On the Chopping Block

I read somewhere that a famous artist once said that it’s better to paint over any older unsold paintings than it is to discount them and sell them at below the artists market value. I have 8 such paintings, truthfully I have about 15 of these pieces, older and unsold, sitting in a box, standing in the closet in my studio or hanging on my walls. I live in 600sq.ft. Space is limited here, wall space is ever shrinking as a continue to create and evolve.

In the past I have sold a couple of older pieces either at an art fair or through Facebook at a reduced price so I know it’s a possibility but as I have previously mentioned in previous posts and blogs, my style changed in 2020. These pieces were created pre 2020 and it’s fairly obvious if you are a regular follower.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t love them; I learned from each of them on my artistic evolution but I need to let them go now. So I guess this is “Last Call” on these pieces. Don’t be sad, it’s just part of my process. At least I have learned to wait for a few months and in some cases years to paint over them because I used to only wait days or weeks before getting the gesso out! A friend recently asked me how I could do that, paint over pieces, compared it to erasing them from my artistic journey. Since I have the digital images on file I am technically only repurposing the canvas; it’s a practical decision.

I am not in a rush to paint over these, it will be a project for the dreary days of the fall and winter, and it also requires me to be in the right headspace. For now, I will be taking the ones off the wall and standing them in my studio closet, which strangely enough, is the hardest part for me.

The journey and the evolution continues,

Anne

Show Prep

Two weeks from now I’ll be taking part in my first show since October 2019! Crazy! Before Covid I had already decided to take 2020 off from shows and focus on building my skills. I was pleasantly surprised that I had a pretty successful 2020 and early 2021. The set up part has been so long that I am feeling a little rusty! I am trying to spend a little time each day getting everything organized all while continuing to paint and work full time. Good thing I like lists!

I’m looking forward to the show that’s happening here in CP on September 11th and 12th. It is looking a bit different this year because of Covid rules but it will be good to see my art friends again and of course my art followers. My style has changed since October 2019 and I think people who know my art will see the difference.

I sat down the other night to plan out what my booth will look like and I quickly came to realize that I’m taking too many pieces for the size of my booth..great. Now I have to pick and choose which pieces go up when, and all I can think of is what if the perfect buyer is at the show and their perfect painting is in the back storage area? That’s how my brain works!

I have been spending some time deciding what goes up and when and I did a little creative planning earlier today (yes, it’s on my living room floor) and under Mable’s watchful eye I now have a basic layout for the big wall; I feel better now. Often though, when it comes time to setting up, I do end up changing my mind anyways! Later today I will work on the 2 side wall layouts as well. We will only have 2 hours to do our full booth set up (I think it normally takes me 3 hours) and I feel much calmer now that I can visualize what the big wall will look like. My labels are printed, business cards are on order and I’ve assembled almost everything that I need for my booth. I still have 2 weeks, thankfully!

In the meantime, and because I need to paint everyday, I’m developing two new series: one called Warrior Women/ Forest Guardians and a second series originally entitled Stand, an idea that came to me 18 months ago and has been nagging at me ever since. If you follow me on Instagram you will be able to follow my creative process on both series.

Happy Sunday everyone!!

🎨on!

Anne

What Happens To my Art Community When I Lose Access to Facebook?

This has been a difficult 36 hours. I woke up yesterday to find my account on Facebook was hacked; passwords, email address and phone number all changed! Just like that! I tried every tip found on the Facebook help page and nothing worked. I am not overly computer savvy, I am not overly Facebook savvy but why oh why is it so hard to recover your hacked account?

According to my friends, my personal page is just gone, removed from friends lists and contacts, no trace of any online presence from the last 12 years. The only thing left is my now inaccessible Art by Anne Forsythe page. I can deal with my lost memories and photo’s; I’ll be able to reconnect in some fashion with my friends and family but what upsets me the most of I can’t get into my art page. Unless I can resolve the hack, it will just go on, no new uploads, no new art. Very upsetting. I cant reach my followers to tell them what’s happened, again, very upsetting.

I’ve spent the last few hours trying to reach someone, a real live person at Facebook and to no great success. Due to covid restrictions, no person is manning the phones? Really Facebook? come on..No real person anywhere to help one of their users sort out this mess!!

In an effort to communicate with FB, I opened a new account, found a few different links in which to leave messages and following a note on a community help board, my new account was then disabled. I kid you not!

I am not a well known or a well established artist, but most of my sales came from regular postings on FB, so what will it look like now? I have no idea. I have Instagram, I still have access to that, after I quickly moving to secure that account at 530am yesterday.

I am at a loss. Is there another online forum similar to FB? Has this happened to anyone? Should I just build another profile and start again on FB? ugh..this is not how I wanted to spend my long weekend!! If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear from you. Normally this would be shared to my personal FB page and I’d move it over to my Art page..so can I please ask you to like, follow and share my blog? Leave me a comment if you have experienced this an how did you resolve it? I’d appreciate hearing from you. Until I decide what to do you can reach me here or on my Instagram. I will be disabling the FB link found on my website if it hasn’t been already.

2 of my most recent Bloom pieces to keep me company while I navigate this FB mess. In the meantime, I’ll keep painting and posting here, Fb’s loss is my blogs gain!

🎨 on!!!

Anne

The Process

My previous blog post was a great video about the process of a castle, this wont be anywhere near as fancy or put together but showing the process of my then super secret commission I painted this winter. It was a gift for my nephew from his parents, recapturing a special memory of a father & son canoe trip. This is another glimpse into my creative process.

This was a first for me, my first painting with a human in it! For some, figure drawing or portrait painting comes easy, but it is not my favourite thing to do so I generally avoid it. What scares me about portraits is the symmetry of the face and body; faces in general are no my current strength. Nonetheless I did not hesitate, I said yes pretty quickly.

The scenery was spectacular so I had no reservations about capturing the mountains or the water. His easy, releaxed, taking-it-all-in pose is what I knew I had to capture. I was sketching within minutes of getting off the phone. I committed to sending off a few so they could see that I could capture what they were looking for. A few days later I sent them off for approval.

I was happy that I had the canvas in stock and could begin right away. My intention was to grid the photos; gridding is a tool used by artists that places a 3×3 grid over the reference image to help balance scale and perspective. I am a huge fan of gridding, it allows me to accurately recreate the image in proportion as I learn to be more comfortable with perspective drawing/sketching. If you saw my previous blog post, I returned to the grid reference after every stage to keep it proportioned. This one, as it turned out, was very different.

My process generally looks like this: evaluate the image, pick a canvas, prime it, grid it and get to work drawing. With this piece I was combining 2 images of the landscape with his relaxed easy pose. When it was time to grid it, I didn’t.

It was the first time I could actually see the shapes on the canvas! So one Saturday night I sketched the whole thing on the canvas using my watercolour pencils. In one 45 minute session, the guts of the painting went down on the canvas! It was an amazing and unexpected experience.

The sketches can look wonky but I knew it was ok, a base of lines to work from.

I loved the challenge of this piece and I am very proud on how it turned out. It was wrapped with TLC and delivered on time and in time for his birthday.

I hope you enjoyed a little insight into my process and the evolution of this special piece.

🎨 on!!

the Making of a Series

I was at an appointment last week and my osteopath asked me what was new since last he saw me, which turned out to be June 2019. Where to start and without a doubt the discussion led to my art. In the course of the discussion I talked about the success I had with the Orange Sunset series, selling the very first one in May and the last one in November and of all the ones in between. Which got me thinking..holy cow..I sold an entire series and that should be celebrated and a blog idea was born!

This is the inspiration for the series, a picture taken close to home on the Mississippi River on a hazy September evening. Almost immediately I knew I wanted to paint it and I knew it was going to be on a size never previously attempted. I remember the feeling when I bought  the 12″x 36″ canvas, it was like I was stepping into unknown territory and within 10 days this piece was born.

 

Sold

The intense yellow was my favorite part of this piece; its not perfect and not even close to the orange I was trying to achieve but I loved it; I still do. I knew it wasn’t finished, the reflection needed something but at the time, I didn’t have a clue how to improve it. That was in September 2016 and in early 2019, I felt ready to clean it up.

Oh ya! Now I captured it! This piece sold in May, at a local art show after hanging around for almost 3 years. But it got me thinking about developing that particular shade of orange from the original picture.

A Golden Memory now hanging in Montreal Qc

with every piece of this series my goal was to keep one for myself since the original had sold.

Mississippi Sunset #3 now hanging in Alcove Qc

But no matter what I did..piece after piece sold! And in the midst of the fun a request for a commission was received, my first. The only stipulation from the buyer  was that  it had to fit in her suitcase and she was leaving in 2 weeks! My painting was going on a trip to the UK! Then I came down with the flu that knocked me out for 3 days. Luckily I managed to get about half done before I got sick.

Commission piece practice

commissioned piece..my first! Mississippi Sunset #4

The final Mississippi Sunset #5 now hanging in Ottawa

I went big for the last one, a 24’x 48″ canvas and well…hopefully… maybe and with fingers crossed this one would stay with me. A unexpected encounter with an old friend in a parking lot here in CP revealed that she was following me online and waiting for the right piece. This was her piece.

What I found remarkable with this series are the comments that each drew not only from their respective buyers but from friends, followers and family. Quiet, contemplative, restful, reminiscent of time with beloved family and a deep breath after a hard day. I was humbled and blow away; and a bit proud of myself.

I love that this series was so well received. 2019 was the most successful year in my ongoing evolution as an artist. Let’s see how 2020 will unfold.

I have updated my gallery so if anything catches your eye please contact me.

Paint on!

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.