Painting: My Backup Plan

Paint tubesAs much as I have spoken about spending my days writing as my ultimate retirement plan, the fear of writer’s block is still ever present. Even though I have hundreds of pages of notes stashed away in journals, file folders and on flash drives, I am not immune to the possibility of freezing up.

Back in 2002, shortly after my father passed away, the little writer’s voice went silent. I am not talking about a short break or a little case of laryngitis, the voice disappeared completely. Words were not coming. Inspiration virtually dried up. I actually ended up deleting my web site (my blog before blogs became popular) because I had no new content to add.

One Sunday morning, I went to the National Gallery of Canada, here in Ottawa, for a tour of the permanent collection. While I had no specific purpose other than to enjoy the beauty of the masterpieces, there was a glimmer of hope that it might stir up some creative juices.

In touring the gift shop at the Gallery, I noticed some beginner tools for painting. Something spoke to me, perhaps it was the memory of arts and crafts when I was a kid and thoroughly enjoying the creative process even back then. Around the same time, I was marvelling at the Bob Ross painting shows on PBS, demonstrating how to create works of art in just one episode. Put those two factors together and I became the proud new owner of a set of brushes and a few bottles of paint.

The painting that started it all was this one:
Painting 1
When looking at the result and amazing myself, thinking there might be a seedling of talent to work with, I started to read up about painting with acrylics. The painting journey began.

Soon thereafter, I found another painting show that completed a piece in 3 or 4 shows. I have had a few compliments on this “barn” (well, it was actually a covered bridge). So what if my perspective was off, but I had a lot of fun with it and learned a great deal along the way.
Painting 2

I then decided to go a little freestyle and experimented with colour in a fall-themed landscape:
Painting 3

I was inspired to try a cityscape, and this was the result. If you look carefully in the windows of the buildings, you will see the words “GO SENS GO” in tribute to our hockey home team, the Ottawa Senators. Unfortunately, I never finished this one unless you interpret that there was a partial power failure in this city.
Painting 4

Soon thereafter, I caught the Ed Harris movie, “Pollock” which led to this Jackson Pollock inspired work. I call it “Party”. I remember that the biggest challenge to this one was getting all the colours of paint to the exact same degree of viscosity.
Painting 5

This one was a lot of fun to create. Acrylic paint is so versatile in that you can water it down or use it at full thickness. This one was layered with different colours of paint and then the excess worked out with a grout trowel. The inherent challenge is that you can’t play with it too long or else risk the colours mixing together too much, leaving the colours with a muddy tint to them. I was pleased with the result. A few others I tried were not as successful.
Painting 6

This piece was inspired from the popular design show “Trading Spaces”. It does not represent anything in particular, though I see more of a hazy landscape, almost like an aerial shot from an airplane. What do you see in this one?
Painting 7

For this painting, I was experimenting with colour blocking and sectioning off pieces of the canvas with masking tape. The challenge was ensuring the colours never bleed into the next block… it is sometimes harder than it looks.
Painting 8

This one has been hanging in my living room for a decade. I call it “Sunburst”, bringing in nice cheery colours into a north-eastern room that can sometimes appear a little dark.
Painting 9

Through the years, I did create several other paintings, with varying degrees of success, but to me painting was all about the fun. The beauty is that after completing a work, and it reflects exactly what my mind’s eye was thinking about, I feel that same sense of euphoria as I do when I complete a written work.

Of course, through the paining journey, the little writer’s voice eventually came back and the words started pouring out.

Just the same, my painting materials still hold a precious place in my home studio and will always be there as my backup plan should the little writer’s voice ever go completely silent again.

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please know that there are plenty more where that came from! If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.net. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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Filed under Inspiring, Misc blogs, Writing

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