Are you a perfectionist? I USED to be...or so I thought. I realise I still am... I experienced an "artist's block" from about Thanksgiving to the New Year. I couldn't shake this gremlin sitting on my shoulder telling me that everything I created was NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
That voice would shout loud and clear as I approached the easel, picked up my sketchbook or even glanced at the unfinished works sitting at my workstation! I was in the DOLDRUMS!
"Teddy" acrylic on masonite 8X10 in. Private Collection
To my dismay, this creeping gremlin showed up when I was working on TWO commissions. I was working on a portrait of Teddy (from Arion Farms...he's my favourite!) and a poppy painting for a Texas friend. Poor Teddy languished on my easel along with a field of unfinished poppies ! How did I get through it all??
Well, once I got through with the moping :-), I shouted to myself ENOUGH! AND I rolled up my sleeves and went back the the beginning. It was this small sketch of Teddy that helped me.
"Sketch of Teddy" acrylic on canvas panel 5X7 in. Private Collection
I don't want to say that taking commissions created the block...I really think I was on my way to a block...now that I look back. There certainly is more pressure to create that perfect painting for someone else...the work is not just about ME anymore!
One big change that I will pursue is one that I've heard other professional artists suggest about commissions:
Paint 2-3 variations of that commission. This can be done in different ways...small sketches (sort of what I did with Teddy) or 2-3 larger pieces of the same theme or request. Then the collector can choose. This concept of choice leaves the "critiquing" to the collector not to the perfectionist gremlin!
It's like practising a piece of music. I need to play things over a few times (well in music for me LOTS of times!) until I learn to interpret and connect with that song. I can apply this to my paintings.
Angie and Michelle...thanks for your patience while I worked through all of that.
"Angie's Poppies" acrylic on Gallery wrapped canvas 16X20 in. Private Collection
BTW, this weekend Castanet News
posted a new video for Arion Farms
and guess who the Star is? Teddy! and his great owners! Take a look!
"Yellow Rose Up Close" acrylic on masonite 6x6 in. $60.
"Roses and Others" after Hedi Moran acrylic on canvas panel 8X10
I'm still painting flowers. I did this vase of flowers from a DVD workshop by artist Hedi Moran
. She specialises in flowers and if you follow the link you'll see some of the gorgeous bouquets she paints. I learned a ton...I find the background a bit dark so I may play around with that yet...not bright enough for me!
We had loads of snow last week...likely the most all winter. Nearly all gone now. The winter hikes last week with the doggie were literally...filled with lots of snowballs!
Austin's do-it-yourself mukluks!
On a trail that I hike quite often, is a tree that I OFTEN overlook :-) and it is filled with stars, angels, and other pendants. On this snowy day I discovered that one of the decorations was actually a music box. I wound the key and the boys and I and the dog listened to a melancholy melody in the woods (it reminded me of a piano melody by Schumann that I played as a kid).
It became one of THOSE "moments", the quiet woods, the sad melody, the unsaid questions...and we wondered about the tree, its many angels, stars, and pendants.
Happy Valentine's Day all! Here's a Valentine for you! And a flower...of course! Just wanted to share these images with you. More flowers coming, much love always!
"Happy Valentine 2012" Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas $60
side view of gallery wrapped canvas "Happy Valentine 2012"
"Pink Impression" acrylic on masonite panel 6x6 in $60
Did you know I love pink??! Growing up I detested it...I was a tomboy...I liked cowboy boots, cowboy hats, Batman, Spiderman, etc...little boys had waaaay more fun back then :-)...But now pink represents to me calm, feminine strength and peace ... so I love it.
I'm not sure what my FAVOURITE color is. In fact, the more I paint the less I think I have a single favourite...although greens and blue greens come in pretty close!
So what is your favourite colour(s)? What does it (they) mean to you?
This past week was FOGGY! The clouds were at the valley bottom, the COLD chilled me right through...temperatures were mild but it just felt COLD! And it was lovely...the beauty of the frost all around the Okanagan was unbelieveable. Here's a couple shots I took out in the back yard.
Frosty garden fence
I didn't announce this before Christmas, because I was waiting for my official paperwork...which was "delayed" until after January 1, but I was adjudicated in to the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) as an Active member! I had to submit my work (in this case, my website showcasing my work), to our Chapter officials and I'm happy to say I was accepted. This Active status gives me more opportunity to enter juried shows, thus gaining more exposure to potential clients and other artists. I'm looking forward to submitting more work! It's very motivating.
Here's are links to the Canada wide FCA site
and our Central Okanagan Chapter
site. I'll soon have my name in the list of artists. Stay tuned!
"Purple Pansy Act Two" acrylic on masonite 6X6 in $60
"Shasta Daisy Bunch" acrylic on masonite palette knife painted 6X6 in. $60
Thanks for all those FLOWER suggestions...I have so many ideas now from medicinal plants, pussy willows, hydrangeas, lavendar, geraniums, sunflowers....!
I've painted more pansies, daisies, roses...a couple I'm not so happy with and will be re-assessing :-)...What I don't like I paint over! So far I've done 8 little flower paintings and one large one. Will post THAT experience early next week!
I couldn't resist the rhyme! Pansies are from the Viola family of garden flowers. They are so hardy and they are one of my favourites. I'll be painting a few more of these this month! Soon I'll be able to get these from the nursery for the front step!
"Pansy Act I" acrylic on canval panel 5"x7" $60
Did you know that a tansy is a wildflower and is a member of the aster family? Originally from Europe, it was introduced to North America in the 1600's...so its been around for awhile and some provinces/states consider it a noxious invasive plant. When we lived in North Delta, near Vancouver, I frequently saw tansy in Burns Bog, a wonderful place that the boys, dog and I walked. I'll see if I can find some photos and paint it!
What are your favourite flowers?? and Why?? Let me know...maybe I'll paint them!
Ah February...the month where it can freeze, melt, snow, freeze, melt, warm up, freeze...It's been especially mild here. I don't mind!
The Old English word for this month was Solmonath which means mud month! There are lots of traditions celebrating the return of the light, celebrating hearth and home and expectations of spring like Imbolc or St. Brigids' Day, Candlemas and Ground Hog Day. Then there are other celebrations like Black History Month, Valentine's Day, Flag Day! A drab and dreary month still holds lots of variety and expectation for the spring!
"Wild Blooms Study after Richard Schmid" acrylic on masonite panel 6"x6"
In celebration, my first flower theme post is this little study in the style of Richard Schmid
. Mr. Schmid is an American artist and a living master. I have an instructional DVD of his that I view regularly...he is a wealth of information.
"Little Girl Study after Hawthorne" acrylic on panel 5"X7"
Untitled Work by C.W. Hawthorne
The painting on the left is my own interpretation of American artist Charles W. Hawthorne's untitled painting on the right. He was the founder of the Cape Cod School of Art
I needed to know how Hawthorne painted the light on her hat, her pigtails, her chin...I didn't come close to getting the colour the same and my drawing skills need improvement...but I wanted to capture the light...
And to set people at ease about copying...read this book! And remember...don't sell a copy as your own work...there are copyright rules about that. Use it as an opportunity to learn!