What a busy week it's been, and it's only Wednesday morning. First I want to thank the lovely lady who purchased this piece and so kindly sent me this photo of it after my demonstration last week. I chose to call this painting 'Gathering' because it not only reflected where I was with a gathering of creative people, but also reflects this space that I see as a place to gather my thoughts. It's definintely a place I'll spend some time today before I begin more busyness this evening.
I've been hanging a new exhibit at the library and speaking to many area artists as a friend and I have decided to take the time to create a kind of directory for the local arts community - we just started a few days ago and already have almost 50 artists included. We wanted it to be an online hub of sorts of the arts as I am very proud of this community of people that I call my friends. You can take a peek at it here - www.airdrieartists.weebly.com.
I've also just completed a commission and two calls for exhibits, and have another commission and another two calls to complete. And, of course, the odd meeting sprinkled in. (Breathe.) And here I thought I'd take it easy this fall. I don't know what I was thinking.
In 2002 Robert Genn shared in his twice-weekly newsletter about the possibility of doing good work when dealing with unresolved tension. He quoted William Faulkner, "People need trouble -- a little frustration to sharpen the spirit and toughen it. Artists do; I don't mean you need to live in a rat hole or gutter, but you have to learn fortitude, endurance. Only vegetables are happy."
At that time I responded by saying, "Being in the early stage of my career, there are always obstacles and though I've been extremely fortunate, I find I can easily concentrate on the setbacks instead of my good fortune. I often feel I cannot work under
stress - but I do believe that painting is a type of meditation and when I don't paint, my life can become overwhelming. It's nice to know that I am not the only one who suffers self-doubt and anxiety, and it certainly puts my creative life into perspective to hear William Faulkner's words."
I don't like tension in my life. In fact, when I don't paint for more than one day, I feel too much tension. Restless, anxious, frutrated...I spend too much time on things that don't matter, like constantly tidying. That is why I struggle with too much commitment. I desperately need time in my studio. It is definitely my sanctuary.
Last night I enjoyed myself tremendously with the Wheatland Society of Artists in Strathmore. What a lovely group of people. Unfortunately the piece I completed has moved into a new home and I didn't get a photo of it, so instead I'm sharing my lovely pochade. This box travels with me everywhere, even locally to a park or a cafe. Last night I mentioned it and since my old blog is gone, I thought I'd share it again. It is a 6x8 ThumBox which I purchased from Judson's Plein Air a few years ago. I love it because it is lightweight, has a carry handle on the top so that my palette and items don't get knocked around as easily, can carry 4 painting panels or 1 standard canvas (wet or dry - if you place the panels back to back the faces don't touch), paints, brush washer, stay-wet palette, brushes, rags, and even a small sketchbook & marker. It also can be set on a table, used on my lap, set onto a tripod or held with a spot for my thumb underneath it. I got the palette extension kit which comes in handy as extra surface for placing supplies or mixing paint. Mine also has an option to place the handle at the side and the easel section of the box also opens flat so that I can work with watercolours or pastels as well. It also has a couple of small bungee cords so that I can paint on supports larger than 6x8 and extra parts are available for repair or replacement. It has travelled from the west coast across the prairies and I know it will even go further in the future. The best thing I ever bought.
This morning I hung a few small pieces at our local Good Earth Cafe and then enjoyed my usual green tea latte while visiting with friends that I just happened to run into while I was there. I live in a small community of 45,000 people (it actually feels quite large to me as there were only 16,000 when we moved here 15 years ago) and I love the closeness of it. When we moved west from the prairies, we selected Airdrie as the place to raise our daughter (we only had one then) because of the parks and pathways, but we've remained because of the lovely people we met here. We have a strong arts community that I am grateful to be a part of, which is the reason I love being the Art Program Co-ordinator at our Public Library. On Monday we'll be changing the exhibit from Clara Howden's folk art pieces to a group exhibit of works based on our feelings of the watershed.
I also need to pack up my van for a demonstration which I will be involved in with the Wheatland Artists Association this evening. Demonstrations are a real pleasure for me, there really is no more preparation then when I'm creating a piece at home, other than packing my half French easel and canvas, but working in my studio in the basement can be a very solitary event. I enjoy getting feedback and hope that I can inspire someone else to follow their own heart to realize their dreams.
I am a proud mama...my youngest daughter (11 years old) stitches the most character-filled dolls and has since she was seven. This is a peek at Antoinette - she's based on Marie Antoinette and is apparently quite spoiled, and, of course, well-dressed. The thing that I find the most fascinating about my daughter Kate is that she knows what she wants her dolls to look like and knows who they are, handmade, a little rustic, without arms and raw edges on the fabric, reminiscent of dolls we've seen in many of the heritage villages we've visited over the years. At that age I was so insecure...and sometimes I still am. Unsure, afraid to share my work with the world. And my daughter is so confident. What I would give to have that all of the time. You can view her work on her blog at http://kateandko.blogspot.com
"Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty."
- John Ruskin, (1819-1900).
AIRdirondack Art Project