As I prepare for Christmas, I always feel so grateful for the special people I have come to know as friends and family. As a young person and as an adult, I had no idea that an individual person could enrich my life as much as they have. From helping me find my way in art, to showing me how to have fun with whipped cream fights in the kitchen, to demonstrating how to let things fall as they may and be ok with the unpredictable outcome. Each one of you has helped me in a small or large way making it possible for me to feel that you have been a gift of Christmas past, present and future. Hope you feel the love of being or giving a gift this Christmas.
I can speak for many of us when I say we all have a special someone in our life. Someone who sees us for who we really are yet gives us space to grow and mature. It is that person who is represented in these doorway images I frequently incorporate in my work. It is intentionally not a portrait but a symbol/gist/likeness of what it may look like to be part of another person – note where I have merged color to connect people together. To love being close and feeling their warmth. Sharing life’s lights and darks, it’s rough and smooth edges, its absolute joys and sorrows. Some of my fans and collectors find all this imbued in my work and let me know through heartfelt notes and emails. When I began making these images I was not aware of how deeply someone else would feel about them. After over 10 years of painting fulltime, I now know that what I create can hit home in ways I never imagined. Thank you for allowing my work to touch your soul and in some cases, heal it.
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After an eventful winter and spring this new painting holds a different kind of sentiment now. The small circular shapes were like an image of days passing by, suns or moons, your choosing. Then the light coming in from behind the shelter building felt like a new day dawning with endless possibilities. That was before the attack on Ukraine by Putin. How horrible an experience for the Ukrainians to have to endure. And to see that no other country or group of allies can or will do anything to immediately stop the human destruction of little children, elderly, and families who just a few weeks ago were enjoying all the things we enjoy here in USA. Really? Nothing more can be done to stop the unbelievable murderous, callous evil of Putin? I pray for intervention of any kind to bring peace to those poor brave people. And I pray that God, in whatever form you believe or not, will stop Putin’s heart.
Lesson learned: Evil exists unless good people do something to stop it.
If we believe the best is yet to come, that all things are possible with God (whichever iteration you choose to believe or not believe in), that we each need to follow our own path, that being nice still matters, that retaining our personal freedom to make our own decisions is valuable, that loving our neighbor as ourself is kindness in action, that peacefully coexisting in an increasingly diverse society is important, that solving differences does not need to lead to violence of any kind, that giving and receiving a sincere hug is a warm gift, then maybe we can –I will– begin the new year with a renewed heart and open mind and be the help someone else needs to find their joy again. I hope you make it a Happy New Year and find your own Peace.
Lesson learned: One timid step leads to another more confident step in the right direction.
‘All Our Tomorrows’ evolved during the late spring early summer 2021 as I was preparing for an upcoming feature show at Portland Art Gallery. I experimented with developing a painting in a different way by cutting tissue paper shapes of some main design elements in a collage-style approach and then layering fast drying acrylic to build color and depth. This work is a continuation of my recent coastal-inspired relationship series.
Now after the confusing and difficult year of 2020, problems have been brought forward into 2021 with even more divisive issues. We all hoped things would settle down for a while. But not so fast.
This painting evolved into this image that amid the chaos of life some sense of connection, love and caring can still be found. Two people. A simple hand held. A most powerful relationship when each finds what is most important in one other. Good things begin this way.
This is an image of hope for the future that people will value each other’s differing opinions instead of forcing the other to submit to an ideology that is not in line with their own understandings, sensibilities and life experiences. What ever happened to having an opinion about a topic and having a conversation with another human being? Wasn’t this how we resolved differences or let ‘bygones be bygones’? Or simply allow another person to maintain their point of view while still being friends? Is this really a lost art? I hope not.
The moon has a pull that I don’t understand in its entirety, but I still find it a fascinating detail to place in my work. Even adding another where it doesn’t make sense. Am I to use my creativity to reiterate and repeat reality? Or is it to reinvent/rework/recreate/renew a common image by imbuing it with fresh ways of looking, bringing another point of view for others to ponder? As in life, encouraging new ideas and new ways of looking at things can make all the difference. Hopefully shedding light and new joy.
Lesson learned: Keep making images that bring joy and hope.
“… 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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