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.
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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.