'Must be nice to sit around and paint all day.' - Anonymous
That's actually what someone said to me one time - to my face! I just smiled and said 'Yes'.
But it got me thinking of how little people know about what goes into a creative career.
All artists have different paths but I'll tell you a little bit about what I do, so grab a coffee and read on.
If you were to ask me how I spent my days as a child this is how I would answer you:
Riding my bike, making up imaginary games, climbing trees, swimming at the beach, playing with my sisters, singing songs, dancing, drawing pictures, investigating nature.
The common theme to all of that is creation and imagination.
Every summer before we went back to school my mom would take us shopping for school supplies. It's still my favourite time of year and has a feeling of Christmas to it. On my first day I would show up with everything I needed including a box of 64 Crayola crayons. You know the one, with the crayon sharpener in the back. It had gold and silver, magenta and turquoise as well as a whole slew of magical colours. They also had beautiful and magical names describing the colours. In my memory, I was one of the few to be blessed with such riches and I gladly shared with my best friends when I had a colour they needed.
I would use those crayons at home and at school. I drew pictures or coloured in colouring books every single day. And every year my mom would buy me a new box of 64 crayons. She never once suggested the lesser waxy brand that would have cost much less. My delight with those crayons were her delight and I gave all of my creations to my parents where they were stuck on the fridge alongside my sisters' creations.
Upon thinking about this story I realized that my parents gave me the best materials possible. It's always the advice of artists to people first beginning to buy the best quality they can afford. After all, there are enough obstacles to creativity without having to fight to get your materials to do what you'd like them to do.
Now that I am a professional artist I still use the best materials available to me (and they aren't necessarily the most expensive). I am grateful that I was given a world of colour in a box at such an early age. Did it have an influence on what I create today? I think so. Even when I paint with a limited palette I just can't stay away from some of those bright bold colours. I am thankful to my parents for not limiting my creative potential and I'm thankful to Crayola for giving me the expressive language of colour in a tiny box.
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.
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.
The art show is this week! The art show is this week! Can you feel the excitement? I know the rest of the ladies in the Untitled art group are busy putting the last minute touches on their work and organizing their move in. As for myself, I finished a large painting last week (there is a story behind that one) and I have one (well, maybe two more) small ones to complete before my varnish deadline of Thursday. All of my paintings will have finished sides, UV top coat, and wires so that they are ready to be hung in their new homes immediately. You may wonder why Thursday is my varnish deadline. It takes three days to cure the varnish so anything that doesn't get coated that day will have to wait for another show. I've included a picture of my art 'studio' to give you a peek inside where I create each day.
It's been a busy morning around my house today. We have a snowfall warning in effect (which may or may not happen) so I did a little preparation in case tomorrow is a snow day. After the school run I got the shovel is ready, stopped for coffee cream, took the dog for a walk, started a load of laundry and just finished a nice hot cup of joe. It's grey skies out there today folks and I am working on a painting that mirrors the outdoors today. It's all blues, grey, and silvers. I painted the third layer quite thickly the last time I worked on it so I've been waiting for it to dry and it's ready for more today. I've posted pics of the progression for you. I'm thankful that my darling husband installed a daylight bulb right over my easels because there isn't a lot of natural light to paint by today. Keep warm and bundled up, my friends, and drive safely.
I'm listening to Mellow Indie on Songza.
Just a quick update today, my friends. I wrote a blog for the Untitled Art Group page and it was posted today (click here to read it). Today I'm working on three pieces of various sizes but I'll get into more detail on that in a later post. I wanted to share with you what I'm listening to since it ties into my post on the Untitled site. I am currently listening to a station called Downtempo Instrumentals on Songza. It's the perfect music to get my brain into the zone.
I have been working on my newest painting all week. Today my hand and wrist is sore from holding my knives but I am still going to work. I have to. I'm compelled to. At least a little bit. Here is one of the paintings I've been working on. I have photographed it in stages for you to see how a painting progresses as time goes on. I only photographed during major breaks for paint to dry but I think it would be neat in the future to capture the whole progression. Perhaps a little time-lapse voodoo would be cool?
What I haven't included is a picture of the final product. (Sorry for the tease) I would love for you to see it at the art show on December 8. It will be coated with UV Varnish just waiting for its new home, hopefully yours!
I will keep you updated on my latest work and perhaps some insight into my creative process.