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Mississippi Sunset #4

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Hard work

Making art is easy compared to selling art.

Last weekend, for my third year in a row, I took part in our local art show.

It’s hard selling art. The right piece needs to find its way to the right buyer. One of the pieces I sold that first night was almost 3 years old!! I think it was it’s 3rd showing, but it was the buyers first time seeing it.

The buyer said it reminded him of a deep breath after a busy day! How awesome to be able to invoke that in someone! I loved this piece. I took the original picture one hot and humid evening strolling along Riverside park here in CP. When I posted it on Facebook several people told me to paint it. At the time I was only doing smaller canvas’s so in September of 2016, it was my biggest canvas to date. The original was much more of a smoky orange colour so in the spring of this year I decided to paint it’s sequel

I sold its sequel just last month even before it was finished. That piece invoked childhood memories of the buyers father ( my cousin and uncle respectively) fishing at the cottage. Again, how awesome is that? It has now been delivered to its new home

I don’t often paint sequels but I do love these colours and this image! When I’m doing a sequel I get so wrapped up in wanting it to be the same and don’t give it a chance to be what it is is, another interpretation of the world as I see it. I am pleased with this sequel.

But back to the art show. It was successful, I sold 2 on the first night and none after that. Lots of people stopped by, family, friends, strangers, all offering compliments and praise but ultimately no further sales. In previous years, following the show I would slide into a funk of not painting that would last anywhere from a few days and up to 6 weeks. But not this year. In the quiet times of the show an idea was forming and as I sat there all I wanted to do was paint. So on Monday after some decompression ( and picking up my new car) I started 2 new pieces. I’m glad this years show didn’t wipe me out as it has in the past. I enjoyed the show this year, I had lots of time to talk to the artists around me, exchanging ideas and getting some booth set up tips and just getting to know them as people.

Both pieces still under construction but I’m very happy with them! They just kinda come out, the small one first then the bigger one. They are hanging up now, giving me time to decided what, if anything they need. How will they turn out you may ask, for that you’ll have to stay tuned…..because right now, I don’t know either.

Paint on!

Prep Work

The spring show is in 7 days! May 4th and 5th to be exact and I’ve been busy getting stuff done.

When I decided to do the show back in January it was a pretty easy decision even though after last years show I announced To anyone who would listen that I wouldn’t do any more shows. Why? Because the 2018 show kicked my ass! Not only was I a vendor but shared the responsibility of reluctant show coordinator with a fellow vendor and board member. It was too much and I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked. It reflected in the less than expected sales for the weekend and an overall disappointing experience. I took it hard last spring but unlike 2017 there was no post show slump. Instead I dove back into my art right away and even sold one shortly after the show!

“Happy”

So this year, when the call went out, I looked at my inventory and decided to sign up. I had enough new pieces already done to not to have to bring very many older pieces. Actually, all of the pieces except one, were created after last years spring show. It’s been a very painty and creative year despite my disappointing spring sale.

But I’m a quiet optimists, I always think that I’m going to rock the current years show. Same goes for this year and I’m happy to report that I’m just a vendor once again.

I think I’m as ready as I can be with 7 days to go. I’m still creating new pieces and still experimenting with different techniques. I have my new cards, my paintings are ready to go, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the 2019 show had in store for me.

If you are out and about next weekend and want to stop by, I’ll be at the Carleton Place canoe club from 10am-430pm both Saturday May 4th and Sunday May 5th . I think I’m booth number 13, we have free admission and tons of free parking. Stop by and say hello!

I’ll let you know how it goes! Paint on!

Changing my Soundtrack

January was a hard month for me artistically. My creative energy felt stuck, suspended and just out of reach. The long dark of winter was stealing my ideas, or at least that’s what it felt like to me. One day I saw a post on Instagram by a fellow artist, woefully lamenting the fact the her creative drive had driven away. Aha! I wasnt alone. I sent her a message, telling her I was experiencing the same thing! We exchanged a few lines and shared encouraging words and the conversation ended. And I went back to the studio.

 

Practice pieces, only for me pieces and pieces that just don’t want to come together. But it was flowing.

One afternoon I was listening to a podcast about finding your joy, or I think that’s what it was. I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember the tittle of the podcast or who was speaking but a line or two struck me and I got up from my stool and wrote it down.. ” put your ass where your bliss wants to be. If you are a painter then sit at your easel. If you are a writer, sit where you write.” So simple really, an excellent reminder for me. If anyone knows who said that I hope you’ll tell me so I can give them proper credit for the inspiration! It has become my mantra.

As we roll into March and the daylight grows with each passing day I feel the long dark shadow of winter withdrawing. Creativity is returning once more as I sit where I paint as often as I can.

And look what happens !!

Stay tuned for details about the Spring art show I’m showing in, save the date.. May 4th and May 5th.

Sunday Update

The gallery has been updated! Yayyy!!

I have been neglecting my gallery for awhile now. So much so it always takes me a long time to re-acquaint myself with it and my blog. **note to self- do it more often ** !! So my goal is to spend a few more hours each week to updating and hopefully writing a few more blogs. I’d rather be painting than blogging 😉 but if my end game is to sell a few pieces then I’d better get the word out.

Self promotion doesn’t come easily for me. I still don’t quite see myself as an artists; I’m not formally trained or educated, I lack a formal plan when I start a new piece and I miss more than I hit.

In the Zone

Me and my mountain scape on a sunny afternoon.

This is my best hit. This piece was by far my biggest project at 36″x 60″, yup it’s really is 5 feet long! It took me just over 2 months to complete and is easily my favorite piece to date.

I had some serious challenges with this piece, just the size alone was enough to put me off for several weeks. It wouldn’t fit on my easel so how do I work on it? ( on a rubbermaid tub on top of a table with a second tub on standby..really..)

Do I need bigger brushes? (yes!)

Will I use more paint than I have ever used before? Yes (including 4 shades of grey and 3 new shades of black and 3 brands of sap green)

More layers? Yes, some paints thinned out to layer on.. on an on..but in the end the outcome was more than I ever expected. I was delighted but also sad when it was finally finished. It’s pretty much all I worked on for 2 months!

Originally it was supposed to be my headboard for my new bed but I think that plan has changed. It’s hanging on the opposite wall right now, so as I lie in bed I can get lost in it before I drift off to sleep.

Not really for sale but I'll let it go for $5,000

Dreamy Destination

I haven’t painted a lot since I wrapped this one up, I think my creative reserves too a beating trying to art it out! For now I’m happy to gaze at it and dream up new inspiration!

In the meantime, my studio has been cleaned up and it’s ready for more but I can’t help but wonder what’s next!

Paint on!

Getting out of the way

The hardest part for me when I’m creating is to remember to get out of my own way.

I love that expression!! I first heard it years ago while taking a reiki course in Ottawa. It’s universal to whatever the task is before me but more especially when I art (or practice reiki).

One Thursday I had an idea for a new piece. I had a thought to do a mountain scape and try a monochromatic method I saw recently on an Instagram page I follow. He’s been doing it for years and makes these huge over the moon beautiful pieces. Hmm.. I thought to myself, I want to try it.

It incorporates 2 of my favourite colours, black 🙂and white🙂🙂. I LOVE painting with black! This is gonna be awesome! The canvas was ready and I found a picture to use as a reference.

And here I sat, for the better part of 45 minutes, listening to the negative chatter in my head about this piece. It was amazing to hear me talking myself out of doing the piece!! Oh the excuses I’ve heard so many times before; it’s too different, what if I screw it up, why waste a perfectly good canvas, maybe use canvas paper instead since it’s not going to be any good.. and so on and so on and so on. I was exhausted and it was only 630pm.

I reached out to a friend and as always 2 things happened. He listened and told me to just do it! almost as soon as I said it out loud,  the fear and doubt eased up.

So I stood up, marched into the studio, pulled up the picture on my phone, opened the ever awesome carbon black, dipped my worn out hog hair brush and just painted the outlines;

without thinking, without doubt.. just do it!

Night after night, I added more layers and watched it change into what has now become one of my favourite pieces, all because I got out of my own way. Tonight it’s different from what I imagined but wonderful and finished. Less black, more shades of greys, blues and browns and don’t forget the layers and layers of white!

16"x24" acrylic on canvas

I LOVE this piece! So many shades of white, black and grey! I spent a few summers in the Rockies, I wish I appreciated them more while I was there.

I am thrilled with this piece and always amazed at what can happen when I get out of the way.

The evolution of this artist

I can’t remember what my first painting was. I think I should but I really don’t and knowing me I probably painted over it anyways! I tend to do that. I know what my first painting class painting was, I look at it everyday as it sits on a ledge where it has been since I brought it home.

I have alot of paintings in my home that will never make it to the gallery. They are crude and raw and beautiful in their awfulness 😊 They are the proof of my evolution.

As I sit in my living room surrounded by my own art it overwhelms me- ” these are all mine”. I am lucky enough to say that some have moved on to hang on other peoples walls, one in B.C, another in Edinburgh and one in Sarnia and many on walls in Ottawa and Carleton Place.

When I started painting, I remember being afraid to show people what I had created. I was almost embarrassed by their simplicity. They were rough, crude, dark, heavy and I took it much too seriously. I had a very short list of who got to see what.  I clearly remember talking to a good friend one day and admitting that I was afraid to throw out my unwanted canvas paper pieces because I was afraid what the garbage collectors would think. Seriously, WTF huh? Hahahaha!!! When I said it out loud, I realized how absurd it was and only then did I start to show some pieces. But from that day forward and with the help, support and encouragement of my posse I started to reveal what I was creating.  I opened my Instagram account for that very reason. It’s a hard thing to do some days, to lay out the creativity that is flowing out of you, out there for people to see. Some days, I can’t. I’m too caught up in what people will say, how they will judge the piece and by extension, me. It always passes.

As I evolve in my art and creativity, I am up and I am down. I expect perfection at every sit at the easel and I have to remind myself that it is what it is; a journey, an evolution and a peeling away of the layers of creative doubt and insecurity to reveal the world as I see it. I am grateful for my posse, my peeps, the ones who support me on this journey and encourage my evolution. Onwards,

Painty feeling!

That painty feeling! Not for sale, display image only

Ready to receive

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I painted the bear on the left almost 14 months ago. It was ambitious at the time, I knew what I wanted it to be and when I was done ( mainly out of frustration ) I knew it wasn’t complete but I didn’t know what came next. I recognized that it looked muddy and had too much yellow in the foliage..  I loved this bear so I waited, put it away and would stare at it,  trying to hear what it was trying to tell me. My usual M.O, for those who don’t know me, is that I I tend to  paint over the ones I’m not sure about and I usually end up regretting it.

Looking back, it was a challenging piece for me; I don’t normally paint living things or creatures with eyes, let alone one perched in a tree, and not to mention the leaves on the tree!I like my trees leafless, so you can see it’s personality! Check out my gallery and you will see what I mean!

But there it sat on my bedroom wall waiting for the day I would pick it up again.

Sunday was that day. A missing piece fell into place at 430am. Let me explain.

Every now and then you come across an someone that makes you sit up and take notice. I came across one such artist last week and quickly understood that I’d found another piece in my creative evolution. I am energized by what this man created and am grateful for his YouTube channel! I’ve spent hours watching as much as I possibly can!

I know that the information that I received last week was probably already given to me in previous classes and with previous teachers but as with all Big lessons, you only receive them when you, the receiver, are ready. It’s safe to say I was ready and the message was received! 🙂

I don’t yet know how it will turn out. The one of the left is the reworked piece. Colour matching a 14 month old canvas is challenging! But already the difference is huge to me! The brightness, the colour palette and the subject are all better highlighted after just a few hours. I painted lot on Sunday, I grew in my understanding of space and colour but most of all I learned to not give up on a piece, to keep looking, to keep trying and to keep learning.

It’s back on my bedroom wall and now when I look at it, it looks more like what I envisioned when I started it over a year ago. I will finish it, one day, but for now I am admiring it just the way it is!

More pieces in my puzzle, more tools in my toolbox! I’d say I had a pretty good Sunday 😊

Mastery or mystery 

I dislike drawing. If you know me or have talked to me about my art, you know I really struggle with drawing.  The symmetry, the faces, the movement of the bodies I am drawing, whether human or animal, all present me with a unique set of challenges! My brain actually hurts after these classes. 

I have a very patient teacher who has been on this journey with me. Whether it be acrylic painting, portrait class or an actual drawing class,  he teaches and I attempt to hear him and understand the how of what he’s trying to explain . I frustrate him, I frustrate myself! 

I feel like I’m in 8th grade math class, the same pit of the stomach not getting it feeling that I associate with all things math! I joke about it, a lot, but it’s the same feeling and I hate it! I failed 1 year of math in high school and had to repeat, but what I remember the most is that the following year, everything that I struggled with fell away and I got it! I passed!! 

As I leave these frustrating classes, maybe I need to hold that memory closer to me so I know I will master the mystery of drawing just like I did the repeated math class of my youth. 

Back in the swing of things 

It’s been awhile since my last post, but as you can see I’ve been busy. Following my small creative drought, I took the time to paint just for me again. I painted my largest canvas to date, just for my pleasure, it was awesome! But you wont find a picture of it my gallery. For that you’ll have to come visit my gallery at home!

You see right after the art show in May I suddenly and quite quietly put all my efforts into the business end of my art; ordering business cards, setting up this blog and my website and with that, somehow my creativity tricked to a halt. When I finally came back to my art, I really was afraid that it was gone, vanished in the night but I was surprised and elated to find that it was still there, waiting for me. No judgment, no criticism, no ” where ya been” it was just there waiting patiently for me to once again sit down at the easel.

I realized yesterday when I was visiting a friend, that I hadn’t sold anything since the art show.  It was an odd feeling, considering that I hadn’t started painting to sell any of them and after selling  pretty regularly,  to have no sales for 3 months!  Coincidence?   If I wasn’t creating, I wasn’t posting and if I wasn’t posting I wasn’t getting my art out there! Funny how that works.

I am at my easel , almost daily,  creating again. I am participating in another art show and sale in November. Stay tuned for the details and a sneak peak at what is being created just for that sale.  The benefit of all my  ” business” work back in May is that now, it’s all about creating!

See you next time!

 

Curious drought

I tried hard not to label it because  when you label it, you give it energy and form, then it becomes a thing.  So I’m having a thing with my creative flow. Trust me I’d rather it be a fling! 

Maybe I’m just on a sabbatical?! A calm before the next creative storm? 

This morning I sat and just painted a panel, Just to see, an experiment in texture. Last week I worked, reworked and worked again on a piece that has been on the easel for about a month. When did that simple act of sitting in front of the canvas get fraught with so much meaning and expectation? 

So onward with no expectation other than to end each day with paint on my hands and probably, all over my clothes 🙂