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      Abstract Expressions

      I Blinked My Eyes and Summer is Almost Over!

      I Blinked My Eyes and Summer is Almost Over!

      As I sit in my backyard trying to soak up the last bits of summer weather I am realizing how fast it went by this year.  It's been the first summer since 2019 (and if you know my recent history, it's been since 2018 for me) that has been anywhere close to normal.  Everyone seems to have had incredibly busy summers and are now getting ready for the kids to go back to school.

      MJL Fine Art (that's me!) had some firsts this summer.  I had my first experience with an online show in the Abstract Square Foot Show.  It wrapped up last weekend and I would categorize it as a big success.  I met a number of amazing artists and art enthusiasts and also sold 4 out of the 5 pieces I had submitted.

      In less than a week the second online show I in opens!  The Mastrius - 100 Days of Summer show is also online and features 100 artists all submitting 10" x 10" pieces with theme of summer.  This show opens August 26th at 12pm MT and closes August 31st at 11pm MT.  The pieces I created for the show are inspired by Alice in Wonderland and fantastical worlds, these landscapes are bright, bold, and unconventional.  The patterns inserted in the initial layers create depth in these small but mighty pieces.  Typical of my style, contrast plays a big role!  The variation in hues and values is pushed to the max!  Fun, whimsical, and lighthearted - exactly the summer scene we need after the last few years!  You can check out all of the pieces here.

      Click here to shop the sale once it opens on August 26th at 6pm MT!




      I am very excited to announce that I am participating in the Calgary Artists Studio Tour!  I'm looking to the future here, but it is taking place Saturday, October 22nd, and Sunday, October 23rd from 11am to 4pm each day.  It's an opportunity for you to meet 12 of Calgary's visual artists, see their most recent work and pick their brains!  You do this at your own pace through a self-tour over two days, or one, it's your choice! 
      Check out the other 11 artists participating in this tour by clicking here!  There is also a link to the google map for the Tour, plus all of the artist's contact and social media links.  You can do a little research before you hit the road. 
      I am really excited about the rest of 2022 and all of the opportunities there are for me to meet new art enthusiasts!  My events page is all up to date and I have not discussed everything here, so go check it out.  I am now at the point where I am beginning a number of new projects for these events and my studio is full of new canvases and IDEAS!  This is one of the most exciting stages of the art process to me - new beginnings!
      To give you a peak into what I will be talking about next:  I recently updated my Artist Statement and in my next blog post I will be diving more deeply into some of the insights I had through revisiting it.  If you want to take a lookt at my Artist Statement  you can click here.
      Thank you for dropping in on my blog.  If you enjoyed it please share it with your friends and on social media using the icons below!  I love when people comment so please ask me questions or leave me your thoughts.

      Why Abstract Art?

      Why Abstract Art?

      Why abstract art?  I have been asked this question numerous times and until recently I didn’t know how to answer.  I have spent time reflecting on what draws me into abstract art and I think I have mostly figured it out…. 

      As a young teen the freedom that abstract art offered was magnetic.  Both creating and viewing abstract art offers a world of expanse that, for me, just doesn’t exist in representative art.  The fact that each person can interpret the same piece in a totally different way is intriguing.  The viewer is not given or directly told the subject matter, ie; here is a mountain, here is a person's face.  The viewer's interpretation is unrestrained by traditional form and entirely their own.

      This leads me directly to the main reason why I have always loved working within abstract art.  There is no box I had to stay inside of, it felt as though there was an absence of failure, I could colour outside the lines, so to speak, and that was even encouraged.  Working within non-representational abstract art gave me the feeling of being unrestricted, which was a breath of fresh air for me.  Being a very hyper ADHD child, I felt a constant obligation to control, subdue and bridle my energy and my true self.  I did this to conform to the expectations of others and avoid annoying or upsetting those around me.  However, within abstract art I could completely express myself, my full energy, and my unique ideas. Within the environment of abstract art my divergent thinking and energy led to success rather than disappointment from others.  It was exceptionally affirming to have a true part of me accepted and praised by people I respected and wanted to connect with.

      Recently I have come to see that, for me, abstract work in my style is a form of problem solving.  In many facets of my life I become excited and engaged by the challenge of resolving problems, finding work arounds or new processes to achieve a goal in the most efficient way.  Although my art process isn’t efficient (my work takes a long time to complete) to me it is an aesthetic challenge.  Within my process I create a foundational composition through multiple layers of paint.  Once I am happy with the balance, depth, and form of the base foundation I will begin to lay in the pattern.  This is where the problem solving comes in.  My work is firmly based in intuition; therefore, these pieces are not planned out ahead of time.  My challenge is to take a multi-colour, often very busy base and calm the chaos by adding in the detail and pattern.  Additionally, while doing this I need to maintain balance within the composition and colour placement, create a new layer that moves the eye around the canvas, and tells a story.  For me this process is invigorating and presents an opportunity for unique problem solving, divergent thinking, and work arounds.  The fact that there is no map or blueprint to follow can make this endeavor quite intimidating, however, this in and of itself, makes figuring out the puzzle that much more stimulating and satisfying.

      This may not be specific to abstract art, and I am absolutely certain it is not specific to me, but when I am being creative my mind empties and I can be 100% present.  It's the only time my busy overactive and overstimulated brain has silence and peace.  I feel the most grounded, sure of who I am and what my purpose is when I am in my studio creating. 

      I believe that if I had to define why I love abstract art in a single word, it would be liberation.  Abstract art affords me the freedom to unmask and step outside of societal imposed boundaries and fully express myself through my creativity.  The freedom abstract art grants me fills my soul, grounds me, and allows me to communicate authentically with the world, how could I not be drawn to it over and over again!