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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You missed a spot. Not what I want to hear when I thought the job was finished. But as a fine art painter, missing a spot can turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
At times in my thoroughness to completely finish a work I find I want to rework areas no matter if they are small or large. Just want to go in and tweak or wholesale change that line or edge or shift a color and modify a shape. It is a very tricky thing to do near the end of a painting process. So many aspects have already found a balance–not perfection–just a balance of color, shapes, textures, line and form. To ‘fix’ something after the major phase of developing a painting has passed can invite some real questions–can I match that color, what brush did I use to get that texture, why didn’t I see that earlier, why did I think that bold line looked good yesterday and not today? And many more.
If a painting has a problem ‘holiday’ of some sort, I take a holiday too, and wait a few days before ‘fixing/correcting/adjusting/leaving-it-alone’. My mind has so many things whirring around while painting–so many decisions being made at once–that getting back into that mindset I had while doing the original work is almost impossible. If I could it would help me make the right decisions to push this painting toward the finish line.
So taking a break to reevaluate the piece is my answer. Sometimes its as long as a lunch break or as long as a year. My sort of ‘time out’ for a piece as I determine whether it is ready for prime time or not. Or as in a few cases it has been returned to me unsold from a gallery and I have a new chance to work out the holidays or paint it over if I believe it is just not good enough.
Lesson learned: Take your time when deciding how to improve your work. Sometimes a holiday is actually the uniqueness of a piece and doesn’t need fixing at all. Time will tell.
Last week to see ‘Along the Waterfront’ exhibition at the NH Art Association Levy Gallery at 138 State Street in Portsmouth, NH. See www.nhartassociation.org If interested in a particular artwork contact NHAA or contact me through my website at www.anntrainordomingue.com where you will find complete contact information.
Autumn Near and Far, acrylic and fabric on canvas, 52×32, gallery wrap, Ann Trainor Domingue
Opening reception for Copley Fellows exhibition, Thursday, May 19, 2016 at Copley Society of Art, 136 Newbury Street, Boston, MA, 5:30-7:30. Meet six Copley Fellows who were selected to complete an artist residency at either Cape Ann, MA or the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Talk with the artists and discover how our experiences have influenced our current works. Some of us have realized big changes while others are more subtle. We’d love to have you visit the opening, chat about our work, and learn a thing or two about what makes each of us unique. Thank you.
Participating artists are: Ann Trainor Domingue, Barbara Leiner Greenstein, Eli Cedrone, Abby Lammers, Page Railsback and Gail Sauter.
Life Tapestry, 52×52, acrylic and fabric on canvas
Some artworks take on a life of their own where they are directing you instead of you directing them. This one is a perfect example. I thought I would do a large piece of a couple walking together toward the woods with light coming through tree branches. Probably using fairly realistic colors and imagery. As I was working my mind went toward a larger idea of ‘lifetime’ and how we all experience different things that add up to our unique experience in life.
I believe because I had been experimenting with fabrics for other works the idea of using the colored swatches at the left of this painting to suggest the colorful experiences of life crept into my psyche as I worked on this piece. It became a focal area and a complement to the verticality of the trees. I repeated colors into the tree branches to echo the swatches. The two figures are purposely secondary as their proportion to the bigness of their life is surprising. I hope we all get to feel that our lives have been well lived and well loved.
Lesson learned during this process, I need to talk with my work to find out how things are going. It’s probably not going where I thought at the beginning. And its ok.
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.