It's been an incredible year...so many changes and though transition can be difficult, it always comes with beautiful growth. So much has happened, from the graduations of both our daughters and a family celebration trip to Mexico to a change of workplace for me. I have taught in-person and online, spoken, exhibited and shared my work in many venues in southern Alberta as well as continuing to support local arts and culture through continuing to be involved with the Mayor's Night of the Arts, exhibiting and painting in my community and painting the annual bowl in support of the Empty Bowls fundraiser for the Airdrie Food Bank. I feel blessed when I look at the highlights:
I cannot lie...this one was a tough one. I don't know if it was the subject matter or the fact that this was my fifth year of completing a painting a week. But...seeing them all together makes my heart sing! I wasn't certain if I would do this again because it was so difficult. Then I realized that this was a year of great change, in career, in my children growing up to become young women, in the direction of my work, so I decided to give it another chance. I'm taking a huge leap, based on watercolour landscapes that I played with last year, though this time I am adding texture and oils to the mix. So here's to another year down and one more ahead. The 52 WEEKS::Storytellers can all be viewed in my portfolio here (links on each photo to the complete post).
This was a piece I was asked to create for Christmas which happens to be for a very special person. These pieces which are filled with so much meaning can often be the most challenging but also the most rewarding. Each layer of paint and pattern is selected with a purpose and each feeds into the final painting and require specific hand-cut stencils to embody imagery that is important. As difficult as a piece like this can be to create, especially with the thought of the response of the recipient, as an artist it is also a very great pleasure.
A somber tale of consuming passions and vengeance played out against the lonely moors of northern England. The turbulent and tempestuous love story of Cathy and Heathcliff spans two generations — from the time Heathcliff, a strange, coarse young boy, is brought to live on the Earnshaws' windswept estate, through Cathy's marriage to Edgar Linton and Heathcliff's plans for revenge, to Cathy's death years later and the eventual union of the surviving Earnshaw and Linton heirs.
I had rushed to complete this painting before my daughter & I headed into the mountains to spend a couple of days taking photographs of her sewing projects (visit her blog here). Now that I've lived with it awhile, I realized that it felt a little flat since I hadn't had the time to darken the darks and lighten the highlights. Each time I go back into a piece that looks interesting, it can be a bit nerve wracking, but I'm always glad I did it...and I'm glad now, too. There is a beautiful sense of light that was missing before. It makes me happy.
The funny thing about inspiration is that it strikes at the strangest moments. The past couple of weeks have been a busy time with completing a few commissions and generally just getting my year-end art affairs in order like taking care of deliveries and finances. But, the other evening my husband took me to a hockey game in Calgary and I was inspired by the Calgary Tower. So, not only did I begin another piece, but also adjusted a painting and am much happier with it. It's interesting how working on one piece also inspires work-in-progress (or even pieces that I initially thought may be complete). In any case, I feel like I'm actually getting somewhere and feel so much more orgazined than I usually am at this time of year, which is a wonderful thing!
Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.
After the challenge of deciding whether or not I will create another 52 WEEKS project and also flip-flopping about the subject matter and media, I have finally decided to do this for a 6th year and I'm actually beginning to look forward to it. Instead of working on stretched canvas, I will be working on 6x8 canvas panels for two reasons:
1. They don't require so much storage space.
2. They fit my Judon's plein air pochade perfectly which means I can travel and work anywhere much more easily.
My good friend gave me a copy of this lovely little book titled "50 Truths Worth Knowing" which is filled with positive inspiration to kick-start me and I think that I've decided to incorporate words from each week to use in the title of the works. I'll have to add two more truths of my own but I think I'll do that at the end of this project...maybe by then I will have gained more wisdom. I've also decided to use Winsor & Newton water miscible oils since I haven't worked in oils in such a long time, but with the option of being cleaned with water might make it easier on myself and my family. And, finally, I want to incorporate heavy impasto texture, which I have always adored but struggled with in my day-to-day work (even though I wrote an article on adding texture for Cloth Paper Scissors magazine a few years ago) so I think I'll focus on applying colour with palette knives.
This year's title "52 WEEKS::Wild Rose" was gifted to me by my daughter. First, I want to focus on the landscape around me, Wildrose Country, as it gives me such joy. Second, I feel like we are each a bit of a wild rose...which is where this lovely little book comes in. We often need to remind ourselves of the simple truths in life, including nuggets of wisdom such as "even small steps are important" and "work can be sacred". We are all perfectly beautiful in our imperfections but there are times we need to focus on the little things and remember that even our small contributions are beautiful.
So, if you have photos that you would like to share with me, I would love to see them and perhaps they can work their way into this little jewel of a series. And I have to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me on this journey these past five years and those who encourage me to continue.