How do you paint a feeling?

August 5, 2015

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Fine Art grad uses research grant to explore abstraction

The lazy days of summer is only an expression for many of MacEwan University’s faculty, staff and students. They spend the hottest months of the year volunteering, travelling, researching, creating art and culture, and more. Before the Fall 2015 term kicks off, we wanted to share a little of what some of them are working on.

When Lindsay Kirker decided to show her work as part of Student Research Week last January, she had no idea it would end up shaping her summer. After being awarded Outstanding Creative Display, Lindsay applied for and received a student research grant that allowed her to spend six weeks in May and June taking her artistic work in a new direction.

Using poetry by Frank O’Hara—the same inspiration that fuelled the paintings she displayed during Student Research Week’s artist sessions—Lindsay spent two or three hours every morning in the studio exploring abstraction and trying to answer the question “How do you paint a feeling?”

“Abstract painting isn’t something I had much experience with,” says Lindsay. “And it was exhausting. I had planned to spend more time each day, but after two or three hours in the studio, I couldn’t do any more. Focusing on painting what I was feeling from a piece instead of recreating a physical object was completely different.”

It’s an experience she says she’s grateful for as she heads off to finish her BFA at the University of Alberta this fall.

“I would never have been able to spend the time or to purchase the supplies needed to do this type of work without the grant,” says Lindsay, who adds that it was a great way to finish her two years spent at MacEwan.

“When I look back at the work I did in my first year, it’s crazy how much better it is only two years later. When I’m painting, 98 per cent of the time it’s incredibly stressful and I put so much pressure on myself—I want it to be amazing. But there were two paintings I worked on this year where I all of a sudden had this sense of freedom. I was able to let go of everything, not judge myself, get right into it and produce something I’m really proud of. It only happens about two per cent of the time, but it’s such an incredibly good feeling.”

Here are a just a few of the paintings Lindsay created in the series A Place Further From Me.

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