Spring has finally sprung!! Both spring and fall are busy times for artists and their supporters. Most of the member shows are held during these seasons. I suspect it is because a lot of people are on vacation during the summer months and featured artists have their moment of glory during winter. This year I was a little pressed to have something new for the VASA gallery although there are four new panels waiting to be varnished in my studio. I took pictures this morning after I used a little retouchable varnish to stabilize the poetry and the watercolour pencil. Occasionally, as the varnish is applied there are a few surprises waiting in the wings as the pencil explodes colour in odd places. Sometimes I leave it. Sometimes I reach for a rag. If the retouchable glaze is forgotten, the varnish simply blends my signature into the work…. Each step must be completed in order. There is an opening reception this Thursday, 7pm, at VASA (25 Sir Winston Churchill Ave, St. Albert). The artists will be in attendance. It is always fun to meet and greet. Life is good.
At the moment my gallery is open on a by appointment basis until I host another exciting event in the unspecified future… My phone is not exactly ringing off the wall, however, emails have been active as I accommodate different schedules. As a result of the “Dans mon studio/In my Studio” tour at the beginning of this month I had a very interesting visit last Friday. Having missed the opening David Eggen arranged an appointment for a private showing with me and took a brand new artwork home with him. I had actually set it aside to put in the upcoming VASA Member Show opening next week. Without so much as a blink I whipped out my new “Square” and iPad and discovered the Internet was too weak to make the transaction. I did finally point it in the correct direction: it only works in my gallery, not my studio and near the window. In any case I plan on visiting his office to see where it now resides. And the VASA show? I sent a quick email to determine whether I could make a switch with one of my latest mixed media pieces. Yes, indeed! Life is good.
A hole has formed on the wall in my gallery. It happens. Actually there are two holes… One is filled with a brand new painting. The other hole is a bit larger. Four paintings are missing. They are not really missing since I know where they are (Castle Downs Edmonton Library, from now until the end of May). That still leaves a hole on the wall in my gallery…. Why is that a problem? Ordinarily it would not be a big deal. This is not an ordinary week! Our local MLA has an appointment for Friday morning in my gallery and the space must be filled with, I hope, new paintings. I am dreaming of course. Although completion draws near with at least two out of the four paintings on which I am presently working, they are far from finished. It takes a while to fill in the edges, write the poetry and varnish. They already have wires for hanging… it was the only way I could figure out how to keep them on my easel. So if you are in the Castle Downs area and feel like checking out my smaller watercolours do drop in! Life is good!
Being artist involves more than paint. In the process of preparing for the opening of my new gallery and the tour of my studio several hours were spent cleaning out the old and hanging the new. I needed more black frames. A number of ink drawings from several years ago were occupying these items so I reconfigured the hardware to accommodate a portrait rather than a landscape layout and wrapped the drawings in plastic for display in a print rack. Looking at what might be part of the exhibition I delegated several paintings to display racks as well. In this case I took the frames apart completely. Unfortunately I cannot charge myself for the restocking fees as I added them to my inventory. I discovered I prefer my watercolours in a silver frame and as they will be showing shortly in the local library I have some more reframing to do. Besides reframing I did take out the vacuum cleaner and the dust rag along with the window cleaner. My house is not so tidy! Life is so good.
How does one measure success? Does it depend on sales? Does it depend on average income? Is personal satisfaction measurable? There comes a point where each artist must decide for him or herself what exactly is the definition. It varies from personality to personality. It had been a very long time since I had sold any studio paintings. Certainly, a few sketches and some commissions had wandered out my door. The exhibitions on the other had been very quiet. Teaching assignments kept the bills paid. (Although artists live in a magical world, the bills do not magically vanish!). Over the years I wondered if I were to continue in this unappreciated passion. The decision to continue came from a knowing within: I am not happy unless I am creating. The creation process does not rely on others’ opinions, nor does it build its base on monetary gain. Creation is a soul process, a fountain of youth, a sustaining spirit. My success has come from my decision to paint, come what may. I am delighted this weekend has brought some financial benefits and I will continue to paint, come what may. Life is so good.
Yesterday I enjoyed an interview with CBC Radio Canada in my studio. Interviews are always great publicity plugs for the upcoming events. The provincial tour “Dans mon studio/In My Studio” is happening this Saturday (2 April). Nine artists are participating from Bonnyville, through Edmonton and St. Albert to Calgary. One could spend all day visiting artists form 10am to 4pm!! I will have the coffee maker on and the goodies out! The link gives one access to the Téléjournal and the interview with me and Geneviève from CAVA comes up at 18:50 minutes into the presentation. Hoping everyone experiences overwhelming crowds at this event….
The paintings are hung, the lists corrected, the discounts re-shrink-wrapped and there is still more to do. The devil is in the details they say…. My daughters who helped hang the show asked why I was so early… My middle name is “Last Minute”! I have a feeling the whole week ahead will be filled with those pesky details and I will be down to the last minute again… and I am getting so excited! Another reason might be the unexpected visit to my gallery resulting in a sale… I love being able to say, “Yes, I take credit cards!” I am also thrilled with the look of the finished paintings which will be showing at CAVA, delivery tomorrow. It is amazing what one can do with gray. In the meantime I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely Easter. Have a wonderful week and see you all on Friday and Saturday! Life is so good.
More info: Events and Latest Happenings
Fascination is what my studio is all about. I get do what I love best this morning and I can hardly wait… There is a fascinating activity awaiting me there, time consuming, tiring, totally enthralling. Painting. I am told in order to make a success of my business I need to devote eighty percent of my time marketing and selling. I prefer Van Gogh’s approach: one hundred percent painting! Not sure I want the side effects though. For me the balance is somewhere in the unknown as every day is different and things change with deadlines and interruptions… So I am back in my studio today after fighting with my computer on the weekend, trying to get my website to link to a particular Facebook page and not succeeding. Technology, not one of my strengths! I handle paintbrushes much more easily and I can hardly wait… I love my new series. Only two are on the point of completion. Three others are on their way. I have found my rhythm again. Love it! Life is good.
I love making a mess, especially when I can walk away and close the door. Eventually I will choose to clean up. Grand openings inspire such things! Studio tours also… I am in the midst of messy experimentation and simplification. My mixed media work is including less variety and more acrylic. The paint in the photo is made to run and puddle with water, turning and resting. So much fun watching it chase itself into corners and grooves especially when I add a second colour… I am not really using much colour. It is mostly grays. When one looks at it the surface appears to be very colourful, add a little darker darks and some lighter lights and we have magic happening. I will definitely have two new pieces for the CAVA opening. And my gallery… well, I will keep working at it. We will see. Life is so good.
Two openings are coming fast. One I knew about, the 2nd April… I am one of nine artists who will open their Alberta studios from 10am to 4pm. I am also opening at the same time my little gallery attached to my studio, the room one must pass through in order to access where I work! It is an entrance fee… No. Not really! The other opening reception is on the 1st of April… No. Not April Fools. All nine artists will have work showing in the CAVA gallery 9103 95th Street Edmonton as an encouragement to visit their studios the next day. The reception runs from 7pm to 9pm. So, this is the clincher. I would like to have new work for both locations. I am developing a series entitled “Wildwood”. The first five paintings are coming along well. They are far from finished. Nothing like a deadline. This one may do me in! On the positive side I may choose two or three instead of five to complete. Or none at all. Sigh. I always panic at this stage of development. It is very slow yet given a little more time suddenly everything comes together. There are still three weeks left. The signage is done. Lots of time. Life is good.