What’s Been Going On In the Enchanted Forest

Winter is here. It’s freezing rain today here in the enchanted forest, and the golden days of autumn already seem like a long time ago. Okay, the forest isn’t really enchanted, but there were days this fall when everything did look beautiful and enchanted. It’s been a busy season for me. It always seems like there’s so much I want to get done that just doesn’t happen. I did get into the studio, though not as often as I’d planned. I hate to admit it but I let the balmy weather and spectacular foliage lure me outside more often than not. There were lots of inspiring walks with this girl:
After the bugs died off in September, I spent an insane amount of time and effort cutting, splitting and stacking firewood. It’s crazy expensive to buy, so I got myself a little chainsaw and borrowed a splitter, and off into the woods I went. It was exhausting, brutal but ultimately satisfying and I am able to say proudly that I have a stockpile that should see me through the winter.
I started lots of new paintings including some large ones, but I’m having trouble finishing them. I guess that’s my process: unlike so many artists, I love the blank canvas. Then comes the slog through many many many layers, until eventually things start to make sense visually. This is where I often bog down, out of fear of wrecking things. So there’s a huge pile of unfinished work on the shelf.
I’ve been exploring some new ideas that incorporate collage and illustration elements into my usual abstract work. I’m not showing these yet because they’re still all experimental (read uuuuggggglyyyy) but I’m pretty excited about this new turn because I can see some interesting things emerging.
In the meantime, here are a couple of recent things that are on my worktable now. When you compare them to the work I produced when all I could think about was jumping into the lake this summer, you can tell that the spectacular autumn foliage and recent winter landscape have been influencing my choice of colours. (Sorry for the awful photo quality: my camera is kaput and my phone does not do indoor shots very well.)
I’m calling these two works-in-progress for now. They’re close to done but not quite there yet. They’re in the fear-of-fucking-shit-up phase. At some point this winter I’ll have a couple of glasses of wine and put on the finishing touches that will resolve the little things that are bugging me about them.
I’ve spent a lot of time reading lately. There’s just something about a crackling fire in the wood stove on a blustery night that makes me want to cuddle up on the sofa a mug of chocolate almond tea and dive into a great story. I was blown away by Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. I don’t want to give away the story, so all I’ll say is that it starts off rather innocuously with the four main characters going about their lives in NYC, and then the emotional stakes ratchet up until you find yourself heavily invested in their lives. It’s a stunning book, brilliant. Best novel I’ve read in a long time.
When I’m not reading in the evening, I sometimes give in to my guilty pleasure of watching old shows on TV, like M*A*S*H and The Andy Griffith Show, while doodling in a journal. I picked up this little craft paper gem last week at the local garden centre and embellished the covers last night. It’s perfect for working out some of my new ideas before bringing them up in scale canvas.
Well, that’s all for now, so take care until we meet again. I’m off to put away all my Black Friday week indulgences!

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