“Art never expresses anything but itself.” – Oscar Wilde

April 20, 2015

On Thursday, I finally delivered our stack of papers to the accountants to file our taxes for 2014. We celebrated with a bottle of wine and now I can move on to other projects. I have far too many paintings that are unfinished and too many projects that I’ve started and haven’t finished. So for the next few months I am going to focus on finishing what I can and only beginning new projects sparingly in between. On Saturday night I managed to paint the edges of Francine, touch up Brand New and sign it and refine the leaves of Bellis Two – which is the only one I photographed to show here. I’m posting it along-side the last version (the one on the right is the finished version). I think it’s an improvement… And the colour is off in at least one of the photos of them, but that’s how it I’ve posted it regardless.

Bellis II WIP and finished

Bellis II WIP and finished

 

Liebster Award – My Response

And now back to my response to being nominated for the Liebster Award. Thank you Zhangah for including my blog in your list of nominees.

It wasn’t that long ago that I discovered Zhangah’s blog. I was drawn in by the sad story of Mitch. It was only three pages at the time, but I really wanted to know what would happen to him. There were enough snags in the story to make me curious about his character. The idea of suffering a brain injury after a freak accident is frightening – it is something that I would think to be unlikely to experience, yet it could happen to anyone at any time. As a result, Mitch struck me as a sympathetic character when I first started reading. But now that we are a little further along in the story, I’m not so sure I still consider him quite as innocuous. It’s interesting to read the comic as it develops and to consider it from both the reader’s and the creator’s perspective with the insight that Zhangah provides into her process. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds and the process and the artist evolve on the way. That Blog of Zhangah can be found here. 

 

liebster-award

Here are the official rules for the Liebster Award nomination:

  • Each nominee must have under 200 followers
  • Thank and link to the nominating blog
  • Answer their 10 questions and propose 10 new ones for your nominees
  • Nominate 10 blogs and tell them that they’ve been nominated
  • Write a post containing the questions
  • Include these rules in the post

It is now my turn to nominate 10 blogs that have less than 200 followers and show potential for growth. These are all blogs that I really enjoy following. Most of these bloggers show their art or photography and I love to see what they are creating. A couple are less visual, but keep me returning to read about their lives. I find the honesty and openness in their words inspiring and I am grateful that they are willing to grant me these small glimpses into their lives. Here is my list, I hope you enjoy checking them out!

Zhangah’s questions and my responses:

1. Tell us about when you started drawing or creating, perhaps as a child, and if/how this informs your work today.

I don’t recall what it was that triggered my interest in drawing as a kid, it just seems like I have always enjoyed drawing. When I was 12, I attended an adult art class that was taught by a Roman Catholic nun at the convent in the small town I grew up in. She is the one that introduced me to oil paint which has been my medium of choice ever since.

2. What artists (contemporary or historical) would you say have had significant influence on your work?

Some of my favourite artists include Botticelli, Cezanne, Atilla Richard Lukacs, Lawren Harris, Alex Colville, Christopher Pratt, Mary Pratt, Wayne Thiebaud and Edvard Munch. Although I can easily list many artists I admire, I don’t think that I really try to emulate their work in my own and so it’s hard to say how they have influenced me. I’m sure they have, but I am not able to articulate it.

3. When did you decide to start blogging and why? Has blogging made any impact in your creative practice and if so how?

I decided to start blogging in late 2011 when I planned to take on a Photo-a-Day Project for 2012. I thought it would help me to maintain my commitment if I made it public that I would be posting a photo for each day of the year. Even though I was posting on a weekly basis and it was mostly my family and close friends that were following me, it bolstered my determination to continue both taking photos and posting them online. Now that I have shifted away from the photo project to an art practive, knowing that I am committed to posting SOME sort of artwork each week does help me follow through and produce work. Not as much or as often as I would like, but it’s something.

4. What motivates you to keep creating?

I think what motivates me the most is that I have so much to learn yet. I see bits and pieces in my work that I love; whether it’s a brushstroke here or there or a small section that turns out far better than I had thought, it’s these that keep me coming back and trying to get closer to that ideal that I hold in my mind. I hope to one day be able to look at my own work and not instantly focus on the imperfections or the areas where I was not satisfied but chose to move on regardless.

5. What do you do to get past creative blocks?

I frequently lack inspiration to paint or to draw. My approach is to stockpile ideas and visual inspiration on an ongoing basis. I have collections of images and photos and notes to which I am always adding when I am struck with an idea or some image catches my eye. If I can, I will add notes with as many specific details as to what I would like to do in response to whatever it is that has inspired me. Then when the time arrives to work, I don’t have to think about WHAT I will do, I simply dive in. I may not know exactly how it will evolve, but that doesn’t matter. The hardest part, in my mind, is to begin. Once I am able to get into the proper head space, I will be able to feel my way through it.

6. What are some of your favorite art books, videos, podcasts and/or blogs that you would recommend as must-reads for other fellow artists?

I two favourite art books of recent time would have to be Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work. Next would be Art & Fear by David Bayles and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

7. Tell us about an upcoming project, either personal or professional, that you are excited to tackle.

I’m actually feeling somewhat uninspired right now. I am trying to finish old projects (that I’m ambivalent about) and trying to come up with new ones. I would like to work on a series of paintings that are monochromatic – likely in black and white. I’m interested in exploring and playing with tone and depth and maybe some drapery thrown in. We’ll see how it evolves.

8. Tell us about a grueling art project that you worked on. What challenges did you have to overcome to finish the project or what factors led you to decide to quit working on it?

Grueling may be a little stronger a word than I would use, but this question brings to mind a series that I committed to complete and am now having second thoughts. It is a sequence of six paintings based on six photographs of a daisy as it slowly dies. I had used Hipstamatic to photograph the flower over a series of a few days, each time using different photo filters. My plan was then to translate these into paintings with my own personal filters layered over those of the app. I am currently struggling with the third painting and have yet to begin the last three. I am tempted to abandon the project, but I don’t think I will. Even if it turns out disastrously, or (on a more positive note) evolves into something completely different, I think that it’s critical to push through the kind of resistance that I’m feeling if for no other reason than to know that I am able to get to the other side. I will certainly learn something through the experience.

9. What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself if you could time travel?

Don’t let time and life and all of those other details that need to be attended to, get in the way of maintaining a creative practice of some kind. I went many years not allowing myself the time to just play and I don’t think there is anything more important than simply doing the work (or playing) as frequently and as consistently as possible.

10. What is happiness to you?

Right now, considering how time-crunched I feel these days, happiness is an open schedule with nothing but self-imposed deadlines, opportunities to stay up late and sleep later, and to read books at a whim. Of course with my family thrown in to the mix as well.

My questions to bloggers:

And lastly, here are the 10 questions that I have for the 10 bloggers that I have nominated for the Liebster Award. I won’t be offended if you don’t answer the questions, but I am looking forward to your responses if you choose to.
  1. Is there anything you need in your environment to do your best work, or any rituals or routines that help you?
  2. Who is your biggest artistic or creative influence and why?
  3. What kind of feedback about your work do you find the most helpful and where to you find it?
  4. Do you have any particular music (if any) that you listen to when you create?
  5. Do you read books about art – technique, theory, art history, creativity, etc – or do you avoid that kind of thing?
  6. Do you think it’s important to be a part of a creative community and do you have one?
  7. Are there any books or music that you would recommend to inspire creativity?
  8. Why do you keep your blog?
  9. Do you have any personal rules or guidelines about what you post on your blog and what you don’t post?
  10. Do you have a mentor for either your blogging practice or your creative practice?
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