This year I’m going to do a series of twelve paintings, using Alena Hennessy’s book, “Intuitive Painting Workshop,” as inspiration. Each month, I’ll do a new painting, inspired by that month. So to kick things off here in 2017, I’ve started with “January,” a 24 x 24 inch acrylic painting on stretched canvas.
The prompt provided in the book for January is to set an intention for the month. Since the uniting theme for all of my current art and music is hope, it will serve as my intention for this painting as well.
I thought a bit about how the month of January feels, and what it looks like. Here in Minneapolis, January is typically the coldest month of the year. On the coldest days, the air is perfectly clear, and there isn’t a cloud visible anywhere in the sky. After the initial feeling of shock of the cold, the air smells clean and fresh.
It only made sense to start out by filling in the canvas with a bright, clear blue. Once it was dry, I applied a strip of tape so I could get a sharp line for the layer of white I applied next. I think it looks kind of like a snow covered plain, or perhaps the ice of a frozen lake extending to the horizon.
Once the white layer was in I added a bold, white outline to the edges of the canvas, and got to work on adding in a white circle. Typically, I use a compass to create a guideline to follow for the circle, but this time I just sketched it in as well as I could.
I use the circle to represent chaos, and the square outline represents order. Each of these forces needs the other to exist, at least in any recognizable sense.
Once I had the circle filled in and looking good, I set to work adding vertical lines to the left side of the painting. I’ve found it’s easier to paint these lines in horizontally, so I gave the canvas a quick spin and got to work.
Adding these lines in requires as much, or more, time spent doing prep work than it does actually putting the color on the canvas. Applying the lines is still a fair amount of work, since I try to make sure that the brushstrokes are all cohesive and uninterrupted.
Once that’s done, all that’s left is to add in the secret message for this painting.
To complete this painting, I put in the message “Hope” using a woodsy brown. I think it kind of hints at the bare trees, waiting for spring to come so they can grow fresh leaves.
I’m very happy with how it turned out. What do you think? Leave a comment below and let me know.
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