Friday, 20 December 2019

Top 10 Artworks of 2019 - Part 3

Blog 37

While I created both a variety of acrylic and felted artworks this year, I did not take out my oil paints except for a demonstration in a painting class. I have gotten quite comfortable with the OPEN acrylic paints so that I used them for all my plein air painting outings. I can see myself moving away from oil painting as I feel that I can achieve similar results with my acrylic paints and the right mediums. I also feel a strong attraction to working with wool. I see myself experimenting more with felted paintings. I will offer more felting workshops as many people have voiced their interest in learning this very relaxing and versatile craft.

In this last blog of the year and I reveal my favourite four artworks of 2019. It is probably not surprising that my two favourite artworks are portraits of my dogs. All four artworks were created indoors.

4. For the Love of van Gogh’s Irises, acrylic 16" x 20"

During the “Celebrate Spring with Flowers” workshop, we studied Vincent van Gogh’s painting “Irises” before creating our unique paintings. You can see that van Gogh's painting was an inspiration for my painting, but I also used my photos from the lovely irises at the Ottawa ornamental gardens, as well as of the rather beautiful dandelions in our neighbourhood.

3. Spring Along the Rideau Canal, acrylic, 11" x 14"

I finished the Ottawa spring scene that I had started as a demo painting a couple of years ago. The place is a park area along the Rideau Canal. When a family member saw me working on the painting, she fell so much in love with the painting that she bought it right away, which was very exciting.

2. Sweet Candy, wool, 8.5” x 11”

This year, I created the felted version of my sweet Golden Retriever Candy. I created the 12" x 12" painting two years earlier. It was interesting to recreate the image in wool. As I do not dye the wool, I depend on the colours I possess. While I can put layers of wool on top of each other to blend colours, I do not have the same possibilities of mixing a colour that I have while painting. 

1. Alex & Candy, acrylic, 30” x 40”

This is a very special painting that I created for my family. When I started the painting, I did not know that it would take me six years to finish. I had painted a portrait of Candy and another of Alex before. This time, however, I wanted to create a double portrait of the two dogs.

When I started the painting in 2013, both dogs were seven years old. I had no idea that Candy would already leave us just over a year later when she died unexpectedly from a burst tumour. While the whole family was sad, Alex and I were affected the most, as we had spent the most time with Candy. In a way, however, it was easier to process her death than the passing of our first dog Jessie. Alex still awaited my return home full of joy, even though I initially felt guilty for leaving him alone.

In 2016, I finally continued the painting but was discouraged because I struggled first with Candy and then later with Alex. Part of the problem was the reference picture, that turned out to be blurry, which I only realized when I enlarged it to see details of their faces. This was quite frustrating and made me lose focus. In the end, I picked another head position for Candy and re-painted her face completely. It was a little bit easier to paint Alex, as he spent his time with me in the studio. I was able to check the colour on my brush against the colours of his fur and could study the details of his face more closely.

Alex is now over 14.5 years old and does not sit anymore. He has lost all of his hearing and his sight has deteriorated. He has arthritis all over his body, but he still likes to go on our daily walks and to chase the cat.

When I look at my painting, so many memories of happy and silly events resurface, which make me smile. Both Candy and Alex had such different personalities, but they were a great team and a wonderful addition to our family. I hope that Alex will still have some time to enjoy his life with us. He inspires me daily to be the best I can without worrying about the pains of getting older.

I hope you enjoyed my review of my artworks. At the end of this blog, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for your support. I will do my best to offer you interesting content for 2020.

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