A few new bees along with a selection of art cards are heading out to Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond soon...just waiting for the weather and conditions to improve a bit. In the midst of any winter storm it's always nice to bring some sunshine and a little reminder of summertime.
As I've been preparing to embark on another 52 WEEKS project, I began gathering antique items from around our home...it feels like an alter of sorts. I guess I've been feeling rather sentimental with all of this planning for The Grandmothers project, reading all of the old stories and looking at the beautiful vintage photographs. I love history and reading so this just feels like the right thing for me to do at this time.
I haven't felt this excited for a project since last year's 'Nasty Women' series, though this one feels so much gentler to me. I know I will be thinking about how others might perceive the portraits I paint, but not in the same direct way that they might feel about a personal portrait. I might be wrong, but it does take the pressure off me a bit. And, it certainly helps that I will be working from photographs that are being provided to me.
And after giving it a lot of thought...I want to focus on the vintage photographs, but would love to exhibit the paintings with more contemporary photographs of each of the women. There are still a few things I need to clarify for myself, but I think some of that will come as the project begins. It seems that is my process.
I have taken a bit of a break from teaching in the past couple of months, but while I was going through my supplies I found a great list of questions that I ask students, but are really great for any artist:
1. What worked well in your project/piece?
2. Why do you feel it did (consider colour, contrast, line, composition, subject matter)?
3. What didn't work as well as you had hoped?
4. Is there a way to fix this issue?
5. Can you ask someone trustworthy for feedback?
6. What have you learned that will help you in the next project/piece?
Reflection is such a huge part of what I do. I find that if I don't make a conscious effort to think about what I'm doing and why, I often struggle. Just need to remember to reflect more often.
It's been a week of delivering paintings, which is always a little daunting but also such a great privilege. Especially when i get to visit some of my favourite neighborhoods in Calgary. With the weather being so wonderful I've been able to pick up my daughter and do a little fun Christmas shopping and lunches as well.
I'm currently working on a special portrait for a family remembrance, which is an honour. These ones are always a little more difficult because I want them to be perfect for that family, but also so rewarding as I feel as though I have been entrusted with something so important.
My baby is 20 years old today. She's still the same creative and talented girl who sewed and sold dolls in elementary school but she's also a wise and witty and kind and thoughtful young woman. If you would like to see her work visit The Modiste here.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Beneath the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
~ John McCrae
This has been a busy season for me...many commissions and this little piece is heading to the ten2 exhibition at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island in Vancouver. It's been unusual not having a large exhibit to work towards, but at the same time fun to re-visit previous bodies of work for commissions. At this point I want to keep painting just like this, then take a little Christmas break to be with my family before beginning 'The Grandmothers' series. I'm becoming very excited for it!
The photographs & stories I've already received for The Grandmothers series have been beautiful & heart warming. I'm especially touched by seeing both a vintage & a contemporary photograph of each woman. I'm still looking for more grandmothers but we're well over halfway there. Thank you so much....and please keep those beautiful stories and photographs coming. I can't wait to begin this project in the new year.
Over the past 20 years I have learned so much about this life as an artist. In the beginning I thought that success meant being at every art market, exhibit reception, volunteering regularly in the art community and also teaching often.
After awhile I began to notice that all the time I spent away from my studio often depleted my creative spirit and, eventually, made me question a creative career. I almost gave up but am so glad I didn't, thanks to the love & encouragement of my family.
I realize that success is different for everyone. For me it means spending time in my studio every day, even if only to tidy or set up for another session. It also means reading, learning, and focusing on working in a series or larger body of work that resonates with me. Mostly, it's come to mean collaborations like the Nasty Women and now The Grandmothers. My heart is full.
This little 'mini-series' was fun...the most interesting thing was reading about each of these female designers. In spite of how different they felt about their work, their inspiration, or fashion in general, their words definitely struck a chord with me. Creativity is necessary and inspiration comes from everywhere. Whether or not we're aware of it, what we do and how we do it is influenced by everything and everyone around us, by experiences, upbringing, opportunities and the environment to which we have been exposed. It's also interesting to see how some felt that creativity is political and others not, but that the greatest influence on each of them is the fact that they are women.