January

New year new you ?!?! blah blah blah. New year, same me with more art making is how I choose to interpret that old discouraging saying. There is nothing wrong with old me, last year old me went through a fairly significant creative shift so I just want to carry on with that feeling and drive.

I started this year with a free online course, Your Best Year Yet with Michelle at United Art Space and have already booked my first creativity workshop Called Creative Shift with Sally-Ann Ashley. Last year a little earworm from a podcast chastised me into taking a free course, “because why wouldn’t you take a free course” the host said and that has taken hold. Not all free workshops are a win but it exposes me to a different way of thinking about my own creativity and how I can bring what they are teaching into my own practice. My next free course starts in 14 days! I think the biggest take away from all of these workshops is the community that I am building, a community of like minded people on a the creative path. A place to get advice and support when things aren’t going so well and a place of encouragement and growth when we have an art win.

My studio wall

My exploration of collage and mixed media continues, I am finding that the collage brings with it a sense of calm where the gremlins in my brain don’t hold any sway over my thoughts. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is! A big addition to my practice last fall was intentionally getting up at 4AM, yup I said 4 am, so I can have some studio time before I go to work. To be able to create my art from a restful place and not from one of fatigue after work is such a relief. For me it has been an incredibly freeing move that I think makes me a better human. Having those 60-90 minutes of quiet creativity is wonderful! I make my coffee, do my 30 minutes of journaling and quietly enter my studio. My dog no longer shows any interest in my early rising so I have this precious quiet time to myself, no music and no podcasts just creative silence. The silence allows me to hear my thoughts without a lens of noise and distraction. I think it helps me capture those brief and fleeting thoughts and ideas more easily.

Long Distance Call

Another big boost to my overall creativity is I that I watch less TV and movies. Especially in my most creative periods, those early mornings, TV can derail my drive to explore new ideas. I limit what I watch and when and for how long. And to all those who know me and my love of Star Wars and Marvel, I still paint to those movies, lol, just less often. I know them so well that its just background noise. Strangely what I can’t watch while painting anymore in any kind of murder mystery..we are all unique creatures of habit aren’t we?! What do you listen to while you create?

Collage, texture and paint!

With these changes I no longer feel like I ‘have to” paint on the weekends to prove that I am an artist, whether it be to myself or to the insatiable social media algorithm. I used to rush to finish work to post on Sunday, like a badge of honour to prove my worth as an artist, yes I am shaking my head as I type this! I definitely feel the quality of my work coming forward now is better, less frantic and feels more like me.

Turquoise drips and lines

I don’t make resolutions, I barely set intentions but this year I am doing some goal oriented work in the Best Year Yet workshops. I’d like to experiment more with different things like acrylic inks, more palette knife work and of course collage and mixed media. I reorganized my studio yesterday and added more storage because new adventures require more stuff and my 8’x10′ studio is jammed! I found a painting under my chair during the cleanup! I vaguely remember doing it but I definitely remember I thought I was blah. So I cleaned it up and now it’s lovely!

I have also planned to take one more workshop, probably starting in May or June, it is one I have been waiting to take since I missed it last year, don’t worry I will keep you posted. I almost forgot, I am going to see Elizabeth Gilbert here in Ottawa in April!! I was all set to see her in Montreal in 2020 but the pandemic tail care of that plan! Lots of good things are happening in April, I cant wait to tell you all about them!

Happy Sunday peeps, I hope you get to spend time doing exactly what you love, because we all deserve to follow our dreams! Have a great month and to steal from Brene Brown “stay awkward, brave and kind” oh and Paint on!

Season of Change, The Big a-ha!

As I mentioned in my last blog, I enrolled and completed a 21 day creativity workshop in September through Art2Life called Spark. I was hoping it would help me understand what’s changing in my art and to help me move with it or through it. It was a busy 4 weeks of live calls , videos to watch and art to make aka homework. The instructors art style isn’t my style since he is an abstract painter and at the beginning it’s the excuse I used to convince myself not to take it any further after the free series. But something happened in the last day of the free course that caught me off guard; a flood of ideas poured out and into my art journal! For most of the year I struggled to pull ideas forward, painting what I hoped would sell and not really understanding what was happening but I really didn’t know what I wanted.

My word is stale. I was stale, my art was becoming stale and especially my landscapes! I was so relieved when I could put a word to it and what a prefect word it was. The definition of stale is no longer fresh and pleasant.

Stale landscape from August

I completed this landscape shortly after my vacation, when I’d hoped the break from my full time day job would allow me to paint for a few days but nothing really came. This was an idea completely out of my head inspired by a road trip with my sister but when I completed it it was just blah..and as much as I tried to get excited about it. It’s just blah but I didn’t know how to paint my way out of it. I was stuck, and stale.

Just before the free program began I picked up a three years old painting and finished it. It was effortless and colourful..

Happy #5 glows in my studio

The Spark program with Nick Wilton at Art2life helped me play a bit more; with no expectation of an outcome, with different methods and tricks, tools and paint. The whole program is done working in a journal with whatever you have. I liked both the simplicity of the art journal and the variety of the topics of the exercises. I looked for ward to coming home and seeing what was going to come next. The pages in my journal are different than anything else I’ve painted, working at playing, colour combinations, texture and covering it over if it didn’t feel right. All the while working through limiting beliefs and long held truths that were no longer applicable.

My aha moment came in module 3 when a guest speaker talked about colour and colour value and how it’s so easy to keep “playing it safe in the mid tones“ is a common trap and leads to boring art . It struck me like a lightening bolt!! I stood up from my desk and gasped out loud! I then looked at my most recent landscape and realized that that’s me!! Totally! Totally stuck in those mid tones! How did I get here? Was I always like this? When did this happen? After the call was over I looked at my website, both my available pieces and my sold gallery to see what I could see. In the sold pieces, I saw lots of colourful pieces and a few mid tone landscapes and for the next few days I looked through my art with a new lens!

I’ve been slowly creating in those mid tones, moving away from bright and bold colours choices! I had to sit with this realization for a bit and I still was as the workshop started to wrap up. It stopped me in my tracks for a good 24 hours ..

Don’t get me wrong, I love my landscapes, they are all part of my artistic evolution and my collectors of who have my landscapes love them too. It’s the first subject matter I wanted to master, more than anything.

Untitled 12″x24″ Acrylic on Canvas $350

But I have been stuck and now that I know why and how , I have to learn how to stay out of the mid tones. I love landscapes but landscapes don’t love me (for now). In my monthly mentoring group that took place just after Spark ended, the 2nd of 2 major ahas happened. As I was discussing my garden series, the textured colourful series rebooted in 2020, I showed everyone the piece I was refreshing. I lit up ! I was so happy to discuss my methods, the idea and the outcome! I disclosed my growing apathy and unhappiness with landscape painting! I couldn’t work on my chosen pieces for the assignments because all I could see was blah. I soooo want to be a great landscape painter! The moderator helped me see that maybe I am a mixed media artist and if I was to incorporated texture it might improve my relationship with landscapes.!? Holy moly what a revelation!

My textured mixed media pieces aka the Garden series

I am still processing and digesting these 2 big ahas. As this week began I was exhausted, trying to understand and integrate these 2 new parts of my art. At the beginning of the year I knew my art was changing but I didn’t know how or why. These last 5 weeks have given me some answers and also opened up a dozen more but I’ll save that for another blog!

Thanks for coming along on my artistic journey! Feel free to drop me a like or a comment and please check out my available artworks for my current offerings and please share this post! Until next time 🎨on!

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!!

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

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!!

More from The Garden Series

Looking for a unique Mother’s Day gift? I might be able to help!

The collection is called Mom’s Garden and they are mainly 8”x8” acrylic on canvas colourful garden scenes.

Mom’s Garden #2 8″x8″ Acrylic on Canvas$65

Check out the available artworks menu on my website for all the current pieces. I will be uploading more as they are completed so be sure to check in often.

Shipping within Canada can be arranged in time for Mother’s Day. Please don’t hesitate to contact me through the website or on Facebook.

I’ve also uploaded a few more pieces in Garden Series too! Prices and sizes are with each piece!

If you are looking for a custom piece from either collection please get in touch to discuss your options!

http://www.annescanvas.com

🎨 on!

Everything Old is New Again

Early in my art life I created a couple of floral paintings: nothing elaborate, because I didn’t know how to be elaborate but using techniques I learned at a Paint with Janet class. To my surprise, they sold!! And ever since, at irregular intervals, the purchaser who happens to be my massage therapist, would suggest I paint more, that she receives lots of compliments, and she was sure they would sell. I thought I was done with that style. To say I was hesitant and resistant 😏 would be an understatement.

In January, I was wondering what was next; Christmas was over and I was looking for my next idea and Amy’s words rung in my ears. A few weeks before I had reworked a few repurposed highly textured canvas and I thought they’d make nice backgrounds. So I dug out my old brushes, and some colours that I haven’t used in many years and got to it.

In one afternoon I created these 2

And a new/ old series was born. I have since made 5 more. (One is enroute to its new owner so I can’t reveal it yet)!

I love painting landscapes but I learned over the last month that I also need to play and create joy-filled pieces and this series, with their pops of colour on rich backgrounds; really do fill me with joy as I create them.

My available artworks gallery has been updated with the 3 remaining pieces of this series. I will be making more, no worries there! I’ve got an idea for Mother’s Day so stay tuned!