More and more do I find that the title for the series was so appropriate, even before I came to understand its full meaning at the beginning. Initially, I saw it as a walking with the totems, and making discoveries as I moved along. But it has been more then that.
Yes, there was that time period when I was working full time on this series. It was a time for me and my inner thoughts, and with no conversations about the work with the public, other then with my son. It was with the exhibitions where I entered the next phase of verbalizing my thoughts in public. It was initially a nervous time as it is for many artists, where you are out of your studio's safety zone. But in a sense, I had an easier job of it because the totems were doing so much of the talking already. I just needed to present how this artist facilitated the conversation. The conversations with the public during exhibitions was so informative to my work, and I appreciate receiving your messages and inquiries. It is always crucial to externalize all that thinking and assessing of the work to date, and having that dialog with others about the work. It is essential to replenish in order to move forward. A journey cannot continue without restocking the materials required and reviewing your 'map'.
My son's recommendation that I prepare a journal entry for each painting was a wise one. He has been a great support along the way.
I've made a point of preparing one every 3 or 4 days. There was a point where I was thinking that it could become repetitive given that basic painting approaches remain the same somewhat. But I have been finding that as I go along, and look upon each paintings as I go, I reconnect and rediscover what the differences were and it gives me time to go deeper in what some of my thought processes were at the time, and flesh out more big picture ideas now that I've had a bit of time since a painting was completed. I am thankful that my son guided me to this because, as time goes by, the details get lost in ones memories. Every traveler needs to maintain a travel journal to remember the details of each day. It's the details that make the journey memorable, not the overview of where one had been on a given day. And my intent is clear in that I am not interested in the more artsy presentations about my art. It is what it is, and it comes out of my passion and core basic reactions.
Now, I am conscious of the fact that I will resist settling into that reminiscing for too long once the journal entries for each painting of the current series is done, as the journey is far from completed. I am not ready to set that brush done on the Journeying With The Totems series. But for now, it is a wonderful way to be with the series while I continue on that bumpy road of getting myself resettled on Vancouver Island, where my son and I can be in a better home situation, and where each of us can have better studios to work in; he with his music and me with my art.
But once I complete the entries for the current series, other then keeping some notes, I will wait to do similar entries for future pieces. They too will need time to settle within me, and I want to keep the active painting from getting 'heady'. My focus is to both resist the need to produce for production's sake and to become too artsy about my work. These would get in the way of allowing me to react to the totems and selected images of them. I need to leave myself open and let them guide, let them do the talking.
Andre Prevost, began his work in theatre in the late 70s after completing his studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts, and in his iconography in 1980, and having a large body of work in each. He has since been based in Western Canada; North Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and now back on the West Coast.