Monday, April 28, 2008

This Falls Under The Category "What Was I Thinking?"

I snapped this photo yesterday feeling all "happy and sunny" ....yeah, spring is here. Today I woke up to sleet, rain and wind. Tonight it is supposed to go below freezing...yuck! Poor flowers.

Lately I've been spending too much time reading art blogs. I can't help myself. I so enjoy checking out what others have been working on and posting. I have my usual list of artists I check in with almost daily and one of my favourite blogs is Creative Laundry, Art and Motherhood in the Suburban Wasteland. Not only is it brilliantly written but Ellen is an amazing artist as well. Her blog never fails to remain interesting as well as humourous. Her April 20th post "My Day Without Oil" is so very clever and funny. Today's entry "My Previous Life as A Poodle" took me right back. So in honor of Ellen's post here is my scary 80's hair which leads me to wonder "what was I thinking?"

What was with those glasses? I think Leonardo DiCaprio wore those when he starred in the bio pic "The Aviator". I don't know if you can see but I'm wearing pink stripped satin shorts alla "Olivia Newton John's video "Let's Get Physical". I think I thought I was pretty cool back then but come on....did I own a mirror? Why didn't John tell me I had to lose that look? Probably because he had the same big sunglasses as me and we both thought we were pretty hip. Anyone else brave enough to comment on their 80's look? That's my blast from past. Thanks Ellen for inspiration.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Painting A Day Blogs & The Talented Molly Brose

Work in Paint & Thread

So you know I've been kicking around this idea of selling my smaller pieces, which will be matted but not framed, from this blog for quite sometime. I've gone back and forth with the idea maybe I will, maybe I won't. So as I sit here typing away I've got my framer matting a few for me. I'm going to post them sometime next week. So tune in! There are many artists who are now selling their artwork from their blog as I have recently discovered. I like the idea because I think it makes art more accessible to everyone and it also gets us artists a little bit more exposure. Even though the web may be flooded with small artworks at this point I think each artist has their own talents and strengths and that will attract the type of client who follows their work. Just my thoughts!

Anyone who follows art on the internet is probably aware of the "Painting A Day" movement which was spearheaded by the famously talented artist Duane Keiser. Just in case you don't here's the lowdown.......In 2004 Duane decided to post a postcard size painting on his blog everyday and sell them for $100.00. He could barely post them fast enough as they sold almost immediately. Today he still posts his works from his blog but sells them through eBay. His small paintings sell for around $300.00 or more. You can read more about Duane in this article by U.S.A. Today.

There are also many other groups that have popped up lately such as the Daily Painters Art Gallery. Over 100 artists are represented and they receive about 15,000 views a day. Not bad.....not bad at all. Which now leads me to how I found one of my new favourite artists, Molly Brose. I found Molly's work on the Daily Painters site and absolutely loved it. Her unique work is done primarily in graphite, conte and watercolours. There is something so beautiful in how she is able to capture a story within each piece of her art. The swirling backgrounds done in watercolour add such delicate colour without overpowering the message the work holds. I usually check out Molly's work everyday but I'm not the only one judging on how quickly her work sells. I love "On The Mend" but someone beat me to it......of course the needle and thread totally spoke to me. Molly sells her work for $95.00 each and tries to post 3 or more paintings a week. If you get a chance check out her site. It is a feast for the eyes.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Joys and Horrors of Public Speaking

The Morning Read

Work in Paint & Thread

This Wednesday I am headed to Midland for a lecture and a sort of "show and tell" of my artwork. I remember the first time I was asked to speak to a group and I was so very close to saying "no" just because of the fear it instilled in me.

The first time I remember public speaking was when I was in high school and we had to deliver our book reports orally. As the time due closer for me to stand up in front of my classmates my stomach was doing all kinds of wierd things. The day of, my hands wouldn't stop shaking and neither would my voice, my hands got sweaty and my throat dried up. Can you say "panic attack". That is exactly what it felt like but you know what? I did it and there is a great sense of accomplishment in taking on something that frightens you. It's that whole "stepping out of the box" thing.
I've heard it said that if you are attending a funeral, if given the choice most people would rather be in the coffin than deliverying the eulogy. Maybe it's our deep seated fear of looking foolish in front of others or perhaps thinking our audience won't find us very interesting. Either way it is daunting to stand in front of others........more or less saying "Here I am".

My first talk regarding my work was to a group of about 70......truth be told I don't even remember the first 5 minutes except I thank god that they had a podium for me to stand behind because my hands were shaking so badly I would never have been able to read my lecture unless I had something to put it on. But you know what? .... after that first 5 minutes rolled on by I was feeling pretty good. I actually started to enjoy myself......yeah...enjoy myself.

I think some of that enjoyment was derived by the fact that I spend most of my day alone in the studio. Here was this opportunity for me to talk about my passion, my work, to people who were genuinely interested in what I do. They asked lots of questions regarding my technique, my inspiration etc. etc. In the end I had a good time. Since then I've spoken quite a bit and every time I feel nervous for that first five minutes and then it all gets easier. I think John gave me some great tips.......
  1. Meet as many people as you can before your talk. This breaks the ice.
  2. If your feeling tense, look for someone in the audience who is smiling at you and really fascianted by what your saying. Focus on them.
  3. Remember even if you suck the world isn't going to end.
  4. These people are here because they want to be. They are interested in what you do.
  5. Try to enjoy the moment.........remember "this too shall pass".

Next blog I'm going to be talking about selling online as well as one of my "newest" favourite artists from Washington.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Angst of Teenagers

Yesterday I was reading Tracy Helgeson's blog in which she mentioned that her son was turning thirteen. That really got me to thinking about teenagers in general as I do happen to have two of them.
Teenagers are this strange group of people who are stuck between adulthood and childhood. Every so often you see fragments of their young selves shining through but just as quickly it disappears only to make itself known at another time and another place. There appears to be this struggle between who they are and who they long to become. I think we as adults sometimes forget what a tumulteous period of life it is. At very rare moments they think you are cool (but only if their friends are not around) sometimes they are loving but can just as quickly withdraw with the thought that no one really understands them. The world they live in is something they will have to journey through all the while experiencing their own joys and hardships. As parents we want so badly to ensure that they suffer no adversity but deep down inside we know that it is necessary for them to continue to grow as people.
A friend of John's once said about teenagers, "it is almost as if when your sweet little one turns 13 they enter into a tunnel. Every so often they emerge briefly to see if there is anything to eat, to sometimes watch a movie with you, to do chores grudingly and most importantly to tell you they love you."
So I'm thinking..........after all is said and done and the teenage years have passed, your beautiful sweet child reappears from that tunnel full of all their experiences, good and bad, and you truly realize.......maybe you really did do a lot of things right.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Some amazing weather has just begun here in Ontario and I for one couldn't be happier. Everyone I run into just seems to be in a better mood seeing that the long, cold winter we've just experienced is drawing to a close.

I picked up my artwork this morning for the Carriage House Show and I just couldn't be happier. Diane took each one out to present to me and I felt the chill start at my toes and eventually work it's way to the top of my head. I just couldn't believe the work could look that wonderful. I'm not going rattle on again about framing as I did that in my last post but suffice to say.........I am one happy girl.
Below you can find the before and after of "The Village". It started out with a plain white mat and a brown wood frame. Here is before minus the frame because I couldn't find a shot of it........just imagine that there is a brown wooden frame around it. The size was originally an 8"x10" but is now a 16"x12". It goes without saying a photo can never take the place of seeing it live.....besides I'm not a great photographer either as you can see by how lopsided the photo is.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Surviving The Flu and A New Look For Older Work

Well here it is Friday and I really feel I haven't accomplished a lot this week. Monday John was sick with the flu and Tuesday I came down with it. It was only the 24 hour variety but it still knocked me out for a few days after just trying to regain my strength. When I finally made it out of bed on Wednesday to get some juice, I walked into the kitchen and promptly walked back to bed pulling the covers over my head. Guess I was hoping beyond hope that when I got up again the kitchen would look decent instead of looking as if they had a dinner party for 25 but forgot to clean up afterwards. I knew there was trouble when John left for work that morning and said "sorry about the kitchen". That is a sure sign to not get out of bed at all. But I know they tried their best............she says with a concerned look ................ on the bright side they did take good care of me even though the girls wouldn't come in the bedroom. They just stood at the door with worried looks on their faces asking how I was feeling. No wonder they looked worried...when I got a glance at my face in the mirror that afternoon I was shocked. When did I start looking 103? It briefly crossed my mind that if there was a fire I would have to leave the house looking this way. Yikes!

Last week I brought out all of my work and set it up in my studio just to get a good look at what I had for the show in June. Although I loved the work I wasn't crazy about the matts and frames I had originally picked out. When the work was first completed I thought plain white matt and a plain wood frame was what I was looking for but now it just seemed to lack presence. Recently I had seen a style of framing I was interested in which took a smaller image and used a larger matt. I felt a lot of my more urban pieces were missing the punch I thought they deserved. I knew I wanted something that was a bit edgier and more dramatic. My favourite framing shop which luckily just happens to be up the road, The Village Gallery was having a huge sale so off I went to see Diane.

With framing you do have to be careful to not let the frame take over the work. It should compliment it but not overpower it. The last thing you want as an artist to to have the viewer see the frame first and the work after. There are many theories on framing .....I just read a blog in which the blogger talked about how framing seems useless as usually the person who decides to buy your work reframes it anyway. If someone buys a piece of my art and then decides to reframe be it..... but I feel when the work is shown it is my job to have seen in the best possible light with my vision for it firmly in place.

Diane, Buffi and Lorraine at the Village Gallery are just about the "best". Diane and Buffi spent two hours with me going though various options for changing the work up a bit and creating a more edgier look and feel. This is one of the perks of living in a small village........walk up the street to your local framers who also happen to be your good friends. Everyone knows everyone here which depending on how you look at it could be a blessing or a curse.

We took "The Village" and removed the existing matt and frame and used a black extra wide matt and this gorgeous burnished frame........almost has a deep copper look to it. They raised the double matt which gives it a very three dimensional look and I absolutely love it. It totally changes the work and gives it a more intimate feeling..........don't know how to describe it any better than that. We decided to do "Early Morning" that way also as I have always felt they were a pair having both been inspired by the beautiful village of Sintra in Portugal. The colour from both of these pieces just pops against the darker matt. Yes, as you can tell I am very excited.

Well I am back in the studio today......seems spring has left as quickly as it arrived. They are even calling for wet snow the next few days. Good weekend to sip some tea and get out a good book. Wow, I really nattered on for quite a long time today. I must be feeling better.

Hope everyone is well and ..........healthy.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sure Signs of Spring

Seeing laundry on the line has always been a sure sign of spring to me. This is my neighbour's laundry but John put up our line today so come tomorrow, which I hear is going to be warm, you'll find me outside with my wooden clothespegs hanging clothes. We have been experiencing some fabulous weather lately.........this past winter was one of the longest I can remember.

We now even have a cleared path to the compost which may not seem that important to some but it was a real slog making your way down there with all the snow. Looking at this photo does remind me that we desperately need to stain the deck this spring......yuck!

Meanwhile on the art front, I am posting another piece in progress as the last one I posted got tea spilled on it. When will I learn to ever learn not to bring drinks into the studio and place them on my work area? At least I wasn't that far into it. So this will be the piece I'll be posting in various stages of progression. Right now it is just basic roughed in acrylic on cotton. I think the only section of this piece I'll not threadpaint will be the sky that way the trees will seem quite three dimensional against the flatness of the blue. Hope everyone's having as warm a weekend as I am.
See ya!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Where It All Begins

This is a new piece that is just at the first stage of progress. It all begins with the cotton and the paint. I generally like stretching my cotton onto a frame before I paint it as it adds to the stability of the's not shifting all over the place. I always begin in the background so after the work is removed from the frame I'll begin blocking in the trees that are furthest away from me. They will get worked in thread as well as the background leaves and branches. After that is done I'll spend the majority of my time working on the foreground. I am envisioning lots of tiny bits of lavendar amongst the grasses.

When I was out this morning I picked up some new thread as I am also working on a hibiscus flower for the show in June and surprisingly enough only had three spools of different pinks. Guess pink doesn't come into play that much in what I've been doing up to this point but perhaps the hisbiscus flower will change all that.

Last week Sue emailed me asking me if I stretch my work in a hoop. Yes and no. The problem I've always had with the hoop is how very limiting it is and the fact that I have to stretch and restretch my work depending on what area I'm working on. Lately I've been stablizing it with canvas which really seems to work best for me.
My site has now been launched at the OCC. While your there check out some of the other amazing artists the Council represents.