Ken Manninen
In pursuit of my inner artist


(posted on 27 Dec 2020)

Apparently I haven't posted anything in quite some time.  I didn't realize just how long it has been.

I recently updated my art postings and thought I should update the blog as well.  I always have good intentions to add to the blog on a regular basis but you know the old saying, 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'!  So here goes....

I'm still intent on working toward a looser style with some elements of detail.  I continue my journey in search of my artisitc voice.  I am just reading 'Find Your Artistic Voice' by Lisa Congdon and am finding it quite timely.  She makes a distinction between personal style and inner voice and while they are connected, I think my search is more about finding my artistic voice.

I've shelved my acrylic paints and am focussing on watercolour.  To ensure my artistic expression isn't hemmed in, I am keeping inks, pastels and conte close at hand.  I am also concentrating on the human figure and portrait for the time being.  Of course I am sure to be squirreled by images that may wet my creative appetite and I will allow myself to play them out as I know only too well there is no sense trying to suppress them as they will continue to resurface until I release them on paper.

I was inspired by a watercolour workshop I took at Art Escapes YVR in North Vancouver in June of 2019 with David Lobenberg.  David paints a style of portraiture he calls 'California Vibe'.  It was the right workshop at the right time and really connected with me.  I am inspired by the human subject and while California Vibe has the reality component of a recognizable face he uses vibrant non-local colour to render the final image.  The subject is recognizable but the painting is not a standard portrait and allows total expression with colour which I really love.

I have been using images of actors/actresses from the silver screen as the values are more important in B&W photography.  Values are also important in the California Vibe technique and while vibrant colours are used, adjusting their values is critical in achieving a satisfying outcome. 

In the past couple years I have been paying close attention to colour theory and have taken a few workshops from Lalita Hamill to reinforce colour theory.  I feel watercolour lends itself to relinquishing control and working with the medium for greater freedom of expression.  All of these factors have converged to throw a door open for me to experiment and play. I am excited about where this will lead.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, my life drawing classes are on hold and my art group sessions have been repeatedly interrupted over the better part of the past year.  I realize how important my colleagues are in inspiring me to create and I have been missing that spark.  I thought there would be more time to create with curtailed activities but other priorities have seemed to get in the way.  I am feeling my creative side tapping me on the shoulder reminding me that time is slipping away and it is time to re-engage.  Fingers crossed!

I am hopeful (yeah I know, the road to hell....) less time will pass before my next update of my blog and images with results of my explorations of the human form in vibrant colour.  Hopefully my artistic voice start getting louder.  Stay tuned!