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©

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 progress1© intuition progress2© intuition complete©

Art Journal Page – Big Ideas (or fun with Gelli prints)

I love Sunday nights – have I said that before?  It’s my time to be creative for no reason other reason than the sake of being creative and trying to work out some of the big ideas that have been rattling around in my brain throughout the week.  I get to play – try new ideas or technique and not worry about whether or not it would be something that I can market or sell.

I set out with #Strombo on the radio, this week featured the first 50 songs of the Strombo Hundo and started to play with my Gelli plate.  I’d picked up the medium sized plate about a month before and this was the first chance I had to play with it.  I used a variety of Golden paints (including the high flow and open acrylics) and all kinds of fun stuff to make texture and pattern on the plate.  I ended up with 6 prints in addition to the ones I used for the plate – I had to cut it off, so much fun, but I wouldn’t have completed a journal page if I’d kept it up.

The yellow and purples print (aptly described by a friend as a crazy octopus) was the basis for the page and I used the colours on the page as my leaping off point.  I used the other print photo as collage elements on the page – the colours worked well together and in the end the octopus comment led me to an ocean theme and then came the small mermaid.  I was feeling  little dwarfed by all my thoughts and ideas of late – wonder how I’d be able to get them all out – and the colourful chaotic mess is the result.  I’m very energized with this page and feeling a little more focused because of it.

art journal page big ideas gelli plate© art journal page big idea purple and yellow gelli print© art journal page big ideas gelli prints© art journal page big ideas print placed© art journal page big ideas almost done© art journal page big ideas complete©

And the survey says…

So, I decided to be brave and put my art out there for others to judge.  Last weekend, one of towns near to where I live was celebrating their migration festival and as part of the festivities, they hold an annual art and photo contest.  I saw the show last year and thought, I could probably do that and had promptly forgotten about it until a couple weeks ago when I saw the signs for the show.

Canada goose painting sketch©So I decided to put myself out there and make some art for the show.  The challenge for me was not sharing my art and having it judged (I’ve come to terms with the fact that everyone has their own taste and opinions and that’s a good thing.) but to actually get some paintings completed.  I now realize that I was fighting the flu during the time I should have been painting, so I was only able to complete one of the pieces that I was hoping to do.  Since the festival is framed around Canada Goose migration, that was a no brainer to paint.  I searched and found a sketch from 10 years ago that I had done in the park – and that was the leaping off point for the piece.

I had a vision of a goose standing in a beautiful fall field, with lovely golds and oranges, canada goose painting©sprinkled with hints of white, red and purple – reflecting goldenrods, asters and the changing colours of the fall leaves.

I was happy with the result.  It feels like a warm fire on a bright, cold fall evening.

I had fully intended to complete another painting, but with my work schedule (yes, I have a real job too – that I also love) and being sick, I just didn’t have the energy to get it right.  I have a great start on the painting and I’m sure it will be something that will be used in the future

I’ve been inspired by art nouveau paintings and wondered how I could start to incorporate this feel into paintings that are based in nature.  I’ve started some experiments and and this great blue heron painting with blue backgroundgreat blue heron piece is one of them.  It may not be obvious in this painting, but this is where the spark started…

Now, back to the actually art show – I didn’t get this piece finished – it’s still sitting the in studio, hopefully to be tackled tonight.  I had paid for two pieces and fortunately one of my owl pieces fit the criteria for entry into the show.  All pieces had to be a North American migratory bird.  And really, who doesn’t like owls – it seemed like a safe bet and it actually took a prize in the competition.  And the winner (at least the Peleegirl winner) is….burrowing owl painting complete©


Ready for Release

It’s been a really busy past month – add a nasty cold that you can’t take anything for and you have a pretty miserable and unmotivated Sarah.

So, I took to my art journal on Sunday – and took my time.  Everything has been so rushed in the last couple of weeks that taking my time felt like a luxury.  It’s sad that it has started to feel like that – really, taking your time shouldn’t feel that out of the ordinary, yet these days, it does.

So, here is the page from start to finish.  Three beautiful hours of @Strombo on the radio, play, colour and finally expressing some of the thoughts and feelings that needed release.

The Owl Project – Not all things go as planned

Not all things go as planned seems to have been the theme for the last week of my life.  Internet was down for several days, dealt with terrible customer service trying to get said internet back up and running…work was really busy and artistically, everything was either taking much longer than anticipated, or just wasn’t working the way I wanted to.

So, what’s a girl to do – take a deep breath, assess the situation and move forward.  Here are couple cases in point.  I decided to tackle a bunch of paintings yesterday that I had pen work completed on and thought I’d start with the backgrounds.

I thought a crimson background would be really impactful
I thought a crimson background would be really impactful
The final product, with green background
The final product, with green background

When I started with the Barred Owl, I was really thinking a crimson background would be really impactful.  So, I went with it, let it dry and when I was getting ready to start painting, I just wasn’t feeling it.  I took a step back and tried to visualize where I wanted the painting to go and decided that a green background was going to work better.  And I went with it – happily, the end product was what I’d hoped it would be.

With that painting under my belt, I decided that I would move on to the Short-eared Owl painting.  I’d worked on a lovely cerulean blue background that I was really happy with, but when I looked at the actual pen work and subject I was about to paint, I still wasn’t happy with it.  I’d been struggling with the sketch from the beginning and never felt I’d really got the proportions and jizz of the bird right.

First attempt at the Short-eared Owl
First attempt at the Short-eared Owl

I had two choices, either plough ahead and finish what I’d started or go back to the drawing board.  This time, I scrapped the entire project and went right back to the sketching phase again.  I found a new reference photo and pose for the bird that I was much happier with.  The image was transferred to the gesso original board (there is some satisfaction in covering up something you are really unhappy with) and the pen work is complete and ready for paint.  new short-eared owl sketch©new short-eared owl penwork©

Lessons learned – trust your instincts and be patient.  Sometimes it’s going to take longer to get the project completed than you’d hoped, but if you take time, step back and assess and follow your gut, you’ll end up with a product that makes you happy.