End of Year Look Back to Look Ahead

At the beginning of the year I knew my art was changing, that I was changing as an artist but every time I tried to write about it it came off sounding whiny and a bit melancholic. I don’t know how many blog posts I wrote and deleted throughout the year. I couldn’t put it into words until just these past few weeks but I think I’ve got it now: transformative.

I started taking workshops this year and joined a few monthly membership groups and it’s is there I found my art community and my art language. Looking back I had always created my art in a vacuum, and in that vacuum I got stuck. What do I mean by creating in a vacuum; I learned alone for the most part, taking classes at a local art store when something caught my eye or found myself wanting some community. I developed some excellent work ethic but also developed some bad habits and beliefs about making art that helped me get stuck.

Have you heard of the podcast called Art Juice? This podcast in particular helped me put words to my struggles as an artist. It also gave me a path. In that podcast they put other artists in my path that would help me see and feel my way out of feeling stale. If you don’t know it, check it out. Another very helpful podcast on my journey is the Savvy Painter podcast, both have helped me immensely. And I cant forget the 21-day creativity workshop called Spark that really shifted my thinking and my journey as an artist.

This year, I learned that:

I love collage;

I love ripping painted paper and collaging them into my art journal

I love ripping up old cookbooks to create collage papers

I discovered art jounals and mixed media,

that bubble wrap is awesome for visual texture

I love grids as part of the underpainting

I got reacquainted with clay

I discovered new colours that I now can’t live without

I started 37 painting and finished 28

I created 7 mixed media pieces, 2 are not finished

I sold 5 paintings

I leaned that I don’t have to keep painting landscapes because that’s what I chose 6 years ago

that not knowing the outcome is ok

that serious work comes from serious play

that I can jump from canvas to journaling and its ok

that my paintings are a bi-product of my creative process

That I can recreate and re-envision older pieces

Transformative is right!! Sitting here on New Years Eve I am grateful for taking the time to look back. I don’t make resolutions or pacts with myself for the new year, I know that I will carry on with this evolution because I cant imagine my life without these new found practices. Thank you all for coming along this journey with me, I truly appreciate you support and comments.

Happy New year!!

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!