Monday, January 18, 2016

light and dark, past and present

Hello folks...
I've been thinking a lot lately.
Thinking about what stories I want to tell.
What stories want to be told.
I haven't felt inspired to do much painting
and although i have been writing,
It feels like I've been thinking more than doing.
Started the day wanting to clear out some things
in my blue room 
and then I found this.
This is Liz - in all her glory.
This photo is so her.
She's been gone since 2011 already.
Hard to believe.
I think of her often
and sometimes I write her a letter,
just like we used to do 
when she lived far away from home.
It's hard to process such a loss
even after years have passed.
She had sent me some of her photos
when she was studying her craft in Ontario.
She and I were studying at the same time.
(she in photography & I in graphic design)

She had a way of capturing light and shadows
that always made my jaw drop.
The light and the dark.
She was always able
to see this in people as well.
The good and the bad.
She believed EVERYONE was salvageable.
Regardless of what you had done in your past.
And this unexpected surprise
on a trip to St-Martin's, here in New Brunswick
when all she was aiming for
was the lighthouse and the water.
I love sorting things out like this
because I always find
things I'd forgotten I had
and it always gives me perspective
on where I've been
and where I'm going.
Past and present.
Like finding this...
It's a pencil drawing I did of Brother André (Frère André).
My grandmother Leger loved him
so i drew this for her when I was 19.
When Mémére Leger died,
I gave it to mom and she kept it in a frame.
And now it's here with me again.
I'll need to iron out the paper
and put it in a frame again.
I used to love doing detailed portraits like this.
Now - not so much.
Back when i signed my work
like i was fucking Picasso!
My lovely niece Melissa got me this for Christmas
(and other fun stuff too!)
It's a pencil case
but i hung it like a work of art for now.
And the print on the left
is something I found on ETSY
by an artist in Germany.
It's an illustration of Paris (Montmartre).
I love it.
You can find her art here.
If I don't find inspiration,
who will?
Years ago, I used to love portraits
that looked like photographs (like the Frère André one)
now, I love these kinds of portraits
because they are all about imagination and feeling
rather than just "draw what you see".
Jean-Michel Basquiat was a genius
when it came to playing with color and composition.
Not everyone would agree
but that's ok. ;)

I love his stuff anyway.

Doing a portrait that looks like a photograph
is something that anyone can learn.
(yes, that means you!)
They only need to be willing
to put in the hours
to practice their skill.
It doesn't mean it's any less 'art',
but it just impresses me less now.
I just think that doing something like this (below)
requires far more confidence
and imagination
and skill
and courage as an artist.
I always feel like I'm getting
an intimate look
into the soul of the artist
when i see something like this.

Into his heart.

Into his mind.
There is a quote by Leonardo da Vinci that I love:
Where the spirit does not work with the hand
there is no art.
That's what this is to me.
A painting with spirit.
Van Gogh may have had a broken spirit,
but this portrait was done nonetheless
with heart and not just with hand.
You can feel it.

When you begin as an artist,
it's important to be able to paint an apple
that looks like an apple.
But eventually, if you stick with art long enough,
you're gonna want to paint that apple
the way you feel it,
not the way you see it.
You're gonna want to give more life to the apple
than what you see with your eyes.

And you're gonna start looking for paintings 
that make you feel something
rather than those that look like photographs.
At least I hope so. :)

I may have shared this video already
but it's filled with Van Gogh's work
and a beautiful Don McLean song,
so I'm sharing it again.
Thanks for being here!


  1. It is always so good to visit your blog. Thank you for sharing wise, inspiring and touching thoughts and art.

    1. Thank you Aga! Always nice to see you here. :) xx

  2. Hi Pauline. OMG! I so love, love, love this post (no surprises here:). And what's not to love? Your niece's wonderful Christmas present, your 'thinking' and 'feeling' musings and to top it all--this beautiful video. Thank you for inspiring me to sort through all the stuff that's piling up in my work area! Have a lovely Wednesday. xx

    1. oh Arti, thank you! It always means a lot to me whenever I see your words here. Yes, it's good that you look through your 'stuff'. We sometimes surprise ourselves. I'm sure your 'pile' is filled with beautiful words & stories. :) Enjoy the day, my dear friend. xx

  3. Yes yes yes! And that Da Vinci quote is one of my faves. So so with you on the painting what you feel rather than what you see.

  4. I'm sorry for your loss. Liz looked liked a vibrant and talented person. Thanks for this. xo