Happiness Grows Between the Cracks

A wonderful weekend with my sister-in-law is still giving me smiles every time I think about our couple of days at the beach together. I don’t get to see her very often, yet she doesn’t feel far away at all.

HappinessGrowbetween the cracks
Happiness Grows Between the Cracks, Mixed Media Fusion on panel, 12 x 16

Happiness Grows Between the Cracks

Happiness Grows Between the Cracks

I started this painting that weekend as we were watching the sun set. She wandered along the water’s edge, while dashed out a few notes on these flowers catching the last light. Then we went to dinner.

It’s been over 6 months ago, yet the warmth I felt there is still aglow. You can see it in the shapes and rhythm of the flowers and their shadows in this painting.  To me the flowers feel like joyful dancers, as puppets in the sunlight playing with their shadows.

The title? It just came to me. I guess I finally let it in!

 

How Inspiration Sprouted from a Week at the Beach

INSPIRATIONAL SHORT STORY

It all began with Happy Dance  ~ how I felt after three days at the beach with my sister-in-law!

I painted at sundown on our last night. Two weeks later …

Potted Joy
Potted Joy

inspiration grew from a seedling into a prolific garden


This week it spread to a whole garden of dreams.

Sundown at the beach
Sundown at the beach

I painted this small plein air painting at sundown on our last night at the beach. 

Happy Dance by Dorothy Fagan copyright 2016
Happy Dance, prints available

When I returned home, I kept fiddling around with all the paintings. This one kept niggling at me to paint it large. Finally, I consented to give it a try.

I prepared a 30 x 40 inch canvas with light terra cotta primer. Then washed the colors of Happy Dance in loosely. Strokes of happiness bottled up inside spewed across my painting.  

I grabbed a twig of willow charcoal and drew back into the wet paint, gently coaxing the color into form. 

Potted Joy by Dorothy Fagan copyright 2016
Potted Joy, prints available

Potted Joy? Did I know I was potting my joy? or that the pots symbolized anything at all? No!

I just felt it the urge to paint it. Like an itch, I had to do something about it so I picked up a brush and let loose.

prolific garden of paintings sprouted from it. I had no idea that following this urge to paint would create a wondrous and joyful container garden!

See more Joy’s Garden Paintings>

 

A Lily Pond of My Own | Painting Right in My Own Backyard

Right in my own backyard has double meaning in this series. Yes I have a pond outside my studio windows. Yet there is so much more here. And my pond doesn’t look like this!

Painting Right in My Own Backyard

In this story ‘my own backyard’ is inside me. I am painting these from within, NOT from any garden or pond that I have seen or painted. This is important. You may have read the beginning of this story last summer, when the first inkling came from a tiny watercolor I’d painted on my first day in France two years prior.

Water Lily Painting
A Lily Pond of My Own, oil

The unfinished paintings were clipped to a single board in the corner. Showing something else to a client, I moved a canvas exposing them to view. The one above was on top. Across the studio its colors coaxed me to stop what I was doing and listen.

I put her on the easel and sat in my chair across the room to hear what she had to say that was so urgent. An overwhelming urge for Ultramarine Blue in the shadow areas of the pond got me out of my chair. Mixing it up, I swung my brush rapidly at those places on the painting. More paint. More brush work. Sit back down.

Dorothy Fagan studio
The three canvases each took their own clip board, spreading out across the studio.

Color & Perception

In the photo you can see how I paint. The chair is on wheels back to the far right out of view ~ twenty feet from my easels. My palette is a large glass slab for mixing, a side table for tubes of paint, and a 7-drawer tabouret just below the cans of paint brushes.

Much of my color mixing is done by the viewers’ eye. Seen from across the room, you automatically blend color fields of paint. Seen up close, the paint is dry brushed like pastel over opposing colors. This creates a vibration in the way each color is perceived.

A Pond of My Own
A Pond of My Own, oil

A Lily Pond of My Own

Wanting to make everyone happy, to satisfy myself and keep the peace is a tall order. A bleeding heart I think they call it. An impossible role to fulfill sufficient to keep a person busy for a lifetime.

So. If peace is right in my own backyard and all I had to do was paint it how it feels to me ~ why oh why did it take me so long? And why do I feel like I can spend the rest of my life saying it over and over again?

I’ve always lived and painted in my own pond. Now I know enough not to mis-take everyone else’s as mine. Bleeding heart healed.