En plein air

I love the negative spaces in this photo Doug posted on his blog. He came back with some beautiful, almost painterly images. He also managed close ups of birds and squirrels that delighted me. I’m sure he’d rather finish his novel, but I keep telling him that with his background in horticulture he should publish a book of regional wildflowers.

For all the joys motherhood has brought in the last year I may not be able to run outside to paint whenever the urge strikes, but looking at Doug’s recent photographs gave me the thought that painting en plein air would be a good way to start working in oil again once Conor is weaned. Easier said than done in Newfoundland! In Nova Scotia I had great fun strapping my French easel to the back of my bike and wobbling off down the road towards the farmlands at sunrise. For all the inspiration that Newfoundland offers, the strong winds make it difficult to keep a canvas still in the great outdoors.

I often avoid the news, because I have a hard time separating myself from needless pain in the world. There are days when it is impossible to do that. There is not much that can –or perhaps even should– be said about today. My first instinct is to be silent, but I just wanted to say that I am sending my prayers out for all the victims and their families of today’s tragedy in London. Like many new mothers I especially understand the value of life. I will keep smiling for my baby today, because he is too little to understand. I know I don’t.

Alison, oil on canvas by Jennifer Pohl

Alison, Oil on Canvas; © Jennifer Pohl

One more painting for the archives. If you would like a closer look, a more detailed view will soon be seen in my upcoming online gallery.

My husband recently released the Hipster PDA version of his free D*I*Y Planner.

The escape was carefully orchestrated. Congo made sure the coast was clear, Bonzo distracted me with his endearing rendition of Polonius’ farewell speech to Laertes, Pierre engaged my wife with the latest Daniel Smith artists’ catalogue, and Polly constructed the electromagnet that attracted the key to the cage from atop the bookshelf. They waited till after midnight, then opened the padlock and quietly crept to the Mac to get to work.

This morning I found the fruits of their labour, stacked neatly in a small pile atop the printer.

It’s encouraging to read the comments, and hear about the email Doug receives. One tech writer said that with the planner’s help he is able to finally write again, and I was especially touched to read how sufferers of ADD say the hipster version will be of special help to them. Maybe there is something in this analog planner that eases the flow between the right and left brain? Myself, I ‘m really looking forward to the release of the creativity pack. I’m one of the fray who have made suggestions for the templates for artists. Yes! It should be no surprise that we need help with organization too, and it goes without saying that painters love and respond to the sensuality of paper.

I enjoy reading a million monkey’s typing (even when Doug’s technical know-how occasionally flies over my head), but I especially got a kick out of this intro. It left me trying to recall the ending of the shoe elves, but for th0se who may have missed other references:

Polly is the name of the typing monkey, while Congo is the now famous chimp artist whose paintings have been outselling Warhol .

painting by Congo the Chimp

Undated Bonhams handout photo of a painting by Congo the Chimp

“Pierre” Brassau refers to another painter, who received sudden critical acclaim in 1964.

Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer.”

Pierre’s career was cut short when it was discovered he was actually a four year old West African chimpanzee named Peter who lived in Sweden’s Boras Zoo. Richard Saunders recounts the tale at the end of his book The World’s Greatest Hoaxes. The prank had began when newsmen from a local daily had bribed the 70 year old keeper to supply Peter with brushes, oil paint and a few canvases. They then placed six of his creations in a reputable gallery, and watched by in glee as work sold and the critics raved.

The story is now legendary, but I haven’t been able to find images of Brassau’s work. (If anybody knows where examples may be found please let me know.)