One: Marketing

Marketing, finishing touches, ceiling mirror,
Writing in the poetry

Putting together the last details of a solo exhibition always takes more time than planned. For my upcoming solo in November I decided to create my own deadline: I will finish all paintings by the end of September. October provides the time to complete the finishing touches on the work (edges, poetry, varnishing), sending the necessary information to VASA, the host gallery, archiving, advertising and marketing.

Marketing on Facebook and Instagram

marketing, Bible verses, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape
Writing in the Bible quotes

Part of my work is learning how to promote it and sell it. Lately I took the opportunity to listen to several different presentations on how to use Facebook and Instagram as the primary vehicles for marketing. One of the webinars suggested better results come with multiple images not only of work available but some of the artist as well. The trick is to have enough engaging photos so the viewer must click to see more. Videos are by far the most popular.

Videos and multiple photo presentations

Marketing, video, technical challenges,
No longer a moving video…

This week I discovered how difficult it is to produce a video with my iPad. Taking a selfie with this device is also challenging as the button for the camera is nowhere near my available thumb. They designed cellphones for this purpose. Why choose an iPad? Well, if I wish to put up more than one photo at a time on Instagram the iPad is the unit that provides the marketing opportunity. Perhaps I am just technically challenged. Taking the photos directly from Google Photos (where the pictures from my phone and my camera are stored) only allows one at a time posting to Instagram. My husband suggested I ask him to take the videos. Next time.

A book clients can hold

neomosaic, semiabstract landscape, mixed media
One of the last few

Another marketing tool I am working on for this show is a poetry book. Often the poems created for each piece do not appear beside the paintings. On this occasion I am testing out a little poetry book that people can take to the paintings and read the poem with the artist notes. Cost is prohibitive. Nonetheless I took the time to design something on Word. Shortly I will be taking it to some publishers to see about binding possibilities.

Hiring for marketing

Marketing is all in a day’s work for any artist who wishes to a viable enterprise. Learning curves are expected. Time spent hopefully converts into a growing bank account. Instead of doing the work myself I could hire. That depends on sales or cutting down on materials. Every decision entails a price and a benefit. Keeping a balance is essential. Deciding to have fun helps. 

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One: Titles

titles, blog, cocreation, mixed media, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape,
“Cracks/brisures”, a particularly appropriate title

Selecting titles for my paintings is not a precise science. Poetry has more to do with it. Because I wish to create some mystery, dropping clues here and there about what the work is saying, I spend a lot of time with titles.

Titles often come from poetry

titles, blog, cocreation, mixed media, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape,
“Backwaters/dans les coulisses”, my husband helped with this one

First of all, the selection remains one of the last tasks in the production line. Occasionally I am inspired to write and find myself whipping off several poems in a row all on the same theme. Usually, titles hide inside poetry. While this may be a fun exercise, I find the paintings do not always fit what I have written.

Usually titles come at the end

“Errant/divergence”, is going to show in Salmon Arm

Consequently, I leave the poem until I have finished the work. At the moment I have a painting awaiting a title. For the most part, titles come easily. Inspired by the image, the poetry flows and amidst the words of the poem the gem resides. Not so this time. In fact, I have a backlog of poetry to do.

Sometimes the muse delays

titles, blog, cocreation, mixed media, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape,
“Higher Ground/exemple”, definitely inspired

Forcing the muse is not a good idea. Rather than insisting on a completed painting immediately, I turn my attention to other things, like a new coat of molding paste, or beginning another image. I trust, in time, what I have sought will show itself when the moment is right. Perhaps all I need do is sit down and allow myself to connect for a while. Titles inspired by the Holy Spirit are the best. I could try getting out of the way….

Help comes in more than one form

“Illusion”, now showing at St. Joseph’s College

In addition to my muse, I must admit to some rather important help from my husband. When I do finish a poem, it is written on a scrap piece of paper and placed on his keyboard where he will be sure to find it. Often, he has excellent suggestions to improve the wording and thereby better titles.

Not all titles are necessarily good

titles, blog, cocreation, mixed media, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape,
“Spirit Dance/l’âme”, one of my favorites

Nevertheless, not all my titles are good ones. Some are too mysterious or cryptic. As much as I would love the Spirit to move me all the time, this is not always the case. Practical is good too, just not inspired.

Upcoming exhibitions

Besides titles, my world approaches another time of exhibitions and therefore some publicity preparation. DEVENIR has a show in August in Salmon Arm and I have a solo in Canmore at the end of August. As well, St. Joseph’s College in Edmonton has offered me some walls to display my work for an extended period of time, very useful for freeing up space in my storage unit. And one never knows.  Check out all my upcoming events here. Have a great week.

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One: Back on Track

Back on Track, neomosaic, semi-abstract landscape, mixed media, deadlines
Almost done

With the onset of summer, such as it is, my studio time is back on track. In fact, I am making up for lost time by starting earlier and stealing hours in the evening when the opportunity knocks.

Way behind

Back on Track, neomosaic, semi-abstract landscape, mixed media, deadlines
The beginning

Deadlines have always been beneficial to my production rate. I had anticipated producing about three paintings per month to meet the November requirement. Both May and June were unusually otherwise occupied. As a result, I managed only one painting, having decided to redo another. Two in two months resulting in one total…. I could panic. Probably a waste of time.

Back on track

Being back on track means I am putting in a minimum of twenty hours per week in my studio. While the hours are not always filled with painting per se, I am attending to other necessary items as I wait for paint to dry. As I have mentioned in previous posts, my attention span to actual production is limited. Focusing on the various elements of the creative process takes its toll. So, after about an hour or two I need to regroup with less stringent activity.

Other projects

Back on Track, neomosaic, semi-abstract landscape, mixed media, deadlines
Demanding attention

In addition to the paintings for the solo, another project is due on the twenty-third of this month. Back on track does not mean I will be able to meet all obligations. I may or may not get that one done. Should I happen on an idea for the blank piece of paper it would help. In the meantime, its pristine whiteness nags at me from a distance.

Back on track helps with the backlog

Furthermore, a recent acceptance into the Alberta Society of Artists’ show “Earth” entails the construction of a solid shipping box so the painting can move from venue to venue with ease. Another side project is well on its way; the veils for the solo are almost caught up with the finished paintings. The stack of work awaiting the photo shoot and the final coats of varnish is growing as well. Being back on track may mean I will manage to get it all done.

Stepping up my game

Back on Track, neomosaic, semi-abstract landscape, mixed media, deadlines
Growing stack

I may have to step up my game further due to the fact that August is pretty much a write-off as well. Several sojourns outside the province and a family camping trip will eat up at least three weeks. My internal deadline for November is the end of September. The plan leaves enough time for completing the details. The devil is in the details as the saying goes. I may be able to chase him away with my back on track schedule. After all, I only have ten more canvases without images…. Twenty-five paintings may just have to do.

For a sneak peek at what is coming in November, take a look at my new page “One: Neomosaic” on my website. If you wish to see my work in person there are two venues open at the moment. Check for the details here.

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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: 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: 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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