Painting: On Canvas

I really love to paint with actual paint. I say a lot that I paint with pixels, because I do a lot more pixel painting than brush painting. But, there is something special for me about painting.

A lady came to my elementary school offering after school oil painting lessons. Her name was Shirley. I brought the flyer home to my mom and asked if I could do it. I was in second grade. I am sure my mom wondered how long I would want to stick with something like oil painting. Oil painting isn’t exactly something you do on a whim. You needed to purchase paint, canvases, an easel, brushes, brush cleaner…and the list goes on and on. But, my parents got the essentials for me and I started the classes. I learned a few things that have always stuck with me…I needed a signature and that tree branches are made up of “y’s.” My signature has gotten progressively worse over the years, but my sense of observation has gotten better. I continued with the oil painting classes until high school. My high school had an amazing art program and I abandoned the after school classes for the in school classes.

Each year I am asked to paint a special portrait or painting for someone. These projects always are a little more meaningful than when I choose to move paint around on a canvas for my own enjoyment. When I do it for myself, it is an experiment to see what happens. My college roommate and I had one of these types of experiments one night. We had learned about an artist in our art history class that closed his eyes and allowed himself to essentially scribble on the canvas. Then he observed his scribbles. He then figured out what his subconscious was thinking and painted his subconscious from his scribbles. Like the good college students we were, we bought some beer and some canvases and gave this style of painting a shot. What came out of it was a giant mess of paint, two kind of intoxicated kids and two amazing, spontaneous paintings.

This year, I painted this lovely lady for some pretty special people in my life. When I lived in California I worked for restaurant group. They gave me a job when I really needed one and they kept me employed for the eight years that I lived in California. It was tough to leave the company when Joshua and I decided to move to Nashville. But we have stayed in touch and I got to paint this painting for the owner of the restaurant to give to his wife for Christmas. I have painted a few portraits that were gifts and I always feel like they are more special than other paintings that I have done.

painting-portrait

This is a painting that I sold at one of the group shows I participated in. The man who bought it had just purchased a new home and he said that there was a giant empty wall in the staircase when you entered his home. He wanted to hang this painting in that spot and I was pretty happy that it was finding a good home.

painting-lady

When I first started freelancing in Los Angeles, I designed some apparel art for Makana Esthetics  & Wellness Academy in Hawaii. The owner loved one of the designs so much that she asked me to paint it. Now, it is hanging in the lobby of the school. It’s so cool to me that this Hina is hanging in Hawaii!

hina

One weekend afternoon, I went to the Hollywood farmers market. I found some gladiolas, which are my dad’s favorite flower. I bought a few of them and then while I was walking home, I decided I should paint them. I pulled a canvas out and began what would become this painting! This painting hung in our home for years and it always reminded me of my dad. Now, it is hanging in a home in the Hollywood Hills.

jrodrigue-flowers

I have to thank my mom and dad for letting their young daughter take after school oil painting classes. I also have to thank Shirley for helping me to discover I loved the smell of paint, how to develop my signature and that tree branches are a bunch of little y’s. These moments were the beginning of my life as an artist.