, who lives in those houses and weather they're in danger (from the weather or something else lurking within) -- well that's really art, to me. Many can paint pretty, but to make something beautiful and full of feeling, that is a gift! Sorry that it takes feeling crappy to get there though!

18/4/08 11:31 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

you never know what people will like or what they might connect to.
I say just paint away. Get it all out and release whatever is inside you.

Keep painting.

19/4/08 3:34 AM  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

You can't control everything? Here I was counting on that.

Your inclemency study is very cool. Cool except there has been way too much inclemency around here this year.

19/4/08 10:23 AM  
Blogger albina said...

I think they are beautiful -- storm is just perfect for contrast... if we had no storms how could we know the joy of sunshine? Paint like no one is watching, like you don't really care if that painting will "fit", paint from the point of integrity... even if it is a stormy mood you are in!!! Though I have to say -- got a giggle out of "taxi-driver angst"... You make me think, you make me smile.

19/4/08 7:19 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Jana: High praise indeed -- thank you so much. Ask Van Gogh about feeling crappy and making art -- not that I would ever compare myself. Let's just call him a good role model.

Toni: It never ceases to amaze me how different my expectations are from the actual feedback.

Ian: Can you fix that please?

Albina! It's been ahile, hasn't it? And those are wise words of advice. The reminder I need soemtimes.

19/4/08 8:14 PM  
Blogger ziggi said...

the lights are on inside so I think the storm will pass.

I feel it's the first 2 dots of ...

20/4/08 2:18 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

I happen to like the inclement sky. The grass as well. The pink tree, while lovely, seemed a bit of a distraction in front of the house. Great colors.

21/4/08 6:28 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

I love what you wrote here. My husband has joked that I should do a couple of "dark" paintings and I disagree. Like you, I prefer to see the good rather than the ugly. In actuality though, if one were to look hard enough, they would see both in ANY painting.

In my opinion, that is the beauty of art.
Hugs,
a.

21/4/08 6:41 AM  
Blogger San said...

Andrea, I wouldn't call this gloomy. I'd call it pensive. Pensive is good. Pensive is deep. Pensive is wet and tempestuous. Here in the desert I appreciate wet and tempestuous.

What you have to say about the yin/yang mood swings is evocative. And I completely agree that visual artists have in no way cornered the market on self torture. Yes, let's leave that market for the accountants and the stock brokers.

Great post. Great painting.

21/4/08 4:07 PM  
Blogger citizen of the world said...

Everyone is prey to self-doubt and sorrow and angst. It's the human way. (ANd artists are not at the top of the lists for suicides. But psychologists are right up there!)

21/4/08 4:43 PM  
Blogger Catnapping said...

I find that I love grey...and grey days. Greens just seem to pop out.

On a sunny day, it's as though we can only see about 50 shades of green, but when it's cloudy, it's like we can thousands.

And grey days...I dunno. They're so good for playing board games and drinking hot chocolate. Snuggling, telling jokes...

I do like a grey day.

Your work, as usual, is gorgeous. I love your textures, and your sense of position...place, time, and movement. You just seem to ... know.

21/4/08 5:42 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Ziggi: It passes -- then comes back.

Paula: Just think of it as a Gothic tree on a good day.

Andrea: Makes me want to look at everything twice now!

San: Pensive -- that's good. I'm tempted to re-name the post.

Citizen: Physician, heal thyself and all that?

Cat: What a great comments. Thank you. And I love mixing greys -- all the different combinations and the subtle differences, eh?

21/4/08 9:42 PM  
Blogger Donn said...

Citizen Mondo is right, Shrinks finally passed Dentists as the #1 Suiciderers.

I think that what you are experiencing is an accurate protrayal of Spring..what is Spring if not unpredictable.

We are so delighted that Winter is over (atleast out West) that we get caught up in the splendor of the Earth reawakening..so much so that we are always caught off guard when we find ourselves dashing outside to take the clothes off of the line.

Spring can't get sprung without rainstorms. The idea of Spring is a Romantic notion of delicate seedlings wiggling up to the sun but the reality is that Spring has to fight it's way back.

Personally I would prefer to see more fluffy f*cking Kittens but that's just me.

21/4/08 9:46 PM  
Blogger Alda said...

Thanks for sharing Andrea - you are so eloquent when writing about your creative process, soul-searching and, yes, angst. It's quite wonderful, although I'm sure you probably don't see it that way, at least not now.

Hope the storm clouds pass soon.

22/4/08 4:08 PM  

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