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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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New work

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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

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

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