Art School Shenanigans

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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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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