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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One: Friends

friends, collaboration, exhibitions, mixed media

What would we do without friends? August has certainly tested the waters especially with one friend in particular. Doris is always willing to help. Sometimes too willing it seems. Her willingness keeps her out of her studio. Personally, I am very thankful for her help.

Integrity

As a professional artist, one of my main goals is to show up. I show up on time and prepared. It is a mark of integrity. I meet my deadlines and honour my commitments. Without the help of friends this would not be possible. This year has been most challenging.

friends, exhibitions, collaboration, mixed media
A wedding in the offing

Taking a chance

August through autumn has established itself as my busiest time of the year. Extracurricular activities are usually refused or postponed. Sometime during the summer my husband and I received a wedding invitation from a lovely couple who live and work in Alberta. Their roots are Columbian and Argentinian with most of the extended family still living in those parts. The date was set, 10th August in Cartagena. We saw this as a real opportunity to get a taste of South America as well as support them at the beginning of their life’s journey together.

friends, exhibitions, collaboration, mixed media
The welcome window

friends, exhibitions, collaboration, mixed media
Looking down the hallway.

Friends make it possible

Unfortunately for me, the 9th August marked the hanging of a major show in the Mezzanine Gallery at the Glenrose Hospital. The dates were too close. Both Judy and Doris volunteered to hang the show; it takes two for a big one. I left for Colombia on the 7th knowing I would be back in good time to prepare for the next event in Red Deer on the 20th. I thought, “all is well.”

Unpredictable events

The email from my daughter said it all in three words. I knew our nephew had passed away. For the last five and half years he fought his battle with that deadly disease, cancer. We suspected he would not last until Christmas. One never knows. The date is always a surprise. He was the same age as me. We enjoyed many long conversations discussing this life and the next one. He managed to allow his suffering to transform him rather than transmitting his pain on those around him. Very Christ-like. His funeral is on the 20th.

juggling, blog, abundance, creativity, exhibitions
Red Deer is organized

Friends filling the gap

Events such as this cannot be dismissed or postponed. They are what they are. How we handle them reveals our priorities. Doris is again filling the gap. She will take my paintings to Red Deer while I head to Barrhead to give hugs to my niece. Friends make it all possible. Relationships top the bill for importance. In the end, all is well and all will be well.

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One: Office Space

office space, sharing, collaboration, inspiration

Sharing office space with my husband is not always convenient. Occasionally I require the computer to prepare work for silk screening, marketing or for inspirational writing like this blog! Interruptions can disturb preparations at times without dire consequences. On the other hand, I sometimes lose the thread of my thoughts.

Interruptions

Similarly, I tend to interrupt him when I see something interesting or want to share my inspirations. I can see his frustration as he turns his attention to what I might have said with the inevitable, “I didn’t hear you. Could you say that again?”.

Dangerous waters

For him, interrupting can be a dangerous occupation especially when the computer is giving me problems as I load pictures or lose what I have just written. Indeed, I have not yet mastered my temper. And, of course, he does not deserve the ire inspired by technology.

Little blue screen

While the choice of sharing is mine, I am tempted on occasion to move everything into my studio. However, limiting access to the internet is the main justification for separating my computer from my work area. Hours fade so quickly when one gives one’s attention to that little blue screen, unrecoverable hours.

Intolerance

Consequently, when I have succumbed to the temptation of FB or a Ted Talk I resurface somewhat irritated with me. I could have been building my bank of blog material for example. Oblivious to the disturbance in my temperament, an excited, “oh, look at this!” may be greeted with as much tolerance as I have for mosquitos.

Collaboration

Another reason sharing office space outweighs moving is the proximity of information. The dictionaries and thesauri all lie within reach. Having a partner who relishes the written word as much as I do makes composing a joy. Collaboration on poetry and letters to important people results in excellent communication.

Office space humour

Besides his talent with words and innovative ideas, my husband also has a quirky sense of humour. The hours we share working happily side by side fall more on the side of pleasant than irritating. Sharing is often filled with laughter or some profound truth one of us may have discovered. As a result, the arrangement works, and my studio remains sacred. All is well.

Upcoming events

On August 9th some friends will adorn the Mezzanine Gallery at the Glenrose with selections from “Sacred” and “Wildwood”. I will be in attendance on August 31st from 1pm to 4pm. Do drop in.

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One: Supplanted

supplanted, mixed media, semi-abstract, surrender

When the painting takes over I feel certain elements of design have supplanted me and my intentions. Choosing a photo as inspiration is the usual first step in the development of an image. There is something there, catching my eye. A little notan study helps me identify the essence.

supplanted, mixed media, notan, semi-abstract, surrender
Some of this, some of that.

Notan: supplanted already

With my latest painting the notan was just the beginning. I had trouble seeing the rhythm. Not satisfied with either study I decided to use a combination of the two. This marked the first stage of my supplanted position.

Following the usual path

Leaving the photo behind I followed the trails of dripping paint and the chasms of texture as usual. The result showed a sweeping eternity symbol between the contrasted areas of light and dark. My muse awakened.

supplanted, mixed media, semi-abstract, surrender
A different path.

Carried away

Standing back to view the results I decided to go with the flow. Completely ignoring my photo reference, I concentrated on the best of the notan. Rhythm, movement and contrast carried me away as I enhanced the colour combinations.

supplanted, mixed media, semi-abstract, surrender
From the edge

Out of control

Supplanted, not quite in control, I continue to follow the movements knowing everything will change with the next additions of colour, bright and bold. After all, it is fall. Far from done the canvas awaits my next studio session. Titleless and poemless, the image beckons me to sit for a while. Just be.

Lots of shows

Just one of the many paintings earmarked for the upcoming exhibition opening at CAVA on October 5th. I have a few other paintings on the go for that show too. In the meantime don’t miss out on the Mezzanine at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. Or “Abundance” in the Kiwanis Gallery in Red Deer. More info can be found here.

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