Creating a body of work without any specific goal in mind (ie. for sale or exhibit) is so good for developing and growing skills and confidence. I'm so glad that in spite of my initial trepidation I created the 52 WEEKS::Heroes series last year and that it has been bringing me joy beyond measure...both during the project and since its completion. I was able to hone my method and simplify how I do things, which is something I want to share in my upcoming fall online workshop and it's really nice to be able to create something personal and full of meaning for someone else.
One of my favorite things to do in my work is to create a colourful background. Not only does it reduce the anxiety of working on a blank canvas, but it also creates an amazing ground to paint over, allowing (in this case) warm tones to shine through the finished piece. I always begin with the underpainting of pattern and colour, followed by the image transfer and then a couple of layers of darks in the shadow areas. Finally I layer lighter tones and highlights. This method of working has increased my love of the process.
Doomed to―or blessed with―eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.
I love learning in my own home...thus I am continuing my studies via distance education. Currently I am studying psychology, which is quite fascinating, and also preparing another online workshop for the fall. My favorite online classes have always included photos, writing (so I can print and highlight anything that catches my attention) along with videos, and so that is what I am working on at this time. When I was younger I always wanted to be a teacher but didn't feel that I knew enough to share but as the years go by, I have begun to realize that everyone has something to share. I've also realized that I couldn't teach anything but art. I cannot contain myself when it comes to creating art, to learning about artists and their experience and techniques, and to sharing tips and tools that I love. Years ago I felt that my attention was drawn in so many different directions that it might be a hindrance to my creative expression...you know, a jack of all trades and a master of none. But now that I lead workshops I have really begun to appreciate the exposure to a variety of media and methods of working.
There are some projects that I really love being part of and having my work included on The Naked Leaf tea tins is definitely one of them. I love tea. Every morning I begin the day by making a small pot of tea to bring into my studio where I either read, study, or paint. There is something about the ritual of spooning out the tea, pouring the hot water into the pot and the scent of it steeping that gets my mind into creativity mode. I used to light a candle once I got to my studio every morning but because flames can be dangerous around me when I get in the zone (I forget about them which is an issue), I now turn on my salt rock lamp which gives the same light and feels amazing in my space. The aroma of the tea (often Earl Grey cream or a berry herbal tea) combined with the golden light of the salt rock grounds me and suddenly my brain begins to connect creative ideas. It's a wonderful way to begin my day.
Each time I'm asked to create something special for someone I feel privileged and this time it is even more special because we are collaborating on symbols and images that are filled with meaning for this family. Each step along the way is exciting and nerve wracking in turns as this work is precious. My aim in this type of circumstance is always to stay grounded in my practice as an artist, trying not to focus only on what someone else might want, especially since neither of us will really know what will work or not until the work is done. And, since the work requires so many layers, patterns and colours, the end result will be dramatically different from the work in process. So, this is the point where I need to relax and focus on colours and patterns rather than the completed piece...it's really one of the fun parts.
I'm currently working on a few project samples for paint nights that are coming up this spring and fall. Paint nights are a lot of fun...wine and paint, there's nothing better. My favorite thing is to share my favorite thing with others and, hopefully, to teach a few things in the mix. Preparing for these events is good for me as an artist as it makes me think of the choices I make and why I make them when I paint. I know I often say that I paint intuitively, which is true for the most part, but I am also very aware that I can make these intuitive choices because I have studied and practiced for many years. There are certain elements of design that I that follow, such as line, contrast, value, colour, repitition, balance and composition, which always remain in the back of my mind. Even though I may not be consciously aware of why I make particular decisions, these thoughts are always in mind. My hope is that I can impart some of the knowledge that I have received throughout the years while making these events fun for everyone.
It was the time of the French Revolution — a time of great change and great danger. It was a time when injustice was met by a lust for vengeance, and rarely was a distinction made between the innocent and the guilty. Against this tumultuous historical backdrop, Dickens' great story of unsurpassed adventure and courage unfolds.
Unjustly imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille, Dr. Alexandre Manette is reunited with his daughter, Lucie, and safely transported from France to England. It would seem that they could take up the threads of their lives in peace. As fate would have it though, the pair are summoned to the Old Bailey to testify against a young Frenchman — Charles Darnay — falsely accused of treason. Strangely enough, Darnay bears an uncanny resemblance to another man in the courtroom, the dissolute lawyer's clerk Sydney Carton. It is a coincidence that saves Darnay from certain doom more than once. Brilliantly plotted, the novel is rich in drama, romance, and heroics that culminate in a daring prison escape in the shadow of the guillotine.
The Naked Leaf tea shop in Kensington has new tea tins available and I'm so happy to have two more of my images included. Their tea tins are highly collectable since they feature the work of local artists. Not only is it a fun neighborhood to visit, but the tea shop has the friendliest staff and the best teas. I highly recommend the Earl Grey Cream.
So many great things happening over the next few months...
I am so grateful to be presented with incredible opportunities to share what I love. Plus, a huge bonus for me is to meet so many incredible people. So, now I need to get back to work!
I look back to last year at this time and how I was struggling with this 52 WEEKS::Heroes project. I hadn't worked on portraiture in such a long time and worried about my depictions of those women who have meant so much to me and my girls. As the year progressed the project came alive for me and I began to be less concerned about what others might think of my portraits and connected to the very reason I was doing this...to improve my skills and to honour women.
When I was asked to be involved in this year's Amazing Airdrie Women photo shoot I didn't hesitate to say "YES!"...what a wonderful culmination to an amazing experience. These are just a few of the beautiful women who have been nominated for this year's awards and I am so very glad I had the privilege to chat with them and am so looking forward to the luncheon in May.
A few of my favorite women were also involved in this project...visionary and airdrielife magazine publisher/editor Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, photographer Kristy Reimer, make-up artist Sarika Mehta and journalist/filmmaker Lori Kuffner. To vote and to purchase tickets visit here.
Honouring the Ancestors
Great Places Plan