Pigment, Pandas and Perspective: Tidy up and create

Posted in Blogs, Visual Art

“Clearing the Decks”

BY ANNE BELOV, Aug. 12, 2013

Welcome to my mind, my studio, my unique perspective, if you will, of someone who travels the world through her creativity.  I want to share the nuts and bolts, the pigment and tools, of an artist’s life.  Sometimes I will share the trials and tribulations of being a painter using arcane materials in a modern world.  And sometimes I will write about pandas.

"Portrait of Madame P" by Anne Belov. (Photos courtesy of the author)

“Portrait of Madame P” by Anne Belov, oil on panel (Photos by Belov)

After a busy spring with far too many moving parts, (take this work here, pick up this work there, write three posts and get a new book out. Oh, and don’t forget to do some new paintings.) I am entering the part of the year when I can take a breath, sort of, with no major deadlines looming.  My studio looks like a bomb went off in it, or at least like the panda kindergarten had a really great party, then ran off and left the mess for me.

It’s time to organize my self, file some papers, clear off all horizontal surfaces, and try to figure out how all the parts of my life fit together and add up to less than a 26-hour day.

This morning I went out to do a little work in the garden, while it was cool and quiet. (I do my best thinking in the garden.)  After working for a little bit, I went and got a notebook so that I could capture these brilliant musings before they ended up in the bottom of the wheelbarrow, never to be seen again.

Gardening is a lot like painting. You head out with a firm idea: I am going to do this; I am working on this area over here, because the propane tank maintenance guy told me that the tank will last longer if I get all the overlapping vegetation to un-lap, but then as I was passing another garden bed I noticed some vine-y blackberries taking hold, setting up camp, and I better pull them out RIGHT NOW or that part of the garden is going to go totally feral … kind of like this sentence.

"How Time Passes" by Anne Belov, oil on linen.

“How Time Passes” by Anne Belov, oil on linen.


Painting is a lot like that.  I often have an idea about where I think I am going, but I don’t always end up there.  I am left with the choice to listen to the painting and take it in the direction that it wants to go, or bowing to the inevitable and steering it back on course, which usually involves wiping out the day’s work, or maybe even several days. I’ve learned that the route that looks easiest is usually not the right one. Sigh …

Out and About in the Galleries:

There’s a reason why so many visual artists live on Whidbey.  It’s kick-ass gorgeous and this year has been splendid. There are two shows in the galleries this month celebrating the beauty of Whidbey Island.  The Rob Schouten Gallery celebrates local beauty withThe Colors of Whidbey, through Sept. 3.  It features landscapes by Annette Hanna and Pete Jordan, colorful farm animals by Stacey Neumiller, and additional paintings by Linnane Armstrong, Anne Belov, Angie Dixon, Jacob Kohn, Melissa Koch, Mark Van Wickler and Angèle Woolery.

"Late Afternoon Ewing Road" by Anne Belov, oil on panel.

“Late Afternoon Ewing Road” by Anne Belov, oil on panel.

Brackenwood Gallery also focuses on Whidbey Island scenes, as well, with A Painter’s Summer in the Northwest,” with landscapes by Susan Ogilvie, Ginny O’Neill and Pete Jordan.  Before you head off to the beach or the park at Deception Pass, check out these shows, and then see the beauty of Whidbey Island through the painters’ eyes.

Anne Belov paints, writes, makes prints, and is the founder of The Institute for Contemporary Panda Satire. You can find her paintings at the Rob Schouten Gallery, her cartoons on The Panda Chronicles, and her new book here. She also writes regularly for The Whidbey Life Magazine, a free journal of art and culture on Whidbey Island.  Read her recent interview in the July Issue of The Write Life Magazine, an online publication. Her main regret in life is that there is no MacArthur Grant for Panda Satire.

Leave a Reply