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The Art of Conversation

All Our Tomorrows, acrylic and paper on wood panel, 36×36. Available at Portland Art Gallery, Portland Maine.

‘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.

Lesson learned: Kindness matters.

Fish Moon Light Days Reflections

Fish Moon Days, 24×48 on canvas, 2021. Available at Portland Art Gallery, Portland, Maine

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.

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.

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.

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.

Outdoor Art Show Aug 1

outdoor art show in Goffstown, NH, August 1, 2020

Have you been starving to see original art? Your chance is here. Saturday, August 1, 9-3 in Goffstown, New Hampshire. View 23 artists’ work in a variety of media. Our 12th annual outdoor show in Goffstown village. Hope you will join us. Covid precautions will be in effect for artists and visitors. Thank you. Follow #Uncommonartonthecommon group on Facebook.

Springing Back to Life

Whew. What an odd, stressful late winter and early spring.  Now 2020 is one year that I’d love to put in the way back of my mind. Nonetheless I have been working on new ideas using images collected over the last year or so. I’m just stopping, taking a breathe, checking in with my galleries, praying that my art friends and acquaintances are healthy.  Also taking care to check in with my family and especially my mother who lives in a nursing home in a secure ward as she has Alzheimer’s. Strangely enough she is happier not knowing what is going on in the world today and worrying about her husband, her nine grown children and their families. Very grateful for this  blessing.

I’m also optimistic that the world and our small area of it will recover and rebound to smartly begin to live in communities being our friends and family again. We need to be social, visible, connected and able to once again hug those we love.

Peace to all and here’s to safely opening up our lives again.

Lesson learned: Stopping is important but starting is essential. 

Staying Ready and Able

201115 Village Down to the Sea acryl canv 36x36 sm

Village Down to the Sea, acrylic on canvas, 36×36

While the USA and world are getting their act together on this Covid19 virus and its effect on our health and economy, I have been focusing on being ready when our previously strong economy is again unleashed to get Americans doing what they do best. Work. And at the same time solve the mystery of this virus. We need to work and make the world go round again. Its time to be with our family and friends, safely and smartly. Peace and good health to all. We are smart enough to do this well.

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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