I'm often asked for advice on how to become a successful artist which is strange in that I feel like I just paint. But I get it...in the past I have wondered the same thing. I think the first thing to figure out is what success looks like to you. For me it is painting every day, having time to spend with my family, travelling, buying art supplies, and putting some money aside for the future. In that regard I do feel successful.
But it can also be difficult. Very difficult. My work has gone missing, been damaged, there have been times I haven't received finances that were owed, and there has been much criticism both about my work and about me personally. Over time I realized that what matters is that I get to do the work (it is a privilege), that I receive amazing support from family and friends and those who have become friends because of this work that I do, and and that I get to pay it forward by sharing some of the lessons I have learned over the years.
I learned to trust my instincts, to work in collaboration with others, to volunteer my time, to build relationships that are valuable to everyone involved. I love that...I love that I have these opportunities. I also learned that probably half of what I create doesn't sell but that's okay because I love to create a lot, and I don't share everything either, sometimes it's just for me, to learn or to have fun (or both).
At one point I tried to give this life up but became so sad. I know that what I do is important for me. And in the end that is all that matters.
I finally did it! I created a short online workshop which consists of a PDF and links to two short 15 minutes (or less) videos. I love little 'art bites' and learning something new without spending hours in front of a computer screen so I thought I'd share what I've learned about altered art over a number of years. I've been fortunate to be involved with teaching both in person and as a contributing artist online through 21 SECRETS and Creative Retreat and have loved it each time.
I was really happy to begin my foray into altered books and art journaling with an incredible group of talented artists - Supria Karmakar (who was the brilliant mastermind behind the Inner Works Collaborative, Seth Apter, Roxanne Evans Stout, Rita Vindedzis, and Jill Zaheer. It took awhile for me to find my voice working in altered books and it really wasn't until I began taking what I was doing on canvas and transferring it to this substrate that I began to trust my inner voice and have fun.
The workshop is now available through my Etsy shop here.
So, I've had a chance to try out more of these acrylics and I think I like them. They're not as thick or as opaque as the Liquitex Heavy Body acrylics that I've been using for years but they have a kind of oil paint consistency and blendability that I enjoy. So far I have been mixing them with some of my Liquitex colours and am happy with how they mix together. I'll keep working with them and maybe I'll create a little video as well. I'll definitely keep you posted.
As I've been working on this series that I'm currently calling 'Fashion Plates' I am stumped on titles. Because my work was more about feelings and a bit of a story or fairytale in the past, it was easy to use my imagination, but since these are based on photos of my daughter in period costumes that she created, I'm uncertain. Do I give them the titles of books that they remind me of, in this case Anna Karenina or War & Peace, or do I give them names of women...the other painting I've almost completed reminds me of Marie Antoinette...or do I give them variations of my daughter's name? She's Katherine Anna which is a regal and European name, which this image reminds me of, and other names like Kit or Kitty, Kissing Kate, or some other old western variation for yet another painting I'm currently working on. There's also Katya (which would suit this painting), Kay, Kat, Katyusha, Kasia, Katherina (who she is named after), Katriona, Kathleen, Katrina, Katelynn, and it seems the list goes on. Perhaps the pieces in this series won't be named until there are a collection of them. Oh the possibilities!
I've been very curious about the Artist's Loft professional grade acrylic paints and with a great sale this week I decided to purchase a selection from my personal basic palette. Sometimes I throw a couple of other colours in the mix such as unbleached titanium or turquoise and like to switch out the blues between pthalo and prussian blue and the reds between napthol and cadmium red medium. I have really been trying to avoid cadmium colours because they're not great for me but sometimes they're just so pretty. Here's my list:
Nominations are now open for the Airdrie Mayor's Night of the Arts awards...and that's me in the bottom right with our local Mayor and a director from Fortis Alberta when I received the Professional Artist's Award several years ago. Two years ago my daughter received the Youth Artist award which also came with a scholarship that is currently being utilized in her Fashion Design education. The event is always lovely with several fabulous performances from Spanish guitar and rock music to opera and ballet. I highly recommend attending and also voting.
So...after stating that I've decided not to work in series, it seems that these 'fashion plates' paintings have got me very excited to think about painting another series. We spent a lovely weekend with my eldest daughter and her extended family in Lethbridge for Thanksgiving and, as the weather has turned, it's been wonderful to spend time in my studio again. I keep thinking I'll go back into the first one I painted but I think, just like the 52 WEEKS::Heroes paintings which focused on portraits, the first few weeks of the series takes a bit of adjustment and a period of a testing of the waters until I'm happy and comfortable with the process and the end result. I'm thrilled because I finally feel like I have a direction again. I'm going to try to work slowly and not rush this process but I am happy. And it's lovely as these are based on the photos I have been taking of my daughter's fashion designs. Not only is she a talented tailor/designer, but a wonderful model. too. If you'd like to see her work, visit her at The Modiste.
I've been working on some videos lately and find that listening to my voice and seeing my facial expressions can be very interesting at times. The more I do these things, the more comfortable I become but it certainly is a learning process. The most fun part of the entire thing is actually getting more work done in my altered books, which I love to do but because they require small steps and lots of drying time with a variety of media, I tend to avoid them. Silly, I know. I guess this is why I'm deadline driven...if I have even a self imposed deadline (which I do in this case), I tend to get to work. I think that's also why I like to work in series. This afternoon I will be sharing my inspiration & process at the Forest Lawn Library from 1-2:30pm...everyone is welcome. And, please bring questions. :)
I haven't hosted a studio sale in quite some time so I thought it might be nice to share a handful of larger paintings on canvas at a discount. It's always interesting how much fun I have dong this and wonder why I don't do it more often. Anyway, if you'd like to see the paintings available, click on my newsletter sign up and view the October 2018 studio news. You can also register to receive the eNewsletter here. I don't share any information and you are certainly welcome to unsubscribe at any time.
My 'Hoodoos' bench has found a home at Iron Horse Park...funny, we've lived here over 20 years and I have never been so this is a great opportunity to visit a popular landmark in my community. Every Christmas season our girls got a ride on one of the trains when they were at the Festival of Lights at Nose Creek Park and they absolutely loved it! I really should have held one of my daughter's birthday parties there as the kids would have been so happy. Anyway, I hope I can find it after this early but not uncommon dump of snow we received. It's been looking a lot like Christmas! :)
AIRdirondack Art Project