Saturday, October 27, 2007

'Girl with Basket' 1981

oil on canvas board, 24x18- 1981

It's been awhile since I've posted to my website and my blogs. I have been working on several larger pieces and will post the most recent one today. But, more importantly, I wanted to share this painting with you.

'Girl with Basket' is a painting that I did very early in my 'career'. I was 24 or 25 years old at the time I painted it - 1981. This is not my original painting, but a copy, and I'm very sorry, I do not recall who the artist is to give them credit. If anyone knows the artist whose original I copied, please let me know. I hope this artist will take satisfaction in knowing that they served to inspire a very young artist. At the time I painted this, I was dabbling in pastel, pencil and oil. Soon, I discovered watercolor, a love affair which was to sustain me for fifteen years.

My oldest daughter, Danica, and I have just returned from a trip to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This prairie city is my birthplace, where we travelled to visit my beautiful Mom and Dad and my brother, sister and their families. My family has given me immeasurable encouragement and support since I was a very little girl. Their enthusiasm and steadfast encouragement through the years has meant everything to me and has been instrumental in bringing me to this point in my life.

My parent's home is a virtual art gallery of my personal work. My sister, Jacquie, visited me in my studio over the years, and with eagle eye would discover paintings that I'd rejected for one reason or another. This is one of them. Frequently, she'd resurrect paintings destined for the garbage. I must admit, I was never too happy about this at the time, but I am now so grateful that she saw something in my work that I couldn't see. That she had an unconditional appreciation for my work that I didn't have.

When I painted this in 1981, it was during a time that I passionately wanted to be an artist, and was trying very hard to be one. I wasn't too sure how to go about accomplishing this and had no idea yet how tough the road I'd travel was going to be. Self-taught, I had the discipline, to be sure. I had, in my heart, the burning desire and passion. And, I'd always been tremendously adept at flying by the seat of my pants. I guess those were the most important attributes for an artist to possess. Plus, I'm an eternal optimist. In retrospect, knowing what I now know, I'd do it all again, happily. Thankfully, my husband has been the one to support me through this wonderful journey and made it possible for me to follow my heart, while also embracing motherhood. I would wish that all artists out there have someone like him to stand behind them and be their dragon at the door.

After 25 years, this painting has stood up quite well. My sister has treated it lovingly and it has always hung prominently in her beautiful home. After this trip, however, I've brought it home to give it some tender loving care. I've noticed some areas where the paint has chipped and when I painted it, I didn't know anything about varnishing, so the painting has shown some deterioration as a result. Yesterday, I cleaned it, touched up the paint chips and will varnish it soon. It will be good to go for another hundred years, I'm sure.

My daughter got a chuckle out of the left hand of the woman, which is out of proportion. There is also a striking resemblance to myself, which is often the case with portrait painters. It is apparent that I didn't know a great deal about color mixing in those early days and what I did was purely instinctive with my limited knowledge and palette. What is in evidence, however, is the inspiration by a now unknown (to me) painter, and the passion and desire a young artist possessed. All these years later, I have a huge appreciation for this piece, with all its flaws, and I am able to glimpse the eager young artist who painted it.

No longer am I critical of the apparent lack of skill, nor do I remember the struggle and hard work that went into it. Gratefully, I now possess a healthy respect for my old painting; simply, for what it is..... I have become 'friends' with it. And like a good friend, feel an unconditional love.

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