Category Archives: Paintings

Political Art

FUCK 800“Fuck Your Morals” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) July 2017. SOLD

FUCK #2 800

“Fuck Your Morals #2″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) July 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

I often feel like I should be doing more overtly political art like my Standing Rock Water Protectors series, that painting faces – women’s faces – isn’t enough. Yet, this concern reflects how a lot of people feel right now, historically. What can I do? What can any of us do to set things on a better course? Maybe it hasn’t been necessary to describe the better course for a long time. Better than what? Better than 1% self-interest. How about the greatest good to the greatest number of people? A utilitarian premise that doesn’t take us too far, but I think that’s what people have in mind as opposed to being fine with the wealthy doing whatever they want to make money at the expense of everyone else.

When I start to question my motivation for not making more overtly political art, I accept that fear is involved. Would people buy political art? Do I paint protestors or faces? I go back to the amount of very direct political content I have created. Must I always sing political songs? Paint political art? Write political novels?

“Fuck Your Morals” was a two painting series. I admit: when the second one didn’t sell, I stopped. If it had sold, I would have continued. I make a distinction between making multiple paintings of political subjects and replicating primarily aesthetic work. It’s very different. If I had a strong sense of political work selling, I’d paint more of it. Painting faces is a way for me to support myself and protect myself from retail-related damage (wrists, back, etc.) so that I can continue to make more overtly political work in the future. There! I’ve justified it! Yet, if painting women from photos whose primary intention was to exploit women in the name of capitalism, if painting those faces with a completely different intention, to populate the world with women’s emotions that they themselves (allegedly) felt – anger included – this is political. It’s also utterly idiosyncratic and it requires some thought. It’s also the work of a cultural activist who has been creating work across a handful of disciplines without ever making it big, but yet, keeps going rather than giving up or selling out.

I sometimes feel that the prettier faces sell fastest, that there’s a demand for youth and beauty, that I don’t want to play into. I’m not searching for something that will sell well and then continue to paint a bunch of those. That isn’t what I’m doing. Even though I get immediate feedback in terms of ‘likes’ and sales on FaceBook, I return to paint whatever I want. Most recently, I’ve been placing more importance on areas other than the face like the hair, neck and shoulders – where I’m doing more abstract work. It’s a way of broadening the work beyond the face.

I think more money-driven artists might go towards what sells, but that’s too much like capitalism – as is raising the price for no particular reason other than it’s the conventional thing to do when something becomes popular. All the years of making music that isn’t about fame and fortune fortifies this approach. I know first hand what else can be accomplished by making something that isn’t essentially profit-driven. Friendship, community, measurable social change. Don’t get me wrong – I want to have money to reduce worry and increase security, but it isn’t what propels this project. Yet again, if the paintings weren’t selling, I’d have to get a job in retail. Grappling with the balance between creativity and commerce is nothing new to me. It’s part of what I’d include in an artist statement, but I think that’s something that will come later.

 

 

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The Painting of “No Hat #310”

No Hat 310 800

“No Hat #310″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) December 8, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

After I posted “No Hat #310” on my FaceBook page yesterday, former Bitch Media culture reviewer Jim Burlingame commented, “Awesome! I’d love to read a breakdown of your artistic choices, with each stage of a painting like this.”

So, I replied.

Whenever I take a break from painting, which is usually only a few days, it always feels like a significantly new time or phase is about to begin. I feel a lot of pressure to do something good so that there isn’t a kind of comparative downward sense. I knew I wanted to use a different subject and move away from the women I’d been painting, but I didn’t have anything in mind, until I saw a screengrab I saved from footage around the same era as the Rolling Stones paintings I did.

It was a very blurry black and white image, very low contrast where the features were mostly obscured – very different from what I’ve been doing which is all very brightly lit faces. I wanted to use something other than black for the darkest areas – which I painted first, before the lighter areas of the forehead, nose, upper lip and cheeks. To a certain extent, I usually paint eyes, nose and mouth to look like those things, but with this one, I’m painting light into the dark to give the sense of mass and contour, so I went back and forth cutting in with the warm skin colors, then back into it with what turned out to be black and not some slightly warmer color. Overall, it became more about looking at all the components together at the same time to see how believable it was in terms of what would be in shadow and what would be catching the light with a singular light source from above.

I frequently use blue in the background because it recedes, so it can help a painting like this, which is about what pushes forward out into the light. I did a bit of what John Singer Sargent did and made the right side of the head (his left) – the hair – a hard line and the other side softer. To make it softer I painted a thin layer of the background color over the dark , but I want to indicate that the light wasn’t simply cutting into the dark there, that the light picked up another color around the hair and that was the warmer color – a purple because the hair was made of black with red in it and the blue of the background with red makes purple. As soon as I had that purple in I knew I wanted bright yellow for the clothing percentage of the surface because purple and yellow are complementary. I couldn’t wait to get the yellow on the panel, but then I muted where the purple was so it wasn’t reaching out and working with the yellow, but more as a hint under the blue, after that I adjusted the darkness on the face and it went too dark and became like a stylized silhouette, I’ll call it for lack of a better term, whereas I wanted it to look like it was someone in a certain light, not a stylized image, so I needed to alter the intensity of the black coverage – but not by changing the color or cutting into the black with the skin color. At this point I knew I was going to take it to the sink and use a scrub brush. I kind of checked in with my confidence level and quickly noticed no apprehension (a way to describe a sense of assessing that I’m not about to do something reckless for some other underlying reason). I also knew I needed the paint to be a certain amount drier before I got it wet or it would just run off out of control, so I got the hairdryer on it and recognized how much this part is based in experience, having gotten to know the paint and how paint of various thicknesses and wetnesses will behave when I get them under the tap. I knew which areas were set and which were vulnerable to the water. I was thinking about other disciplines – like cooking and baking – during which various consistencies have to be achieved during complicated processes.

I used to do a lot more at the sink, removing a lot of the paint in frustration and experimentation, but water from the tap has become much more of a tool as I’ve become more experienced. Sometimes I do it just to loosen everything, as a final step in what might have been headed towards over-painting.

I ran it under the tap quickly and pulled the scrub brush (a nail brush, actually) over it once and got the lines I wanted. I walked back to the board allowing the water to run off the surface, watching to see what was happening on all areas. I mopped up some of the water carefully with paper towel and got the hair dryer on it again, and felt very good about being able to add the final gradation, the alternating values of light and dark, around the eyes and under the nose. Oh, and the swipe of paper towel moving the paint horizontally off the left is a compositional addition.

 

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Paintings Based on a Photo of Bridget Bardo

My objective has more to do with emotions that aren’t essentially expressed on her face in the photo. My paintings hold multiple tensions and micro-energies that transcend the split second of the shutter opening and closing. There’s emotional history involved because of who I am and how she looks. Most recent paintings (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) at the top.

No Hat 294 800

No Hat 256 800No Hat 254 800

No Hat 255 800No Hat 242 800No Hat 247 800No Hat 234 800No Hat 235 800

Singer #7 800Singer #4 800

No Hat 158 800

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300th painting SOLD

300

I started the series of $100 USD contemporary portrait paintings back in January, 2016. Most of these sales were directly from my regular FaceBook page, which is where I post paintings first. Add me as a friend and see paintings as soon as they’re dry enough to photograph!

Jean Smith on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/jean.smith.1806

Here’s the 300th painting SOLD! An art instructor at a Vancouver college bought it!

No Hat 297 800

“No Hat #297” (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) November 24, 2017

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Video: paintings currently available

When you buy a $100 USD painting (11 x 14″) as a gift it can be a GIFT CERTIFICATE allowing the recipient to choose, or I can send the painting directly to the recipient.

  • GIFT WRAPPED
  • handmade CARD (by me) with your note inside
  • TRACKING NUMBER
  • $100 CAD INSURANCE
  • BUY NOW to be mailed early December

PAINTINGS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE  FaceBook and WordPress
Email me: meccanormal@hotmail.com to check availability
payment via PayPal $100 USD plus $10 USD shipping
TOTAL $110 USD

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“The Hat” after Vermeer

The Hat 55 800
“The Hat #55″ after Vermeer (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel). SOLD

The Hat 56 800
“The Hat #56 after Vermeer (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel). SOLD

The Hat 57 800

“The Hat #57″ after Vermeer (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel). SOLD

The Hat 58 800

“The Hat #58″ after Vermeer (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel). SOLD

The Hat 59 800

“The Hat #59″ after Vermeer (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel). $100 USD plus shipping.

The Hat 61 800
“The Hat #61″ after Vermeer (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel).$100 USD plus shipping.

The Hat 62 800
“The Hat #62″ after Vermeer (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel). $100 USD plus shipping.

The Hat 63 800
“The Hat #63″ after Vermeer (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel). $100 USD plus shipping.

Vermeer in Landscape 800
“Five Women in Red Hats After Vermeer Walking Through the Reflection Landscape With Significantly More Ice to Prevent Them From Falling Through, Thus Creating a Safer Environment for Them With the Tools at Hand in This Case Paint” (11 x 14” acrylic on paper) November 14, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Ideally this will go to someone who has paintings from both “The Hat” after Vermeer series and the “Reflection” series to make it sequential art within one home.

Reflection #8 800
“Reflection #8″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel). $100 USD plus shipping.

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The Stones

Paintings based on screengrabs from a film by Jean Luc Godard; The Rolling Stones recording “Sympathy for the Devil” at London’s Olympic Sound Studios in June, 1968.

STONES BIG hre“Woo Woo” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) October, 26, 2017. SOLD

STONES 2 800 r
“Jagger” recording “Sympathy for the Devil” at London’s Olympic Sound Studios in June, 1968 (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) October, 27, 2017. SOLD

STONES 3 800
“Richards” — recording “Sympathy for the Devil” at London’s Olympic Sound Studios in June, 1968 (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) October, 28, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Mecca Normal, Empathy for the Evil, CD cover art, M'lady's Records - Copy

This is not the first time I’ve been drawn from the song “Sympathy for the Devil”. In 2014, I gave Mecca Normal’s 13th album the title “Empathy for the Evil“.

 

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The Jealous Curator

blurb evv

The Jealous Curator featured these five (all sold) paintings on her blog today! What a thrill!

“First, oh my word I love these portraits {acrylic on canvas panel} so, so, so much. Second, Canadian rocker turned painter Jean Smith sells these paintings on Facebook for $100 a pop. WHAT? Yes, true story. Are you wondering what you’re still doing here and why you’re not over there buying a whole bunch of these 11×14 beauties? Me too. Here you go… Jean’s Facebook page. You’re welcome.” – The Jealous Curator

$100 USD paintings currently available

No Hat #79 by Jean Smith throwsilver@hotmail.com

No Hat #116 by Jean Smith throwsilver@hotmail.comNo Hat 167 500No Hat 200 500Singer #4 by Jean Smith throwsilver@hotmail.com

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Late July into August

It’s typical for me to switch things up near the end of the month when sales slow due to rent and bills. During this time I break away from painting faces and gravitate towards animals, land or seascapes, and now city streets.

This post is linked to Vol. 443 of Normal History (September 16, 2017) in Magnet Magazine.
Amidst the Waves 800
Amidst the Waves″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) July 30, 2017. SOLD

sandhill cranes 800
Sandhill Cranes″ (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) July 31, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #2 800
Amidst the Waves #2″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #3 800
Amidst the Waves #3″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #4 800

Amidst the Waves #4″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #5 800
Amidst the Waves #5″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #6 800
Amidst the Waves #6″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #7 800
Amidst the Waves #7″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #8 800
Amidst the Waves #8″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Rain 800
“Rain” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 7, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

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