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Windows of Story Island

 

17701 Windows on Story Island acryl canv 36x36

Windows on Story Island, acrylic on canvas, 36×36

This painting began as a series of 8 rectangles each containing an image inspired by visits to Monhegan Island, Maine. The colors were quite intense and rich–see below.

Story Island process

Original look at the painting process 36×36, acrylic on canvas, Story Island. Large photo above is final image.

I made individual paintings based on a few of the squares but was still not entirely happy with the overall large painting–too much going on, not enough integration, too many ideas. So simplification became the mantra for a revision.

As time goes by and I learn and incorporate new aspects of artmaking into my work I discover things that will help improve or change some of my earlier works. this is a good example of this process.

I began by eliminating areas of the painting that I was no longer happy with–whether it be color, shapes, subject. And then began thinking of the concept of ‘windows’ looking at several views at once which was the original concept for this painting. There I found my answer to simplify the concept and quiet to overall tonality into a more thought-provoking piece. It might not suit everyone who sees it, but as I look through the windows, it now suits me just fine.

Lesson learned: I own the images I create and have the right to modify as I wish. Just because it is on my website, has been at a gallery, has been seen by others, has been loved by others–I feel good about continuing my art journey, modifying my travel plans as I go along.

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It Takes More Than a Village

17624 It Takes a Village acryl canv 30x30 sm

It Takes a Village, 30×30, acrylic on canvas.

‘It Takes a Village,’  a few words from an African proverb, was the inspiration for developing this new series of work. The first in the series is shown above–an imagined area of a small fishing village where activity is the norm and people know each other. By the sound of voices, dogs barking, children playing, and engines running. Subtle sounds of life happening as it does day after day in small American villages all over our country.

sketch for It Takes a Village

Preliminary drawing to design the square canvas shape.

I have taken this theme and worked to bring aspects of different villages in New England together in individual paintings. One painting may have a cupola from Monhegan or Portland and a fish shack from Kittery or Camden, or a beautiful home in Goffstown to a Victorian era mansion in Laconia or New Boston or Cape Cod. There are many ideas rolling around in my head to create new ‘villages’ this summer. Stay tuned.

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Drawn line using fluid acrylic with red wash under painting.

Lesson learned: A pair of historic fishing shacks on Monhegan Island, Maine has proven to contain a watershed of ideas for my art journey. Little did I know my first painting trip there in 2003 would offer such a huge amount of inspiration and direction. A big thank you to Stan Moeller a wonderful plein air painter from Kittery Maine was the instructor who opened the door to plein air painting and studio painting. www.anntrainordomingue.com

Birdbrain Idea, Yes

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So this little gem was drawn by my 6 year old granddaughter and pinned to my studio wall. These eyes have been staring at me for a few months as if to say ‘hey, why not use me in your paintings?’ or ‘you use so many fish how about giving us birds a chance?’ So I’ve been listening and adding a bit more wild life into my work–humans and birds and fish. Covering most bases with an occasional dog making a cameo. I’m learning to always consider new things in my work–careful not to throw myself offtrack–but to think of how an innocent little drawing can breath new life into my work. Thank you Gwendolyn. Love, Grannie.

Here are a few more birds that have made in onto my canvases lately.

Lesson learned: When developing new work, let something new in.

 

Solo show opens tomorrow at Kennedy Gallery, Portsmouth, NH

Exhibit on til April 30th. Hope you’ll stop in to see over 20 new paintings.

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Cultural Conversations

 

17618 Woven Into Life mixed media acrylic 12x12 sm

Woven Into Life, mixed media acrylic, 12×12 

Its amazing how many things in the news, on television, on websites, on social media feeds, in email, on tablets, and on our phones seem so much more important than things that really matter. Like face to face conversations, talking out loud not in the silence of a phone text, listening to the tone of voice in a conversation can be more meaningful than a long winded conversation. And when looking at artwork a quiet thought about what the artist was intending can be an interesting way to spend a moment or two.

In our digital impersonal age I try to remember to be sure to communicate with family, friends, and strangers in the old-fashioned way. With a smile and a hello, it surprises me how many people don’t expect you to say hello today. But they reply in kind and usually continue the conversation even if it is small talk. Small talk can lead to bigger and better things. And interacting with the thought process of an artist can yield something that matters as well.

Lesson learned: I asked a collector what drew him to this piece of art and he responded with something I didn’t intend in this piece. I intended a couple inside their ‘home’ awaiting the birth of their child and how wonderful and amazing it is. He recognized that too but also more importantly was the dark-skinned ethnicity of the male figure exemplifying a broader world view was what touched him. I just never know. I’m sure the impending birth of another grandchild this week has prompted this post.

 

Sketching Small is Big

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I’m happy to help friend and artist (and musician) in promoting her new ‘Field Artista’ compact portable watercolor sketching kit.  I have been working with it and it is a fun little set—includes a small sponge, two short shaft soft hair paint brushes, and 12 colors. Two fold-out palettes are very handy and an additional small metal screw cap water holder can be clipped onto one of the palettes keeping a small amount of water right where you need it. Good range of 12 watercolors that rewet quickly provide broad mixing possibilities.

The biggest advantage of this set is its small sizeable to be used in inconspicuous settings such as coffee shops, bars or restaurants—or from the seat of your car. Easily sketch with your favorite pen or pencil and then add bold or subtle color—or vice versa. Beginner or experienced artists will find this little set is just the right size to get you started on a fun pastime or provide a new approach for your serious work. Very reasonably priced as well and sold on Amazon at $29.99. Hope you’ll check it out!  And please share with your artist friends, thank you.

So go sketch from life, or work out designs for larger artworks, or…

(photo shows a small plastic cup-not included in kit)

(Blue fountain pen is found at The Goulet Pen Company)

It Takes a Village, Too

Sometimes one painting moves right into the next. First ‘Village’ sold immediately, so I did the above painting with a different coloration and details. Again, much positive feedback. So, I’ll keep going down this path for a while. 

(It Takes a Village, Too. 30×30, acrylic on canvas.) Available now at Kennedy Gallery, Portsmouth. 

Same But Different

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Detail: Looking Ahead, 24×12, acrylic on panel. Work in progress…

As I close out a successful 2016—a year of new experiences, influences, opportunities and friendships, I look ahead to 2017 as I incorporate these things into new work. Based on my previous work for sure but handled differently as I work to push my imagery and paint handling into somewhat different areas. Fish and fishermen will be prevalent, coastal imagery and inland will be integrated. Farms and sheep may appear from time to time. Buildings and people will also make an appearance. All in a days work, or should I say year’s work.

In the early spring you’ll see a new ‘animal’ gracing a page of a Maine magazine as I explored a new opportunity via my Camden Falls Gallery. My work will appear in the Art Collector Maine Portland, Art Maine annual guide 2017, and my originals and now prints and cards are available at Kennedy Gallery and Framing in Portsmouth, NH, and I’ll have a solo show there in 2017.

So many things to be thankful for as I head into the new year—another grandchild in March, too. Winter is my favorite time to paint in my studio, no matter how high the snow gets. Hope you have a Healthy and Happy New Year!

 

Embracing Family, Embracing Series

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Every Which Way, 24×36, acrylic

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Pattern in Blues, 24×36, acrylic

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Time of Day, 24×24, acrylic.

Its taken me some time to really embrace the idea of working in a series. I understand the concept and can readily see it in other artists’ work, but have consistently had difficulties adopting this idea in developing my own work, until now. The examples above show my recent attempts at exploring elements of my work and producing new works that embody aspects related to one another. Sort of like a family of children who look very similar, but are unique in their own way. Here’s where it has been tough for me. My background as an illustrator has given me broad skills to create just about anything. But that is not necessarily helpful in my career as a painter. Here’s what I’ve learned.

My extended family reaches far into the world as we have welcomed the changes life brings, and all is well. Marriages, divorces, friends, godchildren, distant relatives–not unlike many of you I’m sure. As relationships relate to my artwork though it sometimes appears as though I’ve adopted children from another planet, never mind my own world. So I have found it helpful to model my new found attention to working in a series after my family. Now it makes a bit more sense as I develop new art—as I choose which aspects to retain, and which to remember as an important lesson.

Finding the core element of the New England landscape (my lifelong home area) has been key to creating an armature/home where I can then change details while keeping a foundation in place. I’ll proceed into the New Year 2017 with a blueprint–one where I will still be able to enjoy serendipitous happenings as I evaluate new ideas to keep my family of work warm and cozy.

Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year. And as always, thank you for your continued support.

Ann

(If interested in any of these artworks, consult my website http://www.anntrainordomingue.com or contact me directly.)

 

Love New England? So do I.

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I’d love to meet you and have you browse my New England-inspired paintings– whether you are an art collector, a ‘just looking’ new fan, considering a first purchase of art that you love, or are simply curious about the lifestyle of an artist. Stop by. Go to Open Doors NH for directions, select Merrimack Region, fine art listings.

Original art is treasured by families through the generations and I’d love to talk with you about creating a commissioned/custom piece that will become just that.

Discover more at Ann Trainor Domingue website. But it will be way more fun to stop by my Open Studio!

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