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Sunflowers-Donna and Van Gogh

So, another reason I had stopped creating is because I couldn’t decide what to paint.  I love painting abstract flowers, but other people don’t necessarily like them.  I love painting faces, but I’m not very realistic and I’m still learning and working out my style.  I love painting the monochromatic Paynes grey aerial girls, but I need more colour and I don’t know how to incorporate that into the aerial girls…part of what I love about them is their simplicity.

And I was over thinking…I should paint a series…how do I paint a series?  What do I want to paint many of?  What size do I use?  What if they don’t sell?  What do I do with them?  What if I paint all of these canvas boards and they don’t have homes?  I was paralyzed before I even got started.

There was too much pressure on my art doing something for me…making money or getting accepted into a show.  What was the purpose if it didn’t?  Would I be a failure?

But seriously, the purpose of art is to cleanse the soul, find white space in your mind to meditate and be mindful in the process of creating.  To enjoy the mixing of colours, the happy accidents, the journey.  Art is so not about the finished product as much as it is about the creating, for the artist.  And for the potential owner of a piece, it’s about the emotion a piece conveys, and that, I believe, depends on the emotion the artist was experiencing during the creative process.

But I am an over thinker.

So I went back to basics, in a way.  I watched a free webinar by Donna Downey, about Van Gogh…how she has incorporated parts of his style into her art.  What was amazing and interesting about him and his paintings.  Why he was such a visionary.  What makes his pieces special and how to study an artist and make their thing your own unique thing.  And then, I did the lesson.  I painted sun flowers in a vase, with big chunky brush strokes and lots of paint.  I used complimentary colours to portray energy and vibrancy.  And I worked fast to allow the paint to blend on the page.  And I did this all on paper rather than on a canvas board.

Using paper in a journal that I had abandoned last year gave me the freedom to just play.  Because no one needed to see it.  And I wasn’t wasting anything if it didn’t turn out.  The purpose was to learn and to play.  To enjoy painting again.  To mix colours and let them blend, but only a little, on the paper.  To let go of performance anxiety and perfectionism.  And it gave me direction to interject some of both Donna’s and Van Gogh’s painting styles.

I love it!  It makes me feel happy!

I signed up for an online course by Donna Downey called Artist Studies.  Each month a new Artist will be profiled and studied and pieces of their style practiced.  I think it’s a brilliant idea, and once a month is much more manageable than once a week for me.  I am excited to see what I learn and how my style evolves.  I am excited to paint new items and learn what I like to paint that is individually me.  And I am excited to play and paint freely, and allow myself to learn and make mistakes in order to discover the happy accidents.

How do you decide what to create?  What inspires you?

New Colours!!!

New Golden colours 2018

Oh my goodness!!!  Golden has released 7 new colours and one amazing colour that has been reinstated!  8 new to me colours to choose from and add to my collection!  Of course, they are not yet available in Canada at any of my local stores.  So…online ordering to the rescue.

Thank you Donna Downey Studios for notifying me of these fantastic new treasures, and for shipping them to me!

Now seriously, lets talk about these colours…Cobalt teal…OMG people, it is more vibrant than the regular teal!  Seriously delicious!  I am going to use it in EVERYTHING.  This is the reinstated colour.   Apparently it existed before I began painting.  It is officially my new favourite colour.  🙂

Titan Mars Pale…finally a skin tone!  Sure, it still needs a little mixing, but it’s so close, and saves a tonne of time and frustration because I suck at mixing skin tones.  This is an excellent start, and I think it’s about time.

And Titan Violet Pale…so soft…I am in love.

I can hardly wait to get painting whimsical portraits again with these!  And I am wishing I had ordered the yellow pale and orange pale, to work on another in progress painting.  Maybe I can figure something out on my own that is close.  😉

Have you seen the new Golden colours?  Have you gotten your hands on any?  Which is your favourite?  Where did you find them?  And what are you looking forward to painting with them?


Reclaiming My Space


I have been absent from creating for a while now.  At first I used running as my excuse…all of my “free time” goes towards marathon training, and I don’t stay up late enough to create because I’ve been up early to run or exercise.  But I realized that this was inaccurate.  Because I stopped exercising in the mornings, and I  haven’t been motivated enough to run in the dark, so I’m wasting the time I wake up early before work.  Then I used guilt as an excuse.  I “should” be cleaning up the house and purging in the basement.  Which is totally true, but that never stopped me before from finding at least an hour a week to get my art on.  And then I realized…I haven’t been creating because my creative space is not usable.  I no longer had a space.

We had some water in our basement mid February, before a trip, and many items got moved into the middle of the room rather than staying at the perimeter.  It was messy before, I will admit, but it had reached a new level that not even I could live with.  The image on the bottom shows the state of what was once my art space.  Piles upon piles of paper, canvas, boards, and journals cluttered the room, along with other items that had no home, or needed to be sorted out.  It had become a dumping ground.  It made me sad to be in this space, and it made my head spin every time I tried to tidy it up…where does a person start in this place?

I had called a company to help me purge and organize, and just for the basement they quoted $3000…6 people for 2 days going through my stuff.  And I had to be willing to say goodbye to things.  Which I am…to a point.  NOT my art supplies.  And they didn’t like that idea about as much as I didn’t like their price.  So it’s up to me.  I got serious and started a week or two ago.  The image on the top is pretty close to how it looks today.  I have done a little more, but it doesn’t look much different.

The best thing I did was get a shelf to stack my canvases and boards, both completed, in progress, and blank.  Seriously…best money spent.  Even though I had to give in and ask my husband to help because it kept falling apart on me.  lol.  Yep, I’m that kind of girl.

I also found that this time, I was able to say goodbye to most of my post secondary school notes.  Yes, I graduated from College 14 years ago, and University 17 years ago, and I STILL had textbooks and hand written notes.  I couldn’t bare the thought of all that money and work getting thrown away.  And you never know…maybe I will want to look something up!  Well…I have come to learn that if I want to look something up, I am going to Google…NOT my notes or old outdated textbooks.  They are no use to anyone.  And as Marie Kondo states in her book “The Life-changing magic of tidying up”, it has served it’s purpose.  So out go two milk crates worth of paper in binders and two shelves worth of text books.  Perfect!  Yes…I did keep some notes that I spent A LOT of time on, and admire still.  More sentimentally.  But 1 binder isn’t so bad, is it?

It is interesting to me what I am drawn to keeping.  What is it about these items?  Sometimes it is sentimental value.  Looking at them or touching them bring memories back, that I never think about without prompting.  I’m not ready to let these memories go.  Sometimes it’s because it was a gift from someone…I had a book I was given from a previous employer that I didn’t even enjoy working for.  That is now gone to a new home.  Sometimes, as with the text books, it is the money spent on the items…or the thought that they could be used again.  But if they’ve served their purpose, the money spent has already been redeemed in it’s use.  And sometimes, as with the notes, it’s the time and care I put into creating it.  …or someone else put into creating, like how I can’t part with the kids art pictures because they were so proud of their effort when they gave it to me.

I am learning how to make space, and make peace with letting things go.  I am learning to get over the guilt of not using something or spending money…of being wasteful.  I am learning to find comfort in knowing that the things I am no longer in love with can bring someone else joy.  And I am reclaiming my space!  It’s a work in progress.

Do you find it hard to purge?  Or energizing and refreshing?  Any tips or tricks to organizing your creative space?  Stay tuned…the creating has begun!  I will be more active in this space once again!