Acrylic

Thankful

I am thankful for many things in my life, and I will share them with you. But first let’s learn a little bit about me.

I live in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, where I was born and raised. I studied art at the University of Alberta, and married my husband in 2007 shortly after receiving my BFA. We have two children, a 4.5-year-old son and a 1.5-year-old daughter.

I don’t always feel like my son and daughter are my only children, however. I pour so much into every painting I create it almost feels as if they also become my art-children. When someone buys a painting they adopt it, like I’m sending the artwork to live in a different, but good home.

The oldest of these art-children were created in 2006 and 2007, during my last year of study at the University of Alberta. I had struggled throughout my studies to find my voice as an artist, and my fourth and final year is when everything finally came together for me.

That year I created a series of large colourful paintings using layers of transparent paint, a method of colour mixing I still use today. And until this past March, those same large paintings lived in my studio, taking up much needed space. I was unable to simply cast them aside, however. I love those paintings! They were so important in my development as an artist. I was too attached to them to just get rid of them. They needed a good home.

You may remember when I posted in March about my BFA collection getting one last hurrah. In short, the large colourful paintings were being hung in an office in downtown Edmonton for one last showing before they were to be dismantled and put into storage. Unfortunately, I simply could not have them in my studio any more, taking up room both physically and mentally.

Well, it turns out that the kind folks at Pekarsky & Co.  (where the paintings are hanging) LOVE the art. This past week we made things official and they are now the proud owners of the entire BFA collection, along with some of my watercolour paintings.

I can’t express enough how deeply honoured I am, that they would love my work so much to essentially buy it in bulk. I am always joyful when someone loves my work enough to adopt it. It’s a joy that’s only ever surpassed by my family and my Lord. I am also grateful I did not have to go through the painful process of dismantling the paintings.

Thanksgiving has come early for me this year. I am thankful for the talent I have been given, that I have the means to use it, and that others are eager to share in the joy it brings.

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Coming soon, OR Doing anything and everything to stay creative.

So raising two kids is a bit more time consuming than I had anticipated.

PreschoolBoy is now going to preschool two afternoons a week. You’d think that’d give me more time to paint, but…

ToddlerGirl is on the move, and sleeping less during the day, AND she’s a climber. She’s going to be one of those kids that’ll keep me on my toes.

By the end of the day all I feel like doing is, well, nothing. So getting down to the studio has been a challenge.

But an artist without an outlet isn’t the best thing in the world, so I’m trying something new. Something I can do in front of the TV after the kids are in bed. Something I can still sell alongside my paintings during the coming festival season.

Presenting…

Handpainted, one-of-a-kind pendants!

Let me know what you think!

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Exciting times

As an artist almost nothing is better than being really REALLY excited about a painting you are working on.

I often surprise myself with how a painting is turning out. I love when this happens! My technique involves a lot of pouring paint then walking away until it has dried. I can guess what colour the paint will dry pretty accurately (which is tough when working with acrylic glazes). But I can’t always predict how the layer I just poured will interact with the ones underneath. Again, I can hazard some educated guesses bases on past experiences and experiments. But sometimes I walk away from a painting to let it dry and magic happens.

I am super excited about one particular painting right now. I’ve had this painting in my head since May of last year, but haven’t been able to get it onto the canvas quite to my satisfaction, until now.

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I will often pour paint while my son naps in the afternoon, then return to my studio after he’s in bed for the night. The other night I returned to my studio, saw how my paint had dried, and literally let out a “Squee!” with a happy dance.

I can be motivated fairly easily, whether by an upcoming show or event, or a commission that is due. But it is so much easier to get downstairs and put paint on canvas when I’m excited by what is happening. Painting is fun! That’s the whole reason I’m an artist.

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Break the Silence

It’s time to get back in the studio.

I realized it was time when I was virtually unaffected by an Instagram post of a baby shower this morning. It was reinforced by something that hasn’t happened in awhile:

I wanted to paint.

My chilly basement studio was calling to me. With my husband at home to tend the cranky, in-the-middle-of-a-growth-spurt wee one, I wasn’t about to ignore it. So I descended the stairs, cranked the tunes, and got down to business.

I’ll admit, I didn’t get a whole lot of actual painting done. But just being down in the studio, being (somewhat) productive has lifted my spirits.

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Is that all you do, is paint beautiful paintings?

That question was asked of me by one of my instructors in my last year of classes at the U of A. He’s British, so it came out sounding more like Ricky Gervais with a mouthful of marbles: “Is dat awl yew dew, is pain’ beau’ifow pain’ings?”

At the time I didn’t know how to react to that question, other than a nervous giggle. I still really don’t. On the surface it’s a compliment, an admiration of my work. In context, it’s a challenge. I had often been questioned about my use of brilliant colour, and have been encouraged to step outside my comfort zone and make something “less pretty”.

My best friend and fellow artist still encourages me to “grey things up a bit”. When she sees a finished work that is more subdued than my usual palette, she’s often very excited and prods me to go more in that direction.

Nimbus
Nimbus, Acrylic on Canvas, 16 x 20″, 2011

I’m not convinced, however. Sure, I like my less intense works, but they’re still not my favorite. Don’t get me wrong. I like more subdued works when they’re done by other artists, but it’s just not… me.

Being true to myself and my work is important to me. I struggled for years to find myself and my artistic voice. I’m not letting go of it, now that I have it. I am not going to compromise my work for something that someone else will like better.

Yes, my work uses bright and intense colours. No, that’s not going to change anytime soon. I love my work, and loving your own work and being confident in it is the first step to getting other people to love it too.

Getting there...
Still working on a recent commission, which I got because the client loves my use of brilliant colours!

 

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It’s time again for Retro Art of the Week!

Spectrum I

Spectrum I, Acrylic on Canvas, 30 x 60″, 2007

This is a rare painting where I was convinced by an instructor that it was too bright and encouraged to tone it down quite significantly with grey. It makes me happy you can still see much of the colour coming through the grey.

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Creative Hurdles

As highlighted in one of my previous posts, I struggle with cyclical creativity. A large part of why I started this blog was to help keep track of my ups and downs, so I can become more aware of my habits and have more productive days/weeks. It allows me to reflect on the hurdles I have when it comes to getting down to work in the studio.

One such hurdle: my studio in the aftermath of my last bout of “productivity”.

Clutter-iffic!
Don’t worry, that’s a fresh cup of coffee.

Contents of the ravaged studio include (but are not limited to): half-started paintings, half-finished paintings, containers of mixed paint, freshly built stretchers, cut wood for not-yet-built stretchers, beading projects, scrapbooking supplies, a bag of fabric I bought in case I felt I needed another project (?!), and a box of Christmas presents fresh from the internet.

As you might have gathered, my studio tends to end up as a catch-all for anything creative. You might also guess that I’m not one to clean anything up after I’m finished with it. It’s a habit I’ve had since childhood (much to my mother’s chagrin) and has followed me to this point where it drives my husband nuts. I prefer to think that my clutter-tolerance is just higher than most.

But this particular mess is probably one of my worst – to the point where I found myself bringing paintings upstairs to the kitchen to work on instead of staying in the cluttered studio. I needed to do something about the chaos so I could get back down to business.

So on Thursday, my husband (who is thankfully on holidays this week) packed up our wee one and headed out of the house, giving me a much needed opportunity to blast some music, roll up my sleeves, and get to work getting the studio back into shape.

Well played, iPod… Well played.

It surprisingly didn’t take too long, once I got down to business. I even managed to do some laundry at the same time. I found I had quite the assortment of tape, some half-finished Christmas ornaments, and that I even hadn’t completely unpacked from the Art Walk last summer.

A few hours after I started…

…You can actually walk into the room!

The beading supplies are put away, and so is the scrapbooking stuff. Christmas presents are hidden. The bag of fabric now lives with my sewing machine in another room of the house. I have floorspace to move around on and lay paintings down. I even have some desk space to work/paint/sketch at!

Overall, I feel like I can breathe again. More importantly I no longer have this hurdle preventing my from spending quality time with my paints. Now I can feel better about getting started on my commission.

Isn’t this how the mess starts?
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