Before I went for a walk along the creek this morning I was drawn to the supplies on my studio cart. There are so many ideas rolling around in my head right now that I'm having a difficult time deciding which direction to go. Other times I struggle to find something that ignites my creative spirit. Do you ever feel this way? My favorite, even during times of self doubt, is being in the middle of a project which is why I love working in series. Even if I'm not totally happy with the work at times during the process, it feels that I am accomplishing something and am always learning.
Today I was looking at the altered books in progress (they've been set aside for some time) and my gouache and watercolour paints. I love the chalky matte appearance of gouache but not their smell or non-fluid way they feel when I use them. And though I love the colour and transparency of watercolour, they really require a proper surface in order to show well. But acrylics can be very sticky in between the pages of a book even after drying well. But I love working with vibrant colour and applying it directly to the pages of the books. I know I'll find a solution.
The little 5x7 plein air landscapes will continue (I have 100 panels to paint!) but at a very slow pace. I think I'll continue to bring my pochade on our mini vacations as I've really enjoyed working with golden paints Open acrylics. It certainly feels different than traditional acrylics but I do love that working time.
I also have more 6x8 and 4x4 panels and some oil paints and medium I'd like to explore further. Plus the #100daysnastywomen portraits.
So much to do, so little time. But I realized that my focus has moved to much smaller work than usual. It's kind of weird for me as traditionally I'm a fan of bigger is better. I guess we'll see what the changing seasons will bring.
Finally, my eNews will begin to include monthly offerings of certain original paintings at a large discount. If you want to receive the newsletter, sign up is available in the top right of this page. And thank you, as always, for the support and words of encouragement. They are appreciated.
Recently I came across a photo from art school and wondered, "What would I tell my 20-year-old self now?"...
1. Don't hold too tightly to anything...letting go allows you to let other, greater things in. Honestly...you'll learn this to be true.
2. Enjoy the process...seriously. The work is so much fun, don't worry about what you 'should' do or how to do it, just have fun in whatever you do and it will fall into place.
3. Nothing happens overnight...it takes time to build a portfolio, and more importantly, to build your character.
4. The tough stuff, both personally and professionally, usually precludes the good stuff. Those 'dark nights of the soul' are necessary for growth and development.
5. Don't be afraid...I know that at 20 you think you feel infallible but fears do arise. Let them go. Just breath.
6. Be kind and gracious to others. And when you aren't, because there will be those times, apologize.
7. Don't complain...don't fall into the trap of negativity...you always have a choice.
8. Keep working. Whether that is caring for yourself, your home, your family...Apply yourself and do your best.
9. Do it your way. There is no one-size-fits all method of success. Trust your heart.
10. Keep learning...by talking to others, reading, taking classes. Even if it doesn't feel connected to what you do, it will trigger ideas.
(Excerpt from Sacred Vessel: A Painter's Handbook available through Alberta public libraries or under 'Books' link on the right side of this page.)
I completed my bench for the latest cultural initiative by the City of Airdrie and can't wait to see which community it ends up in. I love seeing it in my garden, tucked in behind the purple Veronicas and yellow succulents. And though I questioned my choice of image for the painting, fluctuating between the combination of a variety of landscapes - hoodoos, Rocky Mountains and prairies - to images of Airdrie, I am glad I settled on the hoodoos. It's fun to brighten up the colours of that desert landscape with yellows, oranges, blues and purples, and I think children who have visited the region northeast of us will recognize it. This is the fourth public art project I've had the privilege of being involved in with the city, three bus passes, the banner project, a construction hoarding project, and two bus shelters. That's what it's all about to me, beautifying our community for the families that choose to make this place home.
I've been giving a lot of thought to my 'style' as a painter and though it keeps evolving as I am introduced to new materials and methods, the work always looks like mine. Regardless of what subject matter I paint, my main goals are to use a lot of vibrant colour, to simplify form and imagery, and, the thing that I've loved the most for several years is to add pattern using stencils and spray paint. There is something I absolutely adore about incorporating layers of random patterns. Early on as a painter I struggled as I wanted to add pattern but wasn't happy with painting it by hand. It felt laboured and tedious to me instead of being more intuitive and fun, which is why I love spray painting. My challenge, though, is that I am always concerned about the environment so both the VOC's of the spray and the actual use of spray paint cans that cannot be reused is an issue for me. One consideration is to try an air brush...I have a friend who uses it and has offered to let me try it. My concern is that I will lose that raw, rough, splotchy appearance with using something so fine. Also, I would love to use paints that are both non-toxic, healthy for the environment and professional so that the paintings won't fade or discolour over time. Any suggestions?
Last weekend we spent time with my eldest daughter and her partner at Beaver Mines Lake in southern Alberta and, in spite of the smoke from wildfires, it was lovely. I have never heard of Castle Mountain Provincial Park before and I have to say it was beautiful. We will definitely return. And it was a treat to bring my little 5x7 pochade, especially now that it has a carrying strap. It felt like a boxy little purse and so lightweight. I think my husband is happy as it means I will want to go camping more often. :)