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.
Long time no blog, eh? I have not forgotten about you. I have not been blogging because my desktop computer decided it was going to get sick and shut down. Week by week I am recovering my data but it's been a long haul. I'm almost there but there is still work to be done on it. So, no updates on art yet as they (the pictures) are stored on the 'broken' computer. Once I'm up and running I will be updating the gallery space with new paintings and I will remove those that have been sold or are no longer available. As they say on the help lines: Thank-you for your patience.
Each day I am losing more and more light in my studio and it's all because of snow. Lots of snow. It's been a bit of a snowpocalypse lately, snow fell here for about 13 hrs last night into this morning. As you can see, my windows are almost buried in it. Despite that lack of natural light I have been working on a few new paintings. I'll give you a sneak peek below with some detail photos (excuse the quality). I have two deadlines coming up that I'm working towards but will post the full finished paintings after that.
P.S. It's fun to say snowpocalypse.
Yesterday was not a good day. I had one of those 'winter blues' kind of days. I felt like there wasn't anything to look forward to, that I wasn't good in enough, I felt alone in the world and was basically in a foul mood for no particular reason. January is a tough month because it is so slow. It's a time to plan out the rest of the year, fill out those applications for art shows and tours, restock supplies, and plan out the next series of work. I am one of those people that need a deadline and I work best when I have a timeline to work from. Today is blank canvas day, both literally and figuratively. I am resetting my mental outlook and I am beginning a painting that I've been asked to do for an office. The only requirement is that it be the colour red. How cool is that? I'm still thinking of themes for my next project but I can keep myself busy in the meantime with the red painting. What about you? How do you reset yourself and move forward when you're feeling low?
The holidays are over and everyone is back to work and school today. Well, not quite. Today turned out to be a snow day here with freezing rain and a flash freeze. It seems fitting to tell you about my painting called The Window (see the Gallery tab for a closer look).
The inspiration for this painting came from a a day that we woke up to a coating of freezing rain. No, this wasn't the Ice Storm of 2013, just a regular 'ole freezing drizzle day. I painted the cold, grey world that we saw out of our window while we were nice and cozy warm inside. I hope I captured that feeling and with wind chill warnings in Southern Ontario today, I hope you are staying warm and cozy too.
I am running low on art supplies and won't receive my shipment until Friday, so today I've decided to tell you a little about one of my paintings.
Gold Paper (for Miss Manners) was inspired by my grade three teacher, Karen Manners. She was a young teacher and very enthusiastic and creative. She set up an art station in the corner of the classroom and brought in all kinds of supplies. If you behaved then you were rewarded with some free time at the craft table. I remember that she brought in this really shiny silver and gold paper. It was thick like cardboard but so shiny you could see your reflection in it. This doesn't seem so special nowadays but back then it was the most beautiful paper I had ever seen. All of the girls loved the paper and we made sure not to waste any of it. That was the only year that Miss Manners taught me because the next year she got married and moved away. I have no idea where she went after teaching in Cobourg, Ontario, but I hope that she brought her gold paper to her other students and that they enjoyed it was much as I did. Wherever you are, Miss Manners, thank-you.
I will keep you updated on my latest work and perhaps some insight into my creative process.
Jennifer Trefiak, Trefiak Art, Copyright 2018