The September Challenge

Sheila and I both managed to make the September challenge on October 1. To be honest, Sheila had started hers days before the due date but just needed to get some stitching done. To be honest, I didn’t even begin mine until September 30 (but I thought it was September 29, and the dog ate my paintbrush, OK?)

Sheila’s work, which she featured on her blog, will be fun to respond to. It’s entitled “Jockeying in the Queue” and she explains what got her to this title, as well as how she worked the entire piece (to find the explanation, scroll down to the blog post for Oct. 1):

Jockeying-in-the-QueueWJockeying in the Queue, approximate 12 x 16″, fused fabric, machine stitched

Jockeying-in-the-Queue-detaJockeying in the Queue, detail.

My painting came out of re-reading some analyses of Emily Carr’s paintings, out of fussing about how to depict desert skies, and out of not wanting to send Sheila just another representational landscape.

A number of Carr’s paintings have a Cubist style sky, while others follow vastly different patterns. Carr depicts her skies in a multitude of ways and I find myself wondering why — why use this style at this at this time, that with those scenes, and so forth. Here’s her Vanquished, seriously cropped to show mostly sky, that I decided to emulate:


Emily Carr, Vanquished [cropped by Underwood], oil on canvas, full painting 92 x 129 cm, 1930, collection in Vancouver Art Gallery

My copy is definitely a copy. I wanted to see if I could come anywhere close to Carr’s version of “sky” in Vanquished.  I didn’t photograph the copy, but I went on to do two more, which turned into something other than skies:


SheilaOct2WSheila, October 1 and Sheila, October 2, both 12 x 16″, oil on masonite, 2009

Both these pieces originally had something like a landscape below the intertwined and overlapping strips, and both had the landscapes removed or at least reduced by extending the strips.

Sheila says she will probably work from October 1, although when on October the third I took another look at the two paintings, I realized I had to revise both of them. So neither is as it was on October first — I pushed the values (I’m always a wimp with values, at least at first) and added what I hope will be a bit of pizzaz. It’s up to Sheila to decide if she wants to work with the new versions.

I will undoubtedly continue examining Carr’s skies. She has the same kind of problem all landscape artists have — skies are integral to saying “this is landscape” but can be dreadfully banal unless somehow worked as part of the same problem as the rest of the ‘scape.

So you’ll probably be hearing more on this subject. If you wish to look at Carr’s skies, here’s as good a link as any. –June

This entry was posted in Art, Emily Carr, landscape, oils, painting, studies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The September Challenge

  1. Sheila says:

    Well, that gave me a start…I thought I’d hit the wrong link and was on my blog. So the cat’s out of the bag and everyone now knows what we’re supposed to be working on. That outside accountability thing I, for one, need!

    I think one of the reasons I was drawn more to Oct1 than Oct2 was because 2 seemed pale or at least pastel. Your pushing the value definitely has improved it (I can tell without comparing it to the version you sent.) Not so noticeable on 1 but I do think I detect more clarity. Both seem less muddy.

    Thanks for posting the Emily Carr Cubist sky – I didn’t really remember that from previous postings about her work. Now I can see a little better the influence. I’ll follow the link you provided too.

    Your intertwining has put me in mind of intertwining tree limbs. Your dancing sky has reminded me of my dancing trees of Maryhill. Perhaps I can marry the two ideas. Time to put on my dancin’ shoes… vbg


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