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Week 1: Open Quote




In considering a theme for my Studio 52 project, I was mindful of the need to have enough resource material or reference photos at hand. The theme would have to be sustainable, hold my interest and be broad enough for me to explore. I wanted to challenge myself, artistically speaking, to push out of my comfort zone, since that is where the real learning occurs.

On my birthday weekend, my daughter and I were laughing as we recalled the pictures both of us had taken during our travels, numerous shots of doors, door knobs, windows, and gates. We got teased about it at the time, but for some reason we just could not help ourselves, often making what would otherwise be a very short trek into a long one. So, there was my source of reference photos, on a subject matter that had already proven it could sustain my interest!

Next, I had to decide on a name for my theme. I asked myself, 'What do doors, windows, and gates have in common?' They are all a type of entryway, exit, or a means of moving from one area to another - from room to room, inside to outside, garden to street. In other words, they were transition points. That led me to thinking about transitions, of which I’d had many in the recent past; becoming an empty-nester; moving from Cochrane to Airdrie; my journey through illness back to health; my son's wedding; retirement; my birthday, and the list goes on… The word portal came to mind as a way to describe all of these transitions. After all, what is a portal, if not a transition?

When I began to investigate further, I learned there are all kinds of portals! Besides the physical type of portals described above, there are also cosmic, energetic, spiritual, cyber, storm cells, the Fibonacci sequence…. Oh, my! I really went down a rabbit hole when I explored the Fibonacci sequence. Suddenly, portals were appearing everywhere, and that is when I knew for certain that my theme had to be portals.

This painting began when I pulled an old geometry set from a box of my children's school mementos and supplies. I put the geometry set to use in my sketchbook, as I attempted to create several cool ideas. I researched the Fibonacci sequence and refreshed my memory of how to draw the golden spiral using the numbers1,1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, etc. This seemed easy enough, so I decided to paint it on one of my 8x8 canvasses to use as a good representation of what my first week of this Studio 52 project was like for me. The first few versions did not look quite right to me, so I played around with the colours and shape, but it only went from bad to worse. I used a white marker to copy the outline of the original drawing I'd made in my sketchbook onto a piece of plastic, and then laid that outline on top of the painting. It looked like this:

Ugh....I was ready to discard this painting and wanted to start over. Later, I came across James Joyces' words, "...mistakes...are portals of discovery." Ah....portals of discovery....I knew this had to be a sign to stick with this image and not give up on it. I turned it this way and that, and suddenly saw that if I turned it 90 degrees, it became an open quote!

Although it was not what I had initially envisioned, I decided it would be an excellent image to begin my year-long body of work. It serves as the open quote of my statement piece about portals.

As it is a new year, I resolve to be more open to walking through these portals of discovery.

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