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Taking Risks

Jan 24, 2018

A Love Relationship With Okanagan Cliffs

My first few paintings completed in early 2018 were a continuation of the love relationship I have with the cliffs that line Okanagan Lake. I often wonder what this affinity with them comes from. Is it the sheer rawness of their faces? That they willingly (or not), expose themselves to us and weather all the storms. Or is it as simple as that they were magnificently large and different than all the surrounding terrain that makes them so special. And while I loved doing paintings that suggest the cliffs abstractly I wondered if there was more I could do, with less of the obvious.

Exploring line, texture, shape, colour, value…

In this curious state, I searched. I have a constant state of inquiry running that often has me reading about, watching, exploring new ideas. And in this inquiry, many many hours of research later, I discovered a teacher in the US who’s blog I began to read. He reminded me of some of the principles of art and design that I had studied at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. But his unique explanation resinated with me. I began to refresh my memory of these principles to a deeper degree with a hunger I hardly recognized. I learned about taking risks in my art in a way that I had escaped me before. I’ve heard it countless times to take risks. Especially in art. “Be Bold!” But this time it made sense. I knew now what I needed to do. To embrace things I didn’t so easily gravitate toward and get curious, through my art. And using the principles that I was reminded of, this time, they seemed to make more sense while on this new path. This is where my new 2018 series came from. This exploration of line and texture, shape, value and colour was born. I didn’t feel that I knew  exactly what I was doing. But I knew it was exciting, it felt good and it felt right. And in art in my life, that’s what matters. That’s what counts.

In my previous series I’ve had similarly charged revelations. But this time it felt more risky. Things that I’d shied away from trying were now calling my name. Do it. Try it. See what happens! This is what I love about my art making practice now. It’s a place for me to explore. And even though it’s risky at times, it’s far less dangerous than mountain biking. Another soul love that I have. This was a place where I didn't need to wear body armour to be safe. This place to risk is a great place. 

Do you find taking risks in your life easy to do? How do you feel once you do? Love to hear! Please leave your comments below.

PJC Studio Notes: