|Shy Circus Girl|
Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about being an artist for a living. I wanted to be an artist as a little girl and although I have always created, I can honestly say that I couldn't really call myself an artist until three years ago. I guess I love that I have seen it through, that dream. I love that I don't have to regret that I didn't follow through on my dream. This came to me at forty. I realized that it was now or never. I am so glad that I made the choice for now. I love the magic of being an artist. I will never tire of a blank canvas coming into being. For me, this is the same with all arts. My husband is a song writer and I love being privy to him pulling a melody out of the air and making it something. We get to do that every day. We are blessed. The down side would be not always being able to get our kids everything they want or going on family vacations together because we don't always have the funds. Living by the seat of your pants, sometimes makes me feel like I am an irresponsible parent. I wish that this could be different but we are driven to do our art and this is the way it has to be. Recently I have noticed the pride in our kids when they tell people what we do for a living. What could a parent love more than that?
First of all, I a most proud that I have painted almost every day for the past three years. That is a huge accomplishment for me. When I look back on my past work, I am often proud of the areas in my paintings that I have left. I have a tendency to get very tight and ridged when I create and when I see a piece that has a great modulated line or a painterly brush stroke or drips, I can say 'yes, that part makes it all work together.' The push and pull of a worked area juxtaposed with a loose area in a painting has always intrigued me and if I can accomplish it I feel like I have achieved what I have set out to do. That feels good. Also, I love to play with colour and I am really pleased with some of my colour experiments. My painting use to be very dark but when I had my children that seemed to change. I guess you could say that they brought colour into my life. I much prefer my palette now and when I look back on older paintings have to resist the urge to go back into them with some bold colour.
What’s your perfect working day like
My perfect working day can be all day or merely and hour. It is more about being able to quiet the voices and loose myself in a piece. Sometimes I can spend hours just trying to get to that place and I am trying to learn that this is often a huge waste of time. When I feel this way, it would be so much more useful to remove myself from my studio and do something that is either inspiring or useful. Just accomplishing folding a basket of laundry,cooking supper or tiding my work space can make me feel like I have not wasted my day. Wasting time irks me and seems to stop me from being able to loose myself in a piece. It becomes cyclical. A day of balance is the best. If I have a day where I can loose myself in a painting and am able to pull out something authentically good, fulfill my family duties, keep harmony and peace and am able to make a supper that everyone enjoys in thirty minutes or under, THAT would be perfection!
Well, my muses are my daughters. They are the reason that I paint. I can not help but to want to capture their beauty. Artists that inspire me are vast.When I was at University, I took many, many art history classes. I often embarrassed myself by gasping out loud at a painting that took my breath away. For me some breath stealing artist are: Picasso (his blue/rose period make me weak in the knees). Degas (those ballerinas and the sculpture of 'The Little Dancer'make my heart ache). Toulouse Lautrec ( His fluid line moves with such ease, it shows what an amazing draftsman he was) Klimt ( his use of pattern and design and his red heads) Sargent ( His paintings are like dreams especially "Chinese Lanterns") De Kooning (He is so painterly and loose, his work has such an amazing energy) Jean-Michel Basquiat, Edvard Munch, Matisse, Chagall, Edouard Vuillard, Mary Cassatt, Egon Sheile, Modigliani, Emily Carr and so many more art constant sources for inspiration form me. I think that I took 15 years after university for my brain to quietly sift through all these great artist and now, subconsciously, the stuff that has stayed with me, the stuff that I love, is what I am looking for in my final paintings.
My studio is in the loft of our 1910 three story house. It looks out over the roof tops and toward the city. It sounds great but in reality I share it with the kids play area, the exercise bike and I don't have a sink. I have my dream studio all worked out in my head but I have learned over the years that if we wait for everything to be perfect we can miss out on a heck of a lot. I am more grateful that I learned when I did than I would be for any big fancy studio and possibly no inspiration.
|Lost in your dreams|
This varies. Sometimes a small piece can take almost as much time a big one. Something I realized this year is that my best paintings are the ones that sit around half finished for ages and then, in a flurry, I will finish them. They need to percolate or something. I often have many half started painting sitting around, waiting for me to grab them and finish them. I often look at my paintings longer than I actually apply brush to surface, for this reason, it is hard to say how long a painting takes me to complete.
Who do you think I should interview next
|Gillian Lee Smith|