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.
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.
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
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.
Every Which Way, 24×36, acrylic
Pattern in Blues, 24×36, acrylic
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.
(If interested in any of these artworks, consult my website http://www.anntrainordomingue.com or contact me directly.)
I am so proud to have been selected by DNE Magazine published by the Boston Globe to be profiled in this issue. ‘Painting Joy’ is an accurate take on where I currently am in my art career. Ever evolving and always surprising. This kind of exposure for my work in invaluable and I appreciate the opportunity immensely. Thanks to Lori Ferguson for writing such an engaging article and to Russ Mezikovsky for the beautiful photos. And for bringing his entertaining young kids which helped me relax during the photoshoot.
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Autumn Near and Far, acrylic and fabric on canvas, 52×32, gallery wrap, Ann Trainor Domingue
Opening reception for Copley Fellows exhibition, Thursday, May 19, 2016 at Copley Society of Art, 136 Newbury Street, Boston, MA, 5:30-7:30. Meet six Copley Fellows who were selected to complete an artist residency at either Cape Ann, MA or the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Talk with the artists and discover how our experiences have influenced our current works. Some of us have realized big changes while others are more subtle. We’d love to have you visit the opening, chat about our work, and learn a thing or two about what makes each of us unique. Thank you.
Participating artists are: Ann Trainor Domingue, Barbara Leiner Greenstein, Eli Cedrone, Abby Lammers, Page Railsback and Gail Sauter.
Life Tapestry, 52×52, acrylic and fabric on canvas
Some artworks take on a life of their own where they are directing you instead of you directing them. This one is a perfect example. I thought I would do a large piece of a couple walking together toward the woods with light coming through tree branches. Probably using fairly realistic colors and imagery. As I was working my mind went toward a larger idea of ‘lifetime’ and how we all experience different things that add up to our unique experience in life.
I believe because I had been experimenting with fabrics for other works the idea of using the colored swatches at the left of this painting to suggest the colorful experiences of life crept into my psyche as I worked on this piece. It became a focal area and a complement to the verticality of the trees. I repeated colors into the tree branches to echo the swatches. The two figures are purposely secondary as their proportion to the bigness of their life is surprising. I hope we all get to feel that our lives have been well lived and well loved.
Lesson learned during this process, I need to talk with my work to find out how things are going. It’s probably not going where I thought at the beginning. And its ok.
Changing my mind early on before I go too far
Sketchbook work is the foundation for almost all of my paintings. I depend on small scale sketches to discover the design foundation of each piece before I proceed to finish–or at least that is my plan. But sometimes just a few lines on a canvas derails even the most promising sketch. Here is a good example. The black lines–done first just didn’t make as strong a design as I hoped when I scaled up from a thumbnail to this 18×18. I first sketched on the grey gessoed canvas surface with soft charcoal, then added fluid black acrylic to further solidify my design.
Then I sat back in my comfy yellow stuffed swivel chair given to me by a painter friend, the wonderful watercolor painter, Judy S. McLean. These few black lines on the canvas quickly voiced their opinion that I was NOT to proceed any further. Think again they said. Try another sketch today. Don’t you just hate pushy sketchbook voices? So, I went back to my sketchbook, flipped a page or two and out jumped a much better idea to pursue.
I then flipped the black line painted painting upside down and grabbed my white fluid acrylic paint bottle and drew the white lines right on top. This was a better start and I felt able to continue with the process toward the finish line. You can still see some of the white lines in final piece below.
Coming Through, 18×18, acrylic on canvas
Lesson learned through this particular painting process was to be decisive when I feel something is amiss. Being honest with yourself as an artist and letting your intuition guide your moves will improve your chances of finishing strong.
How do you solve your painting design issues? I’d love to hear from you.
And so ends 2015, a tough year with losing elder family members, illnesses, and generally a sense of starts and stops, of undecidedness (is that a word?) Ever the optimist I look forward to 2016 with a renewed sense of hope for peace in the world, good health for all, and the ability to work on my art to create with the gifts God gave me. Blessings to you all for a Happy New Year.
The artwork above is a defining piece created late 2015 that combines my ideas of using recycled material, weaving together family and friends, finding the abstract imagery that speaks to my soul, and boldly going where I have never gone before. I know I know. It’s Star Trek not Star Wars. Cheers to 2016.