Tales of Power – Another In The ‘On The Edge’ Series


Hello hello!!!

Ouch. It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted but I’m just not going to beat myself up about it! I had such a marvellous summer – cruise with my family celebrating my Mum and Dad’s 60th and then family visits. All good. So, onto ‘Tales of Power’!!


Tales of Power

This was a piece I created for the Caught Red Handed show in June. It’s the third in the series, the first being ‘If By Chance,’ the second ‘Perchance To Fly‘ (which was the painting that garnered the grand prize in POTE). For this one, I wanted to challenge myself by doing a mostly green painting. Could I do it? Could I make it work? Here’s the progress and the result.


Thumbnail sketches of my ideas
1. These are my thumbnail sketches of ideas. Right from the start there were going to be a series of four paintings – a quad. The sketch on the left shows a base with figures. In the end I decided against that and so the viewer has no idea how far down the cliff descends.


The drawing and collage on the wood panels
2. First I made the drawing in vine charcoal and sprayed it when it felt right. Then I collaged on old notes that Cam was discarding.


3. A close up of one of the panels
3. A close up of one of the panels. You can see where I changed my mind about the placement of the figure second from left. I like the relationship of that figure to the one seated at the edge. Is he reaching to grab or about to push?


4. First layers of paints on
4. First layers of paints on – three different yellows. This was followed by a random application of tar gel over the ‘rock’ area. The tar gel creates raised string-like strands. Then I poured a very liquid mixture pthalo blue over the whole thing then rubbed all with paper towel.


5. A closeup of one panel at this stage
5. A closeup of one panel at this stage. Can you see the tar gel strands in the ‘rock’ area?


6. Pthalo green brushed on
6. I brushed on a liquid mix of Pthalo green to areas that I wanted darker. I also redefined all the figures.


7. Pthalo blue added
7. Pthalo blue was added to darken areas that needed it. As I worked, I am referred back to my original thumbnail. You can see areas of the rock have been darkened as has the ‘space’ or abyss. I was having trouble deciding what to do next at this point. I have a note in my sketchbook at this point that says “Be fearless!”


8. Fibre paste is added to lower two panels and raw sienna is applied with a palette knife
8. I haven’t thought of the title, ‘Tales of Power,’ yet but I have the feeling that I need to bring power to this painting. I added fibre paste to the lower two panels for more texture, then some anthraquinone blue paint to darken. I then applied raw sienna with a palette knife to the ‘rock’ areas. This was a huge step for me!


9. I applied gouache around figures
9. I applied yellow gouache around figures and brought more yellow into the painting all over. Now the painting looks too yellow….


Gail Sibley, "Tales of Power," mixed media, 4 panels each 12 x 12 in
Gail Sibley, “Tales of Power,” mixed media, 4 panels each 12 x 12 in, framed individually.
I added carbon black, micaceous iron oxide and pthalo blue to the bottom two panels to darken the unknown. I also added more yellow, blue and some white high flow acrylic in the ‘space’ areas. Finally, I added anthraquinone blue over the figures and some yellow around the figures. And then it was done!!! Because the paintings are separate, they can be hung as shown or in a line or any which way!


Gail Sibley, "Tales of Power," mixed media, 12 x 12 in - left bottom panel
Gail Sibley, “Tales of Power,” mixed media, 12 x 12 in – left bottom panel


And why the title, ‘Tales of Power?’ Well it was suggested by my honey, Cam. It comes from the name of Carlos Castenada’s fourth book, “Tales of Power” and relates to the request (command?) by his teacher Don Juan that Castenada have the faith, the resolve, and the ability to jump off the cliff and into his new evolution, into another dimension.



Grand Prize Update 

As you know, I was awarded the Grand Prize at the international juried show, Painting On The Edge. (In case you missed it, you can read more about that by clicking here.) I’m pleased to say the painting looks rather nice on the cover of the Federation Gallery’s bi-monthly publication:

Gail's painting 'Perchance To Fly" on the cover of Art Avenue.


I’m also happy to say that receiving the award means I am Artist of the Month at VanCity. The painting can be viewed at the Fairview Community Branch – 501 West 10th Ave in Vancouver, BC.


One more thing, I just checked the mail to find my award certificate AND my $2000 prize money. Whoo hoo!!!


That wraps it up for this time. Please feel free to comment about this post. What did you think of ‘Tales of Power’? How do you see the title relating to the work?


For now,

~ Gail

5 thoughts on “Tales of Power – Another In The ‘On The Edge’ Series”

  1. Funny, when I look at the progression of this vision, I saw the student with the teacher, I saw one walking away from the “challenge, one that had jumped part way and one who looked as if he was being pushed into trust and surrender. I will share with you a quote from my friend and teacher Dan Brule. We were talking about this very thing, jumping into the abyss and his fearlessness and he said, well ” the deeper the abyss, the longer you have to learn to fly.”
    Like the quote, like this work.

  2. Many many congratulations on your win. Must be a great boost to your confidence. Like the new group of four. Shall give them much study. S

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