Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Journey of Artistic Discovery

experimenting with tar gel

I am swimming in artistic inspiration, playing with colour, tools and style. I am thirsty for knowledge, reading, learning, discovering the work of artists who came before me - of artists who are there now. I am enamoured with creative possibility.

I tell myself that it's an unnecessary indulgence, struggling with feelings of selfishness and arrogance: "Who am I to think I can paint anything interesting or worthwhile?" I tell myself I should hold back. But luckily an even louder voice tells me to just forge ahead and see where it goes.

So will I forge and play without expectation. I will study and show up and see what comes, feeding my curiosity and enjoying the journey as it unfolds.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Little Bit of Different

I must have been inspired by the Canadian landscapes I've been reading about these past few weeks, this is a new result for me in creative play. I foresee a bit of tweaking here & there, but I like where they're going!

newlyweds - work in progress

bygone era - work in progress

Saturday, January 23, 2010

An Enhanced Art Viewing Experience

North Shore, Lake Superior (Lawren Harris)

LinkI sat on the lone black leather bench positioned in the middle of the room and took it all in: straight ahead through a doorway, on the far wall of an adjacent gallery, Emily Carr's The Welcome Man and Fir Tree and Sky; to my left, Tom Thomson's Pine Island; to my right, Lawren Harris' iconic North Shore Lake Superior (above). It was all so beautiful I suddenly wanted to cry, tears welling quickly and unexpectedly.

I'd seen these pieces before, but never did they trigger such intense emotion. I blame three things:
  • a spontaneous library find called Great Canadian Painting - A Century of Art (published in 1966) through which I'm learning more about Canadian artists with whom I'm already familiar and discovering artists I never even knew existed,
  • Emily Carr's Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of an Artist, and
  • my taking up painting.
With just the little bit of knowledge gained through the first book and the glimpse into Ms Carr's interior landscape through the second, I felt a more intimate connection to the work in front of me.

I imagined Tom Thomson painting in full woodsman garb and a canoe; wondered if Emily Carr was dealing with turmoil the day she painted those two pieces or if she felt peaceful and content. I was drawn by an inexplicable spiritual quality coming through in Lawren Harris' piece that Ms Carr so admired in his work.

I also looked at colour, composition and brush strokes with a new perspective. I leaned in close and studied the paintings at different angles to observe textures and layers, taking mental notes to emulate some of it back in my studio, anxious to learn even more through practice.

Frankly it all took me by surprise. I had no idea that satisfying an artistic curiosity would have such an effect.

The moral of this story you ask? Learning about art - and artists - has the potential to enhance one's art viewing experience tenfold, adding depth and intimacy where before there was merely interest and admiration. I believe it; today's experience was my personal proof in the pudding.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Showing Up... (or Defeating Resistance)

For the past several days I'd been itching to paint, but for some reason was resisting in a very big way, finding every excuse in the book to avoid showing up at the table.

Finally, yesterday I decided to just go. I walked to the table, picked up a canvas and chose paint colours.

The results were all over the place (see for yourself below) and although I'm not entirely sure where they'll end up, I'm not sure it matters. What matters is that I showed up and THAT's what'll defeat resistance.

Here's to showing up - one day at a time. [clinking glasses]

unfinished and untitled
(sorry for the glare - bad lighting)

unfinished, inspired by Riopelle perhaps?


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Advance Confidently

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Oh dear Henry, your words never grow old with me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A New Year Braindump

It’s January and I have a confession to make: I've no word for the new year nor do I have any recap or goal-related lists - none written down anyway.

[collective gasp!]

I tend to let things percolate a bit before formalizing anything into lists or plans or goals. I sift through the options and try to sit with them for a while to see how they feel. Of course one could also mistake this for the ramblings of a procrastinator in denial. [cough]

Whatever it may be, to help the process along I thought I'd share a braindump of selected things coming up in 2010 – some entirely negotiable, others not so much (note: although this is technically a list, rest assured there is nothing formal about it other than the use of bold letters and bullets):

  • A new home. The owners of the house we rent today are coming back this summer so we have to find a new place to live. Do we buy? Do we continue to rent? Do we move out to the country? To a small town? Then we pack, unpack and recreate a home, no matter where we decide to go.
  • A new Website. I bought a URL and will likely be moving to Squarespace shortly so I can add features to my blog. Stay tuned…
  • New work projects. Selling my art and writing. Other possibilities to be refined into, or excluded from, a specific action plan: business-related workshops for artists, creativity-related workshops for business folks, a consulting business to help people explore their passions and how they can use them to create one or more income streams.
  • New knowledge. Through books, classes and workshops, but mostly through practice, experiments, and potentially a coach.
  • Basics. I’ve blogged about them before: sleep, morning pages, good food, plenty of water, quiet/couch time, computer-free time and a clean house.
  • Financial health. Furthering my learning and focus on financial intelligence, integrity and independence, taking into account not just the amount of debt or money in the bank, but how I relate to it and its impact on the rest of my life.
  • Fun. Because I seem to have let it slip through the cracks. The past several months have been heavy, heavy, heavy; I want to bring fun and a sense of adventure back into my life.
I don't know how these things will materialize yet. In fact, I'm having a hard time dealing with the amount of unknowns specific to a few of them, but that's a whole other post for a whole other day. Today's goal was simply to show up and share a sampling of what's spinning in this busy little head of mine.

What about you? What good things are you entertaining for 2010? It's ok if you don't have a word and there's no need for formalities, braindumps are more than welcome!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cardboard Playdate #5

...aaaand I'm done:


My fifth and final piece brings this little experiment to a close. Leading me to the table and prompting me to play with different colours, tools and techniques, I consider it a resounding success! So much so that I might try it again. I'll be sure to let you know if I do - perhaps you'll play along with me?

ps - Thank you to all for the encouraging notes and comments.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cardboard Playdate #4

As promised, a picture of yesterday's play:

blank slate

I'm less keen on this one, but I committed to myself that I would post them all here - the good and not so good. One more to go!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cardboard Playdate #3

The light was so bad last night I had to wait till today to take a decent picture - and even then the light wasn't great. Here what I did yesterday:

This one was entirely palette knife play. I love the textures that resulted and am thinking a high gloss finish would highlight them well.

I'm enjoying my little cardboard painting experiment a lot. The fact that it's salvaged cardboard and the small size of the pieces make it very non-intimidating and easy for me to go to the table. Today was the first day I wasn't really happy with the results (pic to come tomorrow), but that's what it's all about... practice and play!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

One Piece of Cardboard...

... five creative play dates.

I decided to recycle a piece of cardboard salvaged from a dismantled gift basket received at Christmas by re-purposing it. I cut it into five pieces, prepped each one with Gesso and designated them play canvasses for the week. The biggest piece is about 5 1/2"x7 1/2".

Five pieces, five days, one piece a day. It's all about play and showing up at the table - there's really no pressure to perform on salvaged cardboard.

Here's my first one, I haven't named her yet:

acrylics and paper on cardboard
approx. 4"x7 1/2"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ottawa PSA: Pay-What-You-Can at the National Arts Centre

A message for the locals: there will be two Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) English Theatre performances at the National Arts Centre (NAC) this month. The first is a little short notice tomorrow night, January 4th, but the second is January 12th:

Night - Monday January 4th, 8pm

Mother Courage and Her Children - Tuesday, January 12th, 7:30pm

PWYC nights at the NAC are a great, frugal way to enjoy a night out on the town and quality entertainment. I've gone a few times and although they reserve the right to stop and adjust the play if they need to (I think it's their final dress rehearsal) it's never happened when I was there. Seating is on a first-come-first-serve basis so go early it you want a good spot.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

a fresh start
(calendar and illustration by Eleanor Grosch)

May 2010 be filled with peace, joy and laughter. May the path to your dreams unfold and the gifts of acceptance and curiosity appear when it veers into unexpected directions. May a thirst for adventure fuel your soul, may moments of stillness bring you back to your Center. May the presence of kindred spirits warm your heart. May the knowledge that you are loved be with you always.

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

Steph :)