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Showing posts from August, 2009


0956-P, 26x80", oil on panel ©2009 Janice Mason Steeves

This is a painting I completed this week.It's from a series called the River of Longing. It doesn’t seem to fit into the series, but I don’t know what else to call it yet.So I’ll just let it be # 0956-P for now.It started off to be something else.I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted to paint when I began.I struggled and struggled with the image trying to make it be what I saw in my mind. After many hours, I sat back to regard the work and came to the quick and upsetting conclusion that the painting was stunningly boring.In frustration after spending so much time on it, I placed it on my worktable and had the satisfaction of smearing various colours over the surface…the greens and browns I was working with at the time.Then I walked away and took a long break.
When I came back, feeling calmer, I very quickly and roughly sketched in the outline of three vessels, and put it up on my easel to have a look.I was excited by …


River of Longing 8, 24x80", oil on panel©2009 Janice Mason Steeves

I decided to have a retreat in my home last week, to have no communication with the outside world other than to listen to CBC Radio. I booked the week off.No appointments or meetings or dinners with friends.I turned off the computer and unplugged the phone.Freedom!I spent the time meditating, reading and spending long days in my studio.The days stretched on endlessly like when I was a kid playing outside in summer holidays. I even managed to get some big housecleaning tasks accomplished.I hate housecleaning!Perhaps it kept my feet on the ground to do such nice mundane tasks.I spent a couple of hours one afternoon scrubbing ten years of paint off my big old worktable.A friend tells me that such cleaning makes room for the birth of something new. The creative ideas started to flow maybe on the third day of the retreat. I have creative ideas at other times too, but with a long flow of time stretching itself out, the …

Blog and Fear

(Detail)River of Longing 5 (0952-P)©2009 Janice Mason Steeves
I started blogging about three months ago with the idea that, like taking Vitamin D, it is extremely good for me as an artist to do this.I struggle with the worry of what to say and who will read this blog anyway. Jane Lind is a good friend of mine and an author. Her book, “Perfect Red”, a biography of the artist Paraskeva Clark will be published in November. Her publisher, Cormorant Books, suggested that creating a blog was important for a writer. I decided that what was good for Jane would probably be good for me too.I write my blog posts sitting here in my quiet room in my house in rural Ontario and then post to the netherworld, imagining that only my friend Jane will be reading these posts or maybe my kids. However I was at an art gallery exhibition two weeks ago and was introduced to one of the exhibiting artists, who said, “I recognize your name, I read your blogs!” I didn’t know whether to be delighted or horrifie…