Very early in my painting career, I was approached by a guy who had a idea for a reality show that he was planning to pitch to a local TV station. The idea was simple, you give three artists a picture and they paint their interpretation of that picture. The artistic journey would be captured via pictures and video and then pieced together. Come along and I’ll share the journey of how ‘Rocky Aisle to town’ was born.
Hubby Geoff was just as proud of my budding career back in the early days. He had watched me transform from a person who had never picked up a paintbrush , to a ‘Holy Jumpins…I think I can do this!!’ I still had (and have) lots to learn, but that didn’t stop Geoff from sharing what was happening with his coworkers.
One of those guys, Morgan Lee, was a painter himself, so Geoff invited him to drop by to discuss art and perhaps offer a bit of guidance/ support. I was very nervous at the thought of a stranger looking at my artwork. Up until now, what I had been working on was only something that family and friends had seen. This was big pressure and I wasn’t sure I was ready, but Geoff was sure enough for us both. Plans were made and the wheel was set in motion…. We honestly didn’t know what we were getting in to.
A couple of nights later, Morgan dropped by for a chat and offer some pointers.
‘There’s always a dark side and a light side to every painting. You need to figure out where the source of light is coming from.
‘Don’t be afraid to make things less than perfect. Sometimes a house has a bit of peeling paint, or the siding is a bit dirty. That will make your subject more realistic’
My head was spinning, he gave me so many useful tips that my head was over flowing with new ideas on how I could tweak some of my earlier work. The last request he had , was the scariest of all. He asked if I would be a part of a pilot program for Rogers TV that he was producing. I would be one of three artists who would compete to have a finished piece of art hanging in a local gallery.
I immediately balked at the idea..me on camera, No bye!! Geoff on the other hand replied with a big grin,
‘She’ll do it!!’ He knew he could convince me and also realized this was a great opportunity.
The photo was dropped off to me a few days later, it was a black and white photo of the Battery, taken by Celebrity Photo’s Robert Young. I had artistic license to paint it any way I chose; Night or day, winter or summer, etc. My decision was to paint it as it was given to me, in black and white, but the twist was to paint it in two panels. I was so green back then that I thought I had invented the idea of doing a painting on two separate pieces.(Diptych)
I started off with the basic layout of the hills, water and sky. I used different shades of grey to try and capture the bigger dark and light sections that I saw in the hills. I was trying not to look at the overwhelming amount of detail in the photo and just concentrate on individual sections.
Next I added in the basic shapes of the houses in white, just trying to mark out where each one was supposed to be located. This is where the unplanned part of the painting started to emerge. As I roughed in the outline of each building, I kept seeing all the bright pops of colour that are the jellybean homes of the Battery.
I was realizing vibrant colour was a big part in how I liked to express myself through paint. So, out came all the coloured tubes of paint
The Rocks? I thought they would make me lose my mind, there were so many tiny cracks and crevices. I often went to bed after working for hours on the rocks and I would catch myself still thinking about the section I was working on while I was falling asleep; my hand continuing to move as though an imaginary paintbrush was working away.
It was while I was working on the rocks when I started to envision all the hidden pictures within the rocks. The horse/NL Pony was the first and from there I saw many little animals peeking out at me.
With a little comic relief mixed in, I made it through the in studio visit portion of the show. The camera crew filmed/interviewed us (artists) separately while we painted in their own studios. It was at this point that I was told that the other two artists had over 80 years painting experience between them. Let me tell ya, that stepped up the scaredy cat inside of me…80+ years experience was intimidating to somebody who had picked up a brush four months ago.
The final touches are put on my painting and its ready to go to Island View gallery in CBS to film the gallery portion of the pilot. There was a lot of waiting around in between takes, so we were there most of the day.
I can’t say who the winning artist was, as the program hasn’t aired yet. What I can tell you, is you can find Bobbi Pike Art images on display at this wonderful gallery. ‘Rocky Aisle to Town’ has become a wonderful conversation piece in many homes and to this day it is still one of my best selling images. I’m grateful to Morgan for the opportunity and the early advice and to Robert Young for allowing me to paint his picture.
That’s it for this time, if you have any questions, or comments, I’d love to hear them. If you’re really enjoying the BPA blogging adventures and don’t want to miss out, click ‘follow me’ and your name/email will be added to our growing list of blog subscribers.
We’ll email you when a new blog post happens, then you can read them all at your own leisure…..and remember, I’m no expert, I’m just a painter gal with some thoughts to share.
How many hidden animals can you find in the rocks? Do you own a copy of this painting? Do you like Rocky Aisle?