2019Last show of the year at High Level DinerFor the month of December, 2019, my work is for show and sale at the High Level Diner in Edmonton. The Diner is also on the top 10 list of places to eat in Edmonton. I can vouch for it. The food is good there. High Level Diner 10912 88 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB (780) 433-0993
Women’s art museumWAM – 200, 8627 91 St, Edmonton, AB T6C 3N1 (780) 803-2016This has been a busy year for shows. My art collective Devenir also showed at the Women’s Art Museum. This is a little known venue that is a gem. This museum collects and shows the work of women in Canada. Don’t hesitate to contact them. They are interested in all kinds of artwork done by women.Here we are at the Women’s art museum with the director- Daniele Labrie
Quite a bit happened this fall. I sold the following piece!!! Yahoo. Also the 30 day challenge led to some sales too. The main goal of the 30 day challenge was to experiment with new media and have some fun painting. Check out my pieces on my facebook page or on instagram.
I continue to teach locally and online. My online classes are growing so check them out: Udemy.com
Since this is the last month of the year, I want to wish you a HAPPY HOLIDAYS. May the holidays bring you lots of chocolate and great visits with friends and family.
My Grandmother, whom we called ‘Mémère’, was a big influence on me but I did not realize it until later. Going to my grandmother’s was my ‘zen’ moment. She liked or loved me as I was and in the moment.. In hindsight, I was probably better behaved at her house than elsewhere because she allowed me to be the person I was. These are the things my grandmother taught me before she passed away…From her, I learned:
1. I am a person worthy of being listened to. She listened to everything I said. She never interrupted. She would smile and give me positive feedback on my questions. She always slanted life towards the positive. I learnt that the glass is always half-full.No matter where you are, or what you’re doing, always believe that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Do the best you can to control your circumstances. Learn to accept that you can’t always control everything. Once you’ve done all that is in your power, if it’s meant to happen — it will.
As an artist, I take the time to be like my grandmother and listen. Clients like it because they feel special. They listen back, most of the time. Just listening and adding positive comments changes people’s attitudes towards your creative practice. They see you as a nice person and therefore your creative practice is a positive.
2. Focus on one thing at a time. Invest energy into that activity. Don’t get distracted. You don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it right now. Be present, be active, do the best that you can.
As an artist, this took me a long time to learn. I tended to work on painting and sculpture at the same time. A little bit here and a little bit there until it was done. As time went on, this became more and more difficult. I learned to do less and focus on what I was doing. This did not mean that I stopped doing sculpture. I did sculpture in blocks of time and painting in other blocks. I focussed on one media at a time.
3. Don’t change yourself to suit others. Be true to your own personality. Always say what you really think, even if it’s not the popular opinion. Be gentle when you say it. Don’t hurt people if you can help it.
As an artist, you will be asked to create artwork that is not in ‘your style’. Be careful with this temptation. You do not want to loose your reputation for your own style. I am not saying that you should not do these commissions but be careful that you do not get known as the artist who will paint in any style and then your clients will forget that you have a style.
4. Everybody changes. You travel, get a new job, learn new information and therefore change. Every day we learn something new which changes us in some way or another. Sometimes we realize we’re not who we used to be, but that’s perfectly normal.
As an artist, your style will change. Your style will evolve at the same time that you experience new things. This is also normal. Rarely do artists keep with the same style. Some gallery owners will ask that you stick to a style. You can stick to a style and still change. You can incorporate new elements into your existing style. For example, add a new color or a bit of collage to your paintings.
5. Being happy is important. Don’t accept a job just because it will pay you big bucks. Make sure you like this job. In this way, when you’ve reached old age, you’ll understand that the best things in life are things that money can’t buy — love and friendship. Take the time to be nice.
As an artist, you need to balance your creative side with your personal life. Relationships are important so try not to work marathon type hours too often. Don’t forget your family. Learning to balance home and career is one of the hardest parts of having your own business as an artist.
6. There are happy moments in life but not ‘happy forever after’ endings. You will always have challenges to surmount. Never be afraid to leave everything and start anew, no matter how old you are.
As an artist, you will get great commissions or sales that make great happy moments. These will come and go. If ever, your work is not making you happy, don’t be afraid to change. If making sculpture in plaster is no longer selling or you are no longer inspired by it, change to something else. If you are not inspired, it will show in your work. The work will begin to stop selling. Change now while you can.
Creativity in everyday life — 5 Tips for Better Abstract Paintings
Abtract painting is hard. People are often surprised how hard it is to create a great abstract painting. You can maximize your chances of creating great paintings by following your these steps;
1. Plan and plan so more. Decide what materials you will use, what size the final product will be and what style you will use. Abstract painters, I find, love to work on large canvases. I am one of those artists and because the canvas can cost several hundred dollars to actually buy the canvas and supplies to create this work, planning is essential to endure success and to make the whole experience affordable.
The next step is deciding what style you will use. Will you pour paint? Will you work using pointillism? Will you use only a big 6 inch (15 cm) brush? Will the work be detailed or have large areas of bold colours that are brushed on?
Will you use acrylics? Oils? Collage? Decide on your materials. Buy what you need to buy for the project. For the moment, put it all in the corner and get to your desk to plan the next step.
2. Choose your colours before you start. Your main goal should be to limit the amount of colours you use. Simplicity is best. Ten colours in a painting, all competing with each other, can be overwhelming to the viewer. Three main colours with small amounts of other colours is easier on the viewer.
4. Do a practice run on paper. This is where you decide where the colours go. Is the red for the background? Is gold an accent?
One important detail is that your practice paper should be the same shape as the final canvas. There is no sense in practicing on a different shape. When you work on a paper of the same shape, you can work out proportions of where the lines or colours go.
5. Chances are that you will want to make some changes to your practice run. Re-evaluate your practice run. Feel free to do more than one practice run. Work out the basic shapes until you are happy. When you are happy with the basic shapes, you are ready to work bigger.
A great way to ‘sketch’ the basic shapes in on your larger canvas is to use a watercolour pencil. A blue or a yellow are nice and pale. You can block in where the shapes go, paint then take a wet cloth and wipe the pencil line away. This is a wonderfully easy way to ensure that you have a guide when you start painting.
Creativity in everyday life — 3 Things only artists understand
I find that ordinary (non-artists) people see the world differently. They do not perceive what is around them with their eyes or senses as much as artists. Artistic types see the world in greater detail and with eyes that notice more. Here are three differences between artists and the rest of the world.
1. The world is a visual feast. We see details others do not. For example, I was walking with my husband along this stone wall of an Inca fortress that went for at least half a kilometer with a tour group. The wall was beautifully made. Each stone was perfectly chiseled and put into place next to another stone. The wall did not seem to have any errors in it. It leaned at a 5 degree angle, we were told to prevent erosion and the weakening of the wall. Once in a while there was one stone that was a darker red color. The placement of the red stone seemed to be intentional. That was interesting. In the crevasses of the rocks, will plants grew. There were delicate ferns, tiny plants that looked like ground cover with white flowers and one plant that was blooming with a tiny red flower that looked like an orchid. As I took pictures of these, I got further behind the group. When I caught up, the guide thought that I was lagging behind because I was not fit enough. He said we would have to pick up the pace. I explained that I was taking photos and told him all that I had noticed. I asked about the orchid. He gazed at me and said no one had ever asked him and he didn’t know. He didn’t know about the red rock either. He had been a guide for 8 years.
I am a visual artist so I perceive more with my eyes. I have noticed that musicians hear more information than I do. They make connections between sounds that I have to work really hard to even notice. I have noticed the same with writers and words. We feast in the sights or sounds we notice. The non-artists are missing out….
2. Wearing bright colors makes you happy. The psychology of color says that colour influences perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food. Colour can indeed influence a person; however, it is important to remember that these effects differ between people.Color has long been used to create feelings of coziness or spaciousness. However, how people are affected by different color stimuli varies from person to person.
Blue is the top choice for 35% of Americans, followed by green (16%), purple (10%) and red (9%).A preference for blue and green may be due to a preference for certain places to live.There is evidence that color preference may depend on ambient temperature. People who are cold prefer warm colors like red and yellow while people who are hot prefer cool colors like blue and green.Some research has concluded that women and men respectively prefer “warm” and “cool” colors.Some studies find that color can affect mood. for more information, check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_psychology
3. Ideas come out really looking at what is in front of you. Once, I looked at some skidoo tracks in the snow and got an idea for a painting with embossed-like textures in it. The way the snow covered up the back door of a big truck gave me an idea for an abstract. Seasons were created so that there is new information for you to look at all year round. Each seasons brings out new information that needs noticing. I visited Prince Edward Island in the spring. The red soil with that beautiful spring green led me trying out that particular color combination.
Creativity in everyday life — Artist and Studio CEO
When you start in artist business, you have no one to guide you and decide what you will do every day. Some artists end up unable to get themselves going. What you need to do is to think like a boss. Be your own CEO.
First thing in the morning, put on your ‘boss’ hat and decide what your workers (you -the artist; you -the social media expert; you -the marketing agent and you -the framer) will do. Make a list and give each of your workers a job to do for the day or the week.
Often what I do is take out my journal on Monday morning and sort out what needs to be done that week. Some artists insist that this should be done on Sunday night so that you get a head start on your week but personally, Sunday is a day off for me. There are times you need to rest so that you get those good ideas when you do get working and Sunday is my day.
Being a boss means making a plan for your business. There are all kinds of advice columns that you can search out. There are even free guides on the internet but my personal favorite is to just take out my journal, open it up to two blank pages and write down absolutely everything that I think I would like to do that year (or six months, if you prefer). I write down everything that comes to my mind. I also write down what I no longer want to do. This takes a while. I write until my brain can’t any more, go make art, write some more, make art and write some more. If need be, I give myself two days. Then, I put the journal away for a week.
The next week, I open up my journal and sort out what I wrote down. Sometimes, I am surprized what I did jot down. I take all the information and make lists. There is an art production list, a social media list, a list for applying to shows, a list for marketing, a list for activities that I want to eliminate or downsize and a list for whatever topic came up.
Some years there are new topics. Last year, I decided that I wanted to create an installation. I had a separate list for that one. Then, I break down each list into what I will do first, second and last. Prioritising is important. You cannot do it all at once. For the first month, I take all the number ones and they become my list of the month. Even that is overwhelming sometimes so I break down all the #1s into smaller steps that I can take.
All the items that are first on your list are the most important to you so don’t set a time limit on them. Chances are that you will be doing these activities a little bit all year long. Just because you start them on month #1 doesn’t mean you have to finish them before month #2. I find that the important items tend to be longer commitments. For example, one of mine was to blog more regularly. This is an activity that I have to do all year long.
I also find that the last items on my list rarely get done. They are the ‘nice’ ideas or ‘should do’ ideas that you really don’t want to do or you are not ready to do. For example, two years ago, my goal to create an installation was at the bottom of my list. I didn’t work on it but I thought about it a lot. I wanted a good idea, not just a ‘get it done even if it is not good idea’, so it stayed on the back burner. By the next year, I was ready. The same thing will happen to you.
Be your own CEO and get yourself organized. Start now. You can start planning now and don’t wait for the ‘right’ moment.
Creativity in everyday life — Artist Moms Are the Scariest Moms
Artist moms are generally more permissive than most moms. Making a mess is not such a big deal. Children have access to art supplies. They paint. They make things with food items. They make noodle necklaces or marshmallow people then are allowed to eat them even their fingers are dirty. They are allowed to pour red and yellow Cool Aid together so that they not only find out that red and yellow make orange but they can drink the result too.
Being an artist, I had access to all kinds of supplies that they could play with. These supplies were not allowed in their homes usually. I allowed them to glue and paint. When my children were little, my children’s friends loved coming over to our house. Their moms often viewed what I did with the children with horror. We had field trips to the creek to find plants or sticks that we glued onto paper. We hunted in the garden for gluing material too. I set up a table outside where they could paint papers to their hearts content. The whole deck was full of colors after. In the evening I just washed off the deck with the hose and all the evidence of mess was gone.
My 6 year old niece came to visit and while she was drawing, she tore her paper. I looked for scotch tape but only found my special scotch tape with the pink hearts on it. She patched up her paper and admired the hearts. While I went back to cooking, she kept drawing. She picked up the tape with the hearts again and started to patch a second tear. Then she cut off one little heart, added to a different spot on her paper. Tore off a second heart and found another spot for it. She kept doing this until most of her paper was covered some 45 minutes later. When the last heart was on her paper, she stood up and said; ‘Look what I made’! Her mom looked with horror at the empty tape container. Not a big deal for me because I had noticed what was going on and decided to let it go because she was being so good but it was to her mom. Scotch tape limited in that house apparently.
I would buy big rolls of paper and attach long strips of paper to the fence. The kids would fill the paper with hand prints, brush marks or designs of their choice. They could paint for well over an hour on these lengths of paper with my tempera paint. Then we would draw names as to who took it home at the end of the babysitting session. Paint would drip on the clothes and some moms were horrified by this. I always used water based paint so everything was washable. I also warned the moms ahead of time so If they came with ‘good’ outfits, they had been warned.
There are tips for moms that want to wander to the artistic side. Use water based paint. Use water based markers. Work outside as much as possible. Use nature as a source of materials because this gets them looking at nature. Buy inexpensive materials because they will use a lot of product. Use the discount stores for supplies or the re-use centre. Let them play with as little guidance as possible. Just make sure that they are safe when they are doing their artwork. No sharp blades or cutting instruments.
Art is related to science. There is a lot of ‘let’s see what will happen when….’ activities. This is a safe way to experiment and practice fine motor skills too.
Now my children are grown up but when their friends come over, they talk of the fun they had doing these artistic activities. A memory was created and hopefully when they have their own children, they will allow them to have fun with art supplies
The best advice that I can give is that you should find your ‘niche’. Find a spot you excel at and become an expert. Become the ‘go-to person’ in your area. No matter, if you love art, you will drawn to it and keep going back to it whenever you can. You will be drawn to artistic endeavours over and over again until you get the hint and make it your career. This is a prediction….
Creativity in everyday life — 3 Things that you didn’t know about abstract art
Creating abstract work is more difficult than you think. Abstract work is emotional, intellectual and conceptual. These are elements that touch our basic, primal emotions. Here are some basic points about abstract work to think about:
1. Abstract art can be about emotions. With abstract art, you are trying to create an impact. You want people to notice your work and react to it. This means touching their feelings. In contemporary work, the goal is not always to make a pleasing painting; it is about creating a reaction. This reaction can be positive or negative. If someone reacts and says ‘That makes me feel frustrated’ or ‘That makes me feel happy’ or ‘That makes me feel like…’, you have achieved your goal. You want people to react and comment. You want them to feel the emotion that you put into that painting.
You can create that painting by expressing your inner feelings or you can totally plan that feeling. When you make certain kinds of marks on a canvas like bold black calligraphic strokes, that provokes a kind of feeling that is different from marks made with soft pastel colours. Think about what you want to express. Do you want a relaxing feeling or an edgy one?
2. Abstract art can be about color and how colours react when near each other. There are artists that have spent their lives working on this theme. If you look at the work of Jack Bush and …., you will see that their work is about color. When one sits next to another color, a certain vibration is created. Try it. Put yellow next to purple then put yellow next to orange. You get a whole different feeling with each of these.
The impressionists were the first to experiment with color. Monet, placed dabs of color next to each other on his painting and expected the eye to do the blending. If you look at his water and garden series, you will see how he did this. Rather than put down a green, he would put down a yellow and a blue next to each other. The eye would read it as a green. Since his works a large and meant to be seen from far, this works really well.
3. Abstract art can be about the materials. Some artists like texture. Some artists like the way paint drips, blends and semi-covers other paint. The whole experience is about what the materials will do. Elements of composition are important too but what happens when thick paint goes over thin or vice versa is what is really interesting to some artists.
One artist to look at is Willem de Kooning. He was a Dutch abstract expressionist artist. He was born in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. He moved to the United States in 1926, and became an American citizen in 1962. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willem_de_Kooning He loved the paint and the way he could layer different colours, cause it to drip and layer some more.
20 tips or tricks that can make you a better artist
Being a good artist is not just talent or luck. There are a lot of to do if you want to become a better artist. Here are just a few points to consider.
1. Choose a topic you love. You will produce good work only if you love what you do. So produce good work.
2.Work on your topic as often as you can. If you can only work on your art 15 minutes a day, do it. Set the timer and go!
3.Have a special spot where you can work on your art. Creating work is easier if you don’t have to set up and clean up every time. Find a spot you can leave your work so that when you are free, you can work on it right away.
4.Buy your supplies on sale and in bulk to save money. This way when you are working, you will not be as stressed at the cost of the art supplies. Most art supply stores have annual sales where they have supplies at a greatly reduced rate. Find out when that is at your local shop.
5.Find art friends or other artists to share your work with. Start creating a network of artists where you can help each other.
6.Attend art galleries. You can see new work and meet people who love art just like you do.
7.Set time aside to do work where you just play. This can be experimenting with new materials that you will add to your repertoire or this can be experimenting with style techniques that you may add to your own work.
8.Buy the best materials you can afford. Good materials really help. Like any other professional, good tools help you create work more easily.
9.If you are a beginner, stick to one style until you have mastered all the skills needed to create that work. If you decide this is not your style, change. But, master your skills first.
10.Studies show that 10,000 hours is needed to master a skill. Be willing to put in the hours.
11.When you are working, focus only on what you are doing. Concentrate. This will shorten the time needed to learn a skill.
12.Limit the amount of colors that you use. A limited palette will lead to more success for you.
13.Get yourself into ‘Google my business’ There are a surprisingly large amount of people that will find you and your website this way.
14. Get a website. This is your visual business card. People will look at your work here and then come to your art shows.
15.Invite as many people to your art shows as you can. Statistics say that only 10% of invitees actually come.
16. Don’t have too many shows in a year. People are more likely to come if it is an annual event as opposed to 4–5 times a year.
17.Apply to group shows. They bring in different people (ones that have never seen your work) that will end up seeing your artwork and possibly purchasing it.
18.Learn to use social media. That is the way of the times and most people use social media now for advertising and marketing.
19.Plan your art projects before you actually start creating. Plan a whole series of works. This will lead to you creating a series of works that give your audience a lot to look at.
20. Enjoy the process. Creating has to be fun for us to continue doing it.
Creativity in everyday life- 7 Ugly truths about being an artist
Artist get a lot of bad publicity. Living as an artist takes a lot perseverance and drive. You need to do a lot of work by yourself. Delegating work is difficult since you are the creator and owner of the business. Here are some basic truths about being an artist. If you think that what I list below is something you can do and are willing to do, then you will have a head start as an artist. Go through each point carefully and find ways you can overcome the obstacles in your artistic practice.
If you are a realistic painter or an abstract artist, the struggles are the same. These points are the unavoidable points that you need to master as an artist.
1. Success is not based on skill. You can be a wonderful painter, for example, and the best portraitist in the whole country but you will not succeed if no one knows about you. You need to get out there and show your work so people know how good you are. Really good publicists in the artworld were Dali, Georgia O’Keefe, Chris Cran and Picasso.
2. Marketing is not easy. There are many ways you can market your work. Do your homework for your particular niche and find the best way to show your work. An artist that really worked their niche is Yayoi Kusama. She is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. For more information about her go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yayoi_Kusama
3. Create! You will not succeed if you do not create work. Get to that studio and build your collection of artwork. You need to do work that you can show. No work-no shows. The more prolific artists are everywhere. Picasso and Monet were well known for the quantity of work they produced. One current artist to look at is: Kara Walker. She is an American contemporary painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, and film-maker who explores race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identityin her work. She is best known for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes. For more information, go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kara_Walker
4. Fellow artists are both your biggest promoter and your biggest competition. This is a fine balance. My fellow artists have sent people to my art shows because those buyers were interested in my style. At the same time, I have had other artists say negative things about my work in hopes that the buyers not look at my work. What can I say? Choose your friends carefully.
5. Taking the time to practice your skill without the pressure of sales is essential. You need to take time to just work at perfecting your skills. Not all works should be put up for sale. Most artists need ‘down’ time. One podcast that I listen to is ‘Savvy Painter’. https://savvypainter.club/join-savvy-painter-waitlist/. She interviews different artists from all walks of life. Regularly, the artists say that they take time to work on pieces that are not related to their current series. They continue to explore and find new ways to hone their craft. If you like podcasts, here is an article on other podcasts on art: https://www.artistsnetwork.com/artist-life/12-art-podcasts-inspiration/
6. You will need to learn social media skills. Most artists prefer being in the studio and ignore other skills. This is one skill you cannot avoid. You need to learn Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and whatever new media that applies to art. Use them. One online class that helped me was by Alun Hill. You can find out more about him and his classes at: https://www.tetmo.com/p/how-to-use-pinterest-to-make-money. He has sales regularly so wait for one of his sales. He explains social media really well.
7. Earned income is irregular. You will have months where you make a lot and other months where not a dime comes in. You need to save for those lean months. Keep account books and a balanced budget. There are hundreds of advice columns on this topic but it all boils down to keeping your costs down and not overspending. Find a local accountant that specializes in small businesses and ask him/her for help. They are often generous with their time, in my experience.
Mixed media has become my ‘go-to medium’ because it allows me to experiment. People get mixed media and multimedia mixed up….
“Mixed media” tends to refer to a work of visual art that combines various traditionally distinct visual art media — for example, a work on canvas that combines paint, ink, and collage could properly be called a “mixed media” work, but not a work of “multimediaart.
“I love trying ‘what will happen if…’ with different art mediums. In another life, I must have been a scientist. I just love mixing and matching to see what will happen. In my current practice, I mix collage, acrylic, watercolour and graphite. Different combinations lead to different results.
The texture of the graphite appeals to me while the soft subtle tones of watercolour blend nicely with the black and white but I get the ‘punch’ with the acrylic. I add collage for texture too.
Because I have chosen landscape as a topic, all these elements fit right in. I get land-type texture from the graphite. I get soft subtle colours for the water with watercolour and the drama with the collage and acrylic.
When I worked other themes, I loved these elements for the same reason. I worked on a theme of dreams with figures for a few years. I could get the best dramatic effects by combining mediums.
I often tell my students that if you are not happy with your painting when doing mixed media, you just keep painting and collaging. The worst thing that can happen is that your canvas will get heavy and you will need a bigger nail to hang it up. You need not stop if your painting is not working. You need not throw it out. Often an under layer adds to the painting. You can see subtle effects peeping through that you would not have if you had a white background. Having a varied underpainting is an asset.
My favourite mixed media artists include:Kate Borcherding, Christina McPhee and Anne Bagby. I love Anne Bagby’s rich textured work but I also love the expressiveness of McPhee’s and Borcherding’s work. My goal is to combine the expressiveness with the texture.
I wish I was one of these artists but this is just another reason for me to practice my social media skills as well as my mixed media skills. No matter what style you pick, the marketing and social media jobs need doing too. Groan! Like most artists, I like creating more than marketing. Well, nice visiting with you but I must get going on my social media tasks.