Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Painting & Traveling...Virtually

I love to travel, and only really started to travel a few years ago. I also love to paint, so I was excited to come across The Virtual Paintout  which is curated by artist Bill Guffey. It is a neat concept, every month a place is chosen and the artist does a piece based on Google Street View. The artist must "explore" the area and then choose where they want to paint. Check out the beautiful paintings/drawings of Nova Scotia that were completed last year.

The County Clare, Ireland was chosen for December 2010.
Here is my submission.

Church Street, Lehinch, Clare, Ireland  5 X 7 oil on canvas panel

It is almost as if I get to travel and paint.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I have been busy these past couple of weeks. In my spare time I have been painting whenever I can. If I am not painting I am drawing, or reading about painting and drawing. Well you get the picture.

On November 7, 2010 I attended a workshop at The Craig Gallery "Finding Direction in Your Art Career" put on by Anna Horsnell Wade. It was a great opportunity to meet artists at different points in their career. I wasn't sure if the workshop would be relevant to me as I am just beginning, however, I did learn a great deal. The workshop helped me appreciate the challenges and rewards that come with being an artist. As a result of attending the workshop, I decided to become a member of VANS (Visual Artists of Nova Scotia).

I also submitted two paintings to the Adsum House Mystery Art Show on November 25, 2010 at FRED in Halifax, NS. The fundraiser was to raise money for Adsum House, an emergency shelter for women and children who are homeless or at risk for being homeless. The artists submitted 5 X 7 works signed only on the back as their identity is not revealed until after the painting is sold. They could be well known artists, celebrities or emerging artists.

Here is one of the paintings that I submitted.

"The Dress" 5 X 7 Oil on Canvas

It's funny, the more I paint and get involved in the process, the more I want to do.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Well, I had my third lesson a couple of weeks ago.  In this lesson, I learned a great deal about colour, such as mixing colours for skin tones as well as paying attention to warm vs cool. 

It is interesting that during the process of completing a painting, I often find it difficult to get the colour or feel of the painting quite right.  Eventually the problem is somehow solved, seemingly on a subconscious level.

Love that right brain!

"Cousins" 2010 Oil on Canvas Panel

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tweet Tweet...

A year ago, if anyone had told me that I would be blogging and tweeting, I would have said "huh?".

Life can change a lot in a year.

This past year I've had a baby, reached a  birthday milestone, began oil painting, and have become slighty more social media savvy.

Through Twitter,  I have met some really interesting people and have learned a great deal from such a dynamic and rich source of information.

Recently, through my twittering (bear with me, still learning the lingo) I came across an event for  a Twitter art exhibit in Moss, Norway,  aimed at artists on Twitter.  It combines a couple of great activities I enjoy and it's for a good cause, raising money for their local library.

The exhibit will have a minimum of 140 artists representing the 140 characters on Twitter. The art must be postcard size.  With the idea that the postcard symbolizes a tweet.

Here is my submission.
Me & My Shadow -  Oil on Watercolour Board - 4X6

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Dream of...

Awww, dreams, this has been a topic for writers, poets, and artists of all medium. If you look hard enough there are many people who can help you achieve your dreams. The internet is full of them, really, just look. Life coaches, "gurus", "experts" etc.

Every since I was small, I loved to draw. I love to draw people. It is difficult to get the expression quite right or the proportion correct, but I have been practicing a lot lately.

I wonder what others dream about, motivates them, what do they want?

Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to Paris with my family. I could see why this city has inspired so many. I was thrilled to be there. When we went to the Eiffel Tower, we were walking along The Seine and I saw a Gypsy lady gazing into the river. I was fascinated, growing up I had heard lots of stories about gypsies, some good and some not so good.

Their culture has always interested me, and I know I am not the only one, just do a search on the internet and they have been the subject of many pieces of art. I took a couple of photos of this woman and I am glad I did. She is subject of one of my newest paintings.

"Gypsy Dreaming" 2010 Oil on Canvas Board 

I wonder what she is dreaming about, no don't tell me, I want to imagine for myself.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The  Mosaic for Mental Health Art Exhibit and Sale opened tonight, what a fantastic turnout!   There are hundreds of tiles and they are amazing, with many sold already! Artwork was submitted by local artists, on 6 X 6 tiles and then displayed at The Craig Gallery  in Dartmouth, NS. 

Checking out the Artwork

It is a wonderful fundraiser for a very important cause. (Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). The tiles are $25.00, $55.00 framed and art cards are $3.00 each. The exhibit runs until Sunday October 31th, 2010. It will also be part of the NOCTURNE art at night on Saturday, October 16, 6:00 pm until midnight.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Collection of... Tears?

For anyone who knows me, they know I like collecting stuff. I really like art glass, pottery, teacups etc. There is something about finding the elusive object, a quest, a holy grail of sorts.

I don't have a lot of space so I have to be picky about what I find.
So I tend to ask myself these questions before I buy;
1. Do I really like it?
2. Can I afford it?
3. Do I have room?

When I feel I have enough or my collection is complete, I move on.

One thing that I love to collect, but it is getting harder to find, is beach glass.  I have more luck finding it on the less populated beaches. I love finding the different colours, particularly the blues, the greens, and the variety of textures in the pottery. My daughter loves it too. We have a rose bowl that is filled with an assortment of beach glass and other treasures.

I am not sure why I am drawn to it so much, the beauty for sure, but I think it is also how nature has taken something that was once discarded and made it beautiful, desirable.

One of my friends calls beach glass "Mermaid's Tears", which I think is lovely and adds to the mystique.

It's funny where we find our inspiration.

"Sea Glass" 2010 Oil on Canvas 6X6

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fun at the Beach and A Sleeping Baby

I completed another painting.  It was the same theme I painted a few weeks ago, of my little girl playing at the beach. Talk about inspiration!  No one ever tells you how much your children will inspire. For me it is also a bit of nostalgia from my youth, combined with the innocence they portray. I am still amazed at how fast they grow! I know I will not run out of subject material for awhile.

Summer Fun
5X7 Oil on Canvas

I also completed a sketch of my baby girl to go with the one I had completed of my oldest daughter when she was a baby. I attempted this three times and the third time was charm. I am pleased with how it turned out. 

I love how beautiful babies are when they sleep... so peaceful.

Charcoal & Conte Crayon on Charcoal Paper 2010

I still have so much to learn, but I do see progress in my work.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sand, Surf, and a Sunrise

I think I had mentioned earlier that going to beach to watch the ocean is one of my favourite things to do. I am lucky enough to live in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada, where the ocean is only a short drive away. Lately I have been painting various seascapes and have completed three new, but very different ones. 

Daina Deblette Scarola, the artist giving me lessons, paints beautiful surf art and has also inspired me to give it a try. The first one I did was of Lawrencetown Beach, which is a very popular spot for surfers. I like how relaxing the beach looks, the "easiness" of this painting.  I found the waves were challenging to do and tried not to overwork them. I really like how the sand turned out, you could actually imagine that someone had been on the beach on a beautiful August day.

Lawrencetown Beach 2010

The second place I choose to paint was in Eastern Passage. This is looking towards the mouth of the Halifax Harbour from the boardwalk. The view was peaceful, almost tranquil amongst the busyness of the boardwalk.

This painting is only 5 X 7 so perspective on this was difficult. The women kayaking is tiny so getting enough detail was very challenging. I have been touching up this one more than I should, to try to give it more depth. I think it is done. I have to learn to let it go.

Kayaking in Eastern Passage 2010

I had to leave this one for awhile. I did not know what to think of it. I think it is more raw, not as soft as my other paintings, but it is starting to grow on me. 

Like I said earlier, three very different paintings.

Sunrise from Thebaud Platform 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gladys' Inspiration

Well, since I have been spending time talking about what inspires me and my new obsession, I thought I would take some time to talk about my mom Gladys and what inspired her. Of course, I was only 12 years old at the time so I am making a few leaps here.  Mom was a teacher, and always had her summers off, which was great when I was a kid. Many of those summers were spent at the beach at a cottage on the Northumberland Strait. I know it was a favourite place of her's, and we spent as much time there as possible. The ocean and the sea are the subject of many of her paintings. As a result it is also one of my favourite places too.
I have quite a few of her paintings and many of them are in storage, but I will share three more of them here.

Seascape by Gladys
Oil on Canvas Panel

Seascape by Gladys
Oil on Canvas Panel

Seascape by Gladys
Oil on Canvas Panel

I love the colours and rawness in her paintings. If I remember correctly she used a palette knife a lot when painting. My oldest daughter has the top one in her room and it is very special to her as she never had a chance to meet her.

She was a special person, and though I was young when she passed, her positivity and "joie de vie" has had a lasting impression.

Thanks Mom.

Dedicated to Gladys - who died Wednesday September 22, 1982 age 40.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mosaic For Mental Health

In my professional career, I have worked in  health care, particularly in the field of mental health for a number of years.  After I went to university I volunteered and worked in mental health and I am pretty passionate about working in this field. I have worked with both children and adults and I am lucky, I love what I do. I have learned so much from the people I have worked with. I think my passion for this field also started with my mom Gladys. She was a Guidance Counselor and taught school for many years. She was also passionate about helping the young people she worked with, it must have rubbed off on me.

By this point, you are probably wondering why am I talking about this...well,  every year the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) holds an Art Exhibition and sale known as the Mosaic for Mental Health.  Artwork is submitted by local artists, on 6 X 6 tiles and then displayed at The Craig Gallery  in Dartmouth, NS.  It is a wonderful fundraiser for a very important cause. CMHA does amazing work with people with mental illness through their various programs, supports and advocacy. I volunteered with them years ago and learned a great deal.

Every year I would see the advertisement for the exhibition and sale and would think to myself, I would love to submit artwork, what a wonderful opportunity for a wannabe artist like myself.  I never had the guts until this year, last year I actually bought materials, and I have yet to take the plastic off the Masonite board! This year I actually mustered up enough courage to go and pick up the tiles from the office, shortly after I took my first oil painting lesson. A  little too ambitious probably... but I am at an age now where I am willing to put myself out there more instead of standing back. I was really glad I did, since then, a few weeks ago, I have completed four tiles for the show. I am really looking forward to the Exhibition which opens on October 14 (Gladys' birthday by the way!) and runs until Sunday October 31th, 2010. It will also be part of the NOCTURNE art at night on Saturday, October 16 6:00pm until midnight.

This year the theme is Hope. Three of the tiles I completed explored the concept of Hope as a window, contrasting a mono-chromed pallette with full colour. This concept was taking from my personal experience as well as learning from the people I have worked with over the years who have experienced a depression in their life. I have been told that it is like a fog, or distortion over everything, like a lens that causes everything to be blue, or bleak. I wanted to try and capture that concept. The contrasting colour of  the circle or panel, represents hope or a different way of seeing that peeks through the greyness which has it's own beauty.

Tree - Oil on Masonite

Sunrise - Oil on Acrylic

The Rose - Oil on Masonite

The fourth tile I completed is of a young girl sitting watching the ocean during her summer break,  representing a quiet time amidst all of the activity and the positivity that many young children portray. I think this one is my favourite so far. I really like how it turned out, I was excited when I finished it, as I was pleased with the depth and life in the painting.

Summer Break - Oil on Masonite

I know I have a ways to go, but with this one, it gives me motivation to keep on working. I am happy with the results coming from a rookie for such an important cause and I hope that my contribution will help a bit.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Creativity & Lessons Learned

Since my last lesson, I have found that the more I paint or think about painting, the more ideas I have for the next project. I also have been thinking a lot about creativity and how we are inspired. There is a video of John Cleese on YouTube talking about the creative process to Flemmish students and I found it very interesting. I love how he explains his experience with creativity and how to nurture the process. (Thanks to Wry & Ginger for tweeting this link!)

I am also reading the book "The Artist Within" by Betty Edwards I told you I'm obsessed! I love the way she talks about art, creativity and the brain in her books.  This has helped me realize that the process is important and I think sometimes I get too caught up in the product or result and I don't give the process a chance.

I have also realized that the space and tools are important too. I decided that if I was going to take this seriously, I need good quality materials, and a space to work in, particularly before my next lesson. I went to an Art Supply store earlier in the week and purchased paint, solvents, Gesso, brushes and canvas. I had been using inexpensive paints before,  but once I had a chance to use better quality paints, I did notice a difference. I also set up a space where I can work. It was important to do this because if I hadn't, the materials would have stayed in a box and I would have given up too quickly.

I had my second lesson the other day which was fantastic!  I have been painting a lot since the last lesson and I had a lot of questions, from how to mix medium, to where to get the best brushes.
I learned a lot from this lesson, Daina is such a great teacher, she makes it look so easy. 

I painted Gladiolus and I am quite pleased with how they turned out, but the composition needs work.  I received great feedback, and the next time I will try to take up more of the canvas because they appear to be just floating there.  As you can tell, it is definitely a learning curve for me.
Gladiolus 2010

What it would have looked like if it had filled the canvas.
I also reworked another painting I had done previously because I felt it was flat. It now appears to have some more depth.

Dahlia 2010

Dahlia (reworked)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Light, Colour & Too Much Enthusiasm?

I had my first lesson and have been hooked or "obsessed" with painting ever since. I have completed three new paintings. My new found enthusiasm has caused a few mistakes (but hey, that is all in the process), some very late nights and I have taken over half of our home office!

I have done some self reflection over the past couple of weeks on how I learn.
 For me, when learning something new, I have discovered it is a two step process.
  1. I learn by watching or reading, visually seeing/imagining the process. I am definitely not an auditory learner. (Goes in one ear and out the other.)
  2. Then I have "to do." My first attempt at something new is usually clumsy.  (You should have seen me learn to ride a bike...not pretty!)
One thing that I do know about my learning process is that I have a tendency to research stuff to death! I have to know every detail about something before I am confident to attempt the task...this is not be the best approach for me to learn how to paint!
(Not very productive either!) Expensive I really need another book? Though I do love books.

From all my "doing" and "reflecting".  This is what I came up with...

Lessons I have learned... 
(Just remember I am a rookie.

  1. Colour mixing is tricky. Colour theory is not that exciting, important, but not that exciting.
  2. Good lighting is important.
  3. Masonite has to be primed first...oops! (Sigh...a story for another day.) (Research would have helped this one!)
  4. You can get so caught up in the highlights and colours, that you mess up on perspective!
  5. I also learned that I am doing pretty good, better than I thought I would!
Can't wait until the next lesson. :) 
    The Road

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Rubies & Oil Painting

    I have recently reached a certain "ahem" age milestone in my life. I will give you a hint, I received rubies on my birthday to celebrate.
    With this milestone a lot of changes have come about;
    1. I recently had my second child in May 2010
    2. I have rediscovered a passion of

    I love art history and going to art galleries when I get the chance. I went to Paris last year and was thrilled to be able to see many of the paintings I had studied in the art history course I took at Acadia.

    I have always painted and drawn, but never really had the confidence to develop my talents. About eight years ago, I decided to pick up a second hand book titled "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" By Betty Edwards and completed many of the exercises and realized that I could actually learn to draw well! I proceeded to take an introductory art course at MUN, which was fantastic. I learned a great deal and my passion for art began to grow. However, life happens and this new found talent was sidelined by the birth of my first daughter, but the dream stayed with me.

    Sketch I did of my first daughter. Conte Crayon 2005

    I recently started taking oil painting lessons from a wonderful local artist Daina Deblette Scarola. I was talking to my husband one day about my desire to draw and paint and he told me about a local artist he was following on Twitter and I should follow her as well. We ended up going to her exhibition in Seaforth, N.S. and bought a few of her paintings. I loved her work and eventually got up enough nerve to ask her about lessons.

    My first lesson was at my house which was fantastic as I have a new baby and getting out of the house to take a course is not possible right now. I was so pleased with the process and the result, I have spent the last few weeks painting when I get a chance. I can't wait until the next lesson.

    Morris Lake 2010