One: Demise

demise, blog, cocreation, mixed media, semiabstract, neomosaic,
Good beginnings

The demise of one of my paintings is a rare occurrence. Usually I have put in enough planning to avoid most problems and those that remain are often fixable. I wish to avoid making errors because the underlayers demand untouchable status.

Untouchable first layers

Not sure

By untouchable I mean the luminosity of the first six or so layers of paint cannot be disturbed without killing the light. As I work around the rivulets of colour and the texture shapes I am careful to leave the under coats showing at least to some extent. The dance and the flow of colours create the spirit of each piece. Any changes in composition or value patterns must remain minimal.

Delight in the play

demise, blog, cocreation, mixed media, semiabstract, neomosaic,
Liking some parts

As the painting developed, I rejoiced in the visual loveliness of the sky and the background trees. Not too fussy about the shore line I delighted in the colours depicting the sand upon which the driftwood lay. Demise was far from my thoughts at this point.

First hesitations

Fixes don’t work

Laying in the logs I encountered my first real hesitations. I experimented with different colour schemes. Since the logs were already covering the underlayers, I could play with various options without trying to preserve something already lost (the luminosity). Dissatisfied with the second attempt I reinstated the first. Still not happy. Demise tickled my conscience. 

Demise is inevitable

demise, blog, cocreation, mixed media, semiabstract, neomosaic,
End of the line

Perhaps developing the middle ground would improve things. Not so much. I turned my attention to the logs once more. They just did not read well. I created an imaginary cutoff on the largest of the trunks. It helped. Sigh. Finally, I consulted some friends of mine, other artists, who confirmed my worst suspicions. The changes needed required a major revamp of the composition. Demise became inevitable.

Choosing a gesso mix

So, taking my brush, I considered which of my gesso mixes I would choose, the darker one or the lighter one. Picking up the first container I noticed its weight was lighter than expected. The second one weighed in much heavier. More is better in this case, the lighter one it was. Choice is not always about colour intensity. Unfortunately, demise is costly. The most costly part of the exercise is the time spent trying to work with an image that refuses to work. 

Demise is a new start

Demise also offers me another chance to improve on what went before. I will leave it for a while although I have chosen a different schematic and the notan study is done. There are other fish to fry for now.

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One: Blank

Distractions for blank pages and blank minds
Alternative therapy

Blank pages do not inspire. Blank minds do not help. I suspect the emptiness is a direct consequence of fatigue. Driving is tiring. Funerals also take their toll.

Avoiding blank canvases

Sometimes blank canvases occasion the same effect. In order to avoid this situation, I have begun to prepare at least six surfaces at once so that the degree of preparation is scattered and varied. At the moment four bear the imprints of texture within their coat of molding paste. Four others already carry the first six layers of paint including the drips and drops. Two more are in development, the images beginning to form.

Gazing at blank paper

Waiting for the artist to take the plunge and paint the blank.
Not quite blank anymore

Blank paper has entranced me of late as well. Another project due on Thursday this week. Rather than hurry the process I have taken the time to gaze. Amidst my gazing I find solutions and possible directions. Glancing at the clock, I decided to postpone the exercise as watercolours demand more uninterrupted attention than acrylics.

Distractions

Probably the same strategy could apply to blank pages. Instead of insisting on a preconceived timetable, I began to prepare some salad for this evening and went to church. Having had lunch, I watered the newly planted Saskatoon bushes, the Japanese maple tree and the rhubarb, the stolen one from my neighbour. In addition, I cut a five-gallon pail of rhubarb stalks, again from another neighbour for the juice I need for punch next weekend. My neighbours are quite happy to see the plants used.

Awakening

With all this enjoyable activity, I realized my mind may have awakened so I came back to my blank page. While my rhubarb bubbles quietly on the stove, I will finish this blog and tackle my very much behind bookwork. Life is so good.

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One: Something

something, blog,
Life is an amusement park

“Pentecost in not an abstract mystery. We are asked to accept the spirit of our actual lives. When we do this, then we no longer belittle our own lives but know that even with all our inferiorities and frustrations, we are something.” Ron Rolheiser “Reflections” 7 June 2019

Spirit of my life

Embracing the spirit of my actual life is sometimes difficult. Hence believing I am something can be beyond my capacity. Yet the truth remains true. Identifying the spirit of my life, naming it and yielding to it is the work of a lifetime.

Flagging energies

Something, blog, collaboration, Devenir, mastermind, mixed media
Sharing ideas

Part of my life as an artist includes meetings and AGMs. Having just finished three grueling days back to back I find my energy low and my enthusiasm diminished. I just want to be in my studio. My spirit is flagging. As a result, I need a fix. 

Believing I am something

Something, blog, collaboration, Devenir, mastermind, mixed media
Making decisions

Because my life spirit is so wrapped up in the creative world of visual art, the only way I can function well is with regular injections of isolation within my sacred space, my studio. While I do maintain regular hours and can usually manage a minimum of ten to twenty hours per week, life does get in the way occasionally. So it has been lately. Although I may not attain my goal of even ten hours per week this time, I will steal the hours later. My soul will renew and I will take flight again.

Something beyond my control

Something, blog, collaboration, Devenir, mastermind, mixed media
A beginning

Something beyond my control is the aging process. Bouncing back is not as fast as it used to be. However, I have found if I allow the time necessary to recuperate, my body responds with gratitude. Rather than insisting on the preconceived timeframe of twenty or forty years ago, letting go allows me the space to rest. Also it is part of believing I am something worth the time to care and nurture.

Stopping for tea

Life is like any amusement park. We cannot remain on the roller coaster forever. Occasionally we need to stop for tea and something nourishing. At the moment I receive my spirit and coddle it in my arms knowing a little love will cure much. Tomorrow we set out on another adventure, creating something splendid. Life is good.

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One: Evolution

evolution, neomosaic, edges, drips and drops, semiabstract
First edge done

Evolution is part of living. If one is alive one is evolving. In my work as an artist, discovery of new techniques is part of the whole. Unifying the whole becomes easier as one discovers the foundational steps in a system. Hence, my system is evolving.

Too fast, too soon.

evolution, neomosaic, edges, drips and drops, semiabstract
Too soon on the easel

Since I am pressed for time these days, I tend to push the process too quickly. Not good. Slow down, you move too fast… as the song goes. Having completed the drips and drops on the surface of my thirty-by-thirty-inch canvas, I hung it on the easel in hopes of developing the image. Another one rested against the table and the twelve-by-twelves lay drying on the spray table. I had put the jars and brushes away.

Edges needed dripping

Picking up my poppy red Inktense watercolour pencil, I stood back to contemplate the composition. As much as I would have loved to continue, I stopped my contemplation, sighed and took the canvas off the easel. I had not dripped the edges.

Evolution of process

Dripping the edges may not seem important. While I have finished edges without dripping in the past, the evolution of the process to include dripping for the edges has made my life so much easier. Because the dripping comes close on the heels of the preparation of the main canvas, I have no trouble identifying which colour mixtures I threw in the first place. The difficulty is in the amount. Edges are so much smaller and do not require much paint.

Evolution means improvements

Another advantage in this evolution of process is as I am spraying the paint to make it run it overflows the edge onto the main surface creating new trails of colour. All good. The more trails the better. Previously, when I came to finish the edges, the new trails of colour ran over the finished image. Not so good.

While waiting for paint to dry

evolution, linocut, time filler, waiting for paint to dry
Always something to do

In addition, evolution has afforded me the opportunity to leave well enough alone. Occasionally the drips and drops are all that is needed to finish the edge. In fact, the only disadvantage is I am waiting for paint to dry. This is probably not a disadvantage at all in that I can do other things like work on a linocut for my new memoires chapter. All is well.

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One: Muse

With the muse on vacation I do preparation work.
New work everywhere.

Lately my muse has taken a holiday. Circumstances have interfered with my sense of balance. In order for circumstances to interfere, I must be less than grounded. When I ground myself well in who I am and what I do, little can disrupt my equilibrium. It is a choice. I choose to focus on the positive therefore the holiday will be short.

Discovering my muse is absent

Wiring does not require a muse.
Wiring is one museless task

To begin with, I fail to recognize the imbalance. I just know my muse is absent. Giving it time to readjust I plunge into the myriad of less challenging tasks filling my studio. I put aside the painting causing me to ponder and take up painting edges on those finished pieces. 

When is finished finished?

Separating items for workshops.
Sorting things for workshops

In my world, finished has several stages of completion. When the main image satisfies my muse, I declare it finished. Most people assume that means it is ready to hang for sale. Not so.

Tasks not needing my muse

I need my muse for this one.
Relegated to the corner

Sometimes for the small ones, the wire at the back is in place. I need it to hang on the easel as I work. Most of the time I need to install the wire. Once I complete the edges, I again pronounce the piece “finished”. However, I add the metallic circles, the poetry and the Bible quote at this point.

More tasks

Meditative work.
DEVENIR’s project

Then there is the photography, the varnishing, the labeling, the protective cover and its label, the inventory number and bookkeeping none of which requires my muse. Finally it is done.

DEVENIR

A hanger for our project.
Straightening a pole.

Another project in the wings is the preparation of canvases for upcoming projects. Texturing, gessoing and glow layers are all necessary chores not needing my muse. I could sweep or vacuum, prepare workshops, water the plants. For the past few days I have been working on the development of a DEVENIR exhibition, one stitch at a time. Still in the early stages, we will probably reject the pilot as we search for an easier way to present our idea.

My muse is back on Monday.

My muse will be back on Monday. She does not like to be away too long. And the circumstances? Well, we will resolve them, one at a time.

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One: Poetry

An example of neomosaic, Oneing, 36x60in on gallery wrap canvas
Oneing, dancing in the light

Poetry is an integral part of my visual expression. Limits and boundaries within the composition allow me to choose my words more carefully. Precision, however, does not help with the mystery poetry naturally embodies. Rather, we are forced to sit with the words and ponder the possibilities.

Poetry is an integral part of my visual expression.
The poetry to go with the image “Oneing”.

Haiku is the poetry form

Neomosaic on gallery wrap canvas "One Only" is the second half of the diptych.
The second half of the diptych.

Haiku is my vehicle of choice. While I obey the rhythm and the structure, five syllables in the first and last lines with seven in the middle, the other rules are basically ignored. The title for my paintings, usually one or two words, become the title of the poem. Or rather, the poem names the painting. In addition, the bilingual aspect of my offering permits me to explore the subject more deeply rather than fussing over a perfect translation.

Poetry is an integral part of my visual expression.
And the poetry to go with the image

Display can be a problem

Poetry with the image and a short description about the inspiration for the painting is a good start to a book of poetry.
One of two on a page

Although I would like my poetry to be displayed with the painting, this often does not happen. Nonetheless my regular followers know where to find it. Placing their noses as close to the surface of the image as possible, they look for the familiar scrawl the liner pen leaves among the branches and along the cracks. This presentation is illegible largely due to the heavy texture. Hence my frustration with the lack of display. Perhaps a book of poetry would be a solution. Another consideration might be to have several “books” on display so that patrons can bring them along on their explore of the exhibition.

Books may be the solution

Another example

Having tried several methods of featuring the poetry, I have come to the conclusion a book is the best solution. One, or several, will find their place at my next solo. If the possibility exists. I am not familiar with the Canmore location and there may be no table or counter space upon which to leave it. The following solo in November in St. Albert offers several horizontal surfaces.

Poetry for a landing page

Finally, as I approach marketing in a more organized manner, I may include a selection of my poetry for a promotion on a landing page. Making poetry an integral part of my visual expression is my goal. I have so much to learn.

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One: Gifts

Morning work, making progress, studio time, neomosaic, semiabstract, mixed media
Studio time, making progresss

Yesterday my daughter spoiled me with an early Mothers’ Day present. Now, on the list of love languages, gifts are really at the bottom for me. At my stage, of life accumulating things is not a high priority. Her gift, however, rates as spectacular.

Changes in metabolism

As I watched her clean one car after another, I considered the changes in my metabolism. Cleaning one car in one day is manageable, not two. After lunch she mowed the lawn, did the trimming and finished off with cleaning the house. My age is definitely showing.

Changes in priorities

gardening, gifts, neomosaic, landscape,
Featuring potato tower and compost pile

On the other hand, maybe my priorities have changed as well as my metabolism. My family has encouraged me to plunge full-time into the art world for years. So I am taking them at their word. I spent the morning in the studio, the afternoon planting the garden. And I was ready to sit down, thankful for leftovers for supper.

Changes in life style

gifts, relaxing in shade, gardening, neomosaic, landscape, mixed media
Our relaxing spot

Today I receive gifts from my husband as well. He really has a hard time to accept certain changes. In another lifetime gathering the kids around to celebrate was easy. Mothers’ Day has become increasingly more difficult with children becoming parents and wanting to celebrate their own mothers. Grandmothers on both sides and sometimes more than one or two becomes  a juggling act. In the end, I appreciate his efforts. He will be cooking supper today, not something he enjoys. In conclusion, I am loved.

More gifts

gifts, gardening, herbs, neomosaic, landscape, semiabstract, mixed media

Another Mothers’ Day gift follows on my birthday present. We will be putting up the mosquito shelter today. While last night was spectacular sitting out under the trees and watching the crow unplant the garden, the bugs will soon be around in abundance as usual. I think constructing the shelter is the last of the gifts from my husband and daughter.

Gifts to treasure

Finally, my son in Montreal phoned this morning bright and early to wish me a happy Mothers’ Day. I expect I will receive a couple more calls. These are the kinds of gifts I appreciate. They go straight into my heart where I can keep them forever. Happy Mothers’ Day to everyone.

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One: Bits

bits, neomosaic, semiabstract, mixed media
Almost done

Bits and pieces make up my working day. I steal minutes, hours , morning, noon and night. Consequently, I am finishing a few things. In the midst of all the bustle I remember my life is not mine. When all is said and done, the doing comes in a distant second to the way we treat those around us.

My biggest fan

Admittedly, my remembering comes after I have chewed out my husband for coming home too soon. Poor fellow. Especially since his only fault is his excitement about sharing his latest encounter or achievement and there are many. So, I apologise; he forgives me and we move on. Breathe.

Putting things together

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have noticed my progress with the preparations for my workshops which begin in just over a week. While I was preparing examples for the students to see how the results of their efforts might look, I discovered I had forgotten how easy it is to use certain techniques. One really cannot make a mistake. And if one does, just add some more bits. On occasion, when I read my instructions, I redo the example. For sure, the cards do not need to look a certain way. However, I am trying to use up some leftover paper from other projects. I dislike waste.

Painting progress

neomosaic, bits, semiabstract, mixed media
Making progress

Progress reigns in the painting department as well. I think I have finished one. Sitting on the floor, it waits for approval. The second sitting. I changed a few things from the first sit. Looking at the available canvases in my studio I decided to prepare another two with molding paste as the four I am working with are coming along nicely. My anxiety to finish has something to do with April. Probably since I did not get any done in April.

More examples

Not everything I do has to do with art. Well, not directly. Bookkeeping for example. Stealing bits and pieces of time is the best way to keep up. Combined with a deadline (the statement date), the work is ready with much less stress when tax season arrives. Another bit among the bits, was a webinar. I listened attentively to the changes Facebook and Instagram are making to their programs. Important stuff. It looks like I will need to spend money. Sigh. Put up my new sign and filled in as receptionist for the VASA show on Thursday too.

Doing things in bits

Doing things in bits seems to work for me. Following an intense session with my paintbrush I need a break. Hanging new paintings in my gallery, preparing new canvases, counting materials for a workshop, stealing time all contributes to a job well done. Life is good.

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One: Distractions

distractions, Development and Peace, neomosaic, DEVENIR, exhibitions.
Development and Peace/Caritas Canada

Life overflows with distractions these days. We spent this weekend in Calgary for the Regional Assembly for Development and Peace/Caritas Canada. I was a delegate this time and very thankful for only three resolutions, or was it four? In any case, it did not take much time.

Disheartening snow

distractions, Development and Peace, neomosaic, DEVENIR, exhibitions.
Cold, wet snow

The only disheartening event over the weekend happened as we stepped out the door Saturday night on our way home. Six inches of cold wet snow. As we scraped off the windows and struggled with the underlying ice I was wishing for my gloves. At least I wore boots.

Show end

distractions, Development and Peace, neomosaic, DEVENIR, exhibitions.
“Sparkes” 48x48in neomosaic on gallery wrap canvas

Another reason I visited the city was the end of the Artpoint “Large Works” show. “Sparkles” is safely back in my studio. Not sure whether to hang it or store it. I will figure that out tomorrow. 

Teamwork

distractions, Development and Peace, neomosaic, DEVENIR, exhibitions.
Waiting to be picked up

As well, a fundraiser for WAM (Women’s Art Museum) inspired a donation from Sabine who left her work at Artpoint to pick up. During our weekly telephone conversation for DEVENIR I mentioned my trip to Calgary and Doris made the connection and asked if I could bring the work back to Edmonton with me. Sometimes helping someone else out is really easy. Teamwork makes light work.

Dealing with distractions

Next week looks a little better as far as studio time goes. The days and weeks fly by so quickly and I am not going to meet my projected budget for paintings this month. May will be better although distractions still abound in the form of gardening and workshops. One thing is for certain; I am never bored.

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One: Inspirations

neomosaic, mixed media, inspirations, landscape, semiabstract
Inspirations is ready to inspire!

Sometimes inspirations seem to flee the country. So it is with this week’s blog. Perhaps it has to do with my low energy level or the lack of studio time. After today’s stint at the easel things have improved somewhat, still rather tired.

Lack of routine

neomosaic, mixed media, inspirations, landscape, semiabstract
Coffee is on!

Routine is lack of routine. Between conflicting schedules, we managed to spend time with all three grandchildren this week and attend the Easter Triduum. For those who do not follow the Catholic rite, the Triduum is a single celebration spread out over three days beginning with Thursday evening and the last supper. Friday afternoon remembers the Crucifixion of Jesus and the Saturday vigil takes place usually around nine at night with candlelight. My favorite. Easter Sunday is a separate celebration the next day.

A tour of my gallery

neomosaic, mixed media, inspirations, landscape, semiabstract
The other end.

Yesterday was kept simple although we had some guests for supper along with one of our daughters. She helped cap and label the wine we had just finished making before the guests arrived. It was a lovely evening topped off with a tour of my gallery “Inspirations”.

Options

With my upcoming solo in November my production rate has filled the gallery with new work. Unfortunately, the pace will not meet the deadline if I wish thirty new paintings by the end of October. It is looking particularly dismal this week as we have an appointment with the accountant tomorrow and we leave for Calgary on Friday. An option is working in the evening or the afternoon instead of the morning. At least there is an option!

Getting things done

neomosaic, mixed media, inspirations, landscape, semiabstract
Making progress

Even with a doctor’s appointment this afternoon I managed to get the paperwork done for my upcoming workshops on greeting cards. Now all that is left to do is purchase the remainder of the supplies and pack the goods for transportation. Tomorrow I will take the afternoon to paint. I do not seem to have any problem with painting inspirations. Tis a good thing…

Expositions

“Inspirations” is looking fine these days. Besides my gallery you can see my work at the Edmonton Convention Centre. Keep up to date by checking my website for the latest.

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