This month in the Studio~the August Edition

Hello again and welcome to the late August-ok it’s September edition!! Ok, I almost made it!

Special announcement….if you have started following me on Facebook after reading this blog, especially since my Facebook hack in June 2021, please click on the link on my homepage to follow my active Facebook page and not the old one. I recently discovered that the link was incorrect and fixed it last week. Make sure to unfollow my old account at the same time. Thank you for your attention!

I love August! Warm sunny days while the days slowly grow shorter, granted that this was the rainiest August since 1873..something like that. My birthday is in August as is my annual vacation. I started a new birthday tradition last year, a solo hike around Foley Mountain Conservation area near Westport, Ontario. I had the beach to myself while I sketched, snapped some reference pictures and ate my lunch. It was fantastic! My hike was cut short by ongoing back issues and a very rocky trail but I made the best of it. This year I purchased trekking poles to help me when I hike and they came in very handy! It wasn’t very busy when I was out and about, and I managed some quiet time at Meditation Point.

Painting idea? Possibly

While I was on vacation, I assumed that after a few days rest I’d just start painting again, kinda like turning the tap back on, but my 2 weeks went by and I painted very little. So weird. I knew it was unlike me and it felt weird. In July I signed up for an online art mentoring group that was to start in September. I seriously thought about cancelling, I wasn’t creating anything, nothing was inspiring me. I knew it couldn’t last but I was frustrated. At the end of my two weeks, my sister and I took a trip to an art festival, we made a weekend of it and had a great time. Believe it or not I came home that Sunday afternoon and sketched out 3 new pieces! I can’t describe to you the relief I felt!

Was it the time away? Seeing all of that beautiful art? Seeing some artsy friends? Hanging out with my sister? All the laughing? Who knows.. I’m just happy that I’m painting, I’ve even purchased canvas! I finished 2 of those pieces last week, one I’m super happy with and one I’m undecided about. It’s not bad, it just feels stale to me, like I’ve been stuck on the same outcome over several pieces. I am hoping my online mentoring with help me move thru that.

I am still participating in the free weekly monopalette workshops and one thing I’ve noticed is that I seem to be able to do one or the other, but not both. Either I work my own daily art practice or the workshops, especially over these last few weeks. I can’t seem to find a balance between the two practices but it I’m hoping will come.

One thing I did do on my vacation was sculpt a bear out of clay! Two actually! I’ve had clay here since last fall when I took a sculpting class at my local art store. It has been on my mind to sculpt something but I always pushed it aside. My recurring back issues made it hard for me to sit and my small space made it tight. But one Friday, an hour before my online workshop was to start I had the inspiration to start. It was awesome to get my hands, and my studio, dirty and I finished it a few days later! So in hindsight I wasn’t painty creative but still creative over my holiday.

Big Bear
Once carved, I had to hollow him out and put him back together!

Someone suggested I sculpt my big bear a buddy so he won’t be lonely so using the scraps of clay from the hollowed out big bear I made Little Bear

So much fun!

I have to remember to be kind to myself when I am labelling my time as creatively slow or uncreative. It’s ok to not be going full tilt all the time. Sometimes slowing down and reflecting are key to creativity, or at least my creativity. My art mentoring starts in a few days, I am feeling much more connected to my art practice and I still have a block of clay to use up! Stay tuned and 🎨on!!

This Month in the Studio~June/July

June got away from me so instead of rushing and sweating out a hurried blog I decided to do a combined update of the goings on in my studio. It’s nearing the end of July now and my holidays are rapidly approaching.

I finally took myself to the National gallery in Ottawa in June during a week off from work. I needed to commune with Lawren Harris and visit Emily Carr’s collection. When I feel creatively low and need inspiration I go and sit with Lawren Harris’ North Shore and just let it refill my sense of awe. I struck up a conversation with a woman who sat on the bench beside me, who came to visit The Group of Seven exhibit as well. It was a lovely few minutes talking about Lawren Harris, travel and art schools, the conversation eventually came around to my own art and she happily asked me for a card! My inner artist was beaming ! Every trip to the gallery always ands with a stop at their excellent gift shop where I bought a book of the Collected Works of Emily Carr. In one of the weekly Monopalette workshops I participate in we discussed and used Emily Carr as inspiration. It rekindled a desire to take a deeper look into her art and her life as an artist living in BC, on Canada’s west coast. When I came home I found a book of her personal journals online so I treated myself and bought it. The book is Called Hundreds and Thousands and what I find really cool is that I can follow her journal with the Collected Works book since they are both chronological. I find it awesome and comforting to read her doubts and fears, not only about her art but about each piece that she creates, her life as an artist, as a woman and the challenges of her time. I feel a kinship with her because she feels the same about seeing Lawren Harris’ works that I experienced as well~”Something has spoken to the very soul of me, wonderful, mighty, not of this world”~

I am still participating in the weekly Monopalette workshops and we wrapped up the spring colours, shell pink, aqua blue and Naples yellow at the end of June. I will admit that most of my creative time is now working in my art journals, doing the assignments and playing around with those colours. One artistic hurdle that happened in June was two of the workshops were on portraits, not my favourite so I procrastinated a bit but eventually completed them. I think I finally found a way to create faces that makes sense to me! Since I started painting, it is my most struggled-filled creative process, so having this new technique that makes sense to my brain is such a relief and it dials down my anxiety around faces. It feels like a huge roadblock has been removed and although I still need to practice its a great feeling to not be totally paralyzed around the subject.

The new colour palette for summer, is pyrrole red, teal and cadmium orange. The first workshop was an “aha, I love this colour” revelation and it was on Canada day!

Compared to 2020 and 2021 I am painting on canvas very little this year. I often wonder if I was so prolific during the height of the pandemic that I exhausted my creative self. I have started and stopped about a dozen pieces and have only completed about the same in 2022, for or me it’s usual. I am however creating more pages in my art journals, discovering a love of collage and still trying to learn watercolors. In my art journals I finally have a place to create the memories from my all travels to Scotland. Not really canvas worthy, I never knew what to do with my desire to create art from those images and memories. Creating those pieces fills me with joy at remembering my adventures and makes me miss Scotland a little bit less.

I keep reminding myself that this art journey of mine is an ongoing evolution and to be patient and kind with my inner artist. I had a sale in June that reminded me of patience, a large painting completed in 2019 found it way to its forever home out of the blue one Saturday afternoon. I call it my “bing-bang-boom” sale; they had been looking at it for some time and that weekend it was time! yayy! Other than the sales from the art show in May, it is my only online sale of this year.

Cedar Moon #5

Maybe there’s a point my inner artist is still trying to learn..don’t judge, just create. I didn’t start making art to sell, it was always an unexpected bonus. When I make art to with the intention of increasing my sales, it lingers and acts like a vacuum to my creative doubt. The sale in June was a piece of a favourite series, Cedar Moon, and when I sat down to paint another, it came out quite easily. In one of my workshops the line “you love what you love” really stood out for me that I turned into “paint what you love” for my creative practice. Lately that has turned out to be red canoes, my Scotland memories and Cedar Moon pieces. I’ll just keep painting and sharing!

Cedar Moon #8 12″x36″ Acrylic on Canvas $450

See you next month! 🎨on!!

This Month in the Studio, May!

Art shows are hard and fun all at the same time. The spring 2022 local art show has come and gone and it was so good to reconnect with my art buddies and talk to the customers. I did well, sold 3 pieces which paid for my booth with a little bit extra! Typically this is the only show I do every year when I am lucky enough to be juried in.

Set up was a dream this year. We were at a new-to-us venue and there were no stairs!! Unload the car onto a dolly and wheel it all in! My worn out knees and back appreciated the lack of stairs! As I was setting up I realized I had a hole in the back art wall of landscapes. Moving something over, to me, didn’t fit the layout I had planned but I did have this one almost finished piece that would be perfect for that spot! So after set up I came home and finished it. I sold it Saturday morning! Funny how that worked out! So in the end I still had that hole in the back wall after all!

Typically following the show, I slide into this creative slump: partly from lower than expected sales, partly from having to cart everything back home again but mostly just because it’s exhausting. After my first show I didn’t paint for 6 weeks, and for this daily painter, that’s an eternity. After the show last September I hardly painted until just before Christmas when I was asked to paint a Cardinal for a Christmas present and that sale resulted in one of my kingfishers selling! This year I made a plan for after the show, a plan with a list of what to do, paint, read, create and so far so good!

My good intentions of getting this blog out before the dying days of May were interrupted by a massive storm and a 4 day power outage in my area in Ontario. I barely painted, I barely came into the studio and when I planned to paint outside, it would rain. With the constant worry of a dying cell phone, I couldn’t even update my blog using my phone. On Tuesday evening my power was restored and I continue to be very grateful for the hardworking line workers who worked tirelessly to restore what they could when they could. I learned some lessons with this last power outage, buying and keeping charged a charger pack for my phone and a small battery pack to run a light and charge my devices; never let my car drop below a 1/4 tank, even though my neighbourhood gas station is two blocks away. Our town was entirely without power for 3-4 days so my convenient gas station was of no use to me as I was running very low on gas; and yes, I lost almost everything in my fridge and freezer.

In the studio, not alot has been happening. I continue to work on my Monopalette workshop mixed media classes, even though 2 of the last 3 classes were about drawing and painting 3/4 profile view of faces. Not my favourite thing to draw or paint, I drag my heels kicking and screaming all the way to my sketch pad. The power outage was a perfect excuse for me to not complete the class, but I have learned that what I avoid will persist in my doubts so later today I will work on that class. This month though, I did have a sort of epiphany about my whole body reaction to anything portrait. As I was really letting my inner critic kick my inner artist’s butt one day, I thought to myself what could anyone have possibly said to me in my young life to make me have such a visceral reaction to portraits? It must have been a whopper to continue to have a strong hold 4 decades later!! So I straightened up, took a deep breath and told it to F*** OFF! Letting go of that belief is long overdue and slowly as I keep practicing I am experiencing less of a body reaction and more of a “meh well, ok” kinda attitude. A baby step but a huge shift for me as an artist. I continue to build my art journal, experimenting with watercolour and collage. The canoe page is really quite lovely!

One of the paintings I took to the art show, which received alot of attention and compliments but didn’t sell, sold yesterday! A couple had their eye on it and yesterday, the time was right for them to purchase it. It is a particular favourite of mine and although I am sad so see it go I am elated that its found its forever home! What a great way to end this month! This is my first online sale of this year, so I am super happy about it!

$1000
Cedar Moon #5

That’s a wrap for this month in the studio. I hope everyone is well and is taking time to recharge. I am going out to buy more art supplies! Bye for now.

This Month in the Studio, the April Edition.

I bet most of thought I’d forget/procrastinate or just put it off until it was too late! Ha! And yes, I’ll give you that it’s closer to the end of the month but still, it’s April!

It’s been steadily busy here in my home studio, getting ready for the show next weekend, working full time and looking after my dog keeps me busy. Oh and don’t forget painting!

Two weeks ago I sat down and made my pre show “what pieces to bring list” and it’s already been revised a few times. But my strategy is simple this year- bring lots of smaller pieces and a few (2) of the big ones. As much as I love painting big pieces, they need a buyer with some big wall space.

Lake Louise is 24”x36” acrylic on canvas.

Today I started to pack up the small pieces: the birds, the garden series and a small landscape or two. I’m doing so I found 4 pieces that are not ready so that’s my work for tonight. I always find it a bit sad when the art work comes off my wall but hopefully after next weekend many will have found new homes.

Some of my bird paintings.

I am still participating in my year long colour and mixed media exploration over at Paint Wisdom Studios. It’s a wonderfully supportive artistic community and Monopalette is absolutely free! I highly recommend it if you want to try something new and explore colour.

Shell pink, our colour for April.

I also treated myself to a travel sized watercolour kit from my local art store! In my art journaling for Monopalette I found I was watering down my acrylics so it seemed like it was time to learn how to use them! Plus that’s what I’ll be taking to Scotland in 2024 when I finally plan on getting back there!

I’m still managing to produce new paintings thru all the show prep, I can’t not paint! In one of my workshops someone said the following statement: paint and you love. It really struck a chord with me so I have taken it to heart this month, exploring more florals and birds simply because they make me happy! I still love my landscapes but at times they can be overwhelming challenging.

My Hummingbird Garden will be going to the show!

It will be good to be at another live show and I am looking forward to it even though it’s exhausting! In next months blog I’ll let you know how it all went, until then, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

This month in the Studio

Marketing is hard. I’d much rather be painting or walking Mable or just about anything else but it’s a necessary part of being an artist. The mysterious and ever evolving algorithm on Facebook and Instagram make it that much harder. My audience grows very slowly, I’m just at 300 followers on IG and that took 6 years! My Facebook hack last summer pretty much decimated my art page and followers.

I was listening to a podcast the other day that got me thinking about how to draw my followers, collectors and friends to a non IG/FB platform and it dawned on me that my very much under utilized blog and gallery is right here on WordPress.

Introducing: This Month is the Studio! Each month, I say with the best of intention, I will be putting out a newsletter type blog taking about what I’m working on: my ideas, success’, failures and general goings on from my home studio and of course my new pieces ready for purchase.

March 2022 (because why not start now)

Since January I have been taking a free, weekly online workshop, painting and creating with a group of women from all over the world. Paint Wisdom Studio is the creative baby of Connie Solera and this workshop is called Monopalette. It is so refreshing and inspiring for me to learn and share with this wonderful and supportive community.

My Warrior Women and my Ladies art series’, which I’ve been playing with for the last little while, are finding their voice lately. I’ll be sharing these pieces in my blog as the months unfold. But here is a sneak peak to a few pieces that I sketched out while I was at the off grid cabin last fall.

I am not going for super detailed with my Ladies, just an impression and a feeling of who they represent.

I’ve also recently started to keep both an art journal and a studio log. I’ve always only painted on canvas or canvas paper so it blew my mind to see the art journals of my fellow participants! One journal is even an older hardcover book that I paint in! A radical, mind blowing idea that found a perfect home in an old copy of the Sword and the Stone. I finally have one place to keep track of my ideas instead of pieces of scrap paper taped to my wall!

A page from my art journal

In next month’s “In the Studio” I’ll talk about getting ready for the show at the end of the month; how I decide which paintings to take and of course my creations!

Thanks for reading my little blog! See you next month! 🎨 on!

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

New Coordinates, Same Webpage

It’s like a new beginning! A fresh Facebook art page appropriately named annescanvas and a new personal site but honestly I don’t remember it being this much work the first time around! So many details to remember, not to mention adding in all the photos of the art work with their individual details and price.

Maybe I’m feeling like it’s so much work because I’m still grieving the loss of the original pages. Facebook doesn’t seem to give a s**t that I’ve lost my pages: how can a company that big have zero people to assist someone? It’s beyond me ..

So I plod a few minutes everyday, coming up with new bits of info and fill in the blanks to rebuild what a hacker stole in under 8 minutes! Crazy!!

I did manage to post a message on my original art page that appears to have been sent to my followers even though it’s not visible anymore if you open the page. I don’t know, I can’t explain it!! At least I am painting again.. I wasn’t for the first few days, I realized and accepted that although I am grieving my lost information I can’t stay stuck there.

I like the rise-from-the-ashes mythology of the Phoenix: maybe I’ll get there one day but today I feel like a baby goose floating on the water.. now to figure out how to change with FB link….

🎨 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!!