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What Lurks Below the Surface ...

Updated: 3 days ago

When you hear someone say - - there is something lurking below the surface - my mind immediately goes to a coverup - maybe dishonesty. And yet - that's not always the case. What if what's lurking below the surface - is just a continuation of what's on the surface - it was always there - you just didn't dig deep enough!


Well... get out your shovel - because you're going to have to dig mighty deep to find the original image on this piece of canvas. I actually can't believe I saved all the various images - but I did!


I had just started to paint - and had attended a 3 day workshop with John Pryce - President of the PLein Air Association of Canada. I hadn't been painting very long and the thing I created was absolutely no match for this very skilled and learned man. I can recall everyone intently listening to his every word and trying to capture some of the magic he displayed on his canvas. Meanwhile - ,... I'm mucking around painting purple and pink rocks because I didn't like the colour "brown". At the end of the three days - it was show and tell time. I tried to hide in the back row...just praying he wouldn't point to me as I hugged my canvas to my chest. No such luck and I can still remember to this day - the look on his face. I had painted nothing like the scene he had so patiently created and my colour pallet was something out of Fruit Loops box.


Fast forward - I hated that painting and thought I'd try and fix it. I got rid of the pink - kept the rocks and added in a sand beach. Still didn't think much of it - except I did like the colour of the rocks.

I thought the the teal and navy was actually quite pretty! However the composition did nothing for me - kind of boring. So what if I added in some people fishing...! I had seen a photo or a painting somewhere of kids fishing and I liked that idea. So the sand beach became more rocks and a trio of fisherman.


It wasn't a very good effort - and I felt it was too busy - too much. I had an eureka moment...what if I did ice fishermen? At our lake - in the winter the ice is dotted with ice fishing huts and it is a very popular thing to do. So my little rock painting done in the presence of the President of Plein Air Canada - was now a snow and ice filled semi-representation figurative painting with an ice hut.


I painted all these versions in 2019. This little ice fishing painting became my husband's favorite of anything I have done to date. I also had love for this little painting and almost took it off the wall during an art show this past September. It sold and I'm a bit sad to have seen it go. I'm not sure if it was the quirkiness of the painting itself or the fact that there was so much history lurking below the top layer of paint.


I do know that if the new owners every decide to scratch a corner to see what lurks - they are going to be digging around in there for awhile... never mind what fanciful fish is just waiting to be lured in by the Fishermen Three.


I found out today that there is actually a word for when you cover up a painting with another painting....It's called a "Pentimento Painting".....not to be mixed up with pimento - the thing stuffed inside an olive that sits in my martini!



On separate note - I was recently interviewed by GoSolo about running a fledgling art business. If you are interested in reading the interview - please click here

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