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.
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.
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.
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.
Taking a hard look at my commitments and removing those that are causing more stress than they are worth.
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.
Doing small things that matter for people I love.
Reining in the scattered interests that take time away from my core interests and values.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking for an art workshop that works? That will help you decide what you should be making? Please join me in 2021 for an art workshop that will make you think and give you the confidence to create YOUR art. More details to come in early 2021.
Fishermen are famous for fish stories. But not this one. Bill Sisson, Editor-in-Chief of AnglersJournalat aimmedia.com was true to his word. A stroll in downtown Portsmouth, NH resulted in this collaboration of poetry and art. Poetry by Elizabeth Bishophttps://www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts/75635/at-the-fishhouses (available as a podcast in this link), was in the process of acquiring approvals to be published in an issue of Anglers Journal. My artwork happened to be on display at Kennedy Gallery in Portsmouth when Bill walked by already thinking about imagery to support Elizabeth’s poem, ‘At the Fishhouses’. Serendipity happens. He walked in to the gallery, viewed more of my work and asked for contact info. I was thrilled to receive the phone call and quickly said yes to this collaboration with such a prestigious author. I had not known her or her work but loved it when I read the verse. Almost as though it was meant to be.
My series of artworks featuring fishhouses began with my first painting workshop trip to Monhegan Island with painter Stan Moeller in 2003. The two fishhouses on the beach began a years-long semi-obsession with what they represented for me–two stalwart structures standing strong year-round, constantly being shored-up to withstand whatever came their way. As two people might also do.
Thank you Bill and Anglers Journal for patiently going through the years long process of receiving approvals to publish Elizabeth’s work. And especially for giving me, Ann Trainor Domingue, this unique opportunity to be paired with a giant in the poetry world.
Lesson learned: Do the work, show the work. You just never know.
I hear people say that New Englanders tend to be unfriendly and closed-minded, set in their ways, or unwelcoming. Not sure where they live or may be from, but I find the opposite to be true. Maybe its because as a lifelong New Englander I am willing to say hello, smile a bit, or offer help when I see it may be needed. Granted I am not one to seek the spotlight and cringe a bit when it happens in my life as an artist. I am also ok with people and strangers needing their space, needing time to adjust to a situation that is unfamiliar, or unexpected. And this may be what is taken as unfriendly behavior.
As a visitor to Provincetown MA over the last few years I’m consistently finding a friendly helpful vibe when I am there doing a return artist residency. It is a laid back place that is awash with strangers and visitors from June through September and beyond. I am able to wander around and watch a whole lot of life happening from tourists being tourists, to locals being locals.
But mostly its a friendly New England experience when you walk slightly beyond the wild and lively heart of Commercial Street. Take a side road toward the water to experience a view not often taken in by fast moving on-the-surface visitors. You’ll find a bit of peace and quiet among the seagulls and the locals who go there to recharge.
Chalk drawing on dry painting to indicate rework to improve the figures.
Color added to new shapes.
Final painting, 36×36 acrylic on canvas.
I began this painting several years ago and after being seen and exhibited it found its way back to me. I looked at it again with a new point of view gathered along the way on my art journey. The overall design of the piece I still liked but some of the details especially in the figures were not defined enough. The colors were more muted than I felt the piece now needed. So, next step was to hang it on the studio wall and rethink my previous effort. The earlier work is not a wasted effort though, its just that my point of view and my ability to ‘see’ how all the parts relate to each other has improved.
One way I make renovations/changes/improvements is by testing my rework idea by drawing with chalk first to envision the new shapes on top of the dry paint. When I see better shapes and interactions I then begin to reevaluate color and layer over the old paint. I have more confidence in this approach now because I use Golden Open slow dry acrylic to layer paint knowing I can easily wipe off the change if needed. This ability to make changes and edit on the fly is really a game changer for me.
‘Forever Arm in Arm in Power Boots’ 36×36 on canvas is now one of my favorites. My charismatic neighbor saw it and noticed I had put her red gardening boots on the woman figure–she called them ‘power boots’ so I adopted the idea and lengthened the title of the piece. She so embodies the power boots idea. Thank you Friede!
Lessons learned: Pay attention to your neighbor’s gardening boots. And renewing older work puts my newest learning into action.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you'll learn a bit about my art process and then visit my website or gallery links to see if you find a painting that speaks to you. I appreciate your support and for sharing my art.