I have an exciting announcement to make. For the month of December I have partnered with Polish House & Home in Colborne, Ontario, Canada. They will be carrying a selection of my original 5x7 and 3x5 inks. Polish House & Home is a new home decor store in the downtown of historic Colborne. They have a selection of new and vintage items, so grab your holiday shopping list and check them out!
You can also contact me to visit my home studio. I'll show you what I have available and you can see where I spend my days painting. I'll assist you in finding the perfect piece for your home or office. I also take commissions if you want to customize your art further to suit your needs and budget. I'll make the process as easy as possible for you.
I'm getting several appointments a week for studio visits right now as people finish (or begin!) their holiday shopping. If there's a piece you have your eye on then please let me know.
Wow, it's been a whirlwind of a summer! Not only did I have to prepare for my annual summer art show with co-host Jennifer Anne Burke and a juried group exhibition at the Colborne Art Gallery but I had been really ill in June with bronchitis. To all of you who came out to either (or both) shows and had to put up with my coughing and gravelly voice - thank-you!
This year's annual art show was as much as a success as last year's Earth & Sky show. A lot of people came out to view the artwork. Some people just came for a chat and to say Hello (which is totally encouraged). Some people came out of curiosity from the newspaper advertisements. Some people came specifically to purchase a piece of art (or to pick one up that was purchased in the show preview). Some people came as a show of encouragement and to give feedback. All of those reasons are acceptable and I encourage it all!
One of the reasons I love this show so much is that it is a chance for Jenni and I to show off a collection of work in one easy to access format. It's all laid out there to see. We, as artists, are also accessible for your feedback and questions and many times it is an invaluable learning tool. I learn something new at every show I do.
For example, at last years show I had people that wanted to pay by credit card and I couldn't accept them. I made sure that I had that option available this year by registering with Square. One of the things I learned at this year's show was that some people wanted art that was smaller (and more affordable) in compliment to my larger paintings, so I am working on a project for that as we speak (stay tuned).
I sold quite a few paintings that day (as did Jenni). Some (but not all) are featured in the photo collage above. There are still some paintings available from the show and you can check them out in the Vast Lands 2017 tab in the navigation bar above. Thank-you for your continued support and encouragement, it means the world to me.
I'm so pleased to be able to tell you about the project that I recently completed for the Port Hope Rotary Club.
Last autumn my friend from high school, Robyn K Town, was asked to paint some little community libraries for the town of Port Hope. She realized that it was too much work for one person and so she enlisted a group of local female artists from Northumberland County to collaborate.
I was honoured to be one of the artists that was asked to participate along with Jennifer Anne Burke, Allyson Demoe and Catherine Lynn. These Little Libraries will be installed in various locations around Port Hope, Ontario, Canada.
Hover each photo for artist info and click for website links
This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the Northumberland Hills Studio Tour. It was my first time in many years to be free on this weekend and the thought of seeing other people's work spaces was what really motivated me. Well, that, and art and the chance to speak with the artists. I did not visit every site listed but I marked off the few that were of interest to me, in particular, painters. Since I work out my house I really wanted to have a good snoop around those studios in particular. I was NOT disappointed. We have so very many talented artists in our area and the fact that so many can make a living with their art speaks volumes to the community we live in. I enjoyed every artist and studio that I visited but the following were my favourites (in no particular order):
Stephen Gillberry based in Cobourg, has a beautiful studio built into his home. His work is abstract and in sizes from tiny (bookmarks) to large. I loved looking at his paint splattered floor and easels and was happy to see that I'm not the only artist to get paint all over my bathroom light switch. I was very taken with his use of texture in his beach and water scenes. I also really LOVED that he didn't offer prints but instead does small originals in a 'print-like' way so as to offer more affordable art for those that can't purchase a larger work at that time. I may have to steal that idea in the future!
Betsy Miller based in Cobourg, works from her home like so many of us do. She told me she painted in her laundry room (a perfect spot to make art) and she turned most of her house into a gallery for the studio tour. She paints large pieces in an abstract expressionist style and I very much enjoyed chatting with her about technique and influences. She uses palette knives for her work (yes! one of my loves) and her artwork is as bright and colourful as her personality. (I hope you enjoyed your wine after the show Betsy!)
Dorothy Siemens based in Port Hope, has a studio in her home (or a home in her studio?). It is a beautiful light-filled space that showcases her artwork perfectly. From mandalas to soft florals and natural images, her work reminds me of fabric or tapestry. It is richly textured to the eye but only slightly textured to the surface. I have to admit I was extremely taken with her work. We talked at length and I liked her calm energy as she explained to me how she uses wax, paint, and oil sticks. I urge you to see her work in person and not just on the computer screen, it really looks much different. I am so glad I did!
The next time there is a studio tour in your area - go! Just by attending you are supporting the artists. Go, have fun, make a day of it, tell the artists what you think of their work and ask questions. That is what these events are for. Maybe you will find a new piece to take home (or save up for), maybe you will learn something new, maybe you will find a new artist to follow. You will definitely see some beautiful, interesting, thought-provoking art. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you. Thank-you.
Yes, it deserves a sentence all on its own. When you plan an art show you don't know what to expect. Will people show up? Will they like my art? Will they buy my art? What if they hate it? What if they say nothing? When you make your art you are by yourself. You are creating something with your heart and soul behind it. It feels good but the worry comes when it's time to put it "out there". Suddenly your solitary craft is now public and open to all that that entails. You are also present, available to speak and answer questions. This is never a worry of mine because I love speaking with people one-on-one and hearing what they have to say. But, people being people, one never knows what to expect. I'm happy to say that the Earth & Sky art show was a complete success for both myself and my partner in art, Jennifer Anne Burke.
The crowd started off small but steady and we had a flow of people throughout the day. It was never too empty or too full and the people that visited were full of good vibes. We had visitors that we knew and people that we didn't (thanks to local radio and newspaper ads). We had a wonderfully professional photographer from SNAPD Northumberland (thank-you for the photos Mallory I can't wait to see them). We had surprise visits from family and friends too. I couldn't ask for a better turn out.
When it was time to pack up for the day my helper asked me where 'the rest' of my paintings were. There weren't any more. I sold 8 paintings for the show and I only have two of the Earth & Sky series remaining (and Jenni sold lots of her art as well). I do have to complete a final piece (the work in progress that was on display) but then I will be moving onto the next idea. I'm happy to tell you that my paintings will now be in Toronto, Ottawa, Trenton, Brighton, Port Hope, Cobourg, and British Columbia.
Thank-you for attending. Thank-you for your best wishes if you couldn't attend. Thank-you for asking questions and providing feedback. Thank-you for buying my art. Thank-you. Thank-you. Thank-you.
I have been busy for the past month painting and organizing for a new art show with my good friend Jennifer Anne Burke.
We will be holding our show on Saturday July 30th from 12:30-4:30pm at St. Mark's Church in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. We have named our show Earth & Sky because we will be displaying art that is inspired by the Rocky Mountains and the Northern Lights.
This art show came as a bit of a surprise to me. It wasn't exactly planned in advance but happened to come about while having coffee and chatting with Jenni. We are both artists and we joke that we can never have a show together because it seems that we are always on opposite schedules. When Jenni is busy painting like mad I will be in a lull and vice versa. At the time of this coffee visit, we were both painting but really just playing with new ideas and styles and we were both enthusiastic about each others work. We decided then and there to have a show despite not having a huge amount of art to display. Kind of like Field of Dreams 'if you build it they will come', we thought 'if you plan it the art will follow'. So, that's what we did. It's a bit of a leap of faith and a little backwards but I've never been one to turn down a challenge and neither is Jenni. In fact, I think we both prosper in the face of adversity and let's face it, creating art, though challenging, is not what one could classify as a hardship - quite the opposite.
So, that brings us to now. A few months have passed by since we had that coffee visit and we are both excited to show our new work to you. I hope that you are able to offer your support by attending and viewing the art. There will be work of many different sizes and price ranges, it's an opportunity to view or purchase an original piece of art from a local Northumberland County artist.
'Painting is simply my vocation.' These are wise words but they are not my own. I have quoted them from an article that I read in the Guardian about an artist who had been painting full time for 60 years and sold her first painting at the age of 89. I have read and re-read the article carefully as I believe there is a lot to learn from her. This is what I have learned about living a creative life from Carmen Herrera in the article:
You can't create if you don't put the time in, whether it's art, music, writing or whatever it is you make and create. Carmen Herrera painted for 60 years without selling a single painting. This bears repeating - 60 years! Every. Single. Day.
Don't give up.
You create because you love it, right? If you don't love it then you wouldn't be showing up every day. As Carmen says "Recognition and money have never been an issue, painting is simply my vocation." Do what you need to do and maybe recognition will find you. If it doesn't then it doesn't matter because you are doing what you love regardless of the outcome.
Don't be afraid to try something new.
When Carmen lived in Cuba she studied architecture. After she moved to America with her new husband she felt that she needed something more and began studying art. Later, she gave up painting representational art to paint in the abstract. Play, experiment, find out what speaks to you.
Education, while important, isn't going to make or break you.
Carmen studied architecture in Cuba and art in New York. She found art school too academic and because of this she couldn't express herself. After school she says "I had to change my way of thinking and feeling about painting, and reject everything I'd been taught." Is going to school good? Yes, it is for so many reasons. Is it the only path to finding your voice? No.
Don't let real world concerns stop you.
Carmen was lucky in that she had a supportive husband to work and provide for them financially. I'm sure it wasn't easy though. She says that they would have to move to cheaper apartments so that she had more space to paint. Some of these homes were in dangerous neighbourhoods. So what's the takeaway? Support your art. If you need to take on extra work to pay for supplies then do it. If you need to find a way to rearrange your day or night to make the time then do it. It's not easy for anyone regardless of circumstances so don't let money or time stop you. Find a way.
Recognition has a price.
Most creative people want the world to know who they are. They want some level of recognition. For Carmen it didn't come for 60 years but while she acknowledges that it is nice she also says that it was a good thing that she wasn't recognized for so many years. Why? Carmen says "Yet perhaps it's been a good thing I was able to work for so many years without recognition. I was left alone to refine and distill my art for decades, paring things down to their essence."
If Carmen has been well known earlier on in her life then she might not have been free to play with her skills and to experiment. She was able to become the artist she is today because she had the anonymity to grow and develop.
Good things take time.
Things worth doing are difficult and difficult things are worth doing. As Carmen says at the end of the article "The world came to me eventually – I just had to wait 94 years, that's all."
I hope you enjoyed the article in the Guardian on Carmen Herrera and the YouTube video (linked above in pink) as much as I did. Keep creating because you love to create and never give up!
(pic credit: favim.com)
It's been too quiet here and by quiet I mean creatively dead. You might call it "artists block" but I call it a lack of routine. I simply have not been sitting down in my studio every morning and working, whether that work is painting or staring at a painting (artist secret: a lot of time is spent staring at nothing or a canvas while the mind works out what to do). The work isn't going to do itself and that requires me to put the time in for it to happen.
When you work from home it's easy to allow yourself to become distracted by numerous things, but knowing myself I have learned that I need a routine. I actually like a routine, it helps to keep me on track and accountable.
Another reason for my lack of focus has been that I need a goal. I have learned that I am goal and deadline oriented. The group show that I was hoping to put together hasn't generated enough interest (from the artists) so I am going to have to change my ideas and I am working on how to proceed.
There's so much more that goes into making art than actually making art. But, I cannot let details distract me from the actual purpose of making art - which is making art! So, (if anybody is out there reading this) I am rededicating myself to a regular work habit and routine. It's good for my fans, it's good for my work and it's good for my soul.
I am working on a series with the theme of 'rebirth' in mind. To me, rebirth means transformation and this series will feature the circle. Circles begin and end at the same point and this supports my view of transformation - something or someone begins, travels on a path and then comes to an end, or rather, a new beginning. To grow and change for the future you must rely on what you've learned from the past while living in the present moment. While a circle begins and ends - it is at the same time limitless and infinite.
I'll do my best to keep this blog updated on my current project.
It's been too long, friends, since I've updated my blog. Before I begin I'd like to remind you to go to my Facebook Page and like, comment, and share. It helps me to make new connections and will keep me in your newsfeed (with content exclusive to Facebook). Ok, done. Now, onto the blog.
I have begun work on a new series. I don't want to say too much (I'm superstitious that way) but I'm experimenting with design and texture and moving away from lines. That's all I want to say for now. It could turn out the way I'd like or then again, it could wind up in my 'discard' pile. Actually, the painting I am working on now is being painted over a previously finished painting that didn't turn out the way I wanted. (My husband says 'you're like Picasso') I wish! But, even Picasso most likely had paintings he didn't like and painted over them, maybe. I like to think so, it gives me hope.
So, how is art like an ashtray?
Well, as Damien Hirst said:
In an artwork you're always looking for artistic decisions, so an ashtray is perfect. An ashtray has got life and death.
I will keep you updated on my latest work and perhaps some insight into my creative process.