If I plan to leave the house by 7, I need to be up early enough to consume copious amounts of coffee before springing into action an hour later, time for a fast shower and pulling myself together to fly out the door. I can’t even remember how this worked when I had an actual schedule but this is how is sort of goes now. The hour of caffeine and scrolling my computer screen, a walk through checking all the window views to see if wildlife is visiting, and finally on my way I remember I am excited to be going. As the drive is an hour and change I always enjoy car pooling with like minded friends to save gas and build energy, the chatter builds atmosphere. Saturday was a pretty though brisk day and we were pumped to hear the speakers at the Oasis symposium and to watch the demos in the afternoon. If you aren’t into visual arts, it might seem equal to the excitement of watching paint dry but there is a range of presentation styles to suit most viewers and I know from dragging a reluctant husband through more than one of these deals, you don’t have to be a painter to engage. I think of Robert Genn or Robert Bateman, both lectures shared with and enjoyed by my non painter husband. You don’t have to be a painter, but it probably helps (permission to bail here). I didn’t bring my camera as a conscious choice, so this is a story with word.
The first of the three artists to speak was Andrew McDermott. He gave a wonderful story supported with a slide show of his personal history as an artist known for his vivid pastel and acrylic paintings though he also showed beautiful oils. His range is broad in subject matter with a preference to city scapes, water views with reflected color and life drawing that haunts my life drawing sessions with images of how it could look. I appreciate most art but find myself looking for familiarity, what is like my vision – as such found myself drawn to beautiful black and whites with just a hint of color. The phrase I took from this speaker was, paint what you love. Simple and familiar but if I had a tape of the delivery you would understand how sincere and while simple, profound this statement was. Paint what you love. I will leave this part here.
The next speaker was the dynamic Charlie Easton who spoke about the journey from the UK to Canada, his family history full of artists and his personal path as a landscape painter. He shared a slide show of plein air experiences from mountain tops to lakesides that inspired the question, how do you get your stuff there! From Mr. Easton, I enjoyed the inclusion of a personal motto, maximum fun, minimal fuss, (though I think I have messed up the words a bit as I do not take notes, but that was the intent). The words I took for myself are ones I have experienced as a photographer. If you do not come away with a painting that is to keep, come away with the experience.
It will be hard for me to be concise with what I share from the presentation from Ingrid Christensen because I found her words a personal gift. I have admired her beautiful loosely rendered but wonderfully accurate figurative and portrait paintings for some time. It isn’t a style I have worked with to date but would like to explore. Bold confident brush strokes and color magic, who wouldn’t! If you know me and have been present through a rant on my sense of how limiting and detrimental to personal growth expectations can be around keeping work within a spectrum you can imagine how freeing it would feel to hear expressed as the artist, your opinion is the only one that matters. This of course may not lead to commercial success or accolades but it is about artistic integrity. Her presentation on how we become the artists we are was fascinating and I will look for a follow up text to allow the ideas to plant seeds of questions to ask myself. It only matters, what you think in regard to your work and your journey as a painter.
As mentioned early in, I did not bring my camera to this event. My daughter sent me texts throughout the afternoon of a chrysalis opening. The beautiful luminescent wings of a cicada entering the atmosphere. New life is always a celebration. All life is beautiful. I felt an actual pang of regret in being unable to be in two places at once, indoors at a lecture series I was deeply enjoying, outdoors in the sun miles away. When I sat down to write these words I wondered how I would decorate the page and then the perfection of the phone snaps my daughter shared came to mind. We are all if we are lucky on this painters path emerging artists. To stagnate for fear of trying something new would be a kind of injury to the spirit. An 11 hour art day concluded with addition of a concert shared with my husband sinking deeply into the soft cushions of a sofa in the casually beautiful setting at the ugly mug. Listening to local musicians, my heart felt so in awe of the breadth of creative energy. May we all find the freedom to continually stretch and grow.