Monday, April 6, 2020

Creativity In The Time of Covid-19 - A Personal Talismans Shrine


Personal Talismans Shrine

In these uncertain times we find ourselves living in, I have been having a hard time settling into any kind of regular painting process.  I have been feeling scattered and jittery, and I needed a project that was simple and intuitive to work on.  I decided on this little personal talismans shrine project - a quick and fun way to express my creativity and make something meaningful to me that gives me pleasure, both in the act of creating it and in the finished project.

 I started with a tin box, 4.5 x 8 inches.  This box once held a rubber stamp set, but you can use a variety of tin boxes.  If you don't have a tin box, consider making a shrine using a small cardboard box instead. 

 This is what the box looked like inside.

 I found a piece of paper from a pad of designer paper I use in teaching my mixed media workshops, and selected this section to line the left side of the box.  Using the box as a template, I drew around it with a pen and cut the paper the correct size to neatly fit inside the box.  I found the image on the right in a magazine - I thought the sidewalk, trees and fence were pretty, and I gravitated to the words.  I love my words!  I cut this magazine page out and sized the bit I wanted to fit, again using the box itself as a template.  At this point I did not affix either piece to the box.

Alternatives to magazine images or designer papers could be old letters, photographs, drawings or other memorabilia that hold meaning for you.

Working on the left piece first, I searched for images in magazines, poetry books, and decorative papers I had on hand that appealed to me.  Using a glue stick, I attached them to the left page.  In the intuitive process you go with your gut regarding the selection of imagery, rather than spending too much time thinking about it.  If something catches your eye, cut it out!  If you don't end up using it in this project, you may in another down the road.

I did the same with the right page.  To unite the two sides of the shrine I had the image of the flock of birds extend from the left page to the right.  This gives the piece a feeling of cohesion.  In addition, the color palette is similar on each side, although not the same.  I used a glue stick to affix both pages to the box.

Below are some snippets of both pages. Again, here you could use bits of old letters, photographs, song lyrics, poetry or text to add special meaning to your pages.







The finished shrine includes the beaded baby bracelet from when I was born (a very cool item that is no longer given to the mother at birth, but these beautiful little bracelets were standard issue the 1950s and 1960s) a crystal that was given to me by one of my English friends for good luck in my travels home, when I moved back to Canada from England, and reminds me of the bittersweet day in York that we all spent together as my send off, shells from a vacation, a pink quartz necklace from a dear departed friend, a special rock that I picked up on a beach at Friendly Cove on Vancouver Island when I was 10 years old (famous for being the place Captain James Cook landed in Nootka Sound in March, 1778) and a necklace of a baby bird in a nest that my mother gave me for Easter when I was a young girl.  How did she know I would grow up to be a chicken fanatic?

These items were either hot glued in place, positioned along the ledge created by the bottoms of the box, or draped over the edge of the box or laid in front of it.

Now we get to the interesting bit about the intuitive art process.  As I was typing the above description I realized what the significance of all of the items, imagery AND the text on the left page is all about.  Until now I have not seen the common thread.  (The reason why I love the act of writing as much as I love the act of creating art!)  The birds and the text were from an article about migration, of both animals and humans.  The photo of Big Ben represents my time in England.  All of the items - rocks, shells and crystals - in some way represent new horizons and relationships experienced through particularly significant travel experiences and my personal migration - i.e. coming home.

None of the items in the shrine were selected ahead of time.

I say this so many times to my students - the act of creating intuitive art can be a truly revealing process.  When we let go of directing and actively, intentionally choosing, and instead just go with our immediate responses to our environment - which image in a magazine catches our attention, which things that surround us all of a sudden present themselves as a piece to add to a project - some kind of amazing synergy happens.

This synergy does not reveal itself during the process, it is only revealed upon contemplation of the process afterward.  And that, my friends, is the truly incredible thing about creating intuitive art.

The personal talismans shrine is currently residing on my dining room sideboard, where I walk past it every day multiple times.  It gives me pleasure and comfort, and it is portable, so I can move it to another location later on if I choose to.  Some people have an designated area in their home where they meditate, do yoga, read, or daydream, and a shrine like this would be a lovely addition to such a spot!

In these unsettled times, creativity - whether singing, dancing, creating art, cooking, baking, writing, gardening, or any other activity that gives your heart a thrill - can help us stay calm and grounded, and secure in our own selves if not the greater world around us.  Find one creative thing to focus your attention on and see if it brings you some comfort.  All the best from me to all of you.  Stay safe and healthy at home, and create!  xxx

Monday, February 17, 2020

Art Social Sessions Commencing in March at The HUB!



After a winter hiatus of percolating and experimenting, my Art Social Sessions are up and running once more, beginning Thursday, March 5th, 6-8 pm at The HUB in Cowichan Station.

Registration is open now for the March sessions, which will be March 5th, 12th and 26th. The cost for the three sessions is 75.00, and includes most materials. Payment in advance is required, and space is limited.

I have several small mixed media projects to work on - your choice, samples and instruction will be provided - or you are welcome to bring a mixed media project you have started and get some fresh ideas for completing it!

That's the ART part, the SOCIAL part is about connecting and conversation! Women gathering and creating together is an ancient and satisfying ritual...

"There is evidence of circle gatherings occurring as far back as 300,000 years ago, events that celebrated ritual, story-telling, dance, craft making and music. Gathering in circle is a vital element in human life that provides meaning, direction and a powerful sense of community. More and more women are discovering its power for healing, meaning, and making and enriching communications."

My two absolute favourite things, creating art and stimulating conversation!

To register email me at lesleyfountainstudio@gmail.com. Please register early to ensure your spot!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Even If We All Start Out At The Same Place...

...we never, ever, finish there.

I had a delightful weekend in the company of these three lovely women in my Intuitive Painting Two Day Intensive workshop.  I experimented with something new this time around, and had all of us begin with the exact same colour palette for the first four layers, and access to exactly the same tools and mark making items.

As usual there was a wonderful mess on every table, a sure sign that creativity is brewing. Yes, that is corn. No, it's not lunch.


And as I suspected, the canvases, even with the same colour palette and tools, varied wildly from person to person by the fourth layer.

  (Sometimes you gotta get down when creating!)

 Birds and hearts paved the way for houses and bicycles

Sometimes fish show up, and you just have to deal with it!

On day two we all worked hard, finessing the last minute touches on our paintings (plural for my students, singular for me - I never even touched my second canvas, so lost was I in my chicken/man creature.)

And here I would like to point out that with my demo painting, what appears on the canvas at the end of day one is a far cry from the end result of day two.  My angelic shapes ultimately morphed into a winged chicken, quelle surprise!




The one thing that brings me such pleasure above just about all else is the unique, personal stamp each student brings to their work.  No matter if they are rusty, blocked, or new to painting, they have their own way of moving the paint about on the canvas, their own choices, their own shapes and images that they gravitate to, their own indelible style.

By the end of the second day, seven individual creative works were completed. Along the way we laughed, sang, ate chocolate, told stories, and generally made merry.  One painting is rumoured to have been sold before the class was over!



Well done ladies, you should be proud of your work, and thanks for the laughs and song!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Life and Art - A (sometimes never ending) Series of Do-overs

Before - Nocturnal Dreaming - 2012

After - There is Music in the Spacing of the Spheres - 2018

Quite often as I am painting I think about the similarities between life and art, and never more than when I am working on a do-over.  I have discussed in other blog posts the concept of "when a painting is finished" and shown several examples of paintings of mine that have fallen prey to the do-over, sometimes years after they were "finished" (the first time).  As in life and card games, each of us players must constantly hold, play, and discard.  What gets held in the hand, what gets laid on the table, what goes onto the discard pile - for every one of us, every day, these "keep, play, discard" choices are made.  In a lifetime, we make millions of them, many of them unconsciously.

In art, as in life, we also continuously keep, play, discard.  As artists, our styles, palettes and subject matter morph and change; in response to events in our lives, new information, and the inevitable growth and change we experience as humans. 

The above painting, "Nocturnal Dreaming", has been altered, and is now named "There is Music in the Spacing of the Spheres."  What is equally important to what has been changed is what has remained.  Sometimes what remains - the "keep" - can be subtle, compared to the more obvious "discard."  This piece not only got a re-orientation from a horizontal presentation to a vertical, but the colour palette and subject matter changed too.  Spheres, a face, the inevitable houses - they are all new.  But tucked away and scattered all over the painting are bits and pieces of the original painting - altered, yes, but still visible if looked at closely.

I think about my own journey as I paint, and those journeys of my nearest and dearest.  Our reflections on what is working in our lives, what no longer serves us, and what we discover through growth and change, result in an unbroken chain of "do-overs."  From birth to death, we re-visit, analyze, tweak.  We keep.  We play.  We discard.

As an artist I may be a bit of an outlier with my continuous do-overs, but my take on art, as on life, is that it is never too late to enthusiastically embrace a fresh start, nothing is carved in stone, if you learn new skills and talents use them, and, most importantly, it's just paint.  The act of creating is the point, for me, not the end result, which is why morphing an old stale painting into something fresh and new by applying newly learned techniques is such a satisfying enterprise.

A special note to my students here, who so often worry about the end result and how they will know when they have reached it - just play and have fun, take breaks if you feel stuck, try new scary things, and if those things don't work do something else, and most importantly of all, don't get frustrated and paint everything white.  Or black.  Or brown or green or blue.  

There is always, alongside of what to discard, plenty to keep.

If you own one of my paintings, lock your doors. You never know when the do-over urge may strike.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Letting Go, Welcoming Change


 Alchemist of Change

Freedom From Within

Last week I took the painting Alchemist of Change that I had painted six years ago and transformed it. It even got a new name: Freedom From Within.

My style and color palette has changed over the years, and I felt it was time for this piece to change too. One of the things that is hard to do, in life and in painting, is let go. There were several elements in this painting I was very attached to - the birdcage, the bird, and the words embedded in the bottom right corner. These were two quotes that really resonated with me at the time that I painted the original piece:

Let your history be the alchemist of change

and

A diamond is a piece of coal made clear under pressure

It was very difficult for me to let go of those words. I struggled with working around them for hours, but in the end I let them go, and welcomed the changes that letting go brought to the newly transformed piece. Besides, they are still there, just hidden, which pleases me.

Creamy and dreamy now where it was formerly colourful and exuberantly busy, the piece feels fresh and new. The bird and the birdcage still feature, as they are the essence of the painting, as is the cluster of houses that I debated painting over but decided to keep.

Letting go of what is no longer working, and welcoming change, even if you have resistance. As a former student once remarked to me "Intuitive painting is like a metaphor for life."

Yep.




Tuesday, September 12, 2017

FALL GIVEAWAY FOR COWICHAN VALLEY PEEPS!

I have 7 paintings to gift to the first peeps who contact me to claim them:
(Update - all paintings have found new homes)
lesleyfountainstudio@gmail.com
or on facebook - Lesley Fountain Studio


 Challenges Are Gifts - 24 x 24   GIFTED

  Infinite Riches - 16 x 16   GIFTED

 Hopes and Fears - 16 x 16   GIFTED

  New World Emerging - 24 x 20   GIFTED


It's Written in the Starlight  10 x 24  on board   GIFTED
 
"It's written in the starlight, and every line in your palm" 
- Dire Straits

This one is a particular favourite of mine. It is one of the nine paintings in a celestial series that showed up a couple of years ago. Here is a blog post about the series, how it came about, and a little bit about the paintings.

http://lesleyfountain.blogspot.ca/2015/09/the-celestial-series.html

  All My Bags Are Packed - 16 x 20   GIFTED

Together We Glide Through The Blue Velvet Dark - 24 x 24   GIFTED

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Art Sale - Make Me An Offer (I Can't Refuse)


It is time for a big ole summer sale!

I have quite a few paintings stacked up everywhere I look in the studio, and it is time for a clear out. They are all shown below, along with their original prices, but please, if you see something you love, make me an offer!  I would love for these paintings to find new homes, if not I will use them as canvases in new projects.

Take a look below, then message me at lesleyfountainstudio@gmail.com or on my Lesley Fountain Studio facebook page to make me an offer. All offers considered!

I have grouped the paintings into categories for convenience.


GRAFFITI


 You Own The Story Of Your Life - 16 x 20  275.00

All The Time In The World - 16 x 20  275.00

  All My Bags Are Packed - 16 x 20  275.00

Saskia's Wall - 18 x 24  300.00


 CELESTIAL

Fireflies Tangled in a Silver Braid - 18 x 24  300.00

 Eight Hundred Light Years Away From Earth  10 x 24  200.00

It's Written in the Starlight  10 x 24  200.00


ABSTRACT

The Only Steps That Matter (are the ones you take yourself)  24 x 30  450.00

Pieces of Light, Love, History and Stars - 24 x 24   SOLD


ANGELS

 For Maya - 24 x 30   450.00

My Three Angels - 18 x 24  300.00

CHEERFUL

 Waiting Around For Friday Night - 24 x 36  450.00

Second Chances (diptych) 12 x 24  (total 24 x 24) 500.00


 Out of the Dark Soil Grows a Tiny Bud - 24 x 24  400.00

Challenges Are Gifts - 24 x 24  SOLD


HOUSES 

 Nocturnal Dreaming - 48 x 24   800.00

 
On the Way to Mairi's Wedding - 24 x 24   400.00

Together We Glide Through The Blue Velvet Dark - 24 x 24  SOLD

 All The Things I Thought I'd Figured Out (I have to learn again) - 24 x 24   400.00


 Infinite Riches - 16 x 16  250.00

 Hopes and Fears - 16 x 16  SOLD

 New World Emerging - 24 x 20  325.00

 Little Drift 12 x 24   SOLD

 Every Falsehood Reveals a Deeper Truth - 40 x 60  1600.00


ANIMALS

Menagerie - 24 x 24  400.00