What My Paintings Revealed About Me

Progress shot of the 4th iteration of the painting


I'm slowly realizing that everything we do, every single decisions we make, says something about us. As much as we try, we can't really hide anything. We may think we can, just because most people are too busy worrying about what others think about them and most people are not present enough to really notice their surroundings. But if anyone takes the time to take a good look at someone, including themselves, they will soon see all the clues that make up their personality : the clothes we wear, the shape of our body, the food we eat, the music we listen to, the things we talk about, the things we like, the things we dislike, they all say something about us. With that said, I realized that what I choose to paint, also says a lot of things about me. The crazy thing is that it's subconscious. I didn't really see it until I took a step back and started to analyze my paintings and consequently, myself. Here's what I found out: 

1. The featured colour revealed my intent

A deep purple called Shadow. As soon as I saw the colour and the name, I was drawn to it. I was inspired. It was instant. "I love this colour!" That was my first thought. I had to have this colour. What does that say about me? Well, doing a little research on the meaning of colours, I found this rather interesting quote on color-meanings.com
The color purple or violet assists those seeking the meaning of life and spiritual fulfillment. They expand our horizon and connects us to a higher level of consciousness. For the same reason, philosophers around the world are often attracted to these colors. In color psychology, purple and violet represents the future, imagination and dreams. They inspire and improve our psychic abilities and spiritual awareness as well as ensure that we stay grounded and down to earth.
How fitting! I've been on a path of self development for the past couple years, going to workshops, reading lots of books and pondering on various philosophical topics. And this year I decided to start an art project called Dare to Dream. And here's another interesting discovery : I was also drawn to the name "Shadow" for this colour. If it had been called Eggplant or Blueberry, which can also fit the colour, I most likely would not have been as intrigued by it as much. But I do like the mystery of the word shadow and I'm all about uncovering and discovering things. 

2. The main subject reveals part of my personality

Why clouds? Why not landscapes, animals, oceans, places or people I don't know. I was just drawn to them. I realized that I was spending more time painting them and that they started to creep in more and more in my work to the point where I decided to make them the main feature of my paintings. Then I realized that it's very telling of my personality. I'm an idealist : Head in the clouds and feet on the ground kind of idealist. I'm always in my head, thinking, contemplating, analyzing, observing. I'm a dreamer by nature. I've been that way since I was a little kid. There are so many connections that are revealing themselves between my creative personality and clouds, it's a little freaky. Also, I recently found out that my astrological sign is an air sign. Coincidence? 

Cloud Cover Casting Shadow No 4 
Acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24"
$ 880 - ORIGINAL AVAILABLE

3. The topic of the first piece reveals my message 

So what inspired the painting? Why did I choose to arrange the clouds that way? I don't know. It was just a feeling. I felt like arranging them that way. But the more I spent time on the topic, using the same colours, the deeper I thought about it. I tend to create first out of intuition and analyze after. Now that I've done four painting on the same topic, a deeper understanding of what I created now seems to surface. 

Why did I chose the title Cloud Cover Casting Shadow for this particular piece? Why did I decide to keep the name Shadow in the title of the painting? I could have used anything, but for some reason I was also drawn to the word shadow. In my mind, shadow goes hand in hand with light. You can't have one without the other. This whole idea of balance through contrast is definitely something I relate to.  

If you look at the various iterations of the paintings, there are clouds all around forming some sort of container and there is light on the right in the back. That light enables the viewer to see that within the clouds is a little cloud, almost like it's protecting or hiding it. Why did I felt compelled to create it that way? Why is the little cloud in the shape of a heart in two of them and what is that shape in the other two paintings?

For me, taking a step back after creating it I see that as starting to reveal a part of myself that I've kept hidden and protected. Things that I hold dear in my heart : my art, my ideals, my aspirations in life, etc. Starting this journey of creating as much as I can no matter what is a difficult one because it's very revealing and when we reveal things we're often afraid of being judged. But at the same time, there's all this energy that's bottled in and need to come out and do what it needs to do in the light. It comes back to that first book I read a couple years ago, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. What he said in the book stayed with me and in it's own way, the words from the book have been gradually coaching me to share my work, especially this quote : 
Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got.
I remember having an a-ha moment when I heard a character of a TV show say that the role of an artist is to help people see better. That also stayed with me. Perhaps there's a connection there as well and way more for others to find out as they contemplate these particular paintings. Different people will find different meanings and see different things out of the same painting and that's really fascinating. If by creating these pieces I get to contribute to someone else seeing something better, then I've done my job.  

Check out the speed painting videos of the latest two iterations of Cloud Cover Casting Shadow to see the paintings in the makings. Maybe you'll get something special out of it too.

Mini version featuring a heart cloud.


Largest version featuring a blob cloud. Maybe it will make more sense to me in the future.

Cloudy Mind

One of the brains I saw last summer (Brain Magic by Janet Lage)

If you've been in the city this past summer, you may have notice quite of few sculptures of decorated brains around Toronto. These sculptures were part of the Brain Project, a city-wide art installation featuring 100 decorated brains in 50 locations bringing awareness to the importance of brain health and support Baycrest. Baycrest is a research and education hospital for the elderly and home of the new Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation. The brain project invited artists and sponsors to decorate a brain sculpture to be displayed in the city and auctioned off to fund Baycrest. You can see all the designed on their page (brainproject.ca/artists).  
 My favourite brain sculpture from the 2016 selected artists : (1) by Community (2) by Rainer Lagemann (3) by Vinicio Momoli (4) by Ekow Nimako (5) by Lisa Santana & Kevin Goddard for Unit Five (6) by Parvez Taj





















Of the 100 brains created last year, the 6 above are my favourites. I'm particularly fond of the one made out of mirrors. It's the kind of sculpture I would display in my home and probably the type of idea I would come up with as well. As it turned out, the Brain Project will be doing this again this summer and sent out a call for artist a little while ago for more designs and I decided to apply. It would be great to participate and share my thoughts on the importance of mindfulness for the health of our brains. Mindfulness in its many forms enable us to reduce stress which is a great thing because sustained chronic stress has been linked to depression. 

Since I'm all about clouds this year, it didn't take too much time for me to come up with an idea : Cloudy Mind. The idea behind my concept is to create a brain may out of polyfill to look like a cloud in the shape of a brain and run LED lights underneath so that it could look like lightning inside the cloud, suggesting activity brewing in the mind. 




My proposal for the 2017 Brain Project

The parallels between the mind and clouds for me are very striking. Just like clouds, our minds are immaterial. They can be beautiful and inspiring, light and airy, evoking imagination and dreams. On the other hand they can be dangerous and scary, heavy and gloomy, evoking depression and nightmares. Being aware of our state of mind, able to take a step back and not hold on to the kinds of thoughts that lead to an increased level of stress is an idea I would like to contribute to the project. I'm looking forward to see who gets selected. Hopefully I get picked but if I don't, I'll keep this idea for a future exhibition opportunity around that topic. Wish me luck :)  

Cloud Cover Casting Shadow No 2

Cloud Cover Casting Shadow No 2 
Acrylic on wood panel, 9" x 12"
$ 250 - ORIGINAL AVAILABLE

$ 250.00

CLOUD9X12001
VIA PAYPAL

What do you think about when you're on an airplane looking at the clouds from above? I think about a lot of things. My mind wanders. I remember once while observing big fluffy clouds from my window seat. They were so thick that I couldn't see the city under them. And I thought how interesting it was for me to leave the gloomy day before taking the plane and realize that it was only gloomy under the clouds. Above the clouds, everything was nice and sunny. It sounds silly but it came as an epiphany : the sun is always shining above the clouds. Just repositioning myself from under to above, it shifted my mood and that thought stayed with me back under the clouds with a renewed perspective.  Perhaps I took it as an analogy for life : whenever things seems to be going wrong, remember that's it's just a perspective and it's temporary. There's always sunshine above the clouds. 

Perhaps subconsciously this was the thought that inspired this painting : Cloud Cover Casting Shadow No 2 : A visual representation of the idea that often we let temporary things get in the way of our happiness and forget that just because we don't see that thing that makes us happy, doesn't mean it's not there. Sometime me may just need to change position in order to see it. Like the painting, this one was created using Benjamin Moore's paints called Shadow 2117-30 and Cloud Cover OC-25 as part of my Benjamin Moore Colour Trend Art Challenge

Prints of this artwork are now available on Society 6

Cloud Cover Casting Shadow No 1

Journal Painting for January

It has begun! New year, new art challenge. Before putting paint on a larger canvas I figured I would start in my journal and get a bit of a feel for the paint. I like how it turned out and I really like the colour combination. For this piece I used the colour Shadow 2117-30 and Cloud Cover OC-25. They blend well and like any acrylic paint you have to be fast before the paint dries. I can see some places where I can improve but overall I think it turned out great. Next will be to test this out on a small canvas.