Monday, January 07, 2008


Today was the first all day studio day of the year, and by gosh and by golly it felt good to be in the midst of creation all day! Here are the stages I completed for the top layer of MASK. I must admit my brain struggled to control my right arm so that I didn't overwork the piece; I thought back to my second semester painting class in college, more than 15 years loooooong ago: I can still hear the instructor, Isabel McAslan, a fiery redhead with an even more fiery temper, yelling at me, "Oh for God's sake, Barbara, LOOSEN UP!" By the time I had finished my fourth semester I had learned to paint loosely but it bored me and lacked a distinctive style. I don't care much for the generic paintings visible on walls of numerous galleries throughout BC - all those atmospheric landscapes in shades of gray and muted earth tones; trees in the mist, etc. YAWN. They could have been painted by any of the dozens of painters attempting to emulate each other's style to create gallery-dictated works for commercial success - you know, those paintings that match the couch. The ancient Egyptians come to mind: their artists' paintings were created in the exact same style for more than 2,000 years, and where did it get them? Mummified into obscurity. Anyway, back to my original story... By my final term in college I had accepted my colourful palette and angular style and had created a body of work that caused my scupture instructor, Kent, (I painted my sculptures and sculpted my paintings) to refer to my style as "Barbarafication". I don't think he necessarily meant it as a positive thing (if you check the link above, you'll see his beautiful works are sleek, minimal, and lacking in colour), however, I was delighted to have my works assessed as bearing an original sstyle. Today I happily embrace "Barbarafication" and all the art-related deviations that created it. Indeed, I often maniacally laugh aloud, ah-ha-ha-ha, and rub my hands together a la Igor of Frankenstein fame, as I irreverently break the "art rules" taught to me in various courses and imagine the disturbed looks upon my instructors' faces. Breaking and twisting those rules allowed me to develop artistically in a way adherence to convention would never allow. Nothing flatters me more than when someone tells me my work is instantly recognizable (actually, I'm more flattered when someone buys my work).

Stay tuned tomorrow for another update.

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