Sunday, July 12, 2015

Heading Back to Ventura

As I plan for the upcoming 2 weeks in Ventura with Katherine Chang Liu, it seems like a good time to assess what has come from last year's art retreat. There is, of course, assembling my art supplies and shipping them, packing clothes, planning transportation. But as I assemble the eight photos for Katherine's viewing where she'll help guide me on my journey, some of my own ideas come to light.

It was in Ventura last August that I started the Life Cycle Imperative Series. It was based on a simple question--what can a circle become in my paintings? Now I can't even recall how a salmon egg came to mind, although it fits with the river themes I've painted for years. However, the eggs, the salmon, the journey from river to sea and back again, all fell into place this past year as a wonderful analogy to my own life. The more I learned about salmon, the more I connected with the relentless drive within these creatures.

And so my paintings this year have been driven by the Salmon's journey from beginning to end. Oddly, I've felt that my last painting or two is the end for this. There may be another idea or two there, but I feel it's time to go on. I've felt both inspired and trapped in this series. A year later, as I look at the 10 large paintings (there are several more small ones), I see that I became more realistic than I want to be long term. My true artistic leaning is more toward the abstracted view of the world.

This seems to be a very good spot to be in right now. I'm ready for a new challenge, a new path. I expect the last 2 weeks in July to be full of creativity, fun and hard work. It is never very easy to change direction, but it usually leads somewhere unexpected. Just like last year's question about a circle led to a year of learning about, admiring, and painting salmon.

So in celebration of the end of the salmon series, and looking for a connection to my more creative and playful side, I painted a companion piece to one of my heron paintings. This gives me two new paintings in the last 2 or 3 weeks. And I have to add that I've truly enjoyed the challenge of painting these athletic fish in motion!
The Last Hurrah
29 x 22, Transparent watercolor
Life Cycle Imperative #9: Digging the Redd
29 x 22, Transparent watercolor

Here is the companion piece for The Last Hurrah, Blue Moon Heron.


Anonymous said...

My honest opinion is that the leaping salmon is better than the more realistic "making the redd" I think the sand, rocks, and eggs at the bottom ARE a bit polka dotty, even though you do get a sense of motion with them....but the abstracted one is more you and I like how you have kept some of the shapes but its less realistic and still a good design, color, etc.
Kathy Tiger

Unknown said...

I'm delighted that I've been a part of this artistic journey of yours this past year. I think you've come "full circle" (pun partially intended).

Ruth Armitage said...

I am in love with "Last Hurrah" - and the title is apt! So glad you have found a bit more time to paint before the workshop. I look forward to seeing what results from your time in Ventura with the many wonderful influences there...

Anonymous said...

Judging from your artist friends' comments, you've hit it just right with "The Last Hurrah!" And Kathy obviously knows you and your work very well - she thinks it's more you. It IS a fabulous painting.