I’m back…no for real this time!

Hello friends, it’s been a while and a lot has happened since I last posted to this site.  I’ve still been creating, painting and exploring, but I’ve had to take a bit of a break from all the things that I want to do, including this blog.

As some of you may know, I have periodically struggled with depression.  It’s a fact and something that I’m learning to deal with in a better way.  In the past, when I’ve been in that state, I would often overload myself with tasks and jobs, I think trying to fill that empty void caused by the depression.  I would do this to the point of exhaustion and eventually overwhelm myself with so much stuff that I would be paralyzed by it all.  That was where I was about a year ago and it finally manifested physically with a really terrible infection that took me out of the game for several months last summer.  I was off work for two months and struggled with recurring infections until mid-December.  I was pushing myself too hard to get back in the game and had to pull back the reigns a bit.

I’ve recovered from the infection, but even more importantly, I’ve learned (once again, I seem to need a reminder every now and then) that I have to put my needs at the front of the line again.  I have to learn to say no, not only at work, but also too myself when I have a million ideas I want to try all at the same time.  I’m starting to be a little bit more strategic, thinking about all the things I want to accomplish and what steps I need to take  to get there.  I have so many courses that I want to take on Skillshare.com, but I’m learning to group them and figure out what area to focus on, rather than just be all over the place.  I’ve also learned that if I’m tired at the end of a work day, it’s okay to lounge on the couch for the evening.  I don’t have to feel like I’m being unproductive – rest is an important part of productivity.  Some nights I’ll pull out my iPad Pro or sketchbook and get some ideas down, other times I’ll just watch some terrible reality TV and I’m getting over feeling guilty about “mis-using” my time.

I’ve also carved out time again for just creating art – whether it’s sketching, painting, experimenting with new media.  Sunday night is my fun time.  If the end product is something that I may want to use for products, terrific!  If it’s just satisfying, cathartic or a hot mess, that’s okay too.  It’s just the fact that I’ve carved out the time for just me, with no expectations, no pressure and lots of room to express what I’m feeling.  Carve out some time just for you – you won’t regret it!

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working on a gouache illustration in my black mixed media journal
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Calypsos in progress
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Calypso in memory of my Dad on Father’s Day

Back in the saddle again

Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve actually created – and I didn’t realize until I picked up the paintbrush again this week the impact it has. I’ve been feeling drained and uninspired for the last few weeks – work has been challenging and I’ve been travelling a lot and art has been put on the back burner.

I hit my studio last Sunday and tackled a painting I’ve been wanted to do for a while. My mermaid art journal page has been begging to become a painting to hang on my wall and she finally found her way to the canvas. The skin was really challenging on this piece, put I stuck to my guns and pulled out some unexpected materials and I was extremely happy with the final result. Here is the painting from its spray ink start to finish.
mermaid spray ink layer©mermaid painting gesso layer©

 

mermaid painting skin layer©mermaid painting complete ©

 

I also played in my art journal this week – it was all about texture and colour. I had no idea what direction I was going to go this week. I just decided to use up some scraps, play with a new stencil and use some of my favourite colours. I was a great way to get back into the groove and start to feel inspired again.

sirens art journal page start© sirens art journal page collage© sirens art journal page paint © sirens art journal page scribbles© sirens art jouranl page complete©

Patron of the arts

I am very lucky to live in an area with people that actively support the arts.  I’ve been seeing big shifts here recently, especially in the Town of Kingsville, just a few minutes away from where I live.  A couple of years ago a little coffee shop opened up on the main street – small and unassuming, but with big goals to bring healthy food and a place for art to the masses.  I can tell you that it has succeeded on both fronts.

Frank, the owner of Merlis‘ is one of a kind – he’ll greet you personally the first time you walk in the door and you’ll leave feeling like a part of the family.  The small restaurant seats 30 people and the walls are covered with the works of local artists.  From the 11 year old’s tiger painting, to wild abstract pieces, to hand-crafted needlework, there is something to appeal to all tastes.  I’ve been lucky enough to have some of my pieces displayed on the walls – and the best part, there is no charge to do this, just an understanding that a percentage of everything sold goes to the Arts Society of Kingsville.

Here are the most recent pieces of mine that are lucky enough to be on the walls at Merlis’.  If you’re in the area, this is definitely a place to stop and enough!

paintings ready to hang at merlis© shiny medals at merlis© spring bird at merlis©

Creative birthday presents

One thing I’m very thankful for is my creativity – especially when it’s someone’s birthday and I’m struggling to find the perfect gift or card.  Hand-made cards are a long-standing tradition in my house.  From an early age, my Dad would craft amazing birthday cards for us.  I always looked forward to the envelope enclosing the heavy watercolour paper, anticipating the masterpiece I would receive that year.  I’ve carried on the tradition from the Lego character my nephew loves to a mythical characters from a Star Wars cartoon all been featured on cards I’ve given in the last year.

I’ve also been fortunate to have friends who appreciate and enjoy my art.  They have all been supportive of my budding art career, so at birthday time, it’s an easy choice of what to give.  Of course, I like to personalize gifts as much as possible, so that means a new, original piece is on the block for creation.

Evenings this week have been occupied with going away parties and appointments, which left yesterday afternoon for studio time.  So, several hours before the party I set to work on a 20×20″ canvas, priming my palette with colours that reminded me of my friend and let loose on the canvas.  A couple hours later, I had a great painting that I was happy with and more importantly she loved when I presented it to here last night.  Here is the painting from start to finish.

birthday present progress1© birthday present progress2 birthday present progress3© birthday present complete©

Journal 52 – Week 28

This weeks’ prompt for Journal 52 was technology.  I started by Googling technology and pinning some images that I found inspiring as my leaping off point.  (You can check out my Journal 52 Inspiration board here).  I was particularly drawn to a woman with technology surrounding her head and then leap to wearing a technology like a crown.  My journaling on the page was about using technology as a tool and not a crutch – not to wear it as a crown that made you royal, but a way to enhance your ability to connect and express yourself.  Here is the page from preliminary sketch to completion.

technology sketch© technology face painted© technology crown© technology complete©

Intuitive painting

As I mentioned in a post, I recently read “Brave Intuitive Painting” by Flora S Bowley and decided to take a couple of canvases that were sitting around my studio unfinished to play with.  The first (Shiny Medals) started out as a birch tree composition and the second (Intuition) was a yellow background I’d started for another painting and then decided to go in a different direction.  The idea behind intuitive painting is to follow your gut and just put paint where you feel it should go.  It was an interesting process and very freeing –  so much of the work that I do requires some precision, and this was about instinct.  I really enjoyed making the paintings, but I had to sit with each of them for a couple of days until I was sure that they were finished.  I put together a composite of Shiny Medals in progress as it took a while and I tried to get images in most stages, while Intuition came together much faster.  I will definitely continue with method of painting, along with the other type of work I love to do.

Shiny Medals

shiny medals compositeshiny medals complete©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intuition

intuition progress1© intuition progress2© intuition complete©

Sometimes it doesn’t have to be rocket science…

I’ve finally got back in the rhythm of Sunday night painting with Strombo (if you’ve never listened to the show, check it out.  Great music, insightful and fun interviews).  I’ve been seeing hollyhocks in bloom on my way to work for the last week or two – I’m not sure why, but I really love them and decided it was high time they became the subject of an art journal entry.  So, here it is, summer simplicity.  The background was achieved with light modelling paste tinted with Naples yellow and then scraped on the page with a palette knife.  I toned it down with a little gesso scraped on and then wiped off.  Finally some finger painted flowers and journaling and the page was done.  Simple, just like a beautiful summer night.

simple summer background© simple summer in progress© simple summer almost complete© simple summer complete©

Journal 52 update – Weeks 19 to 27

As I stated in my last instalment, I’ve been away from the studio quite a bit in the last two months.  And of course this means that I have been getting behind on my Journal 52 project.  I’m happy to say that with a couple nights of regular studio time, Canada Day and a lovely day off yesterday spent painting, I’m back on track with this project.

I’ve really been enjoying the themes and have been surprised where some of them have led me.  The courage prompt stands out in particular.   The prompt challenged me to create a page about what courage means to me.  Through the process, I came to the realization just how much the definition has changed for me, especially in the last 5 years.  Before, courage was about putting on a brave face and continuing on, even when things were broken inside.  It was about supporting everyone else and not asking for help when I needed it.  Courage used to be about sticking with a situation or relationship, even when it was toxic, because the unknown was too scary.  Now, courage is about asking for help, moving into the unknown confident in who I am and what I can do and turning my back on situations that aren’t good for me.  This is a really big shift in my thinking process.

So here are the last few weeks of the Journal 52 prompts, starting with the most recent.

 

 

nostalgia complete©

Week 27 – Nostalgia

This week’s prompt took me back to the summer of ’88.  That last “perfect” summer before everyone started going their separate ways.  Dancing on Thursday nights at the Elephant and Castle, making mixed tapes and generally having the times of our teenaged lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

under the sea complete©

Week 26 – Under the Sea

I decided to revisit the mermaid theme that I tried out in my very first art journal.  While I was generally satisfied with the first attempt, I always felt that there was room for improvement.  So, I used the same background technique (spray inks and gesso) and created from there.  I was thrilled with the result.

 

 

 

 

 

 

inspired by nature complete©

Week 25 – Nature Inspired

If you’ve followed my work at all, you know my main inspiration is nature.  So, I decided I needed to break away from the birds and try something new.  This one was a struggle at first, but in the end it all came together.  (to see all the images, check out my Facebook album)

 

 

 

 

 

 

courage complete©

Week 24 – Courage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

passion complete©

Week 23 – Passion

Birds are my passion.  Everything seems to stem from birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

travel complete©

Week 22 – Travelling

I’ve been out west (to Banff) as well as the Bruce Peninsula – Indian Paintbrush connected the dots between the two places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mandala complete©

Week 21 – Making a Mandala

Mine was inspired by the native orchids we have in Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

book inspired complete©

Week 20 – Book Inspiration

I read Brave Intuitive Painting and used one of the exercises as my prompt for this page.  Not my normal colour palette, but it was fun to get messy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photography complete©

Week 19 – Photography

One of the many photos I took on my travels (the famous MacGregor Elm) used as a photo transfer for this page.

 

Rambling girl…

Just when I thought the hectic pace of the spring had finally slowed down, I spent a good chunk of the month of June travelling.  I’ve been lucky – I’ve visited some of the most beautiful places in Canada in – yet I’ve found myself on the road on my dedicated studio nights, so I’ve been playing a game of catch up for the last little while.

In early June I visited the Bruce Peninsula to attend a birding festival and was able to take lots of amazing photos while I was there.  One in particular served as an inspiration for this art journal spread.  The song “Fearless” by Cyndi Lauper seemed to pop up on the iTunes shuttle quite a bit during this time and the lyrics really resonated with me.  Here is the combination of inspiring music and inspiring landscapes.

 

fearless composite