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Village in the Pursuit of Happiness

“… home was not just a cabin in a deep woods that overlooked a placid cove. Home was a state of mind, the peace that came from being who you were and living an honest life.” ― Kristin Hannah, The Great Alone

Detail of ‘Village in the Pursuit of Happiness 2’, acrylic on canvas

We all have such different ideas of what home is. The quote above was one I found while doing a bit of searching for a quote by an author that resonated with me and reflected the small family vignette of one of my large paintings I have selected for this post.

This image is part of a 40″x60″ acrylic painting titled ‘Village in the Pursuit of Happiness’. In this ‘village’ series I have incorporated several different visual ideas of what living in a village feels like for me. I am careful to not be too precious with shapes and color and detail rather letting all the vignettes live together peacefully as a painting. View a full image of ‘Village in the Pursuit of Happiness’ with this link.https://anntrainordomingue.com/Art/Detail.php?artid=1211296

Lesson Learned: Home is not only the shelter we live in, but also how we create a life together in the shelter of home.

Better Tomorrows

After the Day, 36×24, acrylic on canvas. Available at Portland Art Gallery

Sometimes I think it would be nice if life were as simple as walking along the shoreline pulling food from the waves. Flying over the everchanging landscape on a breeze that is constantly blowing. Sleeping quietly in the beach grass or on the pier with one eye open hoping for a fishermen to toss a mackeral or two. Here’s to familiar life moments coming back to stay.

Lesson learned: Patience is still an important virtue.

Everyday Change

Everyday Catch, acrylic on canvas, 12×12, available at Kennedy Gallery Portsmouth NH

Just like a seagull’s never-ending quest for food, we know many patterns of behavior are constantly changing and evolving. Some seem fair and manageable, others seem unfair and difficult to adjust to. Post 2020, thankfully we don’t have to change everything according to what others are asking or pressuring us to do. If a change makes sense according to my ideas, beliefs and understanding then I would consider it and likely adopt it. If it doesn’t make sense I won’t.

I’ll continue to review the changing atmosphere we are living in and make my own evaluations based on credible varied sources of information. Not easy to decipher these days with the increasing power of tech media companies who seemed at their inception to be providing a world-changing opportunity to make all information accessible to all. Now it seems they are actually a center for censorship appointing themselves as the arbiter of what ‘they’ think I/we can handle. I thought the ‘world wide web’ was a free and open universe to access contrary information and educate ourselves about anything in our world.

As an artist, change is welcome yet so is consistency.

Lesson learned: Be discerning of the biases of information sources before adopting change.

Different Yet Similar

Bridging the Gap, 12×12 acrylic and graphite on panel

Are you sensing something similar to what I’ve presented in this artwork? A very large gap between differences and similarities? A space between two people that seems permanent? An inability to reach across time and space to reconnect with someone who was special to us? A sense that the space is getting wider? An idea that life as we knew it is not likely to return in a familiar way? During this pandemic I believe we’ve all been forced to adjust and accept certain changes. And I believe we’ve also tried to retain and keep close to our hearts people, things, and experiences that we are not willing to let go of–ever. They hold too much meaning and are part of our souls. To let go would mean failure and giving up on something that matters most.

This painting is my thought of what it may look like to build a simple bridge. Even though it may seem too delicate or hard to see, its a start. A way to reconnect with another soul who’d like to be touched by an honest peaceful gesture of friendship. Especially when differences are known to both individuals. We should reach out to one another because we believe in individuals being just that. Individually absorbing life and times, choosing a point of view and forming opinions. I hope despite core differences, we can each find our core similarities. And use these to make our way back to civility and respect of all people.

Lesson learned: If a friendship is formed on foundation of respect, holding different viewpoints should not matter.

If a Painting Could Speak

It’s Good to be Home, 36×36 acrylic on canvas;
available now at Powers Gallery, Acton, MA

I’ve often heard people say they love the titles of my work. Thankfully they love the work too, but they also make it a point to mention how much they love the title. It happened so often I needed to understand why it was happening with such frequency. I wish I could remember at what point my titles went beyond describing what was in the painting–to the idea of what it could say if it could speak. As though I am divulging a secret of some kind.

As I recall comments about my titles happened when I gave my fisherman a girl in 2014 or so. I began to think of the people in my work and what situation I had positioned them in. I developed a little story between them and thought it would be interesting to look at the work in light of the title. Sometimes the title would be a bit philosophical, hint at a religious sense, or be playful or hopeful. Or even what the painting might say about itself.

It’s not easy to choose one to six words as a title (my personal preference for word count). It’s similar to designing a brandmark or logo that I have done for many years as a graphic designer. There is something both difficult and satisfying about winnowing down multiple options to just some key shapes and letterforms. I think finding thoughtful words that work as titles is a similar process–before, during or after the painting is completed. For sure though, by the time the painting is wrapped and shipped off to a client or gallery.

Lesson learned: Be creative in everything.

Grateful for Thanksgiving

Village Lighting the Way, 30×30, acrylic on canvas.
Available at Kennedy Gallery in Portsmouth, NH.

We all would love to celebrate Thanksgiving in the way we each have enjoyed over many years. The Covid19 virus has been forcing us all to not only change but completely stop doing so many ordinary things while causing great divides in families, and among friends and coworkers. The local and national political atmosphere is also pressuring regular Americans to submit to behaviors that cause even more stress.

Not only are we dealing with maintaining the health of our families while Covid rages on, we are also concerned for the viability of family-owned and friend-owned local small businesses. And how they will survive during this disruptive pandemic including the period of time after a vaccine has been distributed. So many aspects of living have been infiltrated by Covid19. But sadly many lives have also been infiltrated by pressure to evaluate one another in ugly, personal, political, demeaning points of view. It hurts my heart and soul.

I’ll not be one who maligns or dismisses or denigrates or belittles someone because they believe differently than me. I respect other’s opinions and will expect the same in return. I love the interwoven aspects of my community and I’ll continue to be a respectful part of it no matter which political party is in the White House or state house. The ebb and flow of change is a healthy thing so we each have the opportunity to experience different ways of thinking and living. Honesty and truth at the highest levels need to be held as precious things. Without them, we only have opinions of fallible human beings.

I wish you a grateful Thanksgiving and hope you celebrate in a way that is safe, healthy and hopeful for you and those you love.
Peace and Blessings to you.

Lesson learned: Thanksgiving cannot be cancelled due to a virus.

Peaceful Transitions Matter

In this new painting, ‘Village Under the Sun’, the imagery is filled with all kinds of transitions— from line to gradient, warm to cool colors, curves to angles, light to dark values, textured to smooth surface, not to mention the imagined overlapping and off-kilter architecture. And the changing unreal scale of buildings and people. Yet if handled well, all these juxtapostions can live peacefully together. Creating a kind of balance that despite its quirkiness and unusual views, still does create a recognizable world where we live well in the peacefulness of a place we call home. Contact Kennedy Gallery in Portsmouth NH for more information. Visit Ann Trainor Domingue website for more info.

Lesson learned: Living together in peace despite differences matters most. Let’s hope the upcoming election results in a peaceful transition or continuation for America’s sake.

Calendar by Ann Trainor Domingue!

This is my first calendar and I am excited to let you see it just before it is ready for sale! I am distributing it through one venue only– Kennedy Gallery and Custom Framing located at 41 Market Street in Portsmouth, NH. Please call to reserve yours at 603-436-7007 or send email to art@kennedygalleryandframing.com

The calendar is quite different from standard art calendars in that I have included a story and inspiration behind each artwork to let you in on the behind the scenes work and thought process of each of 12 frameable images. Several images are also available as blank notecards and prints also only available at Kennedy Gallery. Just ask, they will be happy to help. See sample page below.

Thank you for your interest in the calendar. the image above shows the 12 different artworks included in the 2021 calender. This will make a great gift for someone who loves art and the thinking behind an art work.

Lesson learned: Take a risk and the rest will work itself out in due time.

Adapting to Offkilterness

One At A Time, acrylic on panel, 18×18. Available at Portland Art Gallery, Maine.

We all share a common sense of confusion and offkilterness in 2020. So many aspects of our lives have been jolted into an unsettled sense of being. We fix one thing and another thing jumps up like a whack-a-mole game but it’s truly no game at all. It’s exhausting. And discouraging. And without a way to bring back a sense of calm and peace, it will continue on through the fall and into 2021.

I’m addressing this ongoing problem in a few different ways.

  1. Being sure I am prioritizing listening to people who are positive influences–not pollyannas or debbydowners, but realists who seem to have found a way to manage these unsettled times.
  2. Taking a hard look at my commitments and removing those that are causing more stress than they are worth.
  3. Refocusing my efforts in practical matters that are key to my successes as an artist. Going deeper into the items that will benefit from my complete uninterrupted attention.
  4. Doing small things that matter for people I love.
  5. Reining in the scattered interests that take time away from my core interests and values.
  6. Finding time to be ok with doing nothing but thinking about how blessed and grateful I am and will be in the future.

Good luck as you find your balance again.

Lesson learned: I could have done all this without a pandemic.

Peace Still Matters

Amid the chaos in our lives due to the pandemic and all the daily events it has affected, it is still important to find a way to peace. To try to take each day as a gift to be opened and shared especially with someone who is finding it difficult to find peace. This detail of my artwork demonstrates a bit of chaos with spots of warm orange notes or peace. Hope you find yours.

Lesson learned: Just be still for a while.

JoP Research Journal

2017 -> Visual Research Journal with spelling mistakes and links to image sources

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A family farm in Goffstown NH

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