Work in progress shot

Taking on Overwhelming Projects

Work in progress shot
It’ll be a hand soon.

I have a strong tendency towards enthusiastically starting new projects I don’t realize are, shall we say, ambitious.

To be honest, it’s worked pretty well for me.  If I had stopped to think about how much work would be involved, I may not have gotten started on some of the things I’m the most proud of doing.

Right now I’m working on one of those ambitious projects.  I’m confident that I’ll get it done.  I’m even confident it will turn out well.  But, wow, I didn’t know I was giving myself this big of a challenge.

Many times, when I go to paint, I end up holding a brush and standing in front of a large canvas thinking, “OK, umm… what do I need to do here?”  It can be pretty daunting, and jumping around from place to place on the canvas doesn’t work well for me.

Typically what I need to do is start thinking smaller.  What I’ve recently started to do is approach each painting session with a plan.  I try to figure out what I want to tackle before I grab the brush.  I don’t have to paint two hands, I have to paint one hand.  I don’t have to paint a whole hand, I just need to paint one finger.  I don’t have to paint a whole finger, just one fingernail.

And so on, until I’ve painted all the tiny little bits one by one and they come together into a completed work of art.

Easy peasy.

Except, I’m a big picture person, and dealing with details is a challenge for me.

Which is where discipline comes in.  I love painting, but there are lots of times where I have to resist the urge to say “this is too much, I’m going to go do something else.”

Staying with it pays off.  I suspect the “staying with it” part is what makes it art.

Please tell me what you think in the comments below!  Oh, and since you’re here,  I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage you to sign up for my email newsletter. I’ll be sending out a monthly note with updates on new work. You can use the convenient form on the right side of the page, or follow this link to sign up (clicking the link will open a new browser tab).

 

October (10 x 10")

Twelve Months of Hope

In January 2017, I started work on a series of twelve paintings, one for each month of the year, as a part of my “Secret Messages of Hope.” For each painting, I tried to show something significant about the month I was working on. In December, I finished the last of the twelve paintings. Let’s take a look at each of them and dig into what they’re about.

The paintings share a common visual theme made up of a circle, square, and vertical lines. These shapes each represent an idea. The circle represents the new moon, chaos, a fresh beginning. The square represents order and structure. Applying structure to chaos leads to creation.

The vertical lines are the carrier waves (like what a radio uses), bearing a simple message, “Hope.” Of course, it’s a hidden message. Hope is always there, but it isn’t always easy to see.

January
January (24″ x 24″)

January – In “January,” I tried to show a bit of what the month January is like here in Minnesota. The sky is mostly clear, and bright as the sun starts coming back again after the winter solstice. Usually the ground is covered with snow, and the lakes are frozen solid enough to drive on.  It’s beautiful, but cold!

February (12 x 12")
February (12 x 12″)

February – This painting is about love, of course. I tried to show a center of pure love, radiating out.

March (12 x 12")
March (12 x 12″)

March – March is always a good, exciting month for weather here in Minnesota.  The proverb, “In like a lion, out like a lamb,” rings true.  Of course, sometimes March comes in like a lamb, and goes out like a lion.  Or in like a lion and out like a lion.  The weather in Minnesota is always interesting, at least…

April (8 x 8")
April (8 x 8″)

April – Another proverb! April showers bring May flowers, naturally. I lived in the desert for a long time. Since there wasn’t much variation in the weather there, the ever-changing weather here fascinates me.  I’ve found I really enjoy driving in the rain, or just sitting at a window and watching it come down.

May (6 x 6")
May (6 x 6″)

May – In May, Minnesotans seem to start feeling confident that winter may actually be over.  The weather is pretty pleasant, and flowers start blooming everywhere.  After what seems like 27 months of winter, greenery and flowers are overwhelmingly beautiful.

June (10 x 10")
June (10 x 10″)

June – June is the month of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. And, in Minnesota at least, it’s also pretty much the perfect time of year.  Seriously.  As close as I can figure, people live in Minnesota because June is just that nice here.

July (8 x 8")
July (8 x 8″)

July – Did you know that the month of July has an official flower?  Well, two, actually.  The larkspur and the water lily.  I chose the water lily for this painting, simply because they’re beautiful flowers.  Plus, July is when the dog days of summer begin, and being in the water as much as possible is just a good idea.

August (12 x 12")
August (12 x 12″) – sold

August – In August of 2017, there was a full eclipse of the sun visible in many parts of the United States.  It’s OK if you didn’t hear about it. They kinda kept it under wraps.

In this day and age, I think we can look at an eclipse as a sign of hope – even during the darkest time, when the moon has completely blocked out the sun, we know the light will return.

Also, eclipses are wicked cool. Just saying.

September (20x20")
September (20 x 20″)

September – In this painting. I wanted to show the beginnings of Fall, with plenty of greenery remaining, but some leaves changing colors and starting to fall from the trees.  As I was painting this one, my friend Paige Dansinger asked me if I was a weaver, since many of the textures and patterns I create look as if they are woven.  I’m not, but it was a very intriguing comment, and led to the development of the following three pieces.

October (10 x 10")
October (10 x 10″)

October – This is one of my favorites out of all of the “Twelve Months of Hope” series.  In October, the fall colors peak. If you haven’t gotten to experience the fall color change in person, you really need to make the effort to see it.  It is, simply, staggeringly beautiful.

Also, Halloween is in October.

November (10 x 10")
November (10 x 10″)

November – In November, most of the leaves, but not all of them, are off of the trees.  The bright oranges and reds have given way to darker browns and rust colors, and it’s started to get dark earlier and earlier in the evening. 

December (10 x 10")
December (10 x 10″)

December – The leaves are gone, sometimes there is a bit of snow, and above all, it is dark. December is the month of the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year), and it’s little wonder there are so many cultural holidays in the month of December that involve lighting things up in hope that the sun will return.

That wraps up the Twelve Months of Hope series.  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Also, since you’ve made it this far, I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage you to sign up for my email newsletter as well. I’ll be sending out a monthly note with updates on new work. You can use the convenient form on the right side of the page, or follow this link to sign up (clicking this link will open a new tab).

Kaleidoscope (12x12")

Restarting the Blog

Kaleidoscope (12x12")
Kaleidoscope (12×12″)
Well, I can’t deny that this blog has been sorely neglected over the past year. That’s about to change!

In order to keep you up-to-date with my latest creations and wild notions, I am going to put up at least one new post per week here on daledahlberg.com.

I intend to keep my blog entertaining, and I hope you’ll follow along with me on my art journey!

Since I have your attention, I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage you to sign up for my email newsletter as well. I’ll be sending out a monthly note with updates on new work. You can use the convenient form on the right side of the page, or follow this link to sign up (clicking this link will open a new tab).