Saturday, January 30, 2010

In Progress

 Bright Summer Light 
(in progress)

I had hoped I would have a finished painting to show you, but there are still issues to work out on this one. Here is an image from a corner of my new studio. I think the problem at this point is with the shadows.... I realized that I didn't put in all of the branches... but I did put in most of the shadows! I'll hopefully get some tweaking done on Monday and be able to post an official picture by mid-week.

I'm really enjoying having my own studio and it is just so spacious compared to the way I was working before. My poor space looks so sparse compared to the other established artists, but if I'm still there in 10 years I am sure it will have lots of character, too! At the top of my wish list is a proper studio easel. I am just using my portable Plein air easel right now. I also need to get another table or trolley that is better than that t.v. table you see. It needs it to be larger and higher, maybe with drawers or shelves underneath. Accumulating these things is all part of the fun, so I can be patient.

I thought it would be neat to show these post-blizzard photos that I took at my parent's yesterday when the boys went over to play (day off school). The top image shows the overhang of drifted snow off their roof and the other one shows my boys playing on the awesome hill of plowed snow at the end of mom and dad's street. The kids had a blast climbing on it and making up games. It sure brought back memories for me. When I was a little girl I absolutely loved making snow forts, climbing snow "mountains", digging snow tunnels. It is so fun watching the boys do the same. Although instead of playing "Charlie's Angels" they are playing "Indianna Jones"!.  

Thanks for stopping buy. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010


acrylic on canvas

I never got around to posting this little reflection that I had in my show last November/December. I thought I would show it today because I just donated this to a silent auction at work to raise money for Haiti. Although my main gig is as a Stay-at-Home-Mom, I do work very part-time out of the house when my husband is home. The company I work for will match dollars raised by staff, so I hope someone will want it and that it will bring in a bit of money. I also donated a plate of home-made "Skor Bar" which is ridiculously good and may just bring in more than the painting! Seriously... it is dee-lish!

Hopefully one more day at the studio and I will be done my Pine Tree... stay tuned... 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Snow Angels

Unfortunately I haven't got a new painting to post even though I went to the studio four afternoons last week (yay!). I am working on a large (for me) canvas so it isn't something that I can wrap up in a session or two. It is 22x28 and is a section of a pine tree... along the same vein as "Looking Up". When last I left the studio I was feeling pretty good about how it was shaping up, so hopefully I will be able to show it to you later this week. In the meantime here are some pictures I just took this evening in our backyard. It is a glorious winter night with snow flying, a small wind blowing, and a temperature that is bare-able (-11 Celsius). We had had to go on "a great shovel hunt" because the kids' shovels were not put back after playing on Friday and in the last 36 hours we have had a huge dump of snow. Figures. The yard was covered in a deep blanket of whiteness and the boys had a blast stirring it all up looking for the shovels. Status: Found! On the prairies we are pretty used to these cold, snowy winters so blizzards don't usually phase us too much like they can in other areas of the country. We carry on with caution and help each other when our cars get stuck in snow drifts. We make chocolate chip cookies, drink hot chocolate, snuggle up with a good book... and these days... play Wii for waaaaaaayyyyy too long! However, I do see more fresh air, rosy cheeks and tobogganing in our future! 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Please Donate to Haiti

The North Side
approx. 2.5x6.5
acrylic on 200lb paper

I made this painting on the last day of the Emma Lake painting class in the summer of 2001. It was a pretty fast study of a mossy pine tree near the studio on campus. This was the class in which I finally figured out how to get acrylics to do roughly what I wanted them to do. This little study was an exercise that built on the breakthrough I had. When I got home from "camp" and showed my family the work I had created, my mom had a strong (positive) reaction to this painting, so I had it framed and gave it to her as a gift for her birthday. Which brings me to the reason for today's post...

It's my mom's birthday today! She is a pretty darn special lady and boy, does she love her family. She was a nurse for a few short years before my sisters and I were born, from then on she was a stay-at-home mom. I think it is because of the life she gave us girls growing up that I had the motivation to try to find a way to give a similar experience to my children when I had them. I remember in elementary school that I loved coming home for lunch to see my parents (dad was able to come home for lunch, too) and watch "The Flintstones" even though that hour went by quickly. And having mom home at the end of the school day gave me a sense of security that, looking back, was really priceless. She also volunteered at the school library for many years, so she was available if we ever needed her. At the same time she wasn't a crazy, clingy, over-protective mom. She was as good as it got and still is. I actually sometimes think, though, that if it weren't for us girls mom would have gone on to have an amazing career... she was born to care for others and there are so many people who would have benefited from having her as a nurse. To this day she loves medicine and is fascinated by it. She hasn't practiced for about 43 years, but her knowledge is as sharp as if she just took classes yesterday.

This year for her birthday mom asked us all to forgo buying her gifts. What she really wanted was for us to take that money and donate to an organization sending aide to Haiti. Right now through to Feb.12 the Government of Canada will match any contributions made to eligible organizations. So please, if you are Canadian and haven't done so already, consider taking a bit of your hard earned money and channeling it through one of these agencies to help the people of Haiti. Here is a link to the organization I used: Plan Canada- Haiti Earthquake and click on "make a donation today" for the quick and easy steps to do just that. I can't help but think that if there was some horrific disaster in our country we would not want the world to forget or ignore us. It is unimaginable what these families are going through and I am pretty sure there is a part of my mom, the nurse, who would love to be there helping the injured. By asking my sisters and I to make these donations on her behalf, she has found a way to help and she has made a difference.

"... I've got a good mother
And her voice is what keeps me here.
Feet on ground, heart in hand,
Facing forward, be yourself..."
- Jann Arden                                                    


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Brighter Days

Brighter Days
acrylic on canvas

 I made this painting as a gift for a special person who just turned the big 4-0. Unfortunately the details and brushstrokes don't show well in this image. I also think the dark edges around the clouds are not that hard in reality. As usual it looks better in person with proper light on it.

I went to the studio yesterday and after two hours or so ended up with nothing. I stunk. Surprisingly, however, I left in a great mood! I had a wonderful visit with the artist (Degen Lindner) who I used to share studio space with and who I consider to be a mentor and the person who has most influenced the artist in me. Anyway, I went back to the studio this afternoon and everything went smoothly. Thank goodness because I wanted to give this gift today! I chose to work on a little canvas I had prepared sometime ago with a dark gray ground, but had never used. It almost felt symbolic beginning with something so dark and then brightening it with layers of colour... symbolic for me and for the person I painted it for who has worked hard to come through some dark days. I do wish the clouds showed better... in them I see Degen's influence. She has this technique of gathering paint on her brush which is not quite mixed thoroughly and then, after she lays it down on the canvas, you can see these striations of colour through the brushstroke. Beautiful. I ended up with a bit of that effect in the clouds and in the foreground, but unfortunately in my hurried photography it doesn't show clearly. 

So, here is to brighter days.... full of colour and rich with layers of experiences.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Peace and Quiet
acrylic on canvas

This is the first painting I have done since the accident in November. It felt great to do a bit of work and attempt to shake off my "block". I decided to start back with a subject that I am relatively comfortable with and one that makes me feel peaceful and content (look at this post to see another larger piece I did from the same photo). This was a small canvas so it wasn't intimidating- and because I had painted from this photo before I had a sense of "I can do this" which helped. I just relaxed and began building my layers and it felt great. I finished it at the studio on Tuesday and brought it home to photograph, so I could share it with those that visit my blog. I am hoping to start something new next week and look froward to getting back into a regular studio routine. My back is still giving me trouble, but I need to get on with things so that is what I am going to do.

I hope that this is the start of me sharing new work with you rather than digging up older work just so I have something to post... and hopefully no more silly sketches! It is all business from here on out... serious and professional... or is it???   

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Artist's Rendition

Graphite on Newsprint

I don't know why I think cutting my own bangs is a good idea. It's likely because I want to stretch out the length of time between hair cuts; partly because of the expense and partly because of the time I can't be bothered to put into the appointment. Sometimes it goes okay, and other times not so much! Those with naturally curly hair understand that shrinkage must be taken into account when any trimming is done. Unfortunately this time I didn't listen to my inner voice which was saying "Don't go any shorter than the bottom of your nose". It still looked too long, which it is when the hair is wet and pulled completely straight. However when dry and curly, well... sproing! So my friend, Chuck Dilmore, you asked for a photo and, since these days I am trying to think more of myself as an artist, I thought I would quickly jot down my interpretation of how this unfortunate event turned out. Illustrated above is that last snip, the one that took it too far and the curl that should be reaching my eyebrows, but is in fact, now held between two fingers. You're welcome.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year... New Goals

Happy New Year!!!

May 2010 be a peaceful and enlightening year for all who inhabit this glorious earth of ours. May we find a way to share it and save it so that our children can enjoy it's wonders.

Today's post is one of my two ever attempts to use chalk pastels to convey the figure. This is a slightly cropped image of a piece I did many years ago in a night class I took. It was quite intimidating to create a flesh tone with no actual flesh toned chalk! At least with paint you can mix to get the colour you need. With chalk pastels it is all about the layering. It was fun, however, and after about two hours or so I guess I ended up with this.

I'm not huge on resolutions... they never seem to stick. Unfortunately the pounds I've always resolved to lose sure do! As a result, this year I will not make any resolutions, but I am okay with making goals for myself. I think that in this coming year I would like to experiment with new subject matter. I've made mention of this in the past and I would like to explore the beautiful river and river bank that runs through Saskatoon. I also found a beautiful area of town while accompanying Sammy's class on a field trip this past fall. Right in our city is a protected area of grasslands and while there with his class I took many lovely photos which have the potential to make exciting paintings. Those landscapes are on my to-do list. As well, I have long admired artists that paint the figure and portraits. I always enjoy seeing what Rahina is up to in Glasgow... I have really been inspired by her and over the last year that I have been visiting her blog, I have seen her skills and talent grow. As well, I am a huge fan of Berlin artist, Edward B.Gordon, and have found that my favorite paintings of his always seem to involve a figure. And then there is Barbara Muir in Toronto who paints her figures with such joy and vibrancy you can't help but want to try it yourself. She has just had the most incredible life experience in Florence, Italy and she has even sketched Oprah via Skype! So in effort to learn something new and expand my horizons, I would like to delve into the figure as a subject this year and I will look to these bloggers for inspiration. Aside from all of that I have wanted to experiment with collage and more abstract ideas that are stuck in my head. Ah, so many ideas and so little time.

As for any other art related goals I might have, well, I am excited to see what paintings I might find for my fledgling art collection. I definitely hope to add to it over the next twelve months. I have purchased four amazing pieces from other bloggers over the last year and a half. Two paintings you know about from previous posts (Orange Flower by Duane Keiser and Tattooed Bridge by Pierre Raby), but the other two I have not talked about. One I bought way before I began my blog and it was through discovering this artist on Etsy that I, in fact, found out about art blogs. Like Edward B. Gordon, she was also inspired to paint daily by Mr. Keiser. Who is it, you ask??? And which painting did I buy??? Well, my first ever online purchase was the spectacular little painting called "Stand Oil And Brushes on a Sill" by Philadelphia artist, Abbey Ryan. This painting actually ended up being chosen as a finalist for a competition she entered! She is extremely gifted and if you have never seen her work please make sure you check out the highlighted link. The second ever painting I bought online was soon after I began my blog and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. It is quirky and different and simple and complex all at the same time. I'm talking about Aaron Lifferth's "Tomato Distortion". It's so good. There you have it... four fantastic paintings by four fantastic artists. Maybe by the end of 2010 I will actually own a prized Edward B. Gordon.... or one of yours....!

I'm actually excited to be starting a new year. Hopefully a new year and a new slate. I'm fine with closing the door on 2009... it was a rough year... and I want to get off the roller coaster for awhile! There were some rocky times in a couple of very important relationships to me, the economy, so much illness this past fall and then our traumatic car accident. All of those things really let the wind out of my sails so-to-speak. But at the same time there were some true highs... like our first big family trip (Disney World), a visit to see my sister in Guelph and my first gallery show. Yup, 2009 was about peaks and valleys... I hope 2010 is about those flat grasslands I was talking about!