It's exciting as a parent to watch your child excel in a special talent... my youngest daughter (8 yrs old) recently spent time with me in my studio. While I was working on my own art project, she worked on her own. She drew out a self portrait (she was looking at a photo), and did so completely unassisted. I couldn't believe how well she did! She had the right proportions and everything.
When it came time to painting, I suggested some paint-mixing tips (i.e. skin colour - mix in a bit of blue with the red and yellow, into white.... for the hair - raw umber and yellow with some of the skin colour...). I was very proud of her results. :)
At the end of May I received the much anticipated news from the Ontario Arts Council that I received the Artists in Education Grant! I've been working on applying for this for close to two years... by building rapport with the local Public School, and gaining experience. Last Fall was intense as I worked on the actual application form. Anyone who is familiar with this application would understand the intensity of this process! It was a great challenge, and it forced me to grow as an artist in so many ways. As a result of this grant I have been approved, and will be funded, to spend approximately 8 hours of class teaching time with each of the 11 classes in the Port Rowan Public School.
The title of my project is "The Field, the Woods, the Wetlands, and the Town". My goal is for the students to take notice of their unique environment, and to reflect that appreciation and observation in the visual arts. I have four mixed media art projects planned. I'm excited for this opportunity! And I'm so grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for this opportunity.
For well over a year I spent my studio time experimenting with a vast array of art mediums/styles. I have played around with watercolour, paper cutting/sculpture, cardboard sculpture, paper mache, and embroidery. I have experimented with watercolour on wood, and watercolour on canvas. Now, after all that varied creative output, I find myself in a very strange place as an artist. I have never felt this before! I suppose it's a form of creative block. It has left me feeling rather frustrated, as I have a well of creative energy, thoughts and concepts, but feel I currently lack the ability or 'know-how' to get it out in a visual way.
Having discussed this with a couple of fellow artists, and having read some on-line material addressing this common situation that other artists find themselves in, I finally have a plan. First of all, I'm going to lay-low online for a while. I'm also going to spend more time in my studio. Even if its just for 30 minutes a day. I'm realizing that until now, I haven't worked hard at the 'process' of art. I want to spend much more time sketching out ideas, and researching methods. I need to be more mindful of the process, rather than being focused on the end-result. I plan on using a lot of paper, and going through many canvases as I work through this creative block. I recently discussed this with one of my art students. She said that when she faces this dilemma, she just keeps making "crappy art" until eventually something turns out right. This made me laugh! Its so true. I have a specific concept of what I want to create visually, but it may take lots of trying, and trying again, to get to where I want to go.
Well I'm off to spend my last hour of the day (before I have to pick up the kids at school) in my studio now with a cup of tea and some chocolate.
Here are two little watercolour paintings I did on wood a month ago. This was my first time painting on wood. I found it an interesting change - how the paint was absorbed into the wood. Also, the paint tended to run into the surrounding grain.
I experimented this Fall with paper, and an exacto knife. I have a new-found admiration of the artists who have created delicate, fine-detailed paper art... it was not easy! My one finger was numb for a few days after finishing the cornfield piece. And I felt a new pain in my shoulder for a while after -- I guess detail exacta-cutting worked muscles I wasn't aware of beforehand.
All in all despite the challenges, I loved working on these paper sculpture projects.
This weekend I experimented with making my own 'watercolour' paint using nothing but flower petals/leaves which I found around my yard... and water. My daughter and I collected various flowers/leaves - such as dandelions, pansies, geraniums. We ripped them up with our fingers, and then them them steep in some hot tap water all morning under the sun. After a few hours, the water had mostly evaporated leaving behind a lovely natural tinted sort of paint. I had fun later painting with this all organic natural paint. It certainly behaves differently than the typical store-bought paint.
I had much fun last week working on this large mural for my Church's annual Sunday School Christmas Play. I used a mix of decent acrylic paint and cheap tempera paint and gesso (because I needed a heavy solid white!).
Friday, July 18th is the opening reception for the "Below Forty" show at the Norfolk Arts Centre. I have completed this new painting for the show.
A couple times this week I enjoyed some quality drawing time in the woods. I've been spending the last year or more devoted to painting the trees in the woods, and I have strongly felt the need to take a breather from oil painting in my studio. Typically I work on a larger-scale, I wanted to step back and work on a smaller-scale. I'm fascinated with detail, and especially with the challenge of capturing that detail in art form. So I packed up a simple sketch book and my favourite 4B and 6B pencils. It seemed so suitable to be out in nature, as I attempted to draw nature. I also had the perfect soundtrack around me - the singing birds, the bullfrogs, the squirrels scampering around me. Well, that, and also I did sneak in time to listen to the new Coldplay album. Here are some of the drawings I completed.
After today I will have new paintings exhibiting at Nossa Casa Bistro in Port Rowan. Here is a preview of one of my paintings:
I live in Southern Ontario on a farm with my husband, Dennis, and our two daughters. Painting out of my studio on our farm allows me to stay close to my family and to be surrounded by the natural landscape that continues to influence my work.