Saturday, March 31, 2012

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Counting Blessings

WIP of Trees
Title?

After posting yesterday's entry and having a good cry, I did feel better. 
Then I painted. As I was painting, I started to count my blessings.
That always helps put things into perspective.
First and foremost are my children, of course. They bring me more joy than just about anything.
Then I realized that through all the hard times, I was not truly alone.
Not only is God just a prayer away but he has sent so many wonderful people into my life.
I continue to be blessed with a wealth of friends and people that care.
They have uplifted and supported me in more ways than they will ever know.
Even your comments and many of your works of art give me encouragement.
So, thank you to all of you.
I love my students, my friends, and my followers. 
And yes, I still love being an artist. Even if it is hard.

The above painting is what I am currently working on.
It is of the forest close to my home in Vancouver.
There has been peace found in many of my walks through them.
They brought me peace again yesterday as I painted.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

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Blossoms Exhibit


Purple Pinstripes
14x20"

Butter and Sugar
14x20"

Two of my paintings have been selected for inclusion in the Federation of Canadian Artists Blossoms Show.
They are the two paintings above, Purple Pinstripes and Butter and Sugar.
I entered both and was pleased that they both got in.
The show runs April 3-15 at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island.


Both of these paintings were already framed for another show but I discovered that Butter and Sugar had fallen in the frame. I had bought some new linen tape to hold my paintings in place but realized that it doesn't work very well. Almost every painting I use it with falls off the mat. 
I have since bought new tape but now I needed to reframe the painting.
Now you need to understand something.
I HATE FRAMING!!!
It is the bane of my existence as an artist.
My kids know that the only time I swear is when I am framing.
They have since learned to avoid the dark cloud of profanities coming from my studio whenever I do need to frame.

My whole framing experience started over the weekend just for this one painting.
I unscrewed the screws. Peeled off the backing. Pulled out the painting. And retaped it to the mat.
Easy enough. 
This is when the problems start. 
I try to wipe down the plexiglass very carefully using a damp cloth, then a dry one, and finally a dusting brush.
But no matter what I do, there is always dust and ever worse: black dog hair!!!
AAAAAAA!
I threaten my dog with a shaver everytime I see those black dog hairs. 
I finally get rid of the hairs, put it back in the frame, secure it and go to put on another paper backing to discover I am out of double sided tape.
Of course.
I always run out of something while framing. I am actually surprised I got this far along before I discovered this. Okay. I need to go buy tape. Sigh. Don't feel like that now. I will go tomorrow to Staples to get tape. Good thing it is only Sunday.
Only on Monday my husband needs the car. 
Okay. I can do it Tuesday. Paintings aren't due until Thursday. Plenty of time to go Tuesday. So I go Tuesday. It is only an hour of my time out of my day to get tape. Plus I need it to secure my bio and my acceptance notification to the back of the painting. But I need to find those on my computer first. And I have a folder filled with about 20 bizillion different bios depending what I need them for. Looking for the right one, printing out 2 as well as trying to find that darn acceptance email only took about 30 min. That is a record.
Okay. Stuff secured to the back.

Whew! I look at the clock to figure out if I have time to take them to Granville Island.
I figure in need 90 min. for that trip. 
Nope. Need to pick up the kids in just over an hour. Wednesday will work.

So yesterday after my long run, I finally made it to the Gallery.
And it wasn't raining. I hate delivering paintings in the rain. 


It only took me 3 days and 2 hours to do so.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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The Artist Life

Moment of Wonder
My son, age 3 
(2005)

Now that I have been told I am living The Artist Life
I am trying to figure out what that means.

What exactly is the artist life?
There seems so much to juggle with being a mother and a professional artist.
Is this the artist life?
I am not sure. But this is my life and I have decided that I need to journal it better than I have been.
Up until now I have shown mostly my finished pieces and my achievements.
But that is only part of the story. 
There has been so much heartache for several years that it makes the achievements that much sweeter.
I do want to look back and remember how sweet they are and I want others (especially my children) to realize that blessings come in so many different ways.
Being a mother and an artist has its rewards.

So from now on I want to speak of the heartaches and the struggles of balancing motherhood and a career in the arts along with the joys and the triumphs (and perhaps a bit of the mundane). 
I hope that you will continue with me on this journey.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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Yeah! I'm An Artist!

My Studio

A couple of weeks ago while I was in Victoria, I had a chance to visit with my good friend and studio partner from UVic, Cindy Ackland. We had a lot to catch up on since parting last August and are both excited to see everyone from our group when we return this summer. 
(For those of you that don't know, I am working on my Master's degree from the University of Victoria).
She made a comment to me that gave me pause. Cindy said that out of the whole group of artists, she felt like I was the one living The Artist Life the most.
Huh? I'm an artist? 
I have never really embraced that part of me. I know that seems weird but I have always felt like I was aspiring to be an artist, not an actual artist living the artist life. 
Then I realized that I am an artist!
I am!
Yeah! I'm An Artist!

Finally.

So I have been celebrating this fact by telling everyone that I am an artist.
Then the other day I received an email from Ariane Goodwin who is the founder of the smARTist-Telesummit. I subscribe to her tips and general good info about being an artist. 
Her tip for that day was to ask yourself  "Why on earth do you want to make a living as an artist?"
I thought about it and guess what?
I got through 4 reasons! 
Then I was stumped.
Hahahaha!

Here are my four:
1. I wanted a career where I could be home for my children. 
2. I love to paint!!
3. It is the only thing I know how to do.
4. I see . . . negative spaces!!
(I joke that I make a living seeing things in paint)

But as I was running this morning, I came up with 6 reasons of why I continue to want to make a living as an artist.
They are:
5. Why start over now? I mean, I am nearly 40 ( I am still 39! and I like it here so I think I will stay) and I have spent almost half my life doing this! (see #3)

6. I love a challenge and what could be more challenging than motherhood? (which I nailed when I had my 2 kids) 
Why being an artist, of course!

7. Even though I feel (and my kids feel) like I work ALL the time, I do like the flexibility. I can continue to be there when my kids need me. I love that they want to do their homework in my studio while I am painting. 

8. It gives me courage. I really am a timid and shy person. The thought of applying for a job has always made me anxious and scares me to death. It continues to scare me to death. I have a hard time approaching people I don't know. I mean, I can't even ask the young grocery clerk where the yogurt covered pretzels are. My kids have to ask (true story- just happened yesterday)  But put me in front of a group of people and ask me to paint, I can paint! And enjoy doing it!

9. It has sustained me emotionally through my trials. It has been my therapy and my solace. 
It is my time to converse with God. It is also how I honor the gift that He has given me.

and one of the most important reasons why I continue:
10. I have been blessed by my associations with so many wonderful people that call themselves artists and aspiring artists. I never would have had these awesome people in my life if it weren't for art. 

So, thank you for being one of the best reasons to paint and to keep painting!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

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Orpheum Theater

Orpheum Theater
21x29"

I was suppose to have this painting done by now. But it isn't.
I was suppose to have posted a week ago. And I didn't.
I have a huge show that goes up in one month and I am suppose to be further along with everything.
And I am not.

The other day I needed to clean my studio and my house. I have class on Fridays in my studio and since it is spring break here, one of my students was bringing her kids along to hang out with my son during the class. Not only was my studio a mess but so was my house. And I needed to find the photos a client left with me. They are coming next week to pick up the painting and their photos. Do you think I remember where I put the photos? No! They left them with me before I moved!
So I decided to go through my filing system to try to find them. My filing system is a few boxes of papers thrown into them. (I may seem organized but I am sooooo NOT!!!) On Thursday afternoon I had one table covered with papers from one box o' stuff. Another covered with my painting, palette, brushes, etc. And a third covered with what I was photographing for Watercolor Weapons.
I went through the papers. Didn't find the client's photos but I did throw out lots of paper. Yeah for me! 
Then I started to clean up the painting stuff, sweep the studio, and take out the garbage. Got that done. In the middle of it, my husband texted me and asked me to send him some info. Booted up the computer, found the stuff, sent it off. Only took 45 min. Then my daughter (who was visiting friends for spring break) texted me just to chat. I love that she does that but that meant taking the time to text back. And I am slow at texting.
In the meantime, I put my reference photos for Orpheum in a place where I would be sure to find them.
What did I do Friday? Ha! No painting for sure. More cleaning of the house though. 
Yesterday I went to find the reference photos so I could finish the painting and couldn't remember where that special spot was.
Spent an hour looking for them.
Decided I must have put them in the pile of papers that I tossed into the recycling. Thank goodness the recycling isn't picked up til Tuesday. But they weren't there. Now I felt like I was going crazy. I lay down on the floor of my studio, stared at the ceiling and tried to tell myself to forget about it. Work on another painting and it will appear sometime in the next month. 
By this time I was exhausted though. Went out to a movie the night before. Had a long run that morning. (Did I tell you I am training for a 10K? That is a whole other story!) Went grocery shopping and ran out to the ferry to pick up my daughter. I really needed a nap and it was time to put in the roast that was planned for Sunday's dinner and became Saturday's dinner because we are apparently are now going out to dinner on Sunday. 
So I put in the roast and decided to lay down for 30 min. Then I will work on dinner and after dinner I will paint. Perhaps that special spot will come to me in a dream. It didn't. And the 30 min nap turned into an hour nap. It was now nearly 6 and still no painting. After dinner, dishes. After dishes, Watercolor Weapons. After WW, the kids wanted to watch a movie with me. The list goes on. 
Among all this I kept going back to my studio trying to find those darn photos.
And guess what? I found them!!
You'll never believe where.
Underneath my palette where I was sure to find them the next time I opened it to paint.
Only I thought I needed my photos before I opened my palette to paint.
But by this time it was dark in my studio and I really don't like painting in a cold, dark studio.
Plus my studio is a mess once again as I tore it apart looking for the photos I put away to make it look clean.

Monday, March 19, 2012

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NWWS International Exhibition

Cordoba Cafe
21x29"

I got home late this afternoon from my awesome trip to Victoria to discover some exciting news. 
My painting, Cordoba Cafe, has been accepted into the Northwest Watercolor Society's 72nd Annual International Open Exhibition.
Woohoo!
The show is being held at the Seattle Design Center April 23-May 25, 2012.
More information can be found on their site by clicking here

Monday, March 5, 2012

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Solar Flare

Solar Flare
watercolor
11x14"

In the midst of a dreary weekend, I decided I needed to paint something bright, cheery, and sunny. 
Solar Flare is a tulip in such rich yummy colors that I spent all day Saturday and part of Sunday painting it. It made me feel warm inside and out. 

This is one of the paintings that I will be teaching for my Dynamic Watercolor Florals Workshop on March 17-18 at the  Coast Collective Gallery in Colwood , BC.
There is still space in the workshop but hurry and sign up before it fills!
To register please contact the Coast Collective Gallery at 250.391.5522
or by emailing them at classes@coastcollective.ca
The Coast Collective is open Wed-Sun, 12-5pm 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

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East End Girl

East End Girl
12x19"

I was going through some of my old files the other day and came across this portrait that I did many years ago.
It is of a street person here in Vancouver long before I had any idea we would end up moving here. My brother-in-law offered to show me and my camera around the city. This lovely woman ended up walking with us down the street and talking our ears off. I then explained to her that I am a watercolor artist and asked if I could take her photo. She was thrilled.
East End Girl is the finished piece.

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