Saturday 31 December 2016

Goodbye 2016

What a year this has been! There have been good things and bad things happen and much of the year is just a blur!

2016 started with Leslie Saeta's 30/30 challenge and I was very happy with most of my paintings.

February saw me giving a Quilling workshop to some of the members of the Creston Art Club.
I also tired selling my wares at a Pop-Up Mall in Creston but decided it wasn't the right venue for my art.
In April I shared a table at the Creston Trade Fair and promoted a new venture -  Watercolour Painting Parties. The response was great and I ended up doing 6 full parties, one private party and one party for two. They were so much fun I will be doing more in 2017.

Starting in May, I joined a number of Art Club members and set up a gallery in an empty store in town. We were only open on weekends and the venture was only mildly successful - good thing we didn't have to pay rent - lol

I attended our Art Club annual Paint-out where I didn't manage much of a painting - plein-air is just not my thing.

In between doing all these things I was spending time with my flowers; starting them in January, then thinning, transplanting, pruning, watering, planting them outside, then more watering and pruning. A lot of work but I love the show.

At the end of summer, the roof sort of fell in with Bob's heart attack. Things are okay now but the situation has certainly changed our eating habits and I am learning a new way of cooking with the focus on more vegetables, no salt and fewer meat dishes. We are learning to live!

In the fall I started teaching a few private students which is always a joy, especially when they are really pleased with their progress. I hope they will all come back in the new year.

When I look back I really think that the good has outweighed the bad in 2016. I did 62 paintings, about 25 handmade cards and over 20 quilled pieces. I think about 24 of my paintings sold at the various venues and a whole bunch of my photo cards sold too - not too shabby although I am glad I don't have to make my living at art - lol.

Wishing everyone a very Happy, Healthy and Successful 2017 - it is sure to be interesting!

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Celebrating the Season

Last week the Art Club I belong to had their annual Christmas Pot-luck Lunch. Every year the organizers try to come up with a different way for members to share the joy of the season. Some of the ideas we have had are; a trash to treasure gifting and small painting secret exchanges. This year a handmade card exchange was proposed.
As it wasn't stipulated that we do a card that fit the season, I decided to do something a little different; a watercolour Warbler with quilled wisteria. I did this same subject in all watercolour when I was practicing the Oriental painting method a few years ago during a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.

There were some really wonderful cards made, most of them with a Christmas theme of course and we all had a fun time seeing what everyone got.

This is the first time in years that we have bothered to take photos at our Christmas get-together and it is nice to see all the happy faces. A number of our members go south for the winter and others work full time and are rarely able to attend so the few you see here do not reflect our numbers.

We have about 35 members but only around 15 to 20 regularly attend our weekly painting days. An art club like ours is a great way to learn new techniques, get inspiration and enjoy fellowship with like minded people; I enjoy being a part of it!.

Here is a card I just painted to wish you all...

                                           A Very Merry Christmas
                                                       and a
                                       Happy and Healthy New Year

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Teach and Learn

In the last few weeks I had requests to teach things that had me scratching my head and thinking 'how the .... do I do that!'

Near the end of November my friend, Linda, called and asked if I could teach her how to paint abstracts. Now Linda is a wonderful watercolour artist with a deft touch for landscapes and flowers in that medium and when I heard her request I was flabbergasted.  But undaunted, I said "sure I'll do what I can".
Tropical Forest

I really don't know what I am doing when I paint an abstract: I just play with my acrylic paints. Choose the colours, maybe add some mat medium, slap paint on a canvas, spray it with water, push the paint around with a palette knife and it is done! Sometimes I really like what I end up with; other times not so much.

unnamed acrylic abstract
So Linda watched while I started the Tropical Forest painting, then went to town on her own canvases. She kept grinning and saying 'This is fun!" She dropped paint, splashed paint, sprayed and twisted her canvas letting the paint drip and run. At one point she had a mess of dropped paint on the table and went to wipe it up when I stopped her. I grabbed a piece of mat board and turned it down on the paint, twisted and lifted it and ended up with the background for the unnamed painting above - waste not want not - lol.

Here are Linda's paintings - don't they look like she had fun doing them?

It is always great when Linda comes over for a day of painting but better when it makes me think and learn.

The second "how do I do that" was really my own fault. My Tuesday student, Jeannie, wanted to do a still life with fruit. We couldn't find a suitable photo online to use as a reference so I grabbed a few fruits out of the kitchen and put them on a simple plate. But just the plate and the fruit looked unfinished so I draped some fabric around them. Fabric! What was I thinking? Especially white fabric!

I showed the start of our paintings in my last blog and here are the finished pieces.
Jeanie's painting with mat

my painting
Jeannie wanted her painting finished in time for Christmas as she intends to give it as a gift. I demonstrated the technique for the shadows at the end of a class but, because we had a deadline Jeannie did the work at home. The stroke and blend method is not always easy to do, especially for a beginner, and Jeannie was not happy with her background when she arrived at class this week. I showed her how some careful lifting and scrubbing and the use of a bit of white paint could fix the fabric enough that she was satisfied. I was satisfied too - it is so nice to have such a hard working student.

I have always found that I learn something when I teach,especially when I have to figure out how to do something new.

Tuesday 6 December 2016

A Brief Respite

I feel like I have a few days of rest before the flurry of getting ready for Christmas takes over my life. The Christmas Fair is over, things are in train for next years community art displays, I don't do 'shopping' and it is too early to start baking.

So, I can catch you up on some of the things I haven't had time to write about.

First, my final Watercolour Painting Party of the year took place at the end of October.  Party goers had the chance to paint two 5 x 7 scenes which matted to 8 x 10. I think everyone was very happy with their paintings.

I didn't get photos of all the participants as two ladies were not able to finish their paintings at the party but I did manage to get photos of one lady's paintings.

I hadn't planned to do any more parties until Spring but it looks like a few ladies that came to the Wynndel Christmas Art & Craft Fair are interested in having a party in the new year - how cool is that?

I have been teaching a few private classes this fall which I enjoy doing, especially for beginners. I don't usually take the time to take photos but today I couldn't resist. I am so pleased with my student's progress on this piece!
my painting

Jeannie's painting
Paintings like this are difficult for Jeannie as she has a medical condition that causes her hands to shake. It makes painting smooth edges a real challenge but she is doing so well I just had to share this WIP. The funny thing is that I am only one step ahead of her - Still life paintings are so not my thing - lol. I will try to remember to take photos of the finished paintings so I can share those too.

I am planning on participating in January's 30 Paintings in 30 Day Challenge so I will be doing a lot more blog posts then.

I must be crazy!

Monday 28 November 2016

Something a Bit Different

This is the time of year when many artists think about displaying their work at Christmas Art and Craft Fairs. As I don't like the bustle of large events I usually just set-up for the local Wynndel fair which is happening this Saturday, Dec. 3.

I will be displaying a few of my smaller paintings, a wide selection of my cards, crocheted Christmas ornaments and many of my quilled ornaments. This year I am adding some new items which I hope will appeal to people looking for gifts for boys.

I made some stencils for the first time with not much idea of what I was doing. Then I painted some leftover pieces of mat board and added the stencils. The final step was to cover the back and make a border on the front. These signs have hang-tabs on the back but are also light enough they can be stuck on the wall with Fun Tak. I think they turned out well and hope that others like them too.

Because I had the stencils I figured I might as well use them again but this time I put them on T-Shirts.

It has been quite sometime since I had a young boy in my life so all I can do is hope that these will be a success.

I came up with another item that I hope will sell. I often get pains in my hands and the rice/wheat bags I had were much too big so I took them apart and made small ones.
Some of these were made with recycled material and others were made with  my painted fabrics. Thirty seconds in the microwave makes them nice and warm and the heat lasts a surprising length of time.

I think I am going to do a few signs with a different stencil design for the fair - just for fun!
I have had a sign with this "Artist at Work" design for years and when my friend Linda saw my stencilled signs she asked if I could make a stencil of this design. So, while Linda played with some acrylic abstracts, I made another stencil. Once the stencil was done Linda made her own sign and I figured I would make a few too. Who knows, maybe they will sell  - I'll even take commissions - lol.

It is always interesting to see what items do well at the Wynndel Christmas Art & Craft Fair and will I never make a killing I usually do okay - time will tell.

Saturday 12 November 2016

A Shift in Focus

My mind really hasn't been on art for the last few months!

Since my husband's heart attack, I have been focused more on health and our diets. The second day Bob was in the hospital a friend loaned us "To Your Health" by Dr. Hans Diehl and I started reading. A few days later, another friend gave me "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman, MD. We also got a book when Bob got out of the hospital - "Living Well with Heart Disease" from the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

I won't go into details about what I read but it was enough to get me started on a new diet lifestyle. The goal was to reduce sodium, fats and sugars which would improve blood pressure and promote weight loss. Using the recipes in the books and from the internet, I have been including many more vegetables as well as beans and lentils into our meals. There have been a few "I can't eat that" meals but most have worked out well and I now have about 20 recipes that will become staples. I have also modified a number of our favourite 'pre-heart attack' recipes to meet with the changes in our needs.

I know how easy it is to slide back into old habits so I am keeping a record of almost everything we eat and the nutrition information - sodium, fibre, calories, fat, sugar. So far things seem to be working; Bob has lost 10 lbs and I have lost 6. And, we are both feeling good about the changes - so, here's to a better future!

And, to show that I haven't completely ignored my art, here are a few of my latest quilling projects.

They are all made with my own painted paper cut to 1/4" and they are all about 3" x 3". These make super little ornaments for the Christmas tree or for year round. They can be hung, mounted and framed or fixed with some sticky tak to go on the wall or a mirror

I have a few other things on the go as well and maybe I will find the time to write about them soon . Now, I am off to figure out the nutrition for tonight's dinner - lol.

Monday 17 October 2016

More Crazy Life

I really don't know why things have still seemed so crazy, but I feel like I have been running at full speed just to keep up with all the things I need to get done.

Last week I was planning a Watercolour Painting Party for Saturday, when most of the people who had signed up had to cancel. No problem as there was a Arts & Craft Garage Sale scheduled for that day that I had wanted to attend as a vendor. But, the single party participant still remaining had already had to cancel once because of illness and I didn't want to disappoint her again so I offered to do a private party just for her.

Jeannie and her Lighthouse
Jeannie took some lessons with me a few years ago but had to stop painting for a while due to health issues. She was very happy with her painting and is planning on coming back for more lessons.

After seeing Jeannie off, I went to my computer and found a request to do a special Watercolour Party as a birthday present. As my weekend was already fully booked, we settled on this afternoon for this party of two.
Judi's Veranda Painting
Jill's Beached Boat Painting

Jill and Judi
It always fills me with satisfaction to have people go home so happy with the paintings they have done. Today was the first time these ladies have painted since school and both were thrilled with the whole afternoon. We had a great time, they did a great job and they asked to be notified when I do my parties again in the spring.

These two private parties feel like the only break I have had in all the craziness and gave me my first chance to do some painting in too long a time.  Painting has always been a healing process for me - a way to sooth my soul and enter a more peaceful frame of mind.

Now it just has to stop raining long enough for me to finish cleaning up my garden and I will feel free to settle down and enjoy the coming winter (and get some painting done).

Saturday 24 September 2016

Back in the Groove!

At least I hope I am. Things have been pretty crazy here for the last few months and, although I kept thinking about writing, life just kept getting in the way.

In August I was busy getting some paintings ready for the Creston Art Club's Annual Fall Show. I was also working on plans for the Call to Artists for the Art in the Chamber and Art in the Library displays for 2017. Then my husband, Bob, had a heart attack. He is OK now after having a stent put in but things were pretty hairy for a while.

So, in between visits to the hospital, I was able to get some paintings framed and ready for the art show.
a visitor looking at some of my paintings
We have a pretty nice set-up for our shows and we usually have about 20 members displaying their art - lots of variety in both subject and media.

Visitors have the chance to sit and enjoy refreshments while they enjoy the art.

After the Art Show, I had to get ready for my Watercolour Painting Parties. I had one on September 17 and one today, September 24. The first party had a full compliment of 6 which I consider a good number to allow for lots of individual attention.
Theresa and her painting

Rosemarie, Eileen and Kathy

Ed and Cheryl

It is always so gratifying when someone who has never painted before is thrilled with their painting. Or, when they are so pleased with the whole process that they plan to come for lessons. And, when some of them have come back for a second Party. - How cool is that?

Today's party only had 4 participants as a few cancelled due to illness but we had a good time!
Jenny was so into it she did two!

Jeanette had never painted before

Alison and Betty - trouble along the way but happy at the end!
I really enjoy introducing people to the joys of watercolour painting and hope to do more parties in the future.

For now, it is back to planning. I will be displaying my paintings at two venues for the next few months so I have to figure out what is going where and then get it all cleaned up and ready to pack! No rest for the wicked!