Vessel of Ideas

4.5′ x 6′ Acrylic on Wood

This is the largest painting I had ever done. It was so big that I had to strap the pieces of wood to the top of my minivan! It’s also much more imagination based than my previous work had been, and I feel like I really unlocked my ability to create imaginary images. I used lots of photo reference while manipulating size, colour, positioning, and lighting to best suit the painting. I thought about having a good strong silhouette, composition, and colour palette to create a pleasing and adventurous look. The drawings which are blowing around the room were originally drawn by kids at my place of work. I asked them to “draw pirate and ocean scenes” and then used some of their drawings as reference. It was fun including them in the process and seeing their work! My young friends posed for me and gave me such enthusiastic smiles and battle cries that it was an absolute joy to paint them. This painting took about 6 months of painting 5 hours a day. It was a big job but very rewarding because of all the intricate details and variety of subjects and colours. It’s really inspired me to engage my creativity and imagination!

Imagination is one of the greatest tools God has blessed us with. Kids seem to naturally know this as they spend nearly all their time playing!

I remember one time, when was a kid, I drew an epic lion in profile. At least, that’s what it was in my mind. I showed it to someone and they said, “That’s such a nice sheep!”. I was both embarrassed and frustrated because I immediately saw that they were right. It looked like a sheep. So I pretended that was my intention all along and I added some curly wool. I’ve now been drawing long enough to realize that the way something turns out is not as important as the idea that brought it about. Ideas are the hardest part of a piece of art but they are the reason we create in the first place. In “Vessel of Ideas” my goal was to show the creating process in the same way that I feel it. The girl in the painting imagines a “perfect” ship but her drawings have all the imperfections that any kid’s drawings have. She is the “vessel” and she is full of ideas and is excited to get them down on paper in the best way she knows how. She is so engrossed in the ideas that she doesn’t care about the end result, just the act of creating.