Thursday, May 18, 2017

Go On and Make a Joyful Sound - Lessons From My Guardians and Spirits



And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you'll never know  

These lyrics from the 1973 Jackson Browne song For a Dancer strike a deep chord with me.  I have been blessed in my life to have met many people who have walked along beside me - sometimes for many years, sometimes for a short time - and while we walked together they shared with me their intrinsic beauty, their insights, their earthly gifts, and their own unique wisdom. 

Whether you believe in spirit guides, divine intervention, guardian angels or kindred souls, for each of us, as we walk our solitary path in this life, there are those who share our journey with us, and if we are open and curious about the fate, destiny or serendipitous circumstances that placed each of these particular people in our path, it is my opinion that we can continue to learn, evolve, and accept and embrace the change, uncertainty, and the inevitable loss and pain that all humans must face with a sense of inner calm and peace. 

Interactions with these guides or spirits can bring us a greater understanding of ourselves, and can help us to make sense of the often seemingly random events we each encounter in our lives.  (This from a reformed concrete thinker!)  As I have written in previous blog posts, it is my belief that when we reveal who we really are with others and embrace emotional risk, our lives are immeasurably enriched.

The five figures depicted in the painting Go On and Make a Joyful Sound are people I have had the great fortune to walk with for a time.  Some walk this earth no more.  Each one has enhanced my life, made me reflect, question, and deepen my efforts to live my life with my eyes, ears, and heart wide open.  I consider them guardians or kindred spirits, and while I have actually met more than five (I know, such luck!) it is the lessons of these five that have special significance in my life today.

Here are the qualities each special soul has shared with me:

lovingkindness
spirituality
generosity
self knowledge
healing
curiosity
transformation
honour
joy
passion
acceptance
light
love

Some time ago, when I was questioning whether I was "fulfilling my destiny" and worrying that perhaps I was not, that I was possibly squandering my life and talents and wasting my precious time on earth, I read Anita Moorjani's book Dying To Be Me.  In it she puts forth the idea that the only purpose of each of our lives is to be our self and live our truth.  What a relief!  That, I thought, I can do. 

We may never know why we are here, why we meet the people we meet and have the experiences we do, but according to Anita, we don't need to.  Be ourselves.  Live our truth.  That's it.  A nice, short, do-able list.  I would add one thing to that list, and that is pay attention when a guardian angel or spirit appears in your life.  Listen to what they whisper in your ear.

Be your best, let go of the rest, stay curious, and go on and make your own joyful sound.

Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don't let the uncertainty turn you around
The world keeps turning around and around
Go on and make a joyful sound

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The 100 Faces Project Available as Downloadable PDF





I have created a photo book of the 100 Faces Project paintings.  For now it is available as a PDF download only from blurb.com, (viewable on any device) with a soft cover to be available very soon (at a realistic price, not blurb's!)

The instant download is 6.99 CA  -  click on this link to view the preview and order:

http://www.blurb.ca/bookstore/invited/6946988/1852e7536e291d6ef53cac2d0bd178c8f015451b

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Celestial Visitations

Now that 2016 is in the rear view mirror and my 100 Faces Project is completed, (and I have had my winter "nap" where I don't get much done except hibernate by the fire with tea and a good book) I have been enjoying creating the first few of what appears to be a new series of paintings. Working on large pieces of ripped, raw edged canvas, I have been exploring ethereal imagery in a creamy, dreamy palette with predominantly whites and blues. So far I have completed four pieces and I am currently working on a fifth, take a look:

 An Angel Falls From the Sky - 6' x 3'

Little Things Are Hard to See - 5' x 5'

First Roots, Then Wings - 4' x 5'

 Go On and Make a Joyful Sound - (Lessons From My Guardians and Spirits) - 5' x 5'


Monday, December 12, 2016

The 100 Faces Project is finished - hooray! Time for a giveaway!

I completed the 100 faces in early December, and they can all be viewed on my 100 Faces Project page. I have decided to give away painting #100 - I am The Light:

 
Enter to win painting #100 by leaving a comment below this post, on my Lesley Fountain Studio facebook page, or in email to lesleyfountainstudio@gmail.com. I will be making the draw on December 24th, and will ship anywhere!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

I Love to Paint. I Love to Share.

 I offer a variety of art workshops in intuitive painting and mixed media, twice weekly drop in sessions, once a month extended drop in sessions, unique art parties, private workshops and one on one art classes.  No class size too small!  See my workshops page for details on upcoming workshops and drop in sessions and click on the paintings links (organized by years) for photos of my artwork. 

Testimonials
What I love and needed from Lesley Fountain she so effortlessly delivered.  Lesley allows people to return to a childhood place, where a person can create in a limitless, imaginative and non- judgmental fashion.  Her studio is like a dream of high quality paints and a space where a mess is encouraged and art is created by everyone!  Friends are made quickly in her studio space, and affirmation encourages aspiring artists to experiment and be free.  Music and laughter fill the space and I left feeling like I wanted more!  Lesley provides materials in her fees which is such a great way to get started.  She has taught me the value of good quality paint and even more Lesley has set me on a path of lifetime joy through creation on canvas!  Very grateful!  
- Sheila Thomas

I've taken several workshops and attended drop-in sessions with Lesley Fountain.  Creating art is such a personal experience, and to be truly experienced cannot not be approached by following a recipe.  Lesley not only welcomes her learners to experiment and try different techniques, but she celebrates the unexpected, learns along with her students, and nurtures, supports and encourages the process, not just the end result.  Generous is the word that comes to mind when I think of how willing Lesley is to share her craft, which is in equal measure the craft of artistry,  and of teaching. 
 - Lisa Read

Lesley Fountain is an amazingly talented person.  Aside from that, she has a wonderful, joyful, personality.  I discovered this after taking a course in Passionate Intuitive Painting that she gave.  I had not painted since the 1960's and decided to take this course.  WELL, unbelievable how she inspired me! I now paint almost every day, I've painted over 100 paintings since I took that course over a year ago.  Can you imagine if she inspires everyone like that!  WOW!  I encourage anyone to take the course, even if you have never painted before.  You will be amazed, you will be relaxed, and happy with yourself! And she has herbal tea and chocolate!
- Bev Robinson

  I have participated in several workshops with Lesley - drop in, one day, as well as multi day - and she never disappoints!  It is so rewarding to arrive at a workshop with no plan or "vision" and come away with a piece of art that is personal, unique and soul satisfying.  Chocolate and tea are an added delight, as is Lesley's insight and good humour.  Do yourself a favour and make the time to connect with your inner artist!
- Heather Craib

 
Growing, Growing, All the Time

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Healing Through Painting - to share, or not to share, THAT is the question.

Snippet from Little Girl, Earnest


I saw a course description the other day for a class at a local university called Writing Your Heart Out. The description of the course said: "Experience this unique two-day course in writing your loves, losses, and deepest longings."

It immediately brought to mind my unfinished book, (working title "Art Making That Heals - how I turned pain and rage into healing with paint, brush and canvas") which is part memoir,  part art book, and part instructional manual for expressing internal feelings of pain, anger and loss through art making.

And I ruminated, once again, about not publishing it after all. 
  
Throughout 2015 I created a series of paintings using a technique I created which I call "rage painting."  I called the series "Don't F@#k With Me."  It was born, not surprisingly, out of acute pain and rage that I needed to express creatively, lest it bring me to my knees, or worse.  After completing the paintings I had the idea to put them into a format that could help others, hence the book idea. 

Creating the paintings saved my sanity last year.  I worked through a lot of shit that was weighing me down, and every time I completed another canvas I felt the load lifting.  But here is the thing - while the process was incredibly therapeutic for me, it was also intensely personal.  I have shared photos of three of the paintings publicly, but have felt a huge resistance to sharing the entire series. 

I watched a video recently about artists and exposure.  The Long Game, Part 3 -"Painting In the Dark -  The Struggle for Art in a World Obsessed With Popularity" is the follow up video to the Long Game Parts 1 & 2.  The video addresses the downside of the popularity driven social media culture vis a vis creativity, and asks the question "If we create art and share it with no one, are we still artists?"  What about the intrinsic value of art making for the artist alone, regardless of everyone else's thoughts and opinions on either the process or the end result?

(Check out the series, it is terrific) -  https://vimeo.com/151128399

I love to paint, and I love to share.  I am certainly "guilty" (if you want to attach a value judgement) of sharing on social media on a very regular basis - my thoughts and opinions on a wide variety of topics, including photos of my work and information about my art making process.   As an art facilitator, I often view my artistic breakthroughs or triumphs as great opportunities to help others.   But sometimes expressing ourselves through art making is a private and personal process, like journalling.  I do not post my private journal pages on social media - the idea horrifies me.  I use the process of journalling (and art journalling) to work through and resolve issues that crop up in my internal world. 

If in the back of our minds we are conscious that the end result of our creative process is to be shared with the world, how much of the process is altered?  For many of us, many moments of our day become "I should post this on facebook/instagram" opportunities.  Those thoughts take us out of the moment by projecting ourselves into the future, and if we are creating at the time that we have these thoughts, we cannot remain in the state of "flow" we may have reached while creating.  When we are working to share, we remove ourselves to some degree from the therapeutic benefit of losing ourselves in the state of flow. 

The process I went through with the Don't F@#k With Me series could be called paint journalling.  It was unbelievably therapeutic - liberating, satisfying, and intensely personal.  I believe it was life saving, and I highly recommend adding art making to work through pain and grief and loss to anyone, in addition to other therapies. 

I do love to share, but maybe not every painting I create. I do love to share, but maybe not every detail about my process, or the feelings that preceded it.  Perhaps, after all, both "Art Making That Heals" and the paintings in the "Don't F@#k With Me" series are simply private gifts to myself.










Sunday, December 20, 2015

You Love It. Then You Hate It. Then You Change It. Then You Love It.

Goddesses? What Goddesses?


I painted this painting a couple of years ago, and it was hanging on my studio wall minding it's own business last week, when I suddenly developed a serious grudge against it.  Here is the deal with this particular painting.  A couple of years ago I was so in love with colour and layers upon layers upon layers of marks and texture that it was very hard for me to cull.  "Ooh, that bit is so pretty!" I was like a kid decorating a Christmas tree that had to hang every ornament PLUS tinsel AND multi coloured lights.  (Note: Tree this year is minimalist - white twinkly lights and a dozen old fashioned wooden or knitted ornaments.)  As a result, my paintings were busy - full of action, like a carnival ride.

Midway through painting this one I saw two women, chin to chin, breast to breast, hair streaming back and hips a-sway.  I called the painting Embrace Your Inner Goddess.  The thing is, no one could see those women but me.  In over two years, not a single person saw my goddesses, no matter how many clues I gave.  "See? Both of them have an arm back, like THIS" I would say, demonstrating with my own arm.  Nope.  No one.

Aside from the hidden goddesses, the painting was starting to really bug me.  Too much color.  Too many marks.  It made me feel all jangly when I looked at it.  Get me off this carnival ride, already.

The absolute beauty of painting, the thing that I really want my students to Get with a capital G, is that you can paint, and stop, and start again, and change it, and leave it, and change it, and so on and so forth. Until you like it. (And then, maybe you won't again later.)  But it is signed already!   But I took photos of it and called it finished!

So what?

It is the PROCESS that is so delicious, not the end result. When I took that big bad goddessy girl down and started layering blues and whites over it I was in the zone. What to keep, what to get rid of? This process still thrills the heck out of me, maybe because I am so much better at it than I used to be.

The first thing I did was rotate the canvas, like this for a new view:

Once it was in this orientation, all sorts of new possibilities presented themselves. You can see what I mean more clearly if I show you half the canvas at a time. I saw some bits I wanted to keep...

...like the hanging down pod thingie, the little blue leaves, the tiny etched flower, and one of the blue horizontal slashes. I changed the horizontal lines a bit, and added white and black liberally.

On this half you can see that another pod thingie from the top stayed, as well as some of the blue vertical streaks. I loved the marks in the big circle under the pod, but made it smaller and anchored it to the bottom of the canvas with a stem. The orange area at the lower right had so much pretty colour going on, so I kept a bit of it in the leaves and gave the rest the white treatment. Adding some black areas give a nice contrast.

The painting has been renamed Winter Drift. I like it. For now... ;)