There are a few things that are absolutely amazing about being an artist...along with the pleasure of creating something with my own two hands, the greatest privilege is the connection that people have with my work and the gifts I receive because of it. This elk antler traveled all the way from New Mexico and as I unwrapped it on the eve of the blood moon, I felt my entire body resonate with positive energy. I've been carrying the weight of the growing full moon for the past week and with this gift came release.
Elk is a symbol of community, still requiring personal space, but also being part of a herd. They can swing from being passive to aggressive depending on the circumstance, and I certainly understand that bent as it is how I react when I feel cornered, too. As a totem animal, elk reminds us to be confident as it is in that which we can feel empowered. He reminds us to protect ourselves by taking time for ourselves but also to remember to remain closely connected to community...a lesson I've taken to heart this week.
Being introverted in a predominantly extraverted world can be a challenge for someone like me...not only do I become easily overwhelmed and over-stimulated, but because I am never bored alone, others can feel neglected by me. So, in that vein I wanted to share a few things about myself, and this doesn't mean I don't love people, because I really do, but I need a lot of time and space.
1. I really don't enjoy public events...I wish I did because there are so many opportunities that sound fun but whenever I take part, I am absolutely exhausted and anxious afterwards.
2. I like to be home...driving tends to cause stress (even just to the city) and I don't care to go on vacations, unless I'm heading to the mountains with my family (refreshes my soul). I would like to see more of Canada and even just to get out and visit others but I really, really like being home, in my house or walking around my town.
3. I don't care for large groups...I enjoy a visit with a friend or two but more than that is overwhelming. Even gallery openings, which are lovely, leave me depleted for a week or two. Meetings can be very difficult for me...and oddly enough, I attend many.
4. I crave silence...which seems odd since I live near one of the busiest highways and airports in the country. It took me several years to get used to the sound. At least our home is surrounded by trees which means many, many birds, and I do love the sounds of nature. I don't even care for the phone to ring...unless it's my husband or our daughters.
5. I like to work independently...I don't need to be in a work environment to get things done. If I say I'll do it, I will. It's easy for me to keep busy and focused, in fact, sometimes I can be too focused and let everything else slide. But I try to see that as a strength.
So please, please don't take it as an insult if I don't call or make plans with you...it's not personal. I just know what I need and, thankfully, my family understands that, too. Spending several hours alone in a room or in nature means I'm energizing my soul. At least I'm better than I was as a girl - then I couldn't barely speak with people I didn't know as I was painfully shy. I used to feel badly about these things and tried very hard to change but I wasn't happy. And now, I tend to believe that it is exactly these things about me that feeds my creativity and which makes it easy for me to complete a body of work. And it doesn't feel like work at all...just fun, uplifting and enriching for me.
After the long winter and our usual spring of weather that fluctuates dramatically throughout each day, I've been craving flowers. With my husband's allergies I can't have any in the house so I've been playing with them in my sketchbook. Spring is an interesting time...the days are longer and yet all I want to do is lie around and read and drink tea and watch movies (and even though it may seem like it, I don't...but I really, really want to). I'm not sure why I become so uninspired at this time of year - maybe I'm shoring up visual imagery for whatever is to come or it's time for a physical and mental break before the busyness of summer is upon us. I feel a change coming and I do hope it will be a good one. It just feels like we're on the cusp of something new and I'm not sure if that is going to affect my art, my personal life or my work but it does feel positive.
This little raven will be heading south very soon. The two tipis representing friendship, community, connection and grounding while the raven symbolizes truth, self-knowledge, courage and magic...no wonder he's my favorite.
Birds are seen as the messengers between heaven and earth, but raven is often as a guide, reminding us to look inward and to consider that it may be time for change. Though change can appear frightening or difficult, it is in overcoming obstacles that we grow most. And as raven can mimic many different sounds, he teaches us to read many different signs and symbols.
Though raven is often considered an ill omen, trust in your own perceptions instead. As a keeper of secrets and protector of truth, he asks us to learn from our mistakes and give new wings to thoughts and behaviours that give you strength.
Wow...a week ago we were covered with a ton of snow and now it's finally beginning to feel like spring, although we're expecting snow again today. I don't mind snow occasionally during spring in the foothills as it melts almost as quickly as it arrives, but I don't care for the never-ending cold weather and piles of snow we've been experiencing this year.
So today I was able to take good photos of this second Adirondack chair because I can actually see it again. And because I had completed it during early winter, I didn't particularly want too many photos of it in the snow as it just didn't seem right. This is much better.
I'm glad to have two Adirondack chairs outside as they are in a perfect shaded spot for a cool drink and a good book in the summertime. I've been enjoying the one chair on my own, but it's nice to be able to share a quiet spot with my husband. Can't wait for those lazy, hazy summer days.
I'm so excited that I finally get to share that my blog and artwork are featured in the summer issue of ARTFUL BLOGGING by Stampington & Company!!! AND...my photo is on the cover!!!! And the thing that excites me most is that I'm included in an issue that features several artists whom I have admired and whose blogs I have followed for some time...one being Jillian Lukiwski of The Noisy Plume and Micki Wilde of The Secret Hermit.
I have drooled over many an issue of Artful Blogging...of anything, really, that is published by Stampington & Company...so I was honoured when I received a request from the editor, Christine Stephens.
Over the years I've had two separate blogs and this one is definitely my favorite, I find this platform the easiest to use, but the biggest things I've done differently in the past couple of years are to post only those things that are extremely important to me like sharing not only what I do but also other fabulous creatives, and also to invest in a good camera and take lots and lots and lots of photos. Believe me, tons gets deleted.
So, today I am grateful for this opportunity and can't wait to see the magazine first hand. :)
On Saturday during the Jr Artists' Workshop at the Airdrie Public Library Alicia Laurin of Cre8ive Ways taught the kids how to paint tiles that they can use as coasters or hang as art. They used rubbing alcohol spray and acrylic inks to create the most beautiful patterns and vibrant colours. I always like seeing them try a medium or technique to learn something new...like how not to make brown, unless they want to, of course.
It's funny, too, how so many young girls love pink, purple and turquoise...those are the colours I tend to replace in the program's selection of acrylic paints as well. But I was also surprised by the kids who tried different colours just for fun and how they also played with adding pattern by using paper towel and Kleenex. I love the freedom of that inquiring spirit in youth.
Alicia is fantastic, the kids had a terrific time, and I am always fascinated how everyone is given the same materials and lesson and yet their work all turns out differently....beautiful. A testament to each and every person's creative spirit.
This was the demo I worked on last night and I was so grateful to share what I do with a fabulous group of people. I spent four more hours this morning tweaking it and it now feels done to me...the title was a gift last night (thank you!) and I think it's perfect.
This piece is also another ode to Isaac Bignell. His work was the first original art I saw while I growing up in the north and was saddened to hear that his life was cut short. So much incredible talent, so much beautiful work.
A few of the things I was reminded of yesterday were terrific exercises to stretch our creative muscles that we practiced in college:
* work with your non-dominant hand
* create your image upside down
* use a limited or monochromatic palette
* work larger
* work smaller
* try a different subject matter
* try a different medium
* try a different ground
It's all about forcing our hands and eyes to work together and about pushing ourselves. Sometimes the most magical things happen by accident.
WHEATLAND SOCIETY OF ARTS
Store Front Studio
688 Westchester Road
Thursday, April 3, 7-9pm
This evening I will be heading to Strathmore to for a demonstration for the Wheatland Society of Arts. It's been a couple of years since I was there last but I have to say that it was fantastic and I'm really looking forward to visiting them again at the Store Front School tonite. So now I'm just finishing up some small samples at different stages to take with me. It's shaping up to be a really good day.
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +