Dream, Breath, Mist

I have just completed the newest of a group of paintings I began over a year ago. You can read about them here, here and here.  With this piece I am continuing the themes of meditation, contemplation, mindfulness and deep awareness and this time I’ve explored the experience of what the “inner” space feels like to me.

Dream detail

When I first conceived the idea behind these works I was considering how one image could morph into another based on the subconscious projection of a viewer the way a Rorschach inkblot is meant to work. I described my interest in the multivalence of an image and of the emergence of meaning that might come from interacting with the paintings that I had not expressly put there.  Specifically it was interesting to me that the image of the portraits facing each other might, more than just “flip” to the image created by the negative space in between them, but combine with it in some kind of third composite image in a viewer’s mind.

Dream detail 4

The first ideas behind these works may not matter so much to you at this point, except to notice that the idea of three levels of the image- one element, a second element, and the third element that comes from the combination of the first two-is here in three layers of the painting. There is the “back” layer upon which everything else happens, the layer of the portraits and a third atmospheric and abstract layer on top of the other two; a back, a middle and a front layer.

Dream detail 3

As I said, with this piece I was more conscious of the experience of inner space, which for me is very colourful and full of texture and movement. These rich colours and mistiness is what I might assume others experience in a meditative space as well.  In this painting  I think of the three layers described above as follows… first, the blue in the back being the “field” of inner space, the colour that registers after one’s eyes have been closed for some time. The second layer, the portraits, is the subject of one’s thought which is has form and description. And the third layer, the mist, is the abstract activity of colour and movement that comes with having one’s eyes closed for any length of time. It is this layer on top of the others that symbolizes to me the third composite image that might arise from the combination of the others.

Dream detail 2

By the time I was finished working I was deciding between three titles for the piece.  Dream (being in the blue ground of a dream), Breath (the portraits and the pink breath between them) and Mist(the abstract level of inner mind activity).   In the end I think the most appropriate title given the rhythm of three that is present might be Dream, Breath, Mist.   It is 24×30″, oil on canvas and you can see it now at the Jarvis Hall Gallery.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

Peace

Hi everyone.  Welcome to my first post of the year and I hope that you having a great 2016 so far.

I have finished the first painting of this year and the second in a group of pieces that I have been developing for some time. Here I described how I came to create these images and some of the ideas behind them. In that post I summarized my intent for the work as “metaphor for meditation and contemplation, for mindfulness and deep awareness and hope that the experience for the viewer will be of the peace and balance that comes from these things.”  The title is Peace and it is oil on canvas, 18×24″.

 

It has been said that all conflict in the world is, in truth, man’s inner conflict that is projected outward. This is the idea I was most thinking about while painting. There are many wise people who speak about the antidote to struggle and strife in the world is the cultivation of peace inside of individuals. As I worked, this painting came to embody the moment when, at long last, one gives up looking outside of themselves for peace and gives in to the realization the only place to achieve it is within themselves.

Peace detail 1

As well, in this piece I moved away from using naturalistic colour.  I want the paintings to speak about inner psychological space and to that end I am experimenting with palettes that have as a priority emotional and dreamlike moods, deliberately unnatural by materialist standards.  Of course, as always, more about these ideas to come in future work and posts.

Peace detail 2

I am very excited for the opening this month of the new Jarvis Hall Gallery. He has moved just south of downtown Calgary and you can find all you need to know about finding it here on his Facebook page.   This painting will be there on display for the next couple of weeks.

Congratulations Jarvis Hall Gallery!

 

 

 

 

If you look to the light in the centre all else fades to the periphery…

 

This work represents themes that have been developing in my private creativity for many years. It is the first finished piece in a group of paintings in development. I first mentioned them here in the blog when I showed you a couple of the drawings which were also seen at Jarvis Hall Fine Art last year. They are related to a thread in my creative vision that runs right back to my earliest days of painting. Being an introvert I have always been very involved with my inner world which is filled with rich visionary experiences and since art school, when I have been able, I have expressed aspects of this inner world in my paintings. This current work is where I have picked up the thread most recently.

This interior experience I mention above has fueled exploration in personal spiritual development, spiritual philosophies and depth psychology. As creativity demands, I keep watch for a visual form that will well express treasures found in these explorations. I discovered one and this is how this work began. What follows are the basics of how I understand what I am doing with this work.

A core tenet of my spiritual learning has been that all of the world -our reality- is a kind of illusion and our perception of it is really a projection of beliefs that are deep within ourselves.  When we deeply contemplate our experience as such then a completely new reality and vision arises. I look at you;  I become aware that you are really me; us two together, then, is something completely new. The two become one or where two or more are gathered I am in their midst and a new perception of reality is available.

One day, during a time when I was becoming familiar with this idea I fell upon the Rorschach test used in psychotherapy and realized it could be a perfect visual metaphor for what I was discovering. I saw that as the abstract inkblot pattern transforms to a representational image based on the viewers perception, conversely a symmetrical representational image could “flip” to an abstract one. This would represent the shift from conscious literal thinking to the unfamiliar indeterminate one that leads to questioning beliefs, revelations and new perceptions.

LofSR detail 2

So I began to compose images of faces facing themselves in the spirit of contemplation.  Not wanting to bring into the images any personal stories and to indulge my own spiritualist tendencies, I went completely out of my time to find the subjects.  I went into databases of public domain portrait photography from the last half of the 19th century for images to work with. I did not collect the names or location of the persons so they could remain anonymous and I could work with them objectively. The only thing I did notice about this subject when I chose it was that it was of a young Christian Nun.

Light of Self-Revelation detail1

I composed the images so that they are as symmetrically as possible so that you could experience the self-facing person as that, but then “flip” to the Rorschach-like abstract image which represents the new consciousness that may come from self contemplation.

LofSR detail 3

The final element to talk about is the abstract patterns that appear on the surface of the image. The old images I was working with had damage and dust sprawled throughout. As I was composing my pieces, mirroring one face into two, the “noise” of the damage made beautiful symmetrical abstractions.  This other layer of pattern grew to perfectly symbolize for me another layer of thought or energetic activity that is always present no matter what level of thought you are engaged in.  The interruption of random literal thought, the revelations that drop down in deep contemplation or meditation or some transcendent “rips” in our fabric of reality.

So simply this piece is a metaphor for meditation and contemplation, for mindfulness and deep awareness and I hope that the experience for the viewer will be of the peace and balance that comes from these things. I will expand on these ideas as more pieces come to be finished.

This painting will be on display at Jarvis Hall Fine Art in his newest exhibition Sought After. It is currently titled The Light of Self Revelation, it is 30×40″ and oil on canvas.

Thanks so much for reading, it was a lot this post, I know, and I truly appreciate your time and attention,

Janine

New work- Sun

Sun1Not long ago I finished this portrait of my brother Jarvis. It is 36×36″ and oil on canvas. In this work I continued to explore a larger scale than I am used to as I did in the last painting, Red Plaid Jacket.  This scale is quite a bit larger still. The canvas is 36×36″ making the head about 3x life size.  I am attracted to working on this scale because of the opportunity to get lost in the deeply fascinating landscape of the human face.

Sun detail 9There are hundreds of colours and textures there to capture and it is my experience that painting this subject is less about eyes and noses and mouths than arrangements of abstract shapes colours and textures.  This size of composition really let me indulge in this kind of painting experience.  Of course I still have an arrangement of meaningful items in the portrait besides just the face as I usually do and the passages that surround the actual head on the work also benefitted from my being able to stretch out and explore details on a larger scale than I am accustomed to.

Sun detail 7It is hard to see on the screen of the internet but it is this mix of representation and abstraction and materiality and idea that is so powerful in painting and drawing for me.   And whether it will lead to larger scales or larger compositions with the life scale I’m not sure, I am just really trying to be as honest with and true to what each work inspires in me. There are two or three in progress that I will be able to share in another month and strangely enough currently on my easel is a portrait commission that is a much smaller scale than I am used to with the head being only 3 inches or soSun detail 8

So there is lots of activity in my studio and the blog will busy this next while as many things come to their finish.  And as always I am looking to have more portrait clients this coming year and so if you are interested please ask for more information.

Sun in progress

I hope you enjoy these pictures of the work and thank you so much for reading.  If you would like to follow the blog, my Facebook page or my Instagram the links are all to the right.

Sun detail

Sun detail 2

Sun detail 3

New work

RPJdetail3

Here is the first work from my studio this year. You can see the preliminary drawing of it here.

After some discussion I have titled it Red Plaid Jacket. It is oil on canvas and 20×30” which makes the head about one and a half-life size.

Red Plaid Jacket Dante

I conceived of the work last summer as a piece which would embody some of my developing ideas about painting. Like many artists I think all the time about the purpose of visual art and its role in our culture, and because of my own creativity I think mostly of painting and drawing.    I am particularly interested in the capacity for painting and drawing to evoke states of being that go beyond simple communicating ideas when people spend time with work.  This isn’t any kind of news that visual art works in this way but I am considering what if this is the most important way that it works, the most valuable thing about it- that beyond the representational image, there are things that emanate from a painting that cause a resonance with the viewer or environment around it.

RPJdetail8

So in this work, through colour, composition texture and image I was making a piece that would emanate peace. As for the “picture”, it is an archetypal image of a sacred greeting so that the viewer is being looked at with reverence and is part of a peaceful and sacred moment. While painting I was focused on creating atmosphere of beauty through the materials-colour and texture-and order in the composition.  I was very aware of making a most honest and simple painting that literally offers peace.

RPJdetail7

Many thanks to my daughter Dante who was the perfect model and the work is available through Jarvis Hall Fine Art (link to the right).

RPJdetail4

RPJdetail6

Here are just a couple of progress shots including the gridded drawing under all of the paint.

inprogress

progress

I really enjoyed the scale of the piece and would really love to explore this aspect on commissioned portraits for those interested.

RPJdetail5

That’s all for now and thank you for reading!!

new work

head study detail
Here the winter was very long this year. Not as cold as the east but it was not very pleasant. Thankfully it has begun to warm up and the snow and ice are melting.

Since the last post I have been very busy. I have been doing preparatory work for new paintings and a portrait commission. Before I start these new paintings I needed to do a colour study. The source material for these are black and white and so my task is to work out a simplified colour palette for translating that material into coloured work. I chose a simple colour pose that I had in my reference folders to work from. The exercise was successful as far as my task went but I continued beyond what was needed for study and it became a finished painting in its own right. It is oil on canvas and the size is 16×15″ Except for a touch of Verditer Blue in the back ground the five colours I used were raw sienna, burnt sienna, raw umber, Van Dyke brown and white. This is very simple compared to my usual palette where I use many more tubed colours. More about the palette when I post images of new work soon.

head study

New website

Hello!

For most of February I have been working on a new website for myself. Most of my older work is still presented but I have shifted things around a bit. I hope it easy for you to see a good cross section of my work and I’m looking forward to adding new work very soon.

Here is the new address:

http://www.janinehallartist.com/

the previous address should get you to the same place too!

http://www.janinehall.ca

My last site has been up since 2006 and I am very grateful to my Dad who built it and maintained it for all of these past 8 years!