Open house and sale of work by Doris Charest

Open house at 33 Rayborn Crescent! Work for sale for one day only. Ten of us have worked for a year to create new work for you.  Come visit us and see what we have done in the past year.  On March 11, 2017, my fellow studio mates and I are having an open house.  This means that from 10 am to 4pm, you can come visit us at our studios.  We are selling and showing work.  There will be some demonstrations.  We are having a silent auction and the proceeds from this go to the food bank.  We are also donating 10% of sales to the food bank.   

There will be work for all tastes- realism, impressionism, expressionism, and contemporary.  There is landscape, abstract, florals, mosaic and more.  We are scrubbing and cleaning so the studio does not look so messy.  So come see our spruced up studios before they get messy again.  

Marketing SOS – Christmas giveaway and sale

The Shack 19 8 xx 10 in. sm IMG_2625 Marketing is a chore to most visual artists.  I have made a resolution to beat this problem.  My first step is writing this blog and committing to the project.

Here is a quote from someone good at marketing (M. Hernandez); The perfect marketer is someone that loves challenges, thrives in uncertainty, can think outside the box, likes to take risks (calculated ones), has boat loads of resilience, patience and energy.

The question is ‘Can I do it?’.  Yes, because I want to get my work known and I want to send my  painting babies to ‘nice homes’ so I can create more.  I love being in the studio and time away is painful.  Marketing is part of the away time.  All the advice says to make a plan.  Break it down into manageable sections and do it!  My plan includes two or three marketing/sales events a year, applying for at least three shows a year and promoting my website more.

Step 1.   My first marketing plan

Marketing strategies say that you need to give in order to receive.  Since it is the giving season, I will be giving away what? That is the question.  I have an idea!  The title will be:  The twelve days of Christmas giveaway.   Since it is near xmas, I am going to do a seasonal sale and giveaway.For twelve days, I will give away something that I have created. Twelve days equals 12 items.

 I do not want to spend a lot on shipping away free products.  I have several online classes, so that is inexpensive to give away.  What else?  Prints.  If the prints can be put in an envelope, that is reasonable.  Cards also.  I have a large supply.  Ideas, ideas…..please come to me………Anyone reading this column, please let me know your ideas.  I could use some help.  

 

IMG_9705

 

You are invited to my art show

September Newsletter and invitation to my September show.
Sunflower in the wind Mixed media on paper 9 x 12 in

Time flies and a lot has happened since the last newsletter.
First, let me invite you to my show at the CAVA Gallery
on Sept. 16th at 7pm.
Address: 9103 95 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6C 1Z4
Phone: (780) 461-3427

The clouds floated by......

The clouds floated by……

The opening night is the best time to visit the gallery. There are snacks and you can talk to the artists. It is a fun time.

I have spent a lot of time in my studio creating for the show coming up. The theme is skies. I love the abstract quality of the colours in the sky and that is what attracted me to this topic. The skies I saw in India last year started me looking at skies here in Alberta. I started seeing colours in the sky that I did not realize were there. One colour leaked into other colours until there was a blanket of multiple colours. I did get carried away with the variety and how they changed every second.
Looking at them, my first thought is that I have become traditional again. I usually like creating abstract work. However, if you focus on the skies, the abstract is there.

Every summer I try something different. This summer, I decided to build a sculpture/sign for the front of our house. My brother built me the form then I filled it with river/lake rock and cement. I put the step by step process on Facebook, if you want to know how it is done. People will now be able to find our house easily. None of the neighbours have a sign like this one. This was a fun project.

Rock sign by Doris Charest

Rock sign by Doris Charest

Shows: The above painting was accepted into ‘Painting on the Edge’ a show with the Federation of Canadian artists in Vancouver. Yahoo! Made me really happy.

A second exciting event happened. I got into the ‘Works on Paper show with the VAAA in Edmonton. This show will be in Edmonton and Calgary. Please check the VAAA web site for dates. Above is one of the three paintings in the show.

Charest 02. The creek by the trees Summer has gone quickly and my studio time limited due to family events but I have taken some great photos that will see me through the winter. We will soon be travelling and I will tell you all about that in the next newsletter.
Up the hill. Graphite, watercolour and collage on paper. VAAA works on paper show.

Charest 01. Up the hill Have a great day and come see me at my CAVA opening. Sept. 16th at 7pm.
Address: 9103 95 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6C 1Z4
Phone: (780) 461-3427

 

Artists Teaching Art

Teaching art is rewarding in ways that I did not expect.  You create a love of art and an appreciation for the basics in art but there is more to teaching than you think. Students teach you, the teacher, something that you may not expect.  Read more… Monet IMG_9160 small A sample of one of the assignments I gave at Ella  –  Painting in the style of Monet

Many artists end up teaching. Some prefer adults and others children. I don’t think it matters who your favorite students are, sharing your skills with others is a reward in itself.

When I teach, my favorite moment is when a student discovers they can create ‘something’ all by themselves. I call this the ‘aha’ moment. Out of drops of paint and a scrap of canvas, they have created and captured a moment in time or a piece of their psyche and creativity. Whether the work is realistic or abstract, capturing something that pleases the eye and the soul is a magic moment. It is equal to the ballet dancer executing the perfect movement, the baseball player hitting a home run, the musician capturing the essence of a piece of music or a hole in one golf shot. A perfect moment.

These moments come out of us in well spaced moments in time. The trick is learning the skills to create the magic moment more frequently. As a teacher, I find that teaching the students the skills to do this and getting the effects they want consistently is my ‘magic moment’ as a teacher. Seeing the students develop abilities that were not quite there before and gain confidence makes my heart warm with joy.

I had one of these magic moments when teaching at ELLA (Edmonton Lifelong Learning Association). For three weeks every year, Ella puts on courses for anyone ages 50+ to enjoy. You can take up to 4 courses a day in a multitude of subjects. There are courses on topics ranging from archaeology, history, music, politics, writing, fitness, using technology or art. There are interest group meetings and lunch hour speakers.

I was teaching an art class called ‘Introduction to Contemporary Painting’. We started learning about Klimt, Monet and Picasso in the first week then created paintings in those styles. Later we went on to try Pop art, Ready-made art, Abstraction, Minimalism, Sociological art, Linear Minimalism and our final project was an installation.

I had a great group of students.  My youngest student was 55 and the eldest 84.  There is one thing that I realized and that there is no age difference when it comes to creating art.  We all create at the stage we left off the last time we did artwork.  Then, we go on from there.  Skills have no age.  You can learn them at any time.  The one important ‘skill’ you need is bravery.  You need to create without fear.  What comes out of you is your own particular interests in colours, marks or shapes.  The way you put it out there is totally formed by all your unique experiences.  Those life experiences will always differ from the person next to you.  What you create will always be unique.  What you need to to be brave enough to accept this, be content with it and go on to carve out your own uniqueness.

This is what I have learned from my students.  They have taught me more than I can ever teach them.  Teaching gives back more than you ever give to others.  Remember this fact.

Below are some of my student’s projects.  I have permission from my students but I have kept the names off to protect their privacy.  Enjoy the variety and quality of this work.  I had a great class! IMG_1059 sm IMG_1060 sm IMG_1061sm IMG_1063sm IMG_1064sm IMG_1065sm IMG_1066 sm

Online classes

IMG_9718 sm

Quiet on the water Online class demo

Developing online classes has been one of my biggest challenges in the last year.  I had to learn new programs and develop some ‘tech’ skills.  I so missed my computer wiz son for help.  However, they do have to grow up and go away, get jobs and lives.  I actually took an online class on how to develop an online class….

I  developed a series for beginners or the ‘new to art’.  I already teach a ‘for beginners’ class at the University for the Education faculty so I am using a lot of what I developed for them as the basis of this series.  I started with watercolour.  I love watercolour and a lot of people do too.  These are simple, easy lessons that any beginner can do.  I added a couple of acrylic and collage.  These are all meant for beginners.  I also have two advanced courses; one on mixed media and another on ‘how to teach an art workshop’.

Developing them was a steep learning curve and I have enjoyed the process (sometimes).  The first videos look very amateurish to me now and I almost want to redo them.  Almost is the key word.  This whole process occurred over 7 months and I put most of them out lately.  I kept fine tuning and fine tuning until I got advice from another online instructor.  He said; Get them out there!  Then I did…..that was another learning curve…..

If you want to get started, time is what you need.  It will take more time than you think to get everything done.  If I had a bit of advice to give, it would be to take your own online class on how to develop an online class.  I followed mine step by step and it worked.

Here is an image from my new series on chalk pastels.   To find this series go to:  Udemy.com or Skillshare.com.   In the search feature, put my name in and you should be able to find the class.

IMG_9711

Sailing away Online class demo

Clutter

Singled out 11 x 12 sm IMG_2458 I had to add this to my blog! It is about messiness and creativity. I am known to be messy and cannot seem to ever get a handle on 'it'. So, this article seems to be made for me.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” -Albert Einstein

Creative thinking is any kind of thinking outside of the lines of conventional reasoning. It’s a loosely defined term to say the very least.  For me, if I cannot see the art materials or artwork, it does not exist....I need to see what is there and what my options are for that moment of creation.

Einstein, clearly a creative man, had no problem with a cluttered desk. He wasn’t alone either. Mark Twain attributed his imaginative characteristics to his cluttered work space. Steve Jobs, the massively successful inventor of numerous Apple products also had a messy desk. According to Vohs, it likely contributed to all of their geniuses.

But what does all that mean for you? Should you just trash your desk and house and call it good? Probably not. Messiness isn’t necessarily disorder. Simply let your things end up where they go.

This is from: http://higherperspectives.com/messy-space-creative/

Travel can influence in many ways

I am repeatedly surprised at what I retain after a trip.  I tend to sample the new foods and talk about them repeatedly to my friends.  After a trip to Mexico, I came back with pure chocolate from Oaxaca and made hot chocolate for my friends and family when I got back.  We were in the middle of winter and it was perfect then.  My long term memories have left with impressions of what I saw and then I go to the easel and paint away.  For the last few years, I have painted scenes of the weather.  I am far from being a traditional painter but my trips lead the way to landscapes.  These are not your run-of-the-mill landscapes but impressions of my experience there.  The skies have been a big influence as has the weather.  My journey to the Himalayas in August is doing the same thing to me.  I am painting skies again.  This is as much a surprise to me as the next person.  I have a tendency to abstract and rarely paint landscapes (usually).  I will have to figure this one out……Maybe, you can help?

Below: Storm….


Rain I 9 x 12 sm IMG_2665

Starting an Etsy shop

-Day at the mountains mixed media on paper $ IMG_9635 I decided to try online marketing. I have decided to open an Etsy shop. I chose Etsy because of the simplicity of the message. It is a shop and there is no pretence to anything else. My shop is not a gallery with hidden messages that you can buy. It is simply a shop. I noticed that there are few painters in the Etsy collection of artists and I hope that is not a deterrent. Here is my plan: I will sell mostly small works and I will start by selling mostly works on paper. Once I get a handle on shipping and the details of selling, I may graduate to bigger items. I will wait and see how it goes first.My first works will be inexpensive and I will gradually work my way to regular pricing. The first people to go to my site will get deals, as they say.

Starting this journey is interesting.  I always hated painting small.  I found that I spent as much time on a small work as I did a bigger work (almost), so I avoided ‘small’.   Now, I am making myself paint small and after about 20 painting, you know, it is not so bad.  I have chosen to specialize in landscape….Alberta, Saskatchewan, BC…..  I have more photos than I want to own up to from our trips to the western provinces for our children’s sport activities.  I have started taking them out and working with them.  I discovered that I like skies; storm, sunsets, sunrises and wispy clouds. I learnt something about myself.

Travelling opens your eyes

Storm

Created after a walk in a snow storm.

Go far away is not important. Going to a location that you have never seen before near your home is travelling too. Or going to a familiar location at the time of year that you have never been. You are opening yourself up to new experiences. For example, I we go camping in the same location every summer with family. However, I have never been there in winter. We decided that we would go there looking for an Xmas tree. Well, that was an eye opener. The beautiful wilderness was completely hidden by a blanket of snow and the landscape looked completely different.  It was a new world. A light snow was falling and it slowly turned into a swirling storm. This painting is the result.