Some learning urges are sharper than others. I have mounted considerable resistance against the inevitable changes. It has become rather clear my system of blogging and newslettering no longer functions efficiently. I suspect it never did.
The difference between a blog and a newsletter mystified me from the beginning. Once I got started by blog seemed to work. However, a blog is more about in depth information than announcements of upcoming events. Ignoring that fact I began writing a newsletter delving not only into the artistic practices I use but the spiritual side of creativity. Apparently the two keep company comfortably for only a few.
Change cannot be avoided. So how does one change an established practice? The first consideration might be the time it takes to write a blog and a newsletter. Weekly detailed analysis of process or mystical ruminations are rather overwhelming. As the saying goes, “I’d rather be in my studio”. Short and sweet was my motto. It still is.
The situation requires a total rethink. A blog once per week is an unreasonable expectation. Perhaps every two weeks. Or once per month alternating the subject between process and philosophy. And the newsletter? It becomes the link. Offering the choice to the reader to “read more” it sends the interested party to a specific blog post. Announcing soon-to-be-offered events and recent successes along with best wishes for the season it takes on a new look: short, sweet and colourful.
A different direction takes shape. The learning curve smooths its slope a little. Changes come naturally. A more manageable routine is in the offing. When can you expect to hear from me again, dear reader? Probably in December. By the New Year a recognizable rhythm should be organized. In the meantime, life is good.
High Five and Happy Hallowe’en! Are you going trick or treating? I am. I am going as an artist. Surprise! My granddaughter insists.
Layers and layers
In the meantime I have several paintings on the go. About ten panels await preparation with six or seven thin layers of paint. Three of them are taking up space on my workbenches. Several more texturized canvases linger in the back and a few are glowingly ready for the throwing/spraying/turning process.
Sounds like I am in the flow does it not? Appearances can be deceptive. A sluggish exhaustion prevails these days. Perhaps the reason lies in the doldrums of in-between adventures. Not quite complete with one project and not quite started on another I find myself uninspired. This foggy malaise hinders the work and my punctuality in the studio. The down is not new.
Five on the go
Fortunately I have found a cure for this nuisance: work! That is why I have two paintings filling my time as I wait for the three canvases to dry between coats. One is on the easel and the other is on the pedestal, five in all. Soon both will be done and I am getting slowly excited about the next set. Life is so good.
Things are still happening in Vancouver and a local show in Edmonton is coming up shortly. The All Member Show for VASA “Thank Your Lucky Stars” opens on 1st December and runs from 29th November to 27th January. Hope to see you there.
Every once in a while events remind me about why I find teaching such a pleasure. Just lately the Redwater Art Society asked me to present a workshop on Abstracts. They offered me one day to cover this immense topic. Where to begin?
I arrived early and discovered I had left my lesson plan in my studio. Since I had designed the presentation at least a month ago I had trouble remembering not only the order but the subject matter as well… One of the participants suggested I could “wing it”. Yes…. I can do that. I took a deep breath and let go of my preconceived notion of perfection. Sigh.
Less than enthusiastic
As the various people trickled through the door and set up their stations I noticed a few seemed less than enthusiastic about the topic at hand. I wondered how they had been coerced into attending. Nonetheless, the class listened attentively as I cited what I considered important. Next we proceeded to an exercise or two.
The fire is lit
Somehow my disorganized scramble managed to ignite a fire. The least enthusiastic transformed into the most engaged. Nothing excites me more than seeing the lights go on as the teaching unfolds. The excitement became contagious. Individual attention smoothed the rough edges. At the end of the day everyone expressed satisfaction with the presentation and all they had learned. How much did I manage to teach really? Who knows? After all is said and done it does not matter. Life with wings is so good!
If you are in Vancouver BC do drop in on the two shows coming up “2016 Concepts” and “2016 Sketches” at the Federation of Canadian Artists gallery on Granville Island. I have two pieces in each show.
Shows are mostly about selling. Admittedly I am not very talented in this arena. Others perform this task with grace and aplomb. Talking to people about my art sits squarely in my comfort zone. When to push, when to back off and how to close a sale swim in the zone of mystery. This is not my expertise.
Avoiding three topics
The experts suggest avoiding three topics when focusing on selling: religion, politics and sports. The politics and the sports are no problem since my interest level is very low in both. Religion is a different matter. Spiritual ideas permeate my work. However I tend to enter the discussion only when asked. It happened the other night at my opening.
A young lady approached me with a question about the circles visible everywhere in my images. She wanted to know if they had any significance other than design. Indeed they do. It is all about connection and the presence of the Creator all around us. Every nook and cranny holds her touch and beauty. All we need do is stop and take the time to see. Her spirit bubbles up through every creature and every rock.
Sharing vs imposing
Definition of this word “religion” may clear the way. For me it means sharing my joy without imposing my will. Everyone has something to contribute to the understanding of the Great Design. It is not about being right. It is about delight and allowing the flow. Selling comes with the flow. Life is so good.
My show is still up until 25th October at CAVA. Do drop in!
Portraits are not my usual. Occasionally someone puts in a request for one. Lately I have had a run with several commissions all at once. This could be because I have misinterpreted my customer’s request… Sigh. I could be because of procrastination… Sigh. A combination of both? In any case I have completed six lately, one of which, does not come up to par.
The portrait featured in this blog is carbon pencil. It had been a while since I used carbon pencil. So fun! The image from which I drew was a photocopy of a newspaper obituary. When I took the drawing in for approval I found out the photo was forty years old and the gentleman had wavy hair. Handing me the clipping the lady asked if I could do something better with his hair so I took both home and finished the image off to her satisfaction. It is always good to please the customer.
Instant framing station
To complete the commission I covered one end of a table with my instant framing station and threw a frame around his head and shoulders.
A different medium
The other portraits are in ink. Some days I simply cannot draw. I had a schedule, one per day. In the end I resorted to pencil and did a tracing when the frustration became too much for me. I will attempt the one drawing with which I am still dissatisfied one more time then ship them off to Europe from whence will come other commissions. Life is good.
The Chimp ate it
Someone or something ate my newsletter. I knew I would be away so I scheduled delivery for the first of October. Last night I checked to see if everything had gone well and could not find it at all. I will redo it and send it out today. Sorry for the technical difficulties.
Eight new pieces adorn the walls of my gallery “Inspirations”. The photos (top and bottom) may appear to be duplicates. Can you see the difference? Our brains have a way of simplifying what we see so we can quickly assess our surroundings and determine whether there is any nearby danger. Efficient. However the dominance of colour or size might skew our perception.
Thinking gets in the way
Efficiency is not always the best option, certainly not when one is artist. Really seeing takes time. A number of activities must stop. Thinking is one. When I stop thinking and open myself to the present moment I see all sorts of things I could not see before. Like the sunrise on my way home from the swimming pool. Like the slugs on the sidewalk in my backyard.
Beyond the first glance
The dominance of the computer in our world precludes seeing for many. Lost in thoughts solving the latest dilemma we miss the beauty around us. So did you find the difference? Not only size but image dominate the left. It takes effort to get beyond the first glance. Life is good.
Venue for viewing
My opening reception is fast approaching: October 7th, 7pm at CAVA. A selection from my new series “Wildwood” will be on display for your enjoyment. I will be in attendance to meet and greet all visitors!
Don’t forget the workshop in Redwater. It is all about Abstracts.
The Artwalk seems to be the latest crave. Springing up in every community the organizers invite all local artists to participate ranging from no cost to several hundred dollars. Since my dollars are precious I have been loath to join the bandwagon especially as I considered the other expenses.
Should one go at this seriously the other invoices may include display racks, tables, chairs, tent, advertising and impermeable coverings. These are necessities if one wishes to forestall damage to valuable artwork through sun bleaching. Paintings are not made for outdoor exposure.
Trying two different venues
Recently I did try out two different venues. One included Strathearn Community Artwalk in connection with CAVA. We set up in front of the gallery and thereby avoided the fifty dollar entrance fee. I sold four sets of greeting cards. It turned out we were more of an information booth than participants in the artwalk. The other opportunity offered a free table in Griesbach. I sold one set of cards to another artist.
Noticing the flaws
As I put my things away I noticed the Bristol board cards supporting my poetry had faded in just one afternoon. I suffered from a headache from too much sun and although the company had been very pleasant I wondered if spending six hours in a park was the best use of my time. Although I had handed out several invitations to my upcoming show in CAVA usually the results are far from satisfying.
All in all I have come to the conclusion I will not be showing up for another artwalk unless it is connected with supporting selected enterprises. No more lugging, no more fading, no more expense! Life is good.
My studio is a busy place these days. Production lines continue to make things flow so I can paint about three or four paintings per week. Of course, the number of finished pieces all depends on the size of the canvases and how much of the preparation is done.
Preparation takes time. Several months ago I prepared about thirty supports, each with about six or seven coats of paint, and set them aside. Today I have about six left and they are well on their way to being finished. What does this mean?
Loving what I do
It means I will be getting busy again doing some more preparation on the new canvases I recently purchased. No twelve-by-twelves this time so the rate on finished work will definitely slow. While I prepare I will consider the next series. Perhaps it will venture toward the more abstract, perhaps more contemporary, perhaps more of the same. Whatever the end results they will mix and match. The prep stays the same. I love what I do. Life is so good.
Getting old is something we all do and eventually recognize. Bending over the tables to do my puddling is proving less comfortable these days. I decided to put myself on a pedestal! Well, the painting is on a pedestal…
The human race becomes amazingly inventive when we are faced with a need. Fuel that with a dream and the possibilities are endless. Just think about what we have accomplished in the last hundred years! Flying, moon landings, taking pictures of Pluto….
Another need comes to mind. One facing a rather large amount of resistance from those who have. The have-nots raised their voice long ago and continue to draw our attention to the devastation we are wreaking upon the Earth, our only home. It is time we listened. Perhaps if we come down from our pedestal we will be able to hear and see more clearly. I hope so. My great great grandchildren deserve to enjoy the places I depict, not only in my paintings. Life is good.
If you happen to be in Vancouver do drop in on the FCA show “Scenes from Western Canada”. I am already getting complements…. Check out the other upcoming events too on my Events and Latest Happenings page.