It’s easy to fall into a stationery hibernation mode for too long, especially after a busy year of art-related commitments. One way I try to move along and actively find new elements to incorporate into my upcoming work is to sit. But sit at my computer with a nice cup of coffee and review images that I captured over the past months and think about why I stopped to take the shot. If the interest is still simmering in my mind I bring some images to the front of the line and consider how I might use an aspect of it–from color, subject and texture to feeling, memory, and movement. All this goes in to my mind as I work to keep my work fresh for my fans and fresh for my own hands to enjoy as I create new artworks for 2020. Ann Trainor Domingue
As the snow comes down I’m continuing in hibernation mode with a purpose.
Lesson learned: I have enough visual resources, take time to review.
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.
Gem of the Moon 6×6 acrylic 2011
It used to be a real problem for me to paint a series of related images. For some reason I thought I had already done a painting in a subject and felt I needed to move on to something else.–to flowers to semi abstract to drawing to painting to landscape to seascape to farmland to animals to children to still life, and on and on. Until I finally accepted the advice of a non-artist friend to ‘just do another one similar but different’.
Seemed so simple.
Heading In and Out acrylic 36×36 2014
I was of the mind that I should do something very different than my most recent work. The general public doesn’t know you did that earlier version and you will not be making an exact copy of it again. As a creative person I should just be able to shift aspects from size, to color combination, to content and create a new art piece based on an earlier one’. At last the definition of working in a series made sense to me.
Right at Home acrylic 18×18 2017
I now thread my way to the next piece–moving just a little forward, sometimes sideways from my current work to make progress toward something different yet connected by threads of color, forms, subject, painting style or line work. It is amazing how the words of Robert Henri, an American artist and member of the Ashcan School in NYC, born in 1865– “Don’t worry about your originality. You couldn’t get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick with you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.”
Just Ask acrylic 10×10 2018
After having done many hundreds of paintings in my lifetime I now can see the thread of ideas and style begun many years ago. I continue patching new pieces of my story to my already established quilt of my painting life.
Lesson learned: Pickup where you left off and take a small step.
If you are in Portsmouth NH over April, please stop by my solo show ‘Undercurrents’ new works for 2019 at Kennedy Gallery on Market Street, Portsmouth. http://www.kennedygalleryandframing.com Thank you! –Ann
Muse of the Sea, 11×15, watercolor on paper
Every once in a while I work on an idea for no particular reason, with no particular outcome in mind. I had done some sketches and small watercolors using a mermaid as the main feature. I continued working to find a look for the mermaid ‘muse’ that for me was more real–but not realistic. Imperfections and all.
The way watercolor works provides beautiful accidental back runs, blooms and bleeds, blends and stains. Its one media that has a mind of its own yet provides unintentional options to an artist like myself who loves the unplanned happenings of color and water. For instance the soft greenish color of the mermaid’s arms appeared as I was scraping the lines of the drawing through wet color. I liked the way they provided a shadow-like sense in the foreground and brought a dusky feel to the piece. I’ll be exploring this further…
Lesson learned: Let water be watery.
NOTE: Please be sure to follow me on Facebook at Ann Trainor Domingue Art Page. WordPress will no longer links my blog posts to my FB timeline. Thank you.
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
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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My hometown means a lot to me and I volunteer time and effort toward worthy projects. This poster is one of those. Our local Goffstown Main Street Program needed an event marketing poster–fast! My ‘previous’ career as a graphic designer/illustrator/art director kicked into gear. Yes, it took me away from painting and prepping for my Open Studio scheduled for Nov. 5&6, but it was a priority for me to see this local org succeed by helping promote the goodness and fun of our beautiful little town.
P.S. This may answer why I hear so many comments like: ‘I like the whimsy of your art’ or ‘your art makes me smile’. I just can’t hide it even when I am doing my ‘professional’ painting work.
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.