One: Opportunities

opportunities, greeting cards, Merry Christmas
Christmas Card 2019

Just when I think it will be a quiet year, opportunities abound. My work will be showing at various locations throughout the first three months of the New Year. All is conceived if not complete. I still have the ten paintings to do before March 1st. Two are well on their way.

Opportunities teach

opportunities, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape, mixed media
Autumn Doubloons 1 making progress

Recently, other opportunities have given me insight into my process and what makes me happy or unhappy. Every artist is unique. Flow happens more easily when we discover our personally preferred method. Testing out various systems sheds light on the mystery within. Being a reformed night owl, I find myself working later and later on the computer these days. This does not bode well for early morning rising. I have yet to find an efficient way to deal with paperwork.

Limiting opportunities

opportunities, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape, mixed media
Autumn Doubloons 2 also making progress

In my studio, however, the muse is amused. While not allowing myself to panic with regard to impossible deadlines, I have chosen a very inspiring and pleasant path of creativity. From the many opportunities, my choice is restricted to about three or four different centers of interest. Among my pressing obligations, I find taking a break instead of pursuing one subject relentlessly helps me focus longer and with more clarity. At the moment I divide my attention between the ten paintings for March, the Christmas cards for Christmas, and the “Urban” painting for Tuesday.

Abundant choice

DDK, throwing paint, abstract landscape
Throwing paint for Urban

Once the cards are complete (out of my studio yet not necessarily sent) I will add another project. Perhaps some more 8x8in daily paintings or the design for next year’s Christmas card, or some all occasion cards.  All linocuts for the cards. Perhaps it is the shift within the opportunities that renews my spirit. Linocuts require quite a different thought process than neomosaic. Throwing paint and contrasting geometric with organic phenomenon pulls me in a different direction as well. I get excited just thinking about it.

Coming events

Do check out my events page so you might choose from the various opportunities to take a look at my work. With all the local venues, one may be more convenient than another. Don’t forget the shows finishing soon in December as well.

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One: Uninspired

solo exhibition, invitation, neomosaic
An invitation

Perhaps I am just tired. It has been a busy week. Nonetheless I remain uninspired as I turn my hand to writing on this lovely long weekend we have dubbed Thanksgiving.

Uninspired in Calgary

Thanksgiving is probably the reason why so few people showed up for the interesting talk given by Areum Kim. “Earth”, the Alberta Society of Artists traveling exhibit, opened Saturday at the Calgary Central Library. It will grace the second floor for another two weeks. With their spouses,Jack Blair, a talented photographer and Robyn MacKay, an experimental printmaker greeted the public. They actively invited those interested to join us downstairs with Areum. Most proved uninspired to do so. Yet, one young couple and their children did participate.

DEVENIR 30 Day Challenge

Having arrived home earlier than expected I turned on my computer to find only two of us had managed a painting. DEVENIR is in the midst of a thirty day challenge: one painting per day for thirty days. By early November we will have accumulated one hundred and fifty paintings between us. Always fascinating to watch as we develop our skills in this intense exercise. Saturday was an uninspired day apparently. While the photos may be lacking in the immediate time frame, they will be forthcoming shortly. In any case, five paintings will eventually show up on our Facebook page each day.

Inspired in my studio

Back in my studio, my muse is anything but uninspired. I seem to work best under pressure and with multiple projects on the go. DDK (Doris, Danièle and Karen) are in the midst of finishing a thirty by thirty inch painting. Created together, for our show at Lotus Gallery in November, it approaches the end. Trusting our creation to one another is a great exercise in letting go of control. Exciting results are in the offing. As well, DDK has a group exhibition in the works involving abstract creations on paper and sculpture, a next year’s project.

DEVENIR again

DDK is organising a sneak peek at DEVENIR’S latest adventure in the WAM. Located on the second floor of Cité francophone, the museum will host “Stitched Time” through November to mid-December. VASA approved DEVENIR’s application so we show in in March next year. My contribution: eight new paintings. At the moment, I remain uninspired.

Upcoming solo and uninspired details

uninspired, solo exhibition, VASA, mixed media, neomosaic
Last of the veils

Although uninspired I have managed to write yet another blog! The small details for my solo show in VASA next month are coming together. The advertising has begun. In addition, I have finished the veils, the poetry and the book is at the publishers. Check out the latest events here. In the meantime I wish everyone a very peaceful and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

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One: Managing

Managing shipping, protecting paintings, collaboration
Bringing down the show at the Three Sisters Gallery with lovely Nicky.

Many do not like to be managed. Managing deliveries and pickups in different locations requires managing people. To avoid conflict, I house this process in different language like offers of help and opportunity. 

Managing the end of shows

Managing shipping, protecting paintings, collaboration
Loaded and ready to return to Calgary.

DEVENIR approached the end of our weekly Skype call when the subject of collecting paintings came up. Our show in Salmon Arm had just ended and two of our group of five were at the closing reception. Following a pleasant afternoon, they packed everything up to bring it back to Calgary. Of course, any artist worth her salt has little or no storage room for other artists’ work. Managing storage space becomes a significant challenge as one’s practice matures.

An opportunity

Managing shipping, protecting paintings, collaboration
Unpacking

All sorts of ideas floated around until I mentioned I would be in Canmore the following week to pick up my own solo at the Three Sisters Gallery. Not sure any of them believed I could bring back my own work (over twenty paintings) as well as the work of two other artists in the same load. After all, mobiles take up a lot of room. Not to mention another two paintings I intended to deliver to the Alberta Society of Artists for their upcoming traveling exhibition beginning in Calgary. Managing it all in one trip is ideal.

Managing changes

Plans were set for Wednesday until the email came . The organizers schedule take downs for Thursday instead. Arriving in Canmore at nine thirty in the morning requires an overnighter somewhere. Since one of our members lives half way to Canmore (a little exaggeration) I asked if she could accommodate me. Managing my other appointments proved to be simple although I have yet to reschedule two of them.

Reloading

Managing shipping, protecting paintings, collaboration
Forgotten in the living room.

Upon returning to Calgary to pick up the second set of paintings and mobiles, I decided to unload. It proved essential. While I had loaded the first show horizontally, a vertical format better suited managing the number of paintings available. Except for my four foot square. Setting it up in the middle of the van, I was surprised it actually could sit vertically. Not at a perpendicular angle, certainly. Nonetheless, vertical enough to accommodate the other artwork.

Forgotten items

Managing shipping, protecting paintings, collaboration
Ready to deliver to ASA.

Patricia loaded the last piece when we remembered the other two in the living room. The ones with special packaging to protect the pieces while traveling. And to make life easier for those receiving the work, easy in and easy out. Thankfully a little rearranging allowed us to put them in the back, just managing to close the door.

Other shows

Besides “Earth” opening in Calgary on October 12th between 1pm and 3pm, three other shows open closer to home in November. Do check it out.

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One: Showing is essential

showing is essential, gallery, neomosaic, semiabstract, mixed media
One end of my gallery space

Showing is essential in our profession as artists. Some venues concentrate on the show rather than the selling. Professional salespeople are found in commercial galleries rather than artist run collectives. Often the artist must take on the role of salesperson as well. The advantage is less commission paid. The disadvantage is reduced studio time.

Choice of venues

showing is essential, gallery, neomosaic, semiabstract, mixed media
Other end

Up to this point in my career (that’s right! It is not a hobby…) my show place of choice has been artist collectives and various open walls attached to local businesses. I do sell some. My profession, however, is not sales. Lately I have felt a desire to reach beyond my comfort zone and join the ranks of paid artists, that is the realm of a steady sales income.

Approaching galleries

showing is essential, gallery, neomosaic, semiabstract, mixed media
Latest work

First on the list is revamping my website. The current mode of thought when approaching galleries is to send a brief introductory email with an attached example of work directing the powers that be toward a fuller experience in the form of a website. I have not reworked my website in quite a while. I have trouble keeping it up to date.

Other income

 neomosaic, semiabstract, mixed media
Four more coming

Living in the land of reality I realize a connection to a gallery may not be the answer even if it does manifest. Hence my energies are directed towards other income generating endeavours such as commission work or teaching. Lately, I have been quizzing other artists about how they run their classes with the view to keeping it simple. I have been classically trained and it is a lot of work for which I have no time.

Showing is essential

Time is of the essence. Showing my work consumes more of this precious commodity these days as I am accepted more frequently into all kinds of different locations, sometimes from one end of the province to the other–just a matter of say fifteen hundred kilometers or more. As a result, my productivity needs maintaining to meet the demand. Just showing, however, fills my storage and not my coffers.

Continuous adventure

I have perhaps found a way to reduce the storage by loaning some work for an extended period to institutions such as long-term care. Showing is essential still and my work is always on display in my own gallery though it accommodates fewer pieces and occupies more space. All in all, this adventure will keep me occupied for some time to come. Life is good.

Events

Don’t miss out on all the happenings and current shows. Find out more here.

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One: Obligations

obligations, blog, balancing, collaboration, exhibitions, letting go, mixed media
Installation in Stony Plain

Obligations occupy the majority of my time. Lately things have shifted as the people around me require more attention. In the struggle to find a balance one needs an inventory of sorts, a discernment about where to put one’s priorities. And, unfortunately, I do not always manage the best path.

Three exhibitions

obligations, balancing, blog, collaboration, exhibitions, letting go, mixed media
Opening at CAVA

At the moment I have three exhibitions on the go with another coming up shortly. Without the support of family and friends all of these obligations could not be fulfilled. However, it is not the present mayhem worrying me. It is the autumn chaos. It all starts at the end of August.

About thirty paintings

obligations, balancing, blog collaboration, exhibitions, letting go, mixed media, neomosaic
Beginnings

An approximate estimation of the number of paintings required for a solo show is about thirty. Usually an artist can pull the number from inventory as well as adding a few new works for regular consumers. In this case, the venue in November insists on new work. Having already showed most of my inventory in this space means painting about three paintings a month to meet my obligation. I decided to begin with some of the largest.

Three paintings per month

The end of February approaches hastily. Presently, I have no new, completed work. The four panels strewn about my studio at the moment, fill my creative hours as we make steady progress toward completion. Sometime in March I will finish them. To make myself feel better, I may whip off a few small canvases to make up the magic number of nine.

Then there is spring.

Letting go

obligations, blog, collaboration, exhibitions, letting go, mixed media, neomosaic
More progress

Evidently, something has to give. People are more important than housework. I never was very good at housekeeping anyway… Painting is more important than bookwork, although maintaining my website becomes more urgent the longer I neglect it. Planting a garden may not happen. Obligations attached to rental properties may take a back seat during the summer. Regular hours in my studio might take a different form as I squeeze a few minutes here and there between being present to those around me.

Fulfilling obligations

Sometimes analysis does not help. Instead I must step out in faith and live one day at a time. Being kind to myself and everyone else is also a priority. As I let go of my preconceived ideas about how it should look, my obligations will be met, and all will be well in spite of taking unforeseen forms. We can do this.

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One: Opening

opening, exhibitions, cocreation, recovery
Caged off

Opening receptions require a lot of planning and expense. Tensions mount when things beyond our control block our efforts to welcome the public. Things like the city deciding to put in a new roadway leaving a deep pit right in front of the door to the gallery.

The boardwalk

Oblivious

Quite oblivious to the tension I arrived at the gallery just on time to solve the problem of parking in the labyrinth of cement blocks. Apparently the city workers had installed the temporary entrance just an hour before guests were to arrive. Whew! As I bounced toward the door I made a mental note about plywood: half inch is not enough for the shed flooring. I live a varied life!

Excellent wine and wisdom

Opening to talk

As usual, the wine and cheese were excellent, the company divine. Old friends and new wandered through the door. I chitchatted with the other artists and welcomed anyone who was interested in discussing the motivation behind what I do. I gave an opening to Mike Holden to delve into the thought processes behind his interesting work. He had filled in for another artist who had withdrawn from the show. My granddaughter, not quite fifteen months, particularly liked the wolf head Mike had created. Its eyes light up and every time she went by she growled her approval.

The wolf head

Genocide

We shared some thoughts on spirit led creations. One of Mike’s paintings depicted an old prophesy about a black snake gobbling up all that native people held dear. I suggested it had certainly come true. Taking the opportunity I told him upon my return to Canada after thirteen years in Australia, I attended the University of Saskatchewan to study for a teaching certificate. One of the seminars I attended had been on native history where the prof had introduced the idea of genocide. I was horrified then and continue to be.

Chitchatting

Healing

Looking at my own experience in overcoming trauma, I told him it had taken me double the time to find the balance in my life than it had to destroy it. A two-hundred-year-old wound cannot be healed overnight. I expressed my desire to help and my frustration with how little I seemed to be doing. Mike glanced over at my work and told me I was helping already.

Unity

Opening my heart to the Spirit in my life and my work unites me to the world and the universe. Artists enjoy a special capacity to be one. We are on a journey together and hope reigns in the union. Life is good.

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One: Extracurricular

extracurricular, exhibitions, preparations, greeting cards

Extracurricular activities flood this time of year. They may not keep me out of my studio. And they may include creative inspiration. However, they do not add to my inventory for shows and sales.

The last minute

Christmas is coming. The garden requires winterizing. Last minute (what would I do without it?) jobs await finishing before the snow falls. Has that happened already? Things like sealing windows, landscaping projects that could be dangerous if left undone, emptying the water barrel so it will not burst, etc. In conclusion, a rescheduling is needed.

When I looked at what I had already printed I decided to upgrade the quality.
Reprinting Christmas cards

Extracurricular jobs

Some would say I am distracted. Indeed. My priorities go beyond business. Family and family fun are included. On the other hand, preparations for Christmas are not strictly extracurricular as I include clients on my list for greetings and a special gift for being so supportive. As a result, I have a few projects on the go including lino printing, screen printing, two DEVENIR productions on paper as well as a few new paintings for my next series which I have not as yet named.

A new series

The new series will be part of my solo show in November next year at VASA. Come January my priority will be production for the solo as I manoeuvre between exhibitions beginning in February from Stony Plain to Canmore and Salmon Arm. Exciting times!

Extracurricular activities included placement of stones in a pathway. So fun!
Ready for puzzle solving

Curbed the danger

In the meantime, I was delighted this week to finish my landscaping at our rental in Legal. I had left the walkway half done. I do enjoy putting down stone pathways. The irregular shapes are a puzzle. The different depths challenge leveling, a problem solved with enough depth of sand or gravel. And I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Next time.

Preparations for a mixed media workshop, the eight by eight paper project, a new series in various stages of production.
So many exciting projects

A few shows

So, over the next few months, I will turn my attention to creating a colouring book with a family legend for my children and their children. Lino prints make Christmas cards. Perhaps a few extra will be for sale during the VASA member show; they will not be ready for CAVA. I will give some thought to the two DEVENIR productions and I may resolve some technical issues. In any case I will begin experimenting.

Perhaps some baking

All in all, extracurricular activities will keep me busy for a while. I may add some baking to the list and a few repairs around the house. Then our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary is fast approaching too. We may disappear for a while. All is good; all is well. Life is full.

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One: Angst

angst, exhibitions, gallery, mixed media

When I looked out the window Friday morning and saw all this fluffy white stuff again, I must admit to some angst. We had just managed to move the mosquito shelter to the centre of the yard to dry and now it lies in a dismal heap waiting for attention.

angst, blog, exhibitions, harvest
Waiting for a melt down.

Delayed

Attention is in short supply these days. My husband assures me it will warm up again when we can hopefully get the garden harvested. I am sure the farmers are as unhappy as I am when it comes to harvest. In the meantime, a few other things are getting done.

Delivery made

Having put the finishing touches on two new paintings, I popped them into their protective sheaths before loading them into the van. Twelve paintings with eight extras were delivered to CAVA on Friday afternoon. The image list, the business cards, the blurb sheets with the poetry, image and bilingual description were ready in a folder. I did not include the blue tack or the image list for the extra paintings as the gallery directors may or may not use them. One thing done.

angst, exhibitions, gallery, blog, harvest
Cake ready to slice

Friday eased angst

A special celebration at church with the Knights of Columbus on Saturday afternoon required a cake. Knowing what Saturday’s schedule included, we ordered it for the day before. Picking it up, we delivered it to church, stopped at the post office and the library before heading to the gallery. Four other things done.

Angst, celebration, exhibitions, harvest, blog
Installation

Too many events

Consequently, my angst about Saturday eased. The 22ndday of September was everyone’s favorite day. We curtailed an all-day workshop with Development and Peace. Grabbing a sandwich as we went by, we left for a funeral on the other side of town. Coming back across town we witnessed the installation of the District Deputy at church and celebrated with the KCs Joining a younger set for an impromptu sharing session on our Colombian experience, we finally fell into bed after midnight. There is only so much one can do in one day. We had turned down another funeral (four hours away) and at least two more invitations to different events we would have enjoyed attending.

Angst does not help

Angst does not ease the situation. The pace will slow. The snow will go. All I need do is breathe. Tomorrow is another day and the latest painting is coming along fine, the start of a new series. All is well and all will be well as Julian of Norwich concluded.

P.S. Sorry for the delay in this week’s blog. The system supporting my website crashed. Glad to have it up and running again.

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One: Beleaguered

beleaguered, gallery, exhibitions, preparations

Beleaguered by obligations I feel like the flowers in my garden. The dump of snow last week caught me by surprise. I did not believe the forecasts. I am not ready for winter…

Change of plan

As I glanced out the window, ready to relax for the evening, I spied the big, white fluffballs descending from the darkened skies. I said something inappropriate and donned a jacket. I wanted to rescue the beautiful flowers guarding the entrance to my sacred domain: my studio.

beleaguered, exhibitions, gallery, preparations
So sad

To the rescue

Opening the hose, I sprayed them in hopes to reduce the damage the freezing temperatures might have caused. I had not intended to bring them all into my gallery, however, they cried their distress and I could not resist.

beleaguered, exhibitions, preparations, gallery
Surrounding the water fountain

Relegated to the corners

Stacking my beleaguered pots in a couple of corners I succeeded in reducing the excess blossoms so the plants would have a better chance of recuperation. The geraniums I tossed in the garbage only to retrieve them the next day. They made a lovely bouquet which I have placed out of the blast of my space heater for the moment. Something to brighten my day.

Ambiance

Another addition to the ambiance in my workspace is the water fountain. I decided to use it for me instead of waiting for my customers to arrive. I invariably forget to turn in on anyway.

Beleaguered

And what beleaguers me? Well, let me tell you… on second thought, let’s not go there. Some of the really up events are my shows, ending, showing and soon to be showing. I will be dismantling the Glenrose show on Tuesday the 18thSeptember, one day early. It makes my week work better. I am delivering the paintings for the CAVA show on the 21stto avoid adding to the chaos of Saturday. And I do not have to worry about the show in Red Deer until October 15th.

Detail from “Narrows” 30x30in mixed media on gallery wrap canvas

First: varnishing

First on the agenda will be the varnishing of the work already completed for CAVA. I would like to have one more piece to include. I have decided to put one aside, probably for a coat of gesso. Although I tend to complete what I start, I must admit not everything I paint is good. Some work gets dissolved. Not every painting is a struggle either. Some just flow.

Upcoming show

Although beleaguered I will survive to live another day, another week. Looking forward to meeting and greeting everyone at the CAVA opening on the 5thOctober. Who knows, I may get that one more painting done yet. Life is so good.

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One: Multitasking

Multitasking, mixed media, semi-abstract, exhibitions

Multitasking is one of the best ways to maintain a creative flow. At this moment in time, according to my schedule, it is essential. Two of four exhibitions are already up and showing in their respective galleries. One is ready for shipment in early September and the other is under construction.

multitasking, mixed media, semi-abstract, landscape
Ready for shipment

Paying attention

While the intensity of the season may be stressful, I find it helps me focus. In my studio I am in the midst of finishing the edges on a larger canvas as I work on two other paintings in various stages of completion. Another panel awaits in the background, the first layer already adorning the surface. Something tells me to pay attention to the choice of an image before the others are complete. Should I finish all three at once, the flow may slow to a trickle or stop all together.

Necessary distractions

Creativity is a tricky business. Although a constant production encourages a creative flow, I find I cannot concentrate beyond an hour or two before I need a break. Cutting up business cards, preparing invitations, assembling greeting cards are all suitable distractions. Renewing my energy for refocusing on the selection of spaces and values, I often step aside to do less challenging activities, multitasking at its best.

Multitasking, mixed media, semi-abstract, landscape
Under construction

Unexpected encouragement

Occasionally, I receive some unexpected encouragement. My husband popped in the other day and said, “I’d buy that one.” I think it is the first time he actually liked one of my paintings. It is not quite finished. I still have the subtle details to add, like the poetry, the Bible citation and my signature along with the usual protective coats.

Opening receptions

Coming up shortly is my reception for the “Sacred” exhibition in the Glenrose. I plan on a demonstration of watercolour techniques for greeting cards in the foyer. Another task waiting for planning and preparation. A perfect, non-stressful, in-between-focusing distraction. The third exhibition for which I will not be available to install is in Grande Prairie. Instead, I will be in Red Deer for the “Abundance” reception in the Kiwanis Gallery on September 7th.

Multitasking inspiration

Last but not least is the Member Show in CAVA opening on October 5th. I am truly grateful for the depth of my inventory. It has covered three of the four shows. I am still working on CAVA. So, as I prepare for three openings I juggle canvases, multitasking inspiration and focus. All in a day’s work. All the details for my opening receptions and various exhibitions can be found here.

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