I love collaboration, and working on this mural with the focus being empowerment in conjunction with the Beltline Youth Center in Calgary has been such a pleasure. I'm glad that every time these kids walk into the youth center they will see positive words that will hopefully remind them that they are amazing and courageous and perfect just as they are...that they can be who they are meant to be, not a copy of someone else, but that they are valued. I know I've said it before, but I am so very grateful to be an artist so that I can be part of something so wonderful.
This is week 3 of the 21 SECRETS online workshop giveaway and once again I would like to thank Connie Hozvicka of Dirty Footprints Studio for this opportunity to share a spot in the Fall 21 SECRETS online workshops. Please enter as often as you wish, every week if you'd like as I'll continue this for two more weeks. Today I want to introduce four more instructors...21 teachers each share different tips and techniques that they use in their own work. As I mentioned previously, I've been taking part in the 21 SECRETS workshop and it never ceases to amaze me that even after all these years of creating there is so much to learn.
To add your name to the pot this week, please leave a comment along with a way to contact you at the end of five weeks...and GOOD LUCK! If you would like to add your name to the previous weeks, just go here and here. And, if you just want to register for the program to make sure you reserve a spot, you most certainly can, just click HERE.
Because I'm an avid reader, a cozy chair is a necessity in my home so of course it had to be included in my gratitude list. Plus, as I've painted over 500 chairs, it seemed absolutely necessary or rather appropriate to include one. Throughout my marriage having a comfy spot to curl up has been a requirement for me, not only for reading but also to drink a cup of tea, to snuggle my babies and pets, and to write or sketch in my journals. No matter where we've lived, from apartments to houses, there has always been a quiet spot to sit and read and think. I always place a lamp and small table nearby for comforting light and a drink and I find that the spot is even cozier located near a window. And yesterday it is where I sat to read all my Birthday wishes...I cannot be more thankful for all of the incredible people I have in my life.
The youth of the Beltline Boys & Girls Club in Calgary have finally completed their 4x8 foot mural and I think it's wonderful. The only stipulation was nothing negative, all empowering words. I wanted something in the building that would make them not only proud of their contribution, but also a way of possibly instilling a sense of pride in other youth who visit the center.
One of the best things about being an artist is being able to contribute to projects like this. I've read the statistics about the value of art in society, for both viewers and contributors...decreased school drop out rates, decreased teenage pregnancy, decreased vandalism, and increased pride in community as well as a sense of contribution...but it's especially nice to see the results first-hand.
The community art projects that I've had the privilege of contributing to in my community have been a testament to the decrease in vandalism and increase in community pride. And I feel so lucky to get the opportunity to be involved.
Well...10 of this year's 12 chairs are finished and now displayed around our community and they look fantastic! I'm always so excited to see the final projects and thrilled that we have such an huge talent pool in and around Airdrie. Can't wait to see the final chairs.
Plus it was such a treat to be at Empty Bowls on Saturday, to hear the feedback not only from viewers but also from the artists. I find it interesting that each chair has its audience, those people who love it very much for different reasons, and yet artists often question the value of their contribution. And I have to say that each and every chair is wonderful.
You'll find the Dia de los Muerta at Brewsters, Haida Blue Jay at Good Earth Cafe, Birch at Genesis Place, Crown at McArthurs Fine Furniture, Dragonfly at Home Hardware, Crows Nest Pass at Scotiabank Main, Calgary Flames at City Hall, Tropical Flowers at Genesis Place, Dragon at the Library and Abstract at Cam Clark Ford with an Airdrie and Stone Throne chairs yet to come. I always enjoy hearing how and why different people connect to different images. And I think the chairs just keep getting better and better, which is really hard to do because they have always been amazing. There is so much more in store over the next few months but at least I can rest a little before moving on to the next step. Whew!
Welcome to the second week of the online workshop give-away and thanks again to Connie Hozvicka of Dirty Footprints Studio I'll be giving away a spot to the Fall 21 SECRETS workshop which has unlimited access once downloaded so it is always available to you. The workshop comes out October 1st and is also available for presale.
So, I will continue to introduce four of the instructors each week to share how wonderful this program really is...21 teachers will each share different tips and techniques that they use in their own work. I've been taking part in the 21 SECRETS workshop myself and it never ceases to amaze me that even after all these years of creating there is so much to learn.
To add your name to the pot this week, please leave a comment along with a way to contact you at the end of five weeks...and GOOD LUCK! And, if you just want to register for the program to make sure you reserve a spot, you most certainly can, just click HERE.
First I want to send another huge THANK YOU to AyrSpace Gallery in Ontario as two more of my canoes have sailed off...this time as a wedding gift for avid paddlers. This is such a lovely way to begin this Thankful Thursday. Plus, we'll be unveiling this year's AIRdirondack Chair Project at the Empty Bowls Festival in Nose Creek Park this weekend. Such an exciting week!
Throughout my life books have been my saving grace...as a nerdy young girl I always felt safe and welcome in the library so it's no surprise that I work in one now. I began with Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew, then moved on to Judy Blume's 'Are You There God, It's Me Margaret', 'Lord of the Flies', 'The Outsiders', 'Pygmalion' and then as I got older I began to appreciate fiction and more Canadian literature, with Margaret Lawrence's 'The Stone Angel' being one of my favorites to this day. I even had the opportunity to see Shirley Douglas play the role of Hagar in an intimate theatre many years ago which was probably the best play I've ever seen.
When I was expecting our daughters, it was children's books I purchased first. A few of my favorites are still 'Edwina the Emu', 'The Mitten', and 'Guess How Much I Love You' though the first story I read the girls as toddlers was 'The Hobbit'...another favorite from my youth.
To this day I bring a book wherever I go, which is a terrific way to spend time waiting in medical and dental offices with children. Instead of being a chore, it becomes a highly anticipated venture. I've tried audio books and e-readers but there is just something about books. Both our daughters have their own bookshelves and we have two large bookcases in our home and though we donate so many we cannot help ourselves.
The best days are those spent reading, whether together with my family or on my own at Starbucks. Oh...that and painting.
The past few weeks I've been working on new pieces to send to The Daffodil Gallery in Edmonton...and I want to send a huge Thank You to them as several paintings have already begun heading to their new homes.
One of the best things about working on several pieces at once is that they often come to completion at the same time which means a selection of new work is ready to go all at once. But it also means a lot of wiring and documenting all at once, too.
Anyway, for those of you in the Edmonton area, this work should be in the gallery by next week. I would love to hear what you think.
One of the greatest blessings I've found in this creative life is getting to meet those people who purchase my work. I love hearing the stories that they connect with the paintings, how my work touches them and the memories it brings up for them. When I began selling my art it happened purely by coincidence...someone came to my home asked if I painted what was on the wall and wondered if I would consider selling it. I found it difficult to set a price for the work, so I involved this patron, asking what he felt it was worth to him.
Several years later I was represented by a gallery who helped me set the prices and so it was definitely easier for me. To this day, I appreciate the guidance of galleries, but have also learned to calculate my expenses (paint, canvas, staples, wire, etc) along with my time (gathering materials, preparing the canvas, painting, preparing the completed piece for exhibit and documentation). Though I do realize that some paintings flow effortlessly and others require much more struggle (and paint), I am comfortable with all of the work set at the same price point, but at the same time other artists price based on the amount of work and materials on each piece, or based on their emotional attachment to each piece.
Selling the work directly to patrons has been a bit more of a challenge for me. I enjoy the interaction, especially when I get to hear the memories and feelings that my paintings evoke for them, where the work will hang in their home and why they chose that particular place. Commissions have always been a bit more of a challenge but something I do enjoy, as long as we're all on the same page. There are a few steps I take when I work with someone, whether that is a commission or a sale of a completed piece:
1. Confirm that each of us is comfortable with the piece in question...I prefer it when someone sees the work first hand (rather than just online, if possible) to be certain that what they see is what they get. Nothing is worse than an item being bigger or smaller or more or less vibrant than expected. If it's a commission, we go through my portfolio and discuss colours and size, being sure that I can deliver what is requested. I want to be sure that the image we agree on is something that will be loved by both of us. If there is another artist who could do a better job in that regard, I have no problem referring them because I really do want everyone to be happy.
2. Though there is much discussion of getting a down payment on a painting, I never have because this is a commitment that I want both of us to feel comfortable with during the process and with the final product. In all my years there was only one commission that wasn't purchased and it was for personal reasons which I absolutely understood. And I love to paint, so I'm okay with that.
3. As far as discounts and payments, I follow the same guidelines as my galleries. I do offer a discount on multiple purchases and allow a three month payment period to make things easier for the patron. I don't want this to be a hardship or regret.
4. Finally, I don't expect the patron to purchase the piece in the end, whether it's a completed piece or commission. I try to allow things to progress naturally. If this piece isn't intended for this person, it will find the right home in time. Not only do I feel more at peace with this attitude, but it seems that the more I let go and allow, the more my work travels to new homes. When I truly allow what's meant to be I feel abundantly blessed.
5. I feel grateful for my history in Administration and Business Management as I have had many years of training on telephone and internet etiquette and the value of responding promptly and professionally to inquiries. Even if what sounds great doesn't actually turn out to be, I've learned that being polite even though I may be terribly disappointed works best in the long run. Not only for my public reputation but I also feel better in the long run.
The best part about my job is that not only do I get paid for doing what I absolutely love, but I get hugs and photos and emails, too. I have been gifted through meeting the most amazing people because of this creative life and have enjoyed long-term relationships because of it.