There are times that I am particularly humbled by being an artist - and yesterday was one of them. During a visit with the Evanescence Gallery on an ArtWalk tour these two young girls each purchased one of my heART~blox paintings to begin their collection of original art. This isn't the first time children have purchased my work and I'm still thrilled when it happens. It never ceases to amaze me how children respond to original art. Whenever my children's friends visit, they tend to stop by my studio to watch me paint for awhile, always asking interesting questions. This is why I'm so happy to be involved in the Jr Art Program classes at the library.
Also, yesterday my studio was professionally photographed for the winter issue of Cloth Paper Scissors 'STUDIOS' magazines. Not only am I excited that my studio will be featured in the magazine, but feel so blessed to spend a morning with an extremely talented and beautiful (inside and out) friend.
This week I finished painting number 13 in the 'Sacred Vessel' series - this one measures 48"x60" and have a good start on number 14. I cannot wait to see the series together though I do see many years of work ahead of me. So this has been a good summer so far - aren'
'Grandmother Moon' is coming along quite nicely. I felt drawn to add more earthy green, which I found interesting as I began to research her a bit. Apparently she was one of the three spirits sent to watch over the children of the earth. She is a leader of feminine life, teaching us to trust our intuition and to listen to our dreams. How perfect.
Even though it was cool and rainy, today was an exciting day for me...I drew, I wrote, I baked, I painted, I read, and I spent time with my family. Plus I got some interesting news which I can't wait to share. A perfect day. I'm currently working on painting number 13 and 14 of my new series and I'm happy with the direction they're taking. This evening as the sun sets I see a half moon glowing in a grey-blue sky and it is absolutely stunning.
After so many extremely warm days I always appreciate the cloudy days. When I was a young girl I developed heat stroke after hiding in the trunk of an abandoned car during a game of hide-and-seek in the prairies. Needless to say, there were many people looking for me so, to this day I don't enjoy especially warm weather. In fact, it makes me nauseous and I have absolutely no energy. So today, on this cool, cloudy day I was energized. PlThis is why autumn is my favorite season. And I hope tomorrow is much the same.
Today my husband & I stopped for breakfast at the Bearspaw Farmers' Market on the way to Kananskis for a 10km hike around Barrier Lake. It was the perfect day, sunshine and mild breezes, and a crystal blue mountain lake to cool off in after our jaunt. We found a beautiful campground that is only available to those willing to hike in, so peaceful I could have easily stayed. I feel so grateful to live so close to the Rocky Mountains, to be able to head out for a hike at a moments notice, to pack a delicious lunch and spend quality time in this blessed place with my family. It was a good day.
It's been so warm here lately that I've been making dinner in the morning before the temperature rises. I love quiche, especially with fresh produce from the farmer's market where we rode our bikes yesterday afternoon. This and a lovely salad, fresh from our own garden, is a perfect summer meal to me.
I also wanted to share a few interesting things that have been catching my eye these days:
~ I often dream of living in a small, uncluttered space, so I've been visiting a lovely little blog about a beautiful 250 square foot space titled 'reading my tea leaves'
~ Etsy is one of my favorite places to shop, a few fabulous items have been picked up along the way here, here, here, and here.
~ Can't wait to receive my copy of 'Weekends with O'Keeffe' by C.S. Merrill.
~ Been listening to The Hunger Games soundtrack and loving it, especially this song.
~ Am reading book three in the Game of Thrones series...love it, too, as much as book one and book two.
A perfect summer - reading, riding, eating, drinking, listening, painting...and I'm not even on vacation yet. Looking forward to those days at the lake.
Yesterday I completed this small 8"x10" painting for my annual donation to support Ronald McDonald House. I had a lot of fun with this one, texturing the canvas with plaster (the same technique I used in the last issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine), allowing some of the canvas to remain exposed while at the same time creating marks using my palette knife. I think it works really well with the landscape adding interest to the sand and the water. I've also recently starting incorporating white frames on some of my work, and with this canoe I think it really works well. We've had such warm days lately so I want to keep things light and fresh to mimic this summer. Yesterday, in spite of the heat, I decided to make banana bread which was the best recipe I've ever made, compliments of Red Hot Pottery:
Killer Banana Bread
(it really is)
2 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 c sugar
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 t baking soda
3/4 c chopped walnuts
4 mashed bananas
1 t vanilla
1/2 c canola or olive oil
Mix together, place in two oiled baking pans (I line the bottom with waxed paper).
Bake at 350F for 1 hour.
I decided to create a self portrait based on items that reflect who I am after reading Liz Lamoreaux's 'Inner Excavation'...and this is the result. I decided to set my items on an old favorite chair which I picked up at the side of the road a number of years ago and to place the chair on our hardwood floors to represent the log cabin of my heart. I love that the chair is painted white and also that it's paint is peeling, rustic, worn. It's the chair I sit at to type my words every day. I knew without a doubt that this 'self-portrait' would include a book, and not just any book but 'Wuthering Heights' because not only is it my all-time favorite book, hands down, but also because it is blue, my favorite color. When I looked around at my art supplies, I briefly considered my pochade (which I absolutely love), some canvas, tubes of paint or brushes, but then I decided on my journal/sketchbook. I write or draw in it daily and it goes with me whenever I travel. There are many of these on my bookshelf, each decorated and labelled differently depending on what I felt was needed in my life at the time - my word-of-the-year is 'still' and a card from a friend decorates the front (an ode to my chair paintings) which makes me happy every time I look at it as I think of the work that has filled my hands for many years and of the cherished friend who thought of me when she saw this card. I added my Waterman pen which has been with me for almost twenty years - I love the weight of it in my hands and the flow of the ink when I draw and write. My favorite mug, created by Connie Pike, is also blue and holds the hot chocolate or tea I drink daily. And finally, I decided to include a painting, which was an anniversary gift, created by Grant Leier (my favorite artist), and the words on it 'you make me feel brand new' make me think of my husband every time I look at it. I love the colors, the fact that it's painted with acrylics, the images of leaves and feathers. And finally, my tortoise shell glasses. I have always worn Nana Mouskouri-esque glasses. When I was a child my mother selected them for me, and as I grew older, I felt the most comfortable in them. For years I was embarrased by wearing glasses as I wore them at a time when it was not considered fashionable at all, but now I love them for many reasons...the main one being that I feel grateful to have something that allows me to see well.
Today I thought I'd share a few of my favorite tools -
The number one being my tabouret, which is a pine IKEA kitchen cart covered with a sheet of glass for my palette and two storage shelves below. I use old apple crates to hold wood panels and wiring tools.
Another tool I absolutely love is my tube wringer as it allows me to squeeze every bit of paint out of each tube. I also use it for any other tubes in the house (ie. toothpaste).
The flexible palette knife is great for scraping leftover paint off my palette and for adding texture to canvases or panels when I work on mixed media pieces.
My spray bottle is also useful for cleaning the palette and for keeping passages of my painting damp so that I can blend colors.
I always keep a bag of rags in my studio closet for cleaning brushes, hands, and for occasionally rubbing in portions of paint in the canvas.
And, finally, the Masters Brush Cleaner (soap in a tub) helps to get the paint out of the bristles right down to the ferrules of my paint brushes which gives them a longer life.
On a final note, I also love jars for water, for storing brushes, pencils, xacto and palette knives or anything else that needs to be put out of the way.
I've finally completed my current commission and I really love it! While I worked on it I never really gave any thought to its title but as I was signing the painting the words 'True North' rang loud and clear. It reflects not only my love of the north and the patrons location in northern Alberta, but also my journey in this life to finding and trusting that heart-knowing (metier) within.
I've loved every minute of working on this piece, from creating the stretcher and cutting the canvas to the final stroke of paint. It's been such a joy to have this on my easel and I know I will miss it when it moves into its new home, though I am always so happy when patrons enjoy my work and take a piece of my heart to live with them.
by Alfred Ramos
True north is etched in our heart
Where our moral compass has a place to start
Love is just a slice of pie
Compassion is more than meets the eye
True north can be a Picasso or a Van Gogh
Select our brushes with a passion only we know
Emotions are earmarked by our outer face
So look inside ourselves to fill that empty space
Magnetic north is off by a few degrees
As cupids aim brings us to our knees
Reason is a map we use to go forth
In finding our own true north
Be it a wild
and turbulent flow
It’s a direction we all want to go
I'm excited to share that some of my writing will be posted on Juliette Crane's 'Creative Sugar' on August 7, 2012. On her blog Juliette is sharing a post weekly (on Tuesdays) in order to promote positivity...something we can all use, I think. Juliette is an artist and teacher whose work is light, bright, whimsical and joyful. I love people like this, those who decide to start a movement to spread joy, and who work with others in order to do this. Working in community is definitely better as not only does the workload decrease but the lessons that are shared are boundless.
This summer has been one of pleasant surprises. I've connected with some of the most incredibly talented artists and am honored to be included in their lives. Though I have a few painting commitments to keep throughout this summer, in fall I hope to take a little more time for those 'artist dates' that I used to enjoy every month. It's been far too long. Many years ago when I read 'The Artists Way' I learned three basic things which I have carried with me:
1. Keep artist dates...for me this is reading great books and watching fabulous documentaries about art & artists, visiting museums & galleries, and connecting with other artists who I feel are committed not only to their creative life but to life in general.
2. Write every day. To me this includes sketching or painting, too, and especially includes gratitude.
3. Trust your intuition.
So, this summer I will definitely make time to read and visit galleries. And in fall I will take the precious time to connect with those artists whose work and character have inspired me. It's going to be a good year.