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Posts Tagged ‘Creation’

A little over ten years ago, in December 2007, I started this blog. My original intention is reflected in my tag line: This is a blog about art, the environment and the angst of life and creation. This has not changed since and I still hold the views I was presenting in 2007.

 

I am leaving on vacation for a few weeks and thought that instead of posting while away I will revisit some of my earlier posts.

 

I used to write a lot about the environment, climate change and air pollution. I also wrote a lot about painting, feelings and life.

Magnifique
©2009Suzanne Bélair
Oil on canvas 10 X 8 in

 

So here is the first post I would like to share with you. It was first published on June 5th 2008.

 

Reflection on painting

June 5, 2008 by Enviroart

 

Today, I am reflecting on the art, on the work of painting, on the world of painting. It is often difficult to get going and start a new painting. The famous blank canvas… Some say that if you put a coat of background color or rather an undercoat, you erase the stigma of the blank canvas. But this is not true. If it can be useful to judge the tone or unify the painting, it remains a blank canvas. The blank canvas might be yellow or brown or blue or white, it still represents a challenge. Will that first touch of paint, that very first brushstroke be right? Will the color show how my mind’s eye expects or sees it or will it be totally wrong and send me in a tailspin of wondering, of corrections and self-doubt, of inquiring and research?

 

True, there is technique and we can learn to mix colors. It is an art in itself to be able to do this properly and rapidly, but the best way to learn and reduce this anxiety of the first stroke is really to practice, practice, practice. Some days are better than others but all days spent painting, each minute, are a step on the path the painter wants to follow, meaning forward, learning, progressing.

 

Just like writers are told to write everyday no matter what comes out to exercise the writing muscle, painters, sculptors, artists must practice their craft everyday even if we can give it only half an hour. When you love painting, this anxiety is mixed with expectations and questions. Expectations, because you want this new painting to be better than the last one, to be truer, to expose you a little bit more. Are we just asking for people to understand us a little better? Difficult to say…  Questions, because you just don’t know how your painting will be received.

 

Unless you are a really experienced artist, that knows what his public wants, it is hard to judge how the painting will be received. This depends on so many different ideas and criteria, that vary according to the individual staring at the painting. When you offer a painting to an audience, you are trying to touch the onlooker. To go deep into his or her soul and somehow touch a part of them, light a switch, create a “Ah !”  moment before the analysis takes over. Before they wonder will this fit in my living room, in my dining room? Is this the right color?

 

I think we are looking for understanding, for people to peek into our heart and soul, to share something joyful we feel in our core, or sad in some cases. The only way to do this is to paint first and foremost for ourselves. I think this is the main difference between doing artwork and doing “decorative art” or “crafts”. Unless you create, you don’t normally see the difference. Actually a friend of mine said one day that decorative artists are only “good technicians” and I felt a bit insulted by this statement. But now I see the difference. It is true that decorative art is all about technique except for those that actually create patterns and designs. There is a bit of sharing when you pick the pattern you want to reproduce or paint. But is nowhere close to the opening of the soul that happens when you create from your core.

 

I am speaking for me but there is no emotion when I simply paint someone else’s design. There is the satisfaction of completing a project but none of the excitement, no skipping of the heartbeat, none of the quiet joy of just working at transferring your soul to the canvas.  In conclusion I would like to say that the main thing is to make ourselves happy with what we are painting. I don’t mean to be 100% satisfied with the finished product but to paint for ourselves, about things we like and appreciate. It is not about painting what is trendy now if we hate it (unless we are painting strictly to make money). There is so much talk about finding your style and being unique, but each of us is unique and it is by painting what you believe, what you are, what you like that your uniqueness comes out. We have to live with ourselves, we are the only constant in our life and painting first and foremost for this individual that inhabits our body is a good way to start. So paint what YOU like and do at least a little bit everyday.

 

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Enviroart par Suzanne Bélair
 

 

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Today is one of my favourite days of the year. This passage from old to new, this moment when time stops and we realise we are now entering the next year, one always full of hope and possibilities, the new beginning to the rest of our life.

Since I sometimes have a hard time living in the present moment and enjoying life without worrying about expectations and commitments or what I could have done better, I thought of writing about the importance of this today, but it will have to wait. Because on December 31st, when the clock strikes midnight, this moment it is all about hope, the future, the coming year, and the events that will surprise us along the way.

I see the beginning of the New Year as a promise of an expansion of the self, more growing, more learning, more steps on the road to life, a new adventure, cheerful anticipation.

On a more global note, I am still hoping for world peace and the waking up of our governments as well as individuals to act in a more responsible way to save our environment and our children’s future.

I love to take a moment to reflect back on the past year and take note of everything good that happened, the new friendships, the strengthening of some bonds, all the new ideas that were triggered by the many encounters that took place in the last 12 months.

Happy New Year 2014 to all, may life bless you with Love, Joy, Health, prosperity, Happiness and lots and lots of creativity!

Blog-MomentPrésentEnergieEnSM

I really enjoyed painting these two small artworks. They represent the present moment when it is literally bursting with energy, when it wants to break free, when it is out of control, life, birth, the other side of tranquillity, creation and letting go.

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Friday evening was the opening of the theme exhibit I was participating in.

This art gallery is an interesting space. An approximately 40 feet deep rectangular room, a separation has been installed approximately 2/3rd of the way in. This serves as extra space to put up paintings but can also permit two different shows at the same time by different artists.

Going in, I looked around for my artwork. The room was filled with about 60 paintings and photographs of various sizes, most overwhelmingly yellow as the theme of the exhibit called for.

When I didn’t immediately see my work , I realised at once that the Janet, gallerist, had installed my paintings on the back side of the partition. I was a bit disappointed with this choice because you could not see my work right away when walking in but on the other hand, it gave me a whole wall to myself which made my artwork really pop. I saw that I was also in good company in the back part of the gallery where other quite interesting, even impressive artworks, were hanging.

In the front section, everything that was strikingly yellow was featured and in the large window, two small pieces were installed. I wondered about this but realised that by putting up smaller work, people strolling outside could easily see all the way to the back of the room and may be enticed to come in.

While seemingly similar, each vernissage has its own ambiance, its own vibe. Contrary to last year when I first showed there, I sensed Janet was somewhat nervous even if the atmosphere was fun and the room filled with people. What might have contributed to her uneasiness was the presence of an intrusive older, and quite weird photographer. It didn’t seem like she had hired him but he took it upon himself to take hundreds of unsolicited close-ups of everyone, including the few children, invading our space and making us uncomfortable. He was disrupting the mood.

He wasn’t alone. An old, witch looking lady, maybe his wife, was also taking pictures. She looked full of confidence, talking to everyone and inviting them to pose for her.  At least she was asking!

I think Janet might have thought the couple intrusive to the guests during an event  she was responsible for.

The rest of the crowd was your regular busy vernissage crowd, with some people talking animatedly while others were sulking in corners, holding their little plastic glass of wine between nervous fingers and looking around for someone to talk to, for a friendly face, but thinking in advance that it would be hard to approach anyone.

The family and friends were there to support their loved ones, which is always much appreciated, and were having fun telling stories and basically having a small party at the gallery. Some others were looking at the art and commenting with their partner or friend, trying to imagine what the artist was thinking while creating, critiquing the composition or colors, the medium, the size. Some others were carefully examining details of artworks that seemed more intricate. Most people attending looked like they were having a good time.

As for the artists, well a lot of us are basically loners. The process of creativity demands long periods of introspection and it is not easy to break this pattern, especially in a room full of strangers. Critique frequently turns into criticism. It is often what we fear at the beginning of our journey. What will they think of what I am trying to express here? Or am I even trying to say anything or simply enjoying the play of colors and light on my canvas?

Despite this, it is important that we, as artists, whether painter, writers or performers, put ourselves out there, find venues to exhibit and try to explain where we are coming from, what motivates us, what we perceive. And it’s fun to interact after being closed up in our studio. Each time, we learn something new, something of value that we can carry either in our work or as a life experience to move forward.

After each vernissage now, I have renewed determination to create my own thing. I am happy with my work, with my research and dedication to the technical aspect of it, with the way it is evolving and the surprises it brings. I enjoy sharing with other artists but also sharing myself with each piece of art, putting a little bit of my soul on canvas.

And the more I see other artists’ work, the more I find that my creations are really special and different. Just like I would not want to be anybody else, I don’t want my art to resemble anyone else’s.

Even though it is sometimes difficult to tear ourselves away from our work, the occasion of the vernissage generally supplies us with good exposure. And we usually walk away from these evenings with a renewed sense of purpose and a reminder of our own uniqueness.

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6:30AM. The sun is high already, shimmering on the lake. All is quiet except for two crows having a conversation over the trees. Yesterday, I was in Magog and while sitting at on a terrace along the lake enjoying lunch, we started to see the athletes participating in the triathlon appearing along the water. Their paddles hitting the water in unison, the first canoe came into sight. How exciting to see these two athletes so dedicated and focused on keeping their first place in the race. Everyone started clapping their encouragement. It was quite exciting. They were way ahead of everyone else. A little later, a second canoe came into view and went by. Again muscles pumping, heads down, focused, sipping on water through the tube attached to their reserve. The effort looked tremendously hard.

Dedication and focus. Why would anybody want to put themselves through so much work? What pushes people to go beyond themselves while some others just sail through life without wanting to do anything but relax. Is it what we would call an addiction?  This desire to surpass oneself and become better, always the best or the best you can be physically and mentally?

 

I do admire these people tremendously. The ones that don’t question their role in life, the ones that know in the morning they will go and practice for four, five hours in order to maintain their main instrument, their body, in perfect shape to be able to compete in whatever event they want to, the ones that have made the decision to focus and work hard everyday of their lives. I admire the runner that trains for a marathon.

 

Anyhow, yesterday’s race stays in my mind and I am reminded that anybody who chooses to better themselves can do it. It is a matter of choice, a matter of choosing to spend our time working at something or just looking at life go by and feel the frustration of being out of control. This can be applied to anything we want to do. I sometimes wonder about the best way to attain a certain result though. I know that when you want to accomplish anything, the only way is to set your life up in a way that you cannot fail, find a formula for success and stick to it. If you want to better yourself at painting lets say, you must take an hour or two per day to paint. Practice makes perfect like they say. Repetition, repetition is the only way to better our skills. Time is what we need to be able to try different mediums, different techniques, different ideas.

 

As artists, it is also time alone we need every day. I realize now that I love to just get into myself and think about future projects, about different ways of applying colors, about all kinds of things. Reflecting on life and on art.  Even if I often feel as if it is a waste of time, I know it is all part of the art process. This way of viewing thoughtful reflecting as a waste of time is based on society’s expectations that you must do something that can be seen all the time. You must be productive or else.  For us artists, this reflection time is part of our work It is the flexing of our creative muscle. That is why dedication and focus are so important. In order to make our art vibrant and continuous, we need to spend some time thinking and refilling our inspiration cup.

 

I met another artist last Friday and we talked about this. He kept telling me he has not been painting in over a year because he is not getting any inspiration.” Inspiration, he said, is what I am missing”. I tried to tell him that inspiration or not, he should be working because it is often while you work that you get inspired. I think inspiration is overrated. You can feel inspired all you want but if you don’t pick up that paint brush, that pencil or whatever you work with, you won’t achieve anything. Nothing will get done. It is more dedication and focus you need once you make the decision to go in one direction or another. The first step is always to decide. Like the athlete makes the decision one day to send his life in one direction over another, us artist, must decide that our art is more important than certain other ways to spend our time. We must spend time thinking about but also physically working on our art.

 

It is by first by deciding, second by being dedicated, that we can accomplish ANYTHING.

 

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Today, I am reflecting on the art, on the work of painting, on the world of painting. It is often difficult to get going and start a new painting. The famous blank canvas… Some say that if you put a coat of background color or rather an undercoat, you erase the stigma of the blank canvas. But this is not true. If it can be useful to judge the tone or unify the painting, it remains a blank canvas. The blank canvas might be yellow or brown or blue or white, it still represents a challenge. Will that first touch of paint, that very first brushstroke be right? Will the color show how my mind’s eye expects or sees it or will it be totally wrong and send me in a tailspin of wondering, of corrections and self-doubt, of inquiring and research?

 

True, there is technique and we can learn to mix colors. It is an art in itself to be able to do this properly and rapidly, but the best way to learn and reduce this anxiety of the first stroke is really to practice, practice, practice. Some days are better than others but all days spent painting, each minute, are a step on the path the painter wants to follow, meaning forward, learning, progressing.

 

Just like writers are told to write everyday no matter what comes out to exercise the writing muscle, painters, sculptors, artists must practice their craft everyday even if we can give it only half an hour. When you love painting, this anxiety is mixed with expectations and questions. Expectations, because you want this new painting to be better than the last one, to be truer, to expose you a little bit more. Are we just asking for people to understand us a little better? Difficult to say…  Questions, because you just don’t know how your painting will be received.

 

Unless you are a really experienced artist, that knows what his public wants, it is hard to judge how the painting will be received. This depends on so many different ideas and criteria, that vary according to the individual staring at the painting. When you offer a painting to an audience, you are trying to touch the onlooker. To go deep into his or her soul and somehow touch a part of them, light a switch, create a “Ah !”  moment before the analysis takes over. Before they wonder will this fit in my living room, in my dining room? Is this the right color?

 

I think we are looking for understanding, for people to peek into our heart and soul, to share something joyful we feel in our core, or sad in some cases. The only way to do this is to paint first and foremost for ourselves. I think this is the main difference between doing artwork and doing “decorative art” or “crafts”. Unless you create, you don’t normally see the difference. Actually a friend of mine said one day that decorative artists are only “good technicians” and I felt a bit insulted by this statement. But now I see the difference. It is true that decorative art is all about technique except for those that actually create patterns and designs. There is a bit of sharing when you pick the pattern you want to reproduce or paint. But is nowhere close to the opening of the soul that happens when you create from your core.

 

I am speaking for me but there is no emotion when I simply paint someone else’s design. There is the satisfaction of completing a project but none of the excitement, no skipping of the heartbeat, none of the quiet joy of just working at transferring your soul to the canvas.  In conclusion I would like to say that the main thing is to make ourselves happy with what we are painting. I don’t mean to be 100% satisfied with the finished product but to paint for ourselves, about things we like and appreciate. It is not about painting what is trendy now if we hate it (unless we are painting strictly to make money). There is so much talk about finding your style and being unique, but each of us is unique and it is by painting what you believe, what you are, what you like that your uniqueness comes out. We have to live with ourselves, we are the only constant in our life and painting first and foremost for this individual that inhabits our body is a good way to start. So paint what YOU like and do at least a little bit everyday.

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