Mary Ann Laing

From The Studio

(posted on 12 Jun 2021)

Do I start this blog entry with another... " ah, two months since I left an update "  ??  Seems to be the schedule for me right now.  Paint daily but nothing gets finished for two months.  I am not a fast painter.  I used to believe if I didn't bash them out in a few days I was not a good painter.  Now, after bashing for some decades, I realize how an artist approaches their work is part of their personal signature.  To bash and leave it alone and sign it is a fantasy, really.  I also realize those works done by artists that appear to have been bashed out in record time most likely took weeks as well.  Like the dancer who appears on stage to be natural and dancing perfectly with ease, there's a lot of hard struggling time involved before they take to the stage.  The work behind making a viewer feel the painter created with ease is a whole other store.

ANYWAYS... there's my opening paragraph after thinking I forget how to write.  Yes, I have been painting daily.  Since I changed this page title to From The Studio, I will focus in a non-digressing format on news from the studio (try to anyways).  After a nice reward of selling three BIG paintings in one week way back in February, I was inspired to hit a big canvas again.  Ordered a 48x60 aka 4ft by 5ft, and a 36x48 aka 3ft by 4ft.  As usual, the waves of inspired enthusiasm waned by the time the canvasses arrived and I had started covering another painting shot in the wait time.  A canvas that had been toned black with the beginnings of a flamenco dancer on it.  Some years back I took a workshop in acrylics where the artist teacher had us working on 30 by 40 inch canvasses, our choice of subject to paint, but the focus was on painting the figure in dramatic lighting and form.  I did one of a trumpet player I was very pleased with, then I started one of a flamenco dancer that the teacher had us take photos of to get the jest of drama and lighting.  It was a fun class.  But like most classes, I take from them bits of what I might keep, and quickly slide back to my own way of painting again, which is what is expected, not supposed to walk out of a class cloned into someone else.

Here is the beginnings of the paint over:


You can see the image of her shoulder and neck disappearing into another artist's idea.  It was fun to work on a different ground.  I have been painting my canvasses with a cad red ground for a few years lately.  I am still not sure what my favourite coloured ground is yet.  The black ground does give a quick sense of drama with light to dark contrasts, but black is black, and I am an addicted colourist.  Hence, my new canvasses are still virgin white waiting for a ground colour.  Take note of painting over flamenco dancer with ungrounded canvasses in the back against the wall in this photo.


During painting phases I have made the mistake of posting works "in progress", only to be told how disappointed people are that the finished work changed, they liked it better "in progress".  So I don't do that anymore.  If I am to share to the public an "in progress" shot of my work, I better have the finished product involved in the same share so I don't get any hate mail.  Kidding, just kidding, I don't get hate mail, I exaggerate, but you get the idea I am making.  I'm always curious how a work evolves that artists create, so maybe one of those site numbers are people who will enjoy such things on my site.

The lost flamenco dancer has now become another mental visual from our daily drives.  Of course, I use a photo reference to capture the essence of a sunlit day in the fall, I'm addicted to colour.  I've tried to detox and do summer greens and gardens.  I don't know, just not the same as that heart stopping fall palette that makes me fill my memory card with hundreds of pictures. This painting is now of a well known corner in Fairfield.  If anyone has taken a drive in Victoria along Beach Drive, ending up at Inner Harbour downtown, they would have come along this corner.  It's just before reaching Ross Bay, and if I am to do any local tourism prompting here, the construction is pretty well done and we can now park at Ross Bay again.  However, I suspect another phase is planned and people holding slow/stop signs will make your drive last a little longer.  Can't argue infrastructure updating, tax dollars are meant for that.  No digressing, oh right.

Here is the pretty-sure finished painting:


There have been lots of peaks and valleys along the way.  The truck is blue in my photo, but it looked better red.  The red car is white in the photo, I like it blue.  I'm still in pondering mode of... ugh, I'm not sure, but then I look at all the paintings on my site and remember me feeling that way about them, so I'm thinking that's just me being a chronic self doubter.  I think the painting says what I felt about that moment in time in my life.  I think I found my way to communicate a sense of wonder over our beautiful city.  There may be very few things I am sure of in each day I am given except that of how I feel, I know that one for sure.  And I think I shared that one, I think.  I will sign this and get to West End Gallery as soon as my feelings tell me to  "put it in the car and take it for a drive, Mary Ann."  Okay.

Good bye flamenco dancer, hello Hollywood Crescent.  Good title, no, too long.  Maybe.. Even The Cars Change Colour... naaa.  Maybe Fairfield Drive Number 46... naaa.  I'll think of something...

And so... what colour ground for those virgin white canvasses??... hmmmm

Thanks for stopping by!

Mary Ann