Solstice – From the Dark To the Light

The Birth of Sky Woman ©2009 Janice Tanton.
“The Birth of Sky Woman” ©2009 Janice Tanton. Oil on canvas.

AAs an artist, I work in the light and the dark. I work to create a false sense of light with values and depth of colour in a painting or a drawing, but also with my own personal set of values in mind, underpinning the idea in the work. This can all become very confusing as I work through a concept for a worthy painting. Inevitably, the pieces are usually a big part of me, and a big part of the technical ability I have at any point in my life and as I progress in my practice.

I’ve shunned, for the most part, abstraction and quick technical tricks to ‘move a painting along’ or to get something up on a wall in a gallery, get it sold and pay my bills. Nope. I just can’t work like that. The piece must have technical merit. I need to learn something every time I paint, and it is also important to me that the person I create for…is me.

I’m selfish that way. If I don’t have an interest in a topic or subject matter, then scram. I can’t do the work (even if I say I may be able to) and I’m not motivated by the easy way out. Every painting is a struggle. If any artist says it’s not, they’re big fat liars, trying to impress them with their skills and magic. Stay away. 

I don’t find painting easy. Similarly, I don’t find Novembers easy. As soon as Labour Day arrives, I swear that I’ll book a holiday somewhere south and into the light to avoid the depressing grey and yellow short days of the Rockies; the visceral deadness of the trees and grass that bores my visual palette into insanity; the mash-up of Remembrance Day, Halloween and Christmas decorations and marketing that confront me at every public and online shopping experience. Gah. I just want to go to bed.

And many days…I do just that. Hit the hay. Hibernate. Pack it in. Screw the pooch. I’ve binge-watched just about every decent Netflix, Prime and worthy movie and series that modern-day media has to offer, including a damned awesome series on art and art history by British art critic Waldemar Januszczsak

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